Wednesday, February 23, 2005

That mainstream press

Okay. I'm going to ask the question again. Why isn't the mainstream press just screaming about the Gannon-Guckert affair? Why are they willing to give this man an easy pass - not to mention the White House? Is it because the press was bought and paid for some time ago and we simply cannot expect unbiased reporting from them ever again? If this situation had happened during the Clinton administration it would be headline news for weeks, it would be the occasion for bringing the president down. And the scandal that's barely being reported should bring this president down. Gene Lyons addresses the matter in an article ironically entitled, "'Outing' ignored by liberal media". Here's an excerpt:

Citizens, it's finally happened. An alleged former male prostitute has been unmasked among the White House press corps. If this comes as a surprise, don't blame liberal media bias. For once, there's a Washington sex scandal our fastidious "mainstream" press mostly wishes to avoid. Why? Good question. By day, "Jeff Gannon" posed as White House correspondent for a fictitious news organization called Talon News, an Internet site that is a subsidiary of GOPUSA. com. That's a Texas-based Web site bankrolled by one Bobby Eberle, an activist now depicted as virtually unknown in Texas GOP circles, even though he was a Bush delegate to the 2000 Republican National Convention.

"Gannon" was granted day passes to White House press briefings and news conferences, where he routinely lobbed softball questions to press secretary Scott McClellan. MSNBC's acerbic news anchor, Keith Olbermann, almost alone among TV journalists in giving the story the coverage it deserves, has aired hilarious pastiches of "Gannon's" servile questioning of Mc-Clellan on his "Countdown" program.

What does the affair tell us about White House security amid the "war on terror"? That's hard to say. So far nobody's explained how a man with no journalistic credentials and a phony name passed muster with the Secret Service. One reasonable presumption might be that a high-ranking White House official must have vouched for him, but given the Washington press' reluctance and GOP control of Congress, we may never know.

I recommend the whole article. It's hard to face the loss of the free and independent press but it's better that we know than not.

Communications professor Mark Crispin Miller put it this way in an interview with BuzzFlash:

The media's bizarre avoidance of this very juicy story makes a few things very clear--or I should say, very clear again. First of all, it's further proof that there is no "liberal bias" in the US corporate press--none whatsoever. It also reconfirms the fact that this media system is not simply "sensationalistic," and therefore apt to print whatever lurid stories its employees can dig up. There is a tabloid element, of course, but it works according to a double standard that is more ideological than commercial. Simply put, the US media reports sex scandals only when they seem to tar "the left," i.e., the Democratic party. As long as they involve the Democrats, the press is clearly willing to report such scandals even when they're fabricated. On the other hand, the press goes deaf and blind to "moral" scandals that involve Republicans, no matter how egregious and well-documented....

It's typical. There was a big sex scandal back in 1989, reported by, of all organs, the Washington Times, which broke the story of a male prostitution ring with lots of clients in the Reagan and Bush I administrations, and a midnight tour of the White House by six revelers, two of them male prostitutes. Did anybody ever hear of that again? ...

William Bennett's gambling got a lot of press, but his employment of Mistress Lee was not reported anywhere. Gary Condit's affair with--and alleged murder of--Chandra Levy was The Story You Could Not Escape for weeks right up to 9/11, even though there was no evidence that he had harmed her. On the other hand, Laurie Klausutis, an intern in Joe Scarborough's office, was allegedly murdered, right in his office, but it was all, some would contend, hushed up completely (and yet Scarborough sometimes whines about it anyway). We heard a lot about Woody Allen's situation--Newt Gingrich even crowed that it was typical "liberal" behavior--but when it turned out that the president of Hillsdale College, a far-right institution, had been boffing his own daughter-in-law, who went and blew her brains out in despair, that icky item had no legs. In fact, it had no torso, and no head. It simply wasn't, because the press will not go there when it involved the right.

This is why I get all my news from the internet - from foreign newspapers and articles I find through progressive sites and from the major bloggers. I simply don't trust the mainstream media to report what's really happening.

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