Thursday, February 24, 2005

It's Good to Get Out of the Public Eye for a While

Remember Jeff Gannon, aka Jim Guckert? I know, it's been a full two weeks since the story broke, so it's forgivable if you need a recap. He's the gay prostitute available through several websites catering to a clientele with a military fetish who, in his spare time, doubled as a White House correspondent.

For two years he was approved for a daily press pass to the White House, where he was allowed to query press secretary Scott McClellan and the President himself; this despite the fact that Gannon/Guckert did not possess any identifiable press credentials and posted "news" articles comprised of cannibalized White House press releases on a partisan website, Talon News. He also wrote under the name "Jeff Gannon" and was identified during Q&A by the President as "Jeff," even though he reportedly used ID with the name "Jim Guckert" on it in order to get through security every day.

He applied for a Congressional press pass, but was denied because he couldn't pass the background check or verify that he worked for an independent news service.

There is also speculation that he was given access to classified material regarding the Valerie Plame leak.

When the blogosphere revealed his identity and rentable alter-ego (as well as pointing out that he had written anti-gay "news" reports, including one that accused John Kerry of being homosexual), he immediately resigned from his position at Talon News and posted a statement on his personal website that said, "In consideration of the welfare of me and my family I have decided to return to private life."

By “returning to private life” he apparently meant granting an interview to Editor & Publisher, where he said he was hoping to be invited to the annual White House Correspondents Gala Dinner in April. (I’m sure some of his old pals in the press corps would love to see him again.) According to the Washington Post, he’s also been arranging paid speaking appearances, justifying it by saying, "There are people who are definitely interested in some of my behind-the-scenes work in the press room."

Excuse me? Is that a self-deprecating joke? Because, even if it is, it’s not funny. And if it’s not a joke, what exactly is he referring to? Did he have access to people or documents or situations that weren’t open to members of the legit press? Or is he hinting that someone in the White House press office was one of his sex clients?

Stay tuned, folks. There will be more to this story.

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