WASHINGTON - A conservative ringer who was given a press pass to the White ouse and lobbed softball questions at President Bush quit yesterday after left-leaning Internet bloggers discovered possible ties to gay prostitution.
"The voice goes silent," Jeff Gannon wrote on his Web site. "In consideration of the welfare of me and my family, I have decided to return to private life."
Gannon began covering the White House two years ago for an obscure Republican Web site (Talon-News.com). He was known for his friendly questions, including asking Bush at last month's news conference how he could work with Democrats "who seem to have divorced themselves from reality."
Gannon was also given a classified CIA memo that named agent Valerie Plame, leading to his grilling by the grand jury investigating her outing.
Cox News Service also has an article on the matter.
Ah, the "family values" administration and it's friends!
WASHINGTON -- In a letter to President Bush yesterday, Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., called for an explanation of how a Talon News reporter who used the pseudonym "Jeff Gannon" was admitted to White House briefings.
Gannon resigned late Tuesday amid a flurry of accusations about his professional credentials and links to the Republican Party and could not be reached for comment.
"It appears that 'Mr. Gannon's presence in the White House press corps was merely as a tool of propaganda for your administration," wrote Slaughter, a senior member of the House Rules Committee who has been active in media fairness and ownership issues.
Update: You can find Rep. Slaughter's full letter here. Two paragraphs that sum up the matter are these:
According to several credible reports, "Mr. Gannon" has been repeatedly redentialed as a member of the White House press corps by your office and has been regularly called upon in White House press briefings by your Press Secretary Scott McClellan, despite the fact evidence shows that "Mr. Gannon" is a Republican political operative, uses a false name, has phony or questionable journalistic credentials, is known for plagiarizing much of the "news" he reports, and according to several web reports, may have ties to the promotion of the prostitution of military personnel.
I was already concerned about what appears to be an organized campaign to mask partisan propaganda as legitimate news by your Administration. That we have now earned this same type of deception is occurring inside the White House briefing room itself is even more disturbing.