Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Before anyone gets worked up about the HuffPo "set-up" we give you Jeff Gannon

Mainstream media outlets (MSM) are all a twitter (literally) over President Obama calling on the Huffington Post's Nino Pitney during today's press conference. The concern is that the White House may have contacted Mr. Pitney in advance to let him know that POTUS would be calling on him during the press conference. Mr. Pitney had soliticited questions from Iranians to see what they would ask the President. Before folks get too bent out of shape on this issue we should remind them about Jeff Gannon who know for lobbing softballs to President George W. Bush. Mr. Gannon, it was later revealed, was a fraud and was exposed as a one time male escort.

Mr. Pitney, as noted by Gawker, has done an exceptional job of covering the crisis in Iran and as far as we know has never sold his body on the internets.

From Politico:

Reporters typically don’t coordinate their questions for the president before press conferences, so it seemed odd that Obama might have an idea what the question would be. Also, it was a departure from White House protocol by calling on The Huffington Post second, in between the AP and Reuters.

CBS Radio's Mark Knoller, a veteran White House correspondent, said over Twitter it was "very unusual that Obama called on Huffington Post second, appearing to know the issue the reporter would ask about."

According to POLITICO's Carol Lee, The Huffington Post reporter was brought out of lower press by deputy press secretary Josh Earnest and placed just inside the barricade for reporters a few minutes before the start of the press conference.

Some background on Mr. Gannon from wikipedia:

James Dale Guckert (born 1957) posed as a conservative columnist under the pseudonym Jeff Gannon and was given credentials as a White House reporter between 2003 and 2005, eventually being employed by the news organization Talon News during the latter part of this period. Gannon first gained national attention during a presidential press conference on January 26, 2005, when he asked United States President George W. Bush a question that some in the press corps considered "so friendly it might have been planted."[1] Gannon routinely obtained daily passes to White House briefings, attending four Bush press conferences and appearing regularly at White House press briefings. Although he did not qualify for a Congressional press pass, Gannon was given daily passes to White House press briefings "after supplying his real name, date of birth and Social Security number."[2] Gannon came under public scrutiny for his lack of a journalistic background prior to his work with Talon[3][4] and his involvement with various homosexual escort service websites using the professional name "Bulldog". Gannon resigned from Talon News on February 8, 2005. Continuing to use the name Gannon, he has since created his own official homepage and worked for a time as a columnist for the Washington Blade newspaper, where he confirmed he was gay after he was outed as a homosexual prostitute.

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