GOP’s Loose Gannon

Several months ago, details first emerged about connections between journalists and the Bush Administration when it was revealed that several government agencies had given lucrative contracts to right-wing pundits to promote President Bush’s legislative efforts. Essentially, the Bush Administration, through the Department of Health and other agencies, had bribed commentators with hundreds of thousands of dollars to push Bush’s plans. Now, however, new questions have been raised by the mysterious case of Jeff Gannon and Talon News. How could Gannon, a reporter with no journalistic experience, using a fake name, working for a news agency with obvious ties to right-wing groups not only get a pass to work in the White House press room, but be called upon by President Bush to ask a question during a press briefing. Before we look at the firestorm around Jeff Gannon, it is helpful to see what background and qualifications Mr. Gannon has for serving as a White House Correspondent. The problem is, he doesn’t have any. His Talon News biography claims that Mr. Gannon graduated from the “Pennsylvania State University System”, but fails to list what degree he earned. We also know that he graduated from the “Leadership Institute Broadcast School of Journalism”. While it sounds like a respectable institution, it turns out to be a two-day seminar designed to “prepare conservatives for success in politics, government and the news media.” Clearly, Gannon has conservative leanings, but his journalistic practices were ridiculous. On multiple occasions, Gannon would simply copy large passages of White House and GOP press releases and add them verbatim into his supposed “reports” for Talon News. Of course, Gannon did not reveal the true colors of his yellow journalism to his unsuspecting readers. The incident that exposed Gannon as a fraud came during President Bush’s press conference on January 26, 2005. Bush passed over qualified reporters from impartial news agencies and chose the obscure White House correspondent from Talon News. Gannon used his time in the spotlight to ask,