February 17, 2005

You're an untamed youth that's the truth

* Frank Rich chimes in on the Jeff Gannon/James Guckert saga. excerpt:

"'Jeff Gannon's' real name is James D. Guckert. His employer was a Web site called Talon News, staffed mostly by volunteer Republican activists. Media Matters for America, the liberal press monitor that has done the most exhaustive research into the case, discovered that Talon's 'news' often consists of recycled Republican National Committee and White House press releases, and its content frequently overlaps with another partisan site, GOPUSA, with which it shares its owner, a Texas delegate to the 2000 Republican convention. Nonetheless, for nearly two years the White House press office had credentialed Mr. Guckert, even though, as Dana Milbank of The Washington Post explained on Mr. Olbermann's show, he 'was representing a phony media company that doesn't really have any such thing as circulation or readership.'

"How this happened is a mystery that has yet to be solved. 'Jeff' has now quit Talon News not because he and it have been exposed as fakes but because of other embarrassing blogosphere revelations linking him to sites like hotmilitarystud.com and to an apparently promising career as an X-rated $200-per-hour 'escort.' If Mr. Guckert, the author of Talon News exclusives like 'Kerry Could Become First Gay President,' is yet another link in the boundless network of homophobic Republican closet cases, that's not without interest. But it shouldn't distract from the real question - that is, the real news - of how this fake newsman might be connected to a White House propaganda machine that grows curiouser by the day. Though Mr. McClellan told Editor & Publisher magazine that he didn't know until recently that Mr. Guckert was using an alias, Bruce Bartlett, a White House veteran of the Reagan-Bush I era, wrote on the nonpartisan journalism Web site Romenesko, that 'if Gannon was using an alias, the White House staff had to be involved in maintaining his cover.' (Otherwise, it would be a rather amazing post-9/11 security breach.)"
"It is a brilliant strategy. When the Bush administration isn't using taxpayers' money to buy its own fake news, it does everything it can to shut out and pillory real reporters who might tell Americans what is happening in what is, at least in theory, their own government. Paul Farhi of The Washington Post discovered that even at an inaugural ball he was assigned 'minders' - attractive women who wouldn't give him their full names - to let the revelers know that Big Brother was watching should they be tempted to say anything remotely off message.

"The inability of real journalists to penetrate this White House is not all the White House's fault. The errors of real news organizations have played perfectly into the administration's insidious efforts to blur the boundaries between the fake and the real and thereby demolish the whole notion that there could possibly be an objective and accurate free press. Conservatives, who supposedly deplore post-modernism, are now welcoming in a brave new world in which it's a given that there can be no empirical reality in news, only the reality you want to hear (or they want you to hear). The frequent fecklessness of the Beltway gang does little to penetrate this Washington smokescreen. For a case in point, you needed only switch to CNN on the day after Mr. Olbermann did his fake-news-style story on the fake reporter in the White House press corps."

* John Moe's Pop-song correspondences. [via]

Dear Mr. Fogerty,

Thanks again for your latest inquiry, and please accept my apologies for not getting back to you on your last several letters, phone calls, e-mails, and telegrams. I had thought this issue had been cleared up already but, judging by the volume of your inquiries, it has evidently not been.

Our position is unchanged: under no conditions will we allow you to play center field. Setting aside the fact that Bernie Williams and Kenny Lofton are performing quite well in that capacity, and that we have several talented prospects in our minor-league organization, the idea of a fifty-nine-year-old man with no demonstrable baseball experience playing center field for the Yankees is ludicrous. I’ve told you this in several previous replies. I wish you’d believe me.

Major-league-caliber players are, uniformly, incredibly talented athletes who have dedicated their lives to the game. They spend years working their way up through the system. They don’t just ask 'the coach' to 'put them in.' Another thing: I’m not a coach. I’m a manager. If you knew anything about baseball, you’d know that.

As to your arguments, I remain unconvinced. You claim to have 'spent some time in the Mudville Nine,' but while we all enjoyed that poem, there is no such team. So you’re lying, Mr. Fogerty. And while you are clearly excited about your beat-up glove, homemade bat, and brand-new pair of shoes (thanks for the many photos), such acquisitions in no way qualify one to play center field for the Yankees. The team provides state-of-the-art equipment to all our players. Again, any understanding of pro baseball, or even simple logic, would have told you that.

I hope we can now put this issue to rest. I’ve included a Derek Jeter key chain as a token of goodwill.

Joe Torre
New York Yankees

* Buy Jami Attenberg's Instant Love.


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