February 24, 2005

SOME PEOPLE ARE GETTING DESPERATE, as this example from David Gingrich illustrates:

I cannot help but notice that you have failed to mention anything about Jeff Gannon on instapundit or your MSNBC blog. Whats up with that? I thought you were all for destroying political bias in our nations media, oh that only applies to Dan Rathers and those pesky so called liberal journalists. Mr male escort couldn’t have had any bias right. Yeah I know that there is no improtant information in that story. No big deal the white house allowed a gay escort into white house press briefings with faulty credentials, although you have to admit that sure is a lot of irony. You spend weeks attacking Dan Rathers for his sloppy journalism and because he trusted faulty documents. But it’s not the same thing when Mr. Bubble Boy allows a fake journalist (with fake documentation) into his press briefings, all the while he couldn’t gain access to capitol hill, to lob softball questions. Man that is sure some irony if I have ever seen it. Hypocrite.

Actually, I have blogged about Gannon/Guckert quite a few times, as a simple search would illustrate. But I agree with Rik Hertzberg that it’s a nothinggate. Or, as Marc Cooper says, a “big yawn.” I don’t think it’s in any way comparable to the use of forged documents in an attempt to swing a Presidential election — and I think that anyone who does think so is pretty much beyond rational discourse.

I also think that the people who are trying to inflate this into a big issue are making a dreadful mistake. I eagerly await the reaction when the White House responds to this criticism by requiring everyone who attends a press briefing to make a full financial and sexual disclosure, and starts rating news outlets as “real” or “fake” according to bias. (If I were Rove I’d make some rumblings about this to the press corps, and I’d explicitly cite the lefty bloggers by name, just to stir up trouble . . . .)

But don’t listen to me. Listen to David Corn:

But throughout this scandal, I have wondered if the Gannon affair may be smaller than it seems. I expressed several concerns in an earlier column. Still, in response to the emails, I decided to heed the call and look further. What I found leads me to ask–gasp!–if Gannon/Guckert, on a few but not all fronts, has received a quasi-bum rap. . . .

Bloggers should think hard when they complain about standards for passes for White House press briefings. Last year, political bloggers–many of whom have their own biases and sometimes function as activists–sought credentials to the Democratic and Republican conventions. That was a good thing. Why shouldn’t Josh Marshall, Glenn Reynolds, John Aravosis, or Markos Moulitsas (DailyKos) be allowed to question Scott McClellan or George W. Bush? Do we want only the MSMers to have this privilege?

If Gannon/Guckert did receive preferential treatment–because of his ideological bent or any other reason–that would be wrong and a matter for the White House to explain. But let’s move on to his personal (or other professional) life. Bloggers have made much of his apparent effort to earn a buck as a prostitute for men. This is not gay-baiting, they say, it’s hypocrisy. The question is, hypocrisy on whose part?

Read the whole thing. I think that the gay-baiting from some of the lefty bloggers — and my emailers — does them no credit. And it really is gay-baiting. And the focus on the gay angle, which nearly all this email features, also betrays a rather deep misapprehension of how I feel about stuff — do I look like a social conservative? As James Lileks wrote:

I just find it amusing that people think that because I support less aggressive taxation and the War I must therefore believe gays should be driven into a pit lined with sharp stakes, and therefore I’m a hypocrite. How does that work? It’s like saying “you oppose partial privatizing of Social Security? Well, then you obviously want abortion legal up the moment when the baby crowns.” Doesn’t follow.

Nope. Not to anyone with a clue, anyway. I think the Gannon-bashers are diminishing themselves by overplaying this issue. As Salon’s Wagner James Au (who also sent the Cooper link) emailed:

2004: “Bush lied, people died!”
2005: “Bush brought Guckert, people, uh, got suckered!”

Glenn, what a striking degradation of topics to get outraged over. But the amazing thing to me is, many people seem equally exercised by both topics. At least the question of WMD intelligence abuse is a topic of international importance. . . .

One year, you’re the indomitable warrior of dissent waving the fiery sword of truth in the halls of the powerful. Year later, you’re Verne Troyer on amyl nitrate biffing the shins of the powerful with a wooden dowel.

Or something like that.

UPDATE: It could be worse. And it is!