Feb. 2, 2005

White House Propoganda Tool/Stooge (Stool?)

White House-Friendly Reporter Under Scrutiny
by Charlie Savage and Alan Wirzbicki

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration has provided White House media credentials to a man who has virtually no journalistic background, asks softball questions to the president and his spokesman in the midst of contentious news conferences, and routinely reprints long passages verbatim from official press releases as original news articles on his website.

Jeff Gannon calls himself the White House correspondent for TalonNews.com, a website that says it is 'committed to delivering accurate, unbiased news coverage to our readers.' It is operated by a Texas-based Republican Party delegate and political activist who also runs GOPUSA.com, a website that touts itself as 'bringing the conservative message to America.'

Called on last week by President Bush at a press conference, Gannon attacked Democratic Senate leaders and called them 'divorced from reality.' During the presidential campaign, when called on by Press Secretary Scott McClellan, Gannon linked Senator John F. Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, to Jane Fonda and questioned why anyone would dispute Bush's National Guard service.

Now, the question of how Gannon gets into White House press conferences is coming under intense scrutiny from critics who contend that Gannon is not a journalist but rather a White House tool to soften media coverage of Bush. The issue was raised by a media watchdog group and picked up by Internet bloggers, who linked Gannon's presence in White House briefings to recent controversies over whether the administration manipulates the flow of information to the public."

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