Monday, February 21, 2005

decisions decisions: sex scandal or drug scandal?

so i started perusing the lefty blogs again, after having been away for awhile, in search of sound clips of the bush drug tapes (see previous post). so far i haven't found any. in fact the lefty blogs don't seem to want to talk about this story too much... they still want to talk about jim guckert (aka "jeff gannon"). indeed, when you manage to find discussion of "the bush secret tapes" on dailykos, most of the comments revolve around whether the bush tapes story is indeed a smokescreen to divert attention away from the guckert story.

but where the progressoblogs focus, the corporate media seems to look away, and vice versa. the corporate media is all over the story about wead secretly taping bush. already it has 391 related links on google news. meanwhile, google news search for "guckert" turns up a mere 476 hits, despite the story being a full week older. and if you look at who is publishing the stories, they generally aren't the big media: E&P, buzzflash, counterpunch, salon, and the occasional big-name place such as the washington post. namely, a bunch of progressive sites and blogs and some of the smaller media.

granted, the tale of guckert/gannon is a deep and intriguing one. since it broke during my vacation, i have to admit that i almost missed it, and learned of the story on the daily show (thanks to atrios for the link, with other good links in the same post).

"jeff gannon" was a regular in the white house press pool since at least feb 2003. he was ostensibly there as a reported for a publication called talon news, which was a branch of an organization called "GOPUSA". he would get called on occasionally, and would offer up a lightweight or softball question.

recently it was discovered that "jeff gannon" was in fact a man named jim guckert ("gookert"). until recently, guckert also apparently worked as a gay escort, with ads soliciting his sexual services on various male escort sites. some of these ads had photos of guckert... and his penis. and text descriptions of his penis.

okay, so a former gay escort (a conservative one, even) in the press pool, directly asking questions of president bush. that sounds salacious, but only in an "another hypocritical gay working for gay-bashers" way, right? but it gets much more curious. guckert seemed to have access to some serious insider info despite the fact that his employer was some fly-by-net publication with no professional or accredited journalists in its employ. this despite the fact that his employer was seemingly not even founded until after he had joined the press pool (founded april, he was there in feb or earlier).

so who is this guy, and how did he manage to not only get into the press pool but get access to secret documents about valerie plame, the iraq invasion, etc? was he a plant? was he sleeping his way to the top? or was the the ultimate success story of a poor young prostitute making his way all the way to the white house (in a sense) before a tragic fall?

americablog seems to be getting the credit for breaking the guckert story (and in fairness, has a big post right up top about bush's secret tapes), and indeed if you want all the data on guckert that seems to be the place to go.

so yeah, it's an intriguing story on several levels, and it seems to keep getting weirder. and the news that "bush smoked drugs" is pretty duh-tastic: everyone has basically known so for years, though he'd never admit or deny it per se. but even if the bush secret tapes story is there to divert attention away from guckert, the secret tapes still deserve some analysis... and there should definitely be mp3s of the tapes (or excerpts) all over the net by now.

come on, people! i can't be the only person on the net with tivo, and if i had been watching a show that aired excerpts from the tapes (as i know some places have), i would have had that shit recorded to my hard drive & possibly online within 5 minutes. but i couldn't find any mp3s online, or even links to the video on abcnews. i refused to sign up for realplayer's all-ass-pass just to see some abc video online, but fortunately right now the "free daily clip" on the site is a 45-second blurb with 20-30 seconds of audio from the tapes, which i have now recorded... but i know there's more to be heard, and i bet more has been broadcast. so where is it? as a sampling buff i am drawn to tales of salacious audio recordings, and i want all the audio i can get off those tapes.

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