Well, what do we have? Bending of nearly all normal press-accreditation rules by the White House to let in a “journalist” who seems to be working as a whore. Last I knew, working as a whore (gay or straight, it doesn’t particularly matter to me) wasn’t exactly legal work.
Reporters normally have to undergo a couple of levels of scrutiny before they’re allowed to attend White House press briefings: 1) to be accredited for Capitol Hill work (requiring its own checks); 2) an extensive multi-month background check. Normally, journalists also have to work for independent news media – cited as a problem with Gannon when he was refused Capitol Hill press credentials. Normally, journalists reporting from the White House don’t work under false names, as Mr. Guckert apparently felt he needed to when he started working as “Gannon”.
The White House apparently let Gannon in for briefings before his “news organization” even existed – CSPAN screenshots show him on Feb. 28, 2003.
Add in the Gannon/Guckert’s emerging role in the Valerie Plame matter, and we’re left wondering why on earth the Bushies were showing CIA documents to a “reporter”, working under a fake name, who had not undergone a background check. For that matter, one may wonder why any reporter is being shown secret documents about Plame, but given how the Bush investigation and jailing of almost everybody but Novak and “Gannon” has proceeded, I don’t expect any answers soon.
Now, one might think the Bush administration had simply screwed up (common enough in this administration) without partisan motives, except for the fact that the rules have been bent for someone who parrots the administration line, copying text directly from White House press releases into his own reports. This isn’t a matter of getting mad at a softball-question reporter, this is the Bush administration going to wacky lengths to get a sycophant in the room.
I guess an independent press and the free flow of information is too much for Republicans to handle. The “whore” part simply clarifies the qualities that Bush prefers in his reporters – a man who is willing to bend over backwards (or forwards) to ensure White House spin is given unquestioning coverage.