Accuracy in Media

Jeff Gannon was accused of being a fake journalist writing for a fake news organization using a fake name. Only the third part of that is true. He used a pseudonym or pen name because he didn’t like the sound of his real last name, Guckert. Can anybody really blame him? While Gannon continues to come under fire, stories continue to appear about him that are themselves misleading, perhaps deliberately so. The worst offender has been CBS News.

The conservative website, World Net Daily, called him a “a journalistic neophyte who was ushered into the nation’s inner media sanctum using an alias.” Actually, Gannon used the temporary day press to get into White House press briefings. The same process was used by reporter Paul Sperry when he wrote for World Net Daily. The liberal site followed with a story claiming that Gannon was “ushered into the White House-without undergoing a full-blown security background check-in order to pose softball questions to administration officials?” The fact is that no temporary pass holder gets a full background check. That is reserved for those getting permanent or hard passes.

But notice the phrasing, “ushered in,” and “in order to,” almost as if Gannon was part of a conspiracy to make the Bush Administration look good.

Who are these mysterious officials behind the plot? Dotty Lynch, political editor of CBS News, thought she had the answer. Her column ran under the intriguing headline, “Rove-Gannon Connection?” That’s a reference to top Bush White House aide Karl Rove.

Ironically, despite the Lynch offering, complained at length about the rest of the liberal media ignoring the Gannon story. Perhaps the Lynch column demonstrates why. The piece was full of implication and innuendo but few hard facts. The so-called Rove-Gannon connection consisted of Rove having once talked to GOPUSA, which owns Talon News, which employed Gannon. But there’s more. Gannon had written stories for Talon News that were credited with playing a role in the defeat of former Democratic Senate leader Tom Daschle by John Thune. And Thune’s campaign manager was “‘an old political crony’ of Rove’s,” Lynch revealed. If you’re still having trouble understanding the connection between Gannon and Rove, join the crowd. There is none.

But CBS thought it was worthwhile to push this dubious link. The original headline over the Lynch piece was, “Karl Rove’s Warning to GOP.” It was changed to “Rove-Gannon Link?” because of the desire by the mainstream media to pump life into the Gannongate conspiracy theories circulating on the left-wing blogs. One of those bloggers was immediately out with the following headline: “CBS Speculates that Karl Rove was Jeff Gannon’s contact inside the White House?” 

But lacking facts didn’t deter Lynch, who offered her bottom line: “Planting or even just sanctioning a political operative in the WH [White House] press room is a dangerous precedent and Karl Rove’s hope to become a respected policymaker will be hampered if the dirty tricks from his political past are more apparent than his desire to spread liberty around the globe.”

Now where’s the evidence of Rove planting or sanctioning a political operative in the White House press room? There is absolutely no evidence. Speaking of political operatives, did you know that Dotty Lynch is a self-described liberal who worked as a pollster for Democratic candidates and liberal causes from 1972 until 1985? Did you know that in 1984, by her own admission, she was an “ardent feminist?” Did you know that in 1984, by her own admission, she was “very involved” in the successful effort to get a woman, Geraldine Ferraro, on the Democratic ticket?  We could run our own story about Lynch headlined, “CBS News-Democratic Party Connection,” and we wouldn’t have to use a question mark.

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