The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

17 February 2005

Jeff Gannon + Eason Jordan= Liberal Media Hypocrisy

For the last several days I've been analyzing the impact of blogging on the liberal media and the probable backlash over Eason Jordan's ousting from CNN (see posts below).

If conservative bloggers supposedly got "carried away" calling for Jordan's head on a platter over remarks that US troops were targeting journalists, then what do you call what their liberal counterparts have done to Jeff Gannon and Talon News?

I've had some personal dealings with Talon News which I'll get into in a moment.

For the life of me, I still can't figure out what the media thinks is the story behind "Jeff Gannon" and his temporary White House press passes. It was the subject of a lengthy Anderson "Vanderbilt" Cooper slanted CNN segment just this evening.

But where's the scandal?

At least with Jordan, there is evidence that he actually said something strange, with Gannon, there are nothing but still-unproven allegations.

So he used a pen name. Big deal- many, many people in the media do this throughout their entire careers without ever disclosing their true identities. It's commonplace on television and radio but also occurs in print journalism for a variety of reasons.

One is when there is a known name conflict with another reporter or other type of journalist. Sometimes, it's for safety reasons or quite frankly, you just don't like your given name very much.

Second, the allegation is that "Gannon" is nothing but a shill for the GOP. The problem here is that Gannon, Talon News and sister site GOPUSA, never made any bones about the fact that they are part of a conservative-leaning operation. There was never a claim that they represented unbiased journalism.

What's the difference between a slanted question from Gannon and one from a liberal partisan from CNN anyway? Since when are the network guys unbiased? They threw lots of softballs during the Clinton Administration.

I had never heard of Talon News until almost a year ago, when one of their reporters covered an incident that occurred at KIRO, my previous talk radio employer.

One of my co-workers, a late-night talk show host named Mike Webb, said on the air that President Bush was guilty of war crimes and as a result should be put to death. Listeners complained, and apparently even produced tapes of the program, but management at the time covered up the incident.

A few listeners in particular, apparently unable or uninterested in having the Seattle-area media cover the story, contacted South Carolina-based Talon News reporter Jimmy Moore, who wrote a story.

Several subsequent pieces were written for Talon by Moore after Webb denied making the statement and used vulgar remarks to describe the agency and reporter. Management continued to back Webb while listeners contacted the US Secret Service.

At this point, tapes of the show in question began to circulate in the KIRO newsroom and I was able to hear the comments in question. I felt a little behind the curve as a big story was unfolding right under my nose, but I was not a listener to Webb's program.

I was impressed by the accuracy of Talon's coverage on the story. In examining their contentions, it was clear they were exceptionally careful in ensuring that their facts were correct, even before Webb threatened a lawsuit against them. They quoted Webb verbatim and in context.

My second encounter with Talon was in September 2004, after my termination over the Dan Rather on-air comments. I was interviewed by dozens of agencies, stations and others (to this day I'm sure who all of them were, it was a whirlwind). Talon stood out in that they insisted that all of their ducks be in a row before running the story. In fact they were the last news agency to publish a piece about my controversy. It was with the same attention to accuracy I had observed earlier in the year.

Yet on CNN tonight, Anderson Cooper was downright reckless in tossing rumors-as-fact into the mix with his interviewee, Howard Kurtz. One was that a photo of a male escort online looked like Gannon. Was Gannon therefore a prostitute? Second, that Gannon ran online porn sites, or did he simply register their names?

Cooper was shameless.

I don't want to hear any more nonsense about conservative bloggers and Eason Jordan after the disregard for ethical standards we have seen from the left on the Jeff Gannon story. CNN, MSNBC, Court TV and others have been quite happy to report rumors from liberal bloggers as fact.

What a double standard. What else do you expect from these people?

6 Comments:

  • Hi Brian Your blog is an interesting read. Im an irish lass living in London and on April 17th im runnning the london marathon. In a bid to draw up some attention from the blog commnity I am holding a blog marathon on 11th March. feel free to join in.

    It is an opportunity to bring the blogging community together and also raise awareness of your blog.

    Check out http://blogmarathon.blogspot.com/
    Thanks Michelle

    By Blogger mmitch, at 18 February, 2005 14:31  

  • Thanks for the publicity re: that little cloested gay liar at Talon. When are you coming out of the closet, Brian? Can I break the "story."?

    Mike

    By Blogger Mike, at 19 February, 2005 16:32  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Mike, at 19 February, 2005 17:31  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Mike, at 19 February, 2005 17:31  

  • maloney wrote>>>>>>One of my co-workers, a late-night talk show host named Mike Webb, said on the air that President Bush was guilty of war crimes and as a result should be put to death. Listeners complained, and apparently even produced tapes of the program, but management at the time covered up the incident.>>>>
    LIBELOUS by the way. Not true and you have NO proof. If I thought anybody of any import read this thing I might sue you (if you had an actual job).

    By Blogger Mike, at 19 February, 2005 17:33  

  • God Bryan, you even write like an old queen. Call me - I'll give ya some "butch lessons".
    ==
    Jon Stewart cut to the chase about the GOP hypocrisy that embraces both the demagogic political exploitation of homophobia and gays at the top of the Republican Party and Internet gay hookers posing as journalists. Stewart said of the GOP support for Gannon/Guckert (who indicated that he was a dominant homosexual on one of his prostitution websites): "So you're not gay if you're on top."

    That about sums it up for the GOP, which is using its usual shills -- such as Howard Kurtz, Michael Isikoff, and Wolf Blitzer -- to portray Gannon/Guckert as a victimized gay. They did the same thing when they claimed Clarence "Stefan Fetchit" Thomas was the victim of a Democratic attack on blacks. Given that Republicans get political mileage out of opposing affirmative action and the like, it's kind of hard to swallow (excuse the imagery) the argument that Democrats weren't going to let a Hispanic like Alberto "Torquemada" Gonzales become the first Hispanic Attorney General because they are discriminatory, whatever his faults -- and sanctioning of torture and the executions of possibly innocent people are pretty big ones to overlook.

    Whoever thought the Republicans in the White House would be advising Gannon/Guckert and orchestrating his defense? As many a wag has recently noted, Gannon/Guckert gives new meaning to Bush's concept of "mandate."

    But the GOP always respects a top dog.

    The issues surrounding the Gannon/Guckert affair are multiple, and the fact that he spewed homophobic articles by day while getting paid at night for gay sex he advertised on the Internet, in the most graphic of terms, are only, as they say the tip of the iceberg. As we noted in our selection of Howard Kurtz as BuzzFlash GOP Hypocrite three weeks ago:

    "The Gannon story touches upon everything from manufactured news to manufactured 'reporters' to the Valerie Plame affair to websites that have a connection to the White House, but appear independent, to a Bush Cartel hypocrisy about gays, to payola, to scripted Bush news conferences, to who knows what. This is a BIG media story that should be on the cover of the New York Times and Post."

    And Gannon/Guckert, to boot, we have now learned played a key role in being used as a media tool to attack Tom Daschle in his ill-fated Senate re-election bid, as well as raising serious security issues.

    After 9/11, how well is the White House protecting us if they allowed a gay Internet hustler, with no previous journalism experience, to daily attend White House press briefings and Presidential news conferences? As Lesley Stahl, former CBS White House correspondent, said on the Bill Maher program, how could the Secret Service and FBI possibly have let this happen?

    All good questions, and there are so many more of the non-sexual kind that the mainstream media should be demanding answers to them.

    By Blogger Mike, at 21 February, 2005 00:31  

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