February 11, 2005

More On Fake News in the White House

The "Jeff Gannon" story is another story that just keeps on giving.

So how did he get in the White House Briefings? And even more important, how could he attend Bush's press conference without the White House knowing who he is?

The situation "begs further investigation," says James Pinkerton, a media critic for Fox News who has worked for two Republican White Houses. "In the six years I worked for Reagan and Bush I, I remember the White House being strict about who got in. It's inconceivable to me that the White House, especially after 9/11, gives credentials to people without doing a background check."

For an administration that is hyper-concerned about security, that no one knew who Gannon was is simply risable.

The Democrats also wrote to the Secret Service seeking an explanation of how someone using a pseudonym was cleared to enter the White House daily press briefings as well as a presidential news conference last month. They said in their letter that allowing such a person in "appears to deviate significantly from heightened security measures you have employed recently."

Does anyone believe that this President especially, who screens his audience, who is paranoid enough about going to the Queen's palace in the UK and insist on his own personal chef, would let anyone near him without knowing exactly who that person was? It's obvious that they knew who "Gannon" was and they probably laughed everytime McClellan called on him. Their error arising from their arrogance was giving "Gannon" prime time exposure by having him ask such a blatantly partisan question to the President and think that no one would notice.

Update: Bruce Bartlett's reaction to this story reminded me of why the President might have wanted to know who is asking him questions.

Bruce Bartlett, a syndicated columnist and former White House staffer in the Reagan administration's Office of Policy Development, took the concern a step further, claiming the use of fake names could open the door to terrorists. "Some terrorist could invent some publication and put through their name and get in," he said. "It raises the question of whether it is appropriate for the White House Press Office to clear people who are operating under aliases."

September 10, 2001

THE leader of the Afghan resistance, Ahmad Shah Massoud, was reported to have been killed or seriously wounded yesterday in a grave setback to hopes of toppling the extremist Islamic Taliban regime.

...Gen Massoud was giving an interview at his base in the Panjshir Valley to two Arabs posing as journalists when a bomb went off.

The explosives were believed to have been hidden in a video camera the men were using or was strapped around the body of one of them.

Sources in central Asia said the assassins began their journey from Kabul and crossed Taliban lines to enter territory of Gen Massoud's United Front opposition, interviewing several of its commanders before they reached his base.

Oh, yes, just anyone can interview the President.

Posted by Mary at February 11, 2005 07:32 AM | Media | Technorati links |