Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Show us your tips

Mardi Gras may be over, but it's laissez les bons temps rouler time in the world of media controversies.

First up is Jim Guckert redux. You may remember Guckert as the conservative website reporter who slipped into White House press conferences using his pseudonym, Jeff Gannon. Well, it turns out that in addition to what we already knew about him -- he has almost no journalism background, he was connected to very sketchy websites, and he somehow got his hands on sensitive national-security information -- there is now evidence suggesting he "offered his services as a male prostitute."

Confronted with the evidence that blogger John Aravosis amassed on the liberal site AmericaBlog, Guckert told Editor & Publisher that he will no longer talk to the media. Of course, he also refused to rule out an eventual return to "journalism" (note the quotation marks), which would make for kind of an awkward situation if he tried to stick to that "no talking to the media" stipulation. At any rate, there's still no word from the White House on how a guy with so few qualifications and such a dubious past managed to get so close to the president, but Salon's Eric Boehlert is on the case.

Moving on to a far more genteel scandal, we find that the Bush administration isn't alone in purchasing propaganda. Campaign staffers of U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., paid $1,500 last summer to a consulting firm owned by columnist Eric Wesson, who -- surprise! -- praised Cleaver without mentioning the cash.

Wesson, who has since received yet another consulting contract from Cleaver and is still covering him for the Kansas City-based newspaper The Call, defended his failure to reveal his financial ties: "We're an advocacy newspaper. Should I have disclosed it in my articles? I don't know. Would it have made any difference?"

Yes, Mr. Wesson, it would have. It would have let your readers know that you're part of this country's rapidly growing number of analysts and pundits and talking heads who haven't the slightest idea about what real, objective reporting is.

2 Comments:

Blogger Nick Beadle said...

Hey, what's wrong with a journalist doing a little male prostitution on the side?

I mean, if he needs the money... and he has, you know, some takers, that's cool, right?

Right?

Uh, guys...?

8:54 PM  
Blogger Alabamian said...

And another voice cries out -- disturbingly -- in the wilderness.

6:30 AM  

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