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Loose "Gannon": White House Reporter Admits He Used Fake Name
Editor and Publisher ^ | 02/10/05 | Joe Strupp and Greg Mitchell

Posted on 02/10/2005 5:55:51 AM PST by Pikamax

c

By Joe Strupp and Greg Mitchell

Published: February 10, 2005 updated 10:00 PM ET

NEW YORK Jeff Gannon, the controversial White House correspondent for the obscure Web site Talon News who resigned from his job Tuesday, confirmed late Wednesday, in a phone interview with National Public Radio, that he has been using a false name. A few hours later, Howard Kurtz, writing in The Washington Post, confirmed earlier tips, arising from liberal blogs, that the reporter's real name is indeed James D. Guckert.

Despite the ruse, "Gannon" still managed to gain access to many White House briefings and was one of the few reporters allowed to ask President Bush a (very friendly) question at a press conference two weeks ago.

NPR reported Wednesday that when Gannon was turned down for Capitol Hill credentials--a move first reported by E&P last week--he had used the name James Guckert. He admitted to NPR that Gannon was not his real name, and left it at that.

This "begs further investigation," James Pinkerton, a media critic for Fox News, told the online magazine Salon. He recalled that in the six years he worked for Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, the White House was "strict about who got in. It's inconceivable to me that the White House, especially after 9/11, gives credentials to people without doing a background check....If [Gannon] was walking around the White House with a pass that had a different name on it than his real name, that's pretty remarkable."

Dan Milbank, the former White House correspondent for The Washington Post, said the "scandal" of the whole episode was that it was blogs, and not the White House, that ultimately exposed Gannon's ruse. Milbank, on Keith Olbermann's MSNBC program, said he'd seen Gannon at the White House as recently as Monday.

Gannon, amazingly, also has ties to the Valerie Plame/CIA scandal.

Adding another twist, NPR's David Folkenflik, in his report Wednesday night, referred to revelations arising from liberal blogs earlier in the day, connecting Gannon to sexual Web sites such as HotMilitaryStud.com, among others.

"These sites are registered to an address in Delaware that's the same as one held by a James Guckert," Folkenflik said. "And that's the name that Gannon used to apply for press credentials on Capitol Hill....As for those Web sites, Gannon said he created them for clients of a software company he used to work for. And Gannon said his Christian faith has enabled him to receive forgiveness for the sins of his past."

The New York Daily News' story on Thursday carried the headline, "Bush press pal quits over gay prostie link." Washington reporter Helen Kennedy wrote: "A conservative ringer who was given a press pass to the White House and lobbed softball questions at President Bush quit yesterday after left-leaning Internet bloggers discovered possible ties to gay prostitution."

On Tuesday, in a message on his Web site (www.jeffgannon.com), Gannon announced: "Because of the attention being paid to me I find it is no longer possible to effectively be a reporter for Talon News. In consideration of the welfare of me and my family I have decided to return to private life. Thank you to all those who supported me."

E&P has not been able to reach Gannon since.

Gannon's alleged real name, Guckert, had been proposed earlier Wedneday by investigators at DailyKos, Eschaton and other blogs. They also showed that Talon News is run by a Texas GOP activist.

Also Wednesday, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to President Bush asking him to "address the matter" in light of "mounting evidence that your Administration has, on several occasions, paid members of the media to advocate in favor of Administration policies."

Gannon first gained attention several weeks ago when he asked a question at a presidential press conference that some in the press corps considered so friendly it might have been planted. Later E&P revealed that Gannon had been turned down last year for a congressional press pass because he could not prove his employer was a valid news organization. That denial barred him from receiving a White House "hard pass," allowing regular access to White House press events.

But Gannon had been obtaining daily White House press passes, a situation that had irked some veteran White House reporters who also questioned his credentials or considered him to be too partisan in his questioning.

On Olbermann's program Wednesday night, however, Milbank said he had seen Gannon with a pass and photo I.D. that certainly looked like it was of the permanent variety.

On Thursday, the Boston Globe reports that Gannon told them he had gotten no special consideration at the White House. He had applied for a background check and daily passes under the name on his driver's license, not his "professional name," he said.

Earlier in the day, on CNN, the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz said that White House spokesman Scott McClellan had told him that "President Bush didn't know who Jeff Gannon was when he called on him at that news conference."

Gannon's original refusal to deny he used a fake name sparked investigations by a number of blogs, that probed his true identity. In addition, those sites posted allegations that Web sites such as hotmilitarystud.com, militaryescorts.com, and militaryescortsm4m.com, were registered to the same owner as Gannon's personal Web site.

"The bloggers," Kurtz writes today, "also have linked to a since-withdrawn America Online photo of a man who appears to be Gannon, posing in his underwear, with a screen name bearing the initials 'JDG.'"

In her letter to President Bush, Rep. Slaughter charged that "it appears that 'Mr. Gannon's' presence in the White House press corps was merely as a tool of propaganda for your Administration."

Dan Froomkin, the Washington Post columnist, said Wednesday in an online chat, "the heat should be on" Scott McClellan: "Why did he call on Gannon? Did they ever pre-arrange anything? Did they have contact with his parent organization?"

Another intriguing issue is his involvement, along with better known Robert Novak, Judith Miller and others, in the Valerie Plame/CIA episode. His name turned up on a list of reporters targeted for questioning by the federal prosecutor in the case. Froomkin of the The Washington Post wrote last spring that "the reason Gannon is on the list is most likely an attempt to find out who gave him a secret memo that he mentioned in an interview he had with Plame's husband, former ambassador and administration critic Joseph Wilson."

The Talon News site today scrubbed its archives of many "Gannon" articles and removed his biography. It said it was already looking for a replacement for its star reporter.

In an e-mail to E&P last Friday, not published until now, Gannon wrote: "Much has been made about whether I use a professional name or not, but I am reluctant to provide information one way or another because of the threats that have been made against my person, property and family in both internet postings ... as well as in e-mails that I have forwarded to law enforcement. I'm sure you understand."

Olbermann on his TV show Wednesday referred to Gannon as "HBO's Ali G, without the satire."


TOPICS: News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: gannon; jeffgannon; media; plame; wilson
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1 posted on 02/10/2005 5:55:51 AM PST by Pikamax
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To: Pikamax

I am LMAO at the media frenzy to turn this into as much as they can..... Just like all those other vain attempts to sully GW.


2 posted on 02/10/2005 5:57:42 AM PST by standupfortruth
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To: Pikamax; MeekOneGOP; writer33

wow...this is curious...


3 posted on 02/10/2005 5:58:48 AM PST by bitt (Kerry "Hanoi"s me)
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To: Pikamax

So he used a pen name. And this is a problem...how?

}:-)4


4 posted on 02/10/2005 5:59:47 AM PST by Moose4 (http://www.livejournal.com/~moose4. Because the Internet was made for self-important wanking.)
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To: Moose4

I'm trying to figure that out as well, they admit he used his legal name to get clearance from Secret Service, so that's a red herring.


5 posted on 02/10/2005 6:02:32 AM PST by Pikamax
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To: Moose4
So he used a pen name. And this is a problem...how?

Because he's a conservative.

DO try to keep up.

;^)

6 posted on 02/10/2005 6:03:01 AM PST by Lazamataz (Proudly Posting Without Reading the Article Since 1999!)
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To: Pikamax

I have to confess, I've misled you all.  My real name is not Owl_Eagle.  It's Eagle_Owl.

 

Owl_Eagle

”Guns Before Butter.”

7 posted on 02/10/2005 6:06:28 AM PST by South Hawthorne (Guest Worker Program = Amnesty)
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To: Pikamax

The media is becoming more childish by the day. Yesterday I caught something about Olberman getting excited about something Bill O Reily said about his high school football days.

The media is starting to remind me of the kids in middle school who are trying to be popular by spreading all the latest rumors. It's pathetic.


8 posted on 02/10/2005 6:06:42 AM PST by cripplecreek (they call me tater.)
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To: Owl_Eagle

And all this time I thought your real name was Mark Twain.


9 posted on 02/10/2005 6:08:26 AM PST by Quilla
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To: Pikamax
Look at all the research the MSM is doing on a blogger. desperatly trying to make a big scandal out of nothing.

Yet last night after I heard that the Medicine story was factually wrong. There was some news reader, playing clips of Polosi/Kennedy comments on the origianl erroneous report.

10 posted on 02/10/2005 6:09:25 AM PST by marty60
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To: Quilla

That's Samuel Longhorn Clements to you.

 

Owl_Eagle

”Guns Before Butter.”

11 posted on 02/10/2005 6:10:01 AM PST by South Hawthorne (Guest Worker Program = Amnesty)
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To: Owl_Eagle
I have to confess, I've misled you all. My real name is not Owl_Eagle. It's Eagle_Owl.

Oh, sure some conservative you are! Hypocrite! I'll bet you have pics of your young children in the bathtub too!

And you have the nerve to post your morally superior pap on FR! How dare you.

12 posted on 02/10/2005 6:10:27 AM PST by ovrtaxt (Go Howard Go!)
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To: Pikamax

IIRC, many of Clinton's WH staff were unable to get security clearances. Where was the outrage then?


13 posted on 02/10/2005 6:10:51 AM PST by gov_bean_ counter
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To: Pikamax
But Gannon had been obtaining daily White House press passes, a situation that had irked some veteran White House reporters who also questioned his credentials or considered him to be too partisan in his questioning.

Yep, we can't let the rabble into our exclusive club, and only liberal partisanship is allowed.

I agree there are some problematic and potentially problematic aspects to Gannon. However, this story also is very revealing about the MSM mindset and their attempts to maintain a grip on the dissemination of news.

14 posted on 02/10/2005 6:12:44 AM PST by dirtboy (Funny how liberals are suddenly concerned about someone's sex life. Where were they in 1998?)
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To: gov_bean_ counter
IIRC, many of Clinton's staff received security clearances without the proper background checks.

As Gary Aldrich in Unlimited Access wrote: "A fairly routine process became a crisis." "...key people in the administration had simply decided that the security procedures were not important and were taking a 'so what' attitude toward possible scandal, embarrassment, or worse."

15 posted on 02/10/2005 6:17:24 AM PST by Quilla
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To: Quilla

Thank you for the clarification.


16 posted on 02/10/2005 6:18:33 AM PST by gov_bean_ counter
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To: Pikamax

Big Farking deal..............

If I was ever to get into the media there's NO WAY I'd put my real name out there...


17 posted on 02/10/2005 6:24:55 AM PST by OXENinFLA
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To: Moose4
So he used a pen name. And this is a problem...how?

He was ashamed of his real name, since it was associated with gay porn websites.

At the risk of being the skunk here, if "Gannon" had written for Salon, FR would be raising holy hell.

Jeffie made a fool out of everybody who believed him.

18 posted on 02/10/2005 6:27:42 AM PST by sinkspur ("Preach the gospel. If necessary, use words.")
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To: Pikamax

Gannon should've known that when the President called on him during the last press conference, skipping over members of the MSM, he painted a big target on his back.


19 posted on 02/10/2005 6:27:54 AM PST by Catspaw
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To: Pikamax

I think they're all just looking for exscuses to visit gay websites.


20 posted on 02/10/2005 6:29:22 AM PST by jellybean (Yullah imshe!! -- Let's Roll!)
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To: Pikamax

Maybe he was a NOC, too. Maybe he was sent out to find out who was leaking CIA secrets to folks like Dana Milbank.


21 posted on 02/10/2005 6:30:06 AM PST by petitfour
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To: Pikamax
Literally under their noses and the reporters still got beat by the bloggers! ROTFL!!
22 posted on 02/10/2005 6:31:05 AM PST by cookcounty (LooneyLibLine: "The ONLY reason for Operation Iraqi FREEDOM was WMD!!" ((repeat til brain is numb))
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To: Pikamax

When will ABCCBSNBCPBSCNNNYTWP admit that they have been leftists political organizations planted in the WH for the last 40 years? All the while claiming to be "news" organizations?

LOL, in their complaints about Gannon, they expose their faux "concern".

As with Rather, these "news" organizations show with their attacks and defenses, that their pretentions on objectivity are completely false.

The war is on!

And they will lose.



23 posted on 02/10/2005 6:31:11 AM PST by roses of sharon
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To: marty60
Look at all the research the MSM is doing on a blogger. desperatly trying to make a big scandal out of nothing.

I'd take these people more seriously if they'd spent 1/10th the effort to investigate John Kerry's past.

24 posted on 02/10/2005 6:31:36 AM PST by jellybean (Yullah imshe!! -- Let's Roll!)
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To: sinkspur
He was ashamed of his real name, since it was associated with gay porn websites.

WHAT?! Please explain.

25 posted on 02/10/2005 6:32:11 AM PST by MamaLucci (Libs, want answers on 911? Ask Clinton why he met with Monica more than with his CIA director.)
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To: sinkspur

If he was writing for Salon, they would have said look at conservatives attacking him for helping make gay websites.

The pen name business is a farce, he didn't fake his way into the press conferences because he still had to use his legal name to get a background check.


26 posted on 02/10/2005 6:33:24 AM PST by Pikamax
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To: sinkspur

I agree with you sink. I don't know why "we" would feel the need to defend the guy. Man, if you are going to play hardball with the big boys, you better have your house in order. That's just common sense.


27 posted on 02/10/2005 6:33:38 AM PST by kjam22 (What you win them by, is what you win them to)
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To: Moose4
Exactly. I've been acquainted with a few "journalists", or rather "tv news readers" in my day. And more than a few of them don't use their real names.

This is not a news story.

28 posted on 02/10/2005 6:33:57 AM PST by SoFloFreeper
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To: standupfortruth

"These sites are registered to an address in Delaware that's the same as one held by a James Guckert," Folkenflik said."

I thought many FReepers have posted in other threads and some seem to even KNOW that Gannon's address is in Texas??


29 posted on 02/10/2005 6:34:12 AM PST by ElephantinTexas (Republican ladies are the fairest of them all!)
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To: MamaLucci
From the article:

Adding another twist, NPR's David Folkenflik, in his report Wednesday night, referred to revelations arising from liberal blogs earlier in the day, connecting Gannon to sexual Web sites such as HotMilitaryStud.com, among others.

"These sites are registered to an address in Delaware that's the same as one held by a James Guckert," Folkenflik said. "And that's the name that Gannon used to apply for press credentials on Capitol Hill....As for those Web sites, Gannon said he created them for clients of a software company he used to work for. And Gannon said his Christian faith has enabled him to receive forgiveness for the sins of his past."

30 posted on 02/10/2005 6:34:13 AM PST by sinkspur ("Preach the gospel. If necessary, use words.")
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To: Pikamax

I say lets open up this media can of worms. They want accountability then what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

Every lie they print and distortion reported, lets have a "frog" march up the capital steps.


31 posted on 02/10/2005 6:35:18 AM PST by Just mythoughts
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To: Pikamax

"NPR reported Wednesday that when Gannon was turned down for Capitol Hill credentials...he had used the name James Guckert. He admitted to NPR that Gannon was not his real name"

Do you think that NPR reporters with names like
Tony Cocks, David F--kenflick, or Eric Whiner are using their real names?


32 posted on 02/10/2005 6:36:36 AM PST by joshhiggins
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To: SoFloFreeper
"Exactly. I've been acquainted with a few "journalists", or rather "tv news readers" in my day. And more than a few of them don't use their real names."

Not that I think it's a big issue but could you mention a few names????
33 posted on 02/10/2005 6:42:00 AM PST by WHBates
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To: sinkspur
I'm with you, Sink. There are several problems here.

1) There is nothing wrong with writing under a "pen name"---if that is who your security is checked out under. For example, a security check on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would have a note that he was once "Lew Alcindor," but that he goes by KAJ now. The issue is security, not his "pen name."

2) It should be troubling to conservatives that anyone with a) these gay-porn connections and b) a false name gets a permanent press pass, and, equally disturbing that Talon News, which is seeking legitimacy, didn't know about this.

3) It is also critical to support Milbank's observation that the BLOG discovered the details, not the MSM, which once again is out in the cold.

4) Finally, all of this should HIGHLIGHT, rather than diminish, the question of why a common sense question posed by ANY reporter is viewed as "too partisan" if it doesn't toe the MSM line.

34 posted on 02/10/2005 6:45:42 AM PST by LS (CNN is the Amtrak of news (there is no c in Amtrak and no truth in MSM news))
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To: sinkspur
At the risk of being the skunk here, ...

LOL Good one! I love ironic sarcasm.

35 posted on 02/10/2005 6:48:53 AM PST by TigersEye (Intellectuals only exist if you think they do.)
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To: Pikamax
Earlier in the day, on CNN, the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz said that White House spokesman Scott McClellan had told him that "President Bush didn't know who Jeff Gannon was when he called on him at that news conference."

He's lying. Bush knew. The question is: When did he know it? There's more to this can of worms. We must expose the "true connection" to the White House.

:) Denote sarcasm.

36 posted on 02/10/2005 6:55:22 AM PST by writer33 ("In Defense of Liberty," a political thriller, being released in March)
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To: Pikamax
Washington Post - Howard Kurtz, same subject, here.

Asked if digging into someone's personal and business activities was proper retaliation, Moulitsas (Markos Moulitsas, a San Francisco liberal who writes the popular Kos site,) said: "If that's what it took to really bring attention to him, it's one of those unfortunate facts of reality in the way we operate today. It's sex that really draws attention to these things."

Now that we know the lib's acceptable rules of journalism it will be interesting to see what can be dug up on them.

37 posted on 02/10/2005 6:55:25 AM PST by TigersEye (Intellectuals only exist if you think they do.)
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Oops, bad link correction: Washington Post - Howard Kurtz, same subject, here
38 posted on 02/10/2005 6:57:31 AM PST by TigersEye (Intellectuals only exist if you think they do.)
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To: WHBates

No, I won't mention names, but I will tell you that almost any beautiful single woman who does news reports is probably NOT using her real last name.


39 posted on 02/10/2005 6:59:00 AM PST by SoFloFreeper
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To: Pikamax

The press whores of the MSM cannot stomach anyone asking pertinent questions at the White House briefings. They laud that old hag who sat in a front row seat and at every briefing asked inane questions which were then reported as "news".


40 posted on 02/10/2005 6:59:41 AM PST by hgro
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To: sinkspur
"And Gannon said his Christian faith has enabled him to receive forgiveness for the sins of his past."

I would think that most Christians feel this way.

41 posted on 02/10/2005 7:00:39 AM PST by MamaLucci (Libs, want answers on 911? Ask Clinton why he met with Monica more than with his CIA director.)
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To: Pikamax

Amazing how much effort was put into this by the MSM. Shame they didn't spend this much effort looking into John Kerry's Vietnam War antics.


42 posted on 02/10/2005 7:02:10 AM PST by SuziQ
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To: TigersEye
"If that's what it took to really bring attention to him BILL CLINTON, it's one of those unfortunate facts of reality in the way we operate today. It's GETTING ORAL SEX IN THE OVAL OFFICE AND PLAYING HIDE THE CIGAR sex that really draws attention to these things."

They never like it when it applies to them....

43 posted on 02/10/2005 7:03:04 AM PST by diotima
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To: Pikamax

44 posted on 02/10/2005 7:03:49 AM PST by gopwinsin04
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To: standupfortruth
But Gannon had been obtaining daily White House press passes, a situation that had irked some veteran White House reporters who also questioned his credentials or considered him to be too partisan in his questioning.

Unlike Dana Milbank who has written hate-Bush articles for 5 years now? Unlike the rest of the room which have some sort of past involvement with the democrat party on their resume.

Why all the fuss about this one guy? Eason Jordan just slandered America, yet nobody wants to report on it besides FNC and other new media.

45 posted on 02/10/2005 7:03:55 AM PST by KC_Conspirator (This space outsourced to India)
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To: TigersEye

yep, I got a feeling he and others are going to regret that thinking. This is the guy who said screw them about the four Americans who got killed in Fallujah. He is Howard Dean's biggest fan.


46 posted on 02/10/2005 7:04:03 AM PST by Pikamax
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To: LS
It is also critical to support Milbank's observation that the BLOG discovered the details, not the MSM, which once again is out in the cold.

The information culture changes allowing good Pajama People work to see the light of day is advantageous to conservatives.

There is valid suspicion here that someone in the Administration and/or GOP did something wrong. We have to be ready to advance this story even if it hurts. We have to be ready to denounce not defend Armstrong Williams and Gannon, throw them overboard.

47 posted on 02/10/2005 7:05:28 AM PST by NutCrackerBoy
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To: Pikamax

Well, we'll just have to set up a FreeRepublic News Service and pay one of the DC area members a coffee and no-doze stipend to cover various press conferences. And he or she won't need a journalism degree. Such a degree seems to improve a person's ability to think, speak, write, and reason not one iota.


48 posted on 02/10/2005 7:05:30 AM PST by Puddleglum (Thank God the Boston blowhard lost)
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To: MamaLucci
I would think that most Christians feel this way.

Smart Christians wouldn't use a phony name to hide a shady past. That's just asking for somebody to start digging.

49 posted on 02/10/2005 7:06:27 AM PST by sinkspur ("Preach the gospel. If necessary, use words.")
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To: sinkspur; Jeff Gannon
He was ashamed of his real name, since it was associated with gay porn websites.

This detail is one of the more disturbing parts of the Gannon story. If untrue, it should be easy to disprove. Why hasn't Jeff Gannon stated here or elsewhere that he is in no way associated with these sites? Also, if someone claimed I posted a picture of myself on the web in my underwear, posting an actual photo alongside it should take care of that problem too.

The silence is annoying.

50 posted on 02/10/2005 7:07:05 AM PST by Quilla
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