Wednesday, February 02, 2005

They're Getting Sneakier With Their Propaganda

But a Big Mac's a Big Mac, they just call it Le Big Mac.

Turns out the White House issued press credentials to some dude (Jeff Gannon) who writes for an extreme right-wing website. I guess credentials aren't such a big deal, I could probably get them, right? (wrong). The problem is that the folks at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue have this nasty habit of always calling on him. The Boston Globe investigates (with my emphasis):

Jeff Gannon calls himself the White House correspondent for, a website that says it is "committed to delivering accurate, unbiased news coverage to our readers." It is operated by a Texas-based Republican Party delegate and political activist who also runs, a website that touts itself as "bringing the conservative message to America."

When Bush called on Gannon near the end of his nationally televised Jan. 26 news conference, he had just been questioned about Williams and the Education Department funds, an embarrassment to the administration. Gannon's question was different.

"Senate Democratic leaders have painted a very bleak picture of the US economy," Gannon said. "[Minority Leader] Harry Reid was talking about soup lines, and Hillary Clinton was talking about the economy being on the verge of collapse. Yet, in the same breath, they say that Social Security is rock solid and there's no crisis there. How are you going to work -- you said you're going to reach out to these people -- how are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?"

As it turned out, Reid had never talked about soup lines. That was a phrase attributed to him in satire by Rush Limbaugh on his radio show.

Last year, during the presidential campaign, Gannon's comments could be even more pointed. In a Feb. 10, 2004, briefing with McClellan, for example, Gannon rose to deliver the following:

"Since there have been so many questions about what the president was doing over 30 years ago, what is it that he did after his honorable discharge from the National Guard? Did he make speeches alongside Jane Fonda, denouncing America's racist war in Vietnam? Did he testify before Congress that American troops committed war crimes in Vietnam? And did he throw somebody else's medals at the White House to protest a war America was still fighting?"

It's disgusting, isn't it? As I've said in the past, the government propagandists don't necessarily have to be paid directly from our tax dollars. If the government is passing legislation that helps them financially in return for positive press, it's the same thing - just conveniently harder to prove quid pro quo.

But you know what? That’s not even the point, really. As a matter of principle, the White House Press Room should be populated only with journalists to ask questions, and the White House communications people to spread lies. That’s the way the system works – Question? Lie. Question? Lie. It can’t go – Lie? Lie. Follow-up lie? Lie. The whole thing breaks down!

[UPDATE: Media Matters for America has more on the subject. Turns out Mr. Gannon's bio mysteriously disappeared from the Talon News website since this little affair has come to light.]

No comments: