Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Jeff Gannon, we hardly knew ye...

The saga of fake reporter Jeff Gannon reached a climax yesterday, thanks to the blogchasers at DailyKOS and other sites. It could be an excellent case study of how people operating as journalists outside the MSM are in a better position to expose the current administration's seedy approach to "communication."

For the uninitiated, Gannon was a reporter for something called Talon News , which seemed to have two functions: 1. Despite its journalistic claims ("your source for unbiased news coverage and no-spin reporting") it served as a shoddy stenographer for the right wing; and 2. It provided Gannon to White House press conferences, where he functioned as a "lifeline" for the press secretary. All of which led to increased attention by David Brock's Media Matters watchdogs.

This drew the attention of bloggers, activists and lefties, who began rooting around and finding all sort of junk in Gannon's trunk. The pressure built, and eventually led to the revelation on DailyKOS that Gannon (a nom de plume) also owned some homosexual prostitution domains. Gannon promptly resigned from Talon on Tuesday.

BuzzFlash trumpeted the win this morning in its a.m. e-mail digest. Timothy Karr from MediaChannel wraps it up nicely here.

MSM involvement? Practically nil. Researching and publishing the credentials of other journalists, no matter how dubious, is simply not something we (MSM journalists) are accustomed to doing. It implies not only a different role, but a different philosophy, and until someone succeeds in stating that philosophy coheriently, succinctly and prominently, none of this is likely to change.

It must be clear now that blogs and websites are providing the bulk of significant real-time reporting on MSM matters. Those of us who work in the MSM and care about these issues turn to these "non-official" sources to get the scoop on our industry, and I don't expect that to change any time soon.

Of course, the underlying theme of the Gannon/Talon story is one that the MSM should be covering: Covert information operations directed against the American public, with various firebreak disconnects providing the one thing every political organization needs to survive and thrive: