The intermittently charming "S.Z" of the aptly-named "World o' Carp" has many, many thoughts on my earlier post about the Jeff Gannon/James Guckert scandal. We have extracted a few gleaming nuggets from amongst the, umm, non-nuggets. Here we go:
1. I have been doing the time warp, again, and again, and again. On the question of whether James Guckert had access to a leaked classified intelligence document or not, I have noted that the Wall Street Journal published a detailed description of the memo before Guckert ever cited it. Well before he cited it. Geologic eras. Eons, one might say (and I gloomily expect I will, at some point).
In my post, I gave the Journal publication date as Oct 17, and the date Guckert showed some awareness of the memo as Oct. 28, which is a gap of eleven days. However, at various points in various posts, I refer to this as "two weeks", "several weeks", and "a few weeks". Time flies when you are receiving classified leaks, or writing about them, I guess. It's a Bold Triumph for Ms. SZ, and I am hanging my head in shame.
2. In a bit of a plot twist, I am informed that James Guckert claims to have been at four Presidential press conferences, and to have asked Bush a question at a Rose Garden gathering. Dan Froomkin reports here (and I need to learn to read the paragraph after my press clipping...).
Now, remember my theory - Guckert, as per his usual routine, was in the Brady Room press pack when an impromptu Presidential press conference broke out on Jan 26. Well, Guckert described the June 1, 2004 press conference as "impromptu" to E&P. Let's go to the ABC Note Archives for June 1. At 11:30 AM, we see this: President Bush makes remarks on the new Iraqi government, Washington, D.C. And in the Note itself, we learn that:
ABC News' Aditya Raval reports that President Bush will make a statement about the new Iraqi government in the Rose Garden today at 11:30 am ET. At this writing, it is unclear whether or not the President will take questions from the press.
It's my lucky day, and I will keep my cards - apparently this was just lightning striking the boys (and gals) amongst the Brady Room Regulars.
And now, since turnabout is fair play, let's offer some thoughts on Ms. SZ's post.
First, with the retirement of S Den Beste, I am resigned to being the most consistently long-winded blogger going. Or at least I thought I had the top spot, until I read Ms. SZ's tome. Since I never get to say this to any other blogger, and I hear it all the time - sometimes less is more. A specific suggestion: Ms. SZ writes, more than once - several times - a few times, we might say - a segment that amounts to "he said this, which is true, but he could have added that". Please - deliver your full brilliance with a bit more tempo and restraint; even I chain my pedantry on occasion. No, really!
Secondly, Ms. SZ makes much of the day pass procedural questions without mentioning (if only to rebut or explain) the curious tale of Russell Mokhiber, editor of Corporate Crime Reporter. James Guckert was not alone in becoming a Brady Room Regular by way of the day pass, if we can believe E&P.
Thirdly, on the financial dreams of Talon News and GOPUSA founder Bobby Eberle, I wrote this:
...maybe a low-cost, web-based news service could make money. Attract some advertiser support (And some Scaife money? He denies having backers, and I have seen nothing to contradict that).
Ms. SZ devotes many paragraphs to make the points that (a) Talon News is not currently profitable; (b) Eberle hopes it will be some day; and (c) there is no good financial disclosure to contradict his claim that he does not have secret backers.
Hmm - not a lot of room between us there. Less is more - saying "I substantially agree, but think these issues merit more study" would save many pixels.
Finally, on the subject of the leaked classified memo tied to the Valerie Plame investigation, Ms. SZ presents the entertaining notion that "I personally believe that the document mentioned by those "insiders" at the WSJ was a fabrication meant to hurt Wilson...".
Fascinating. And the truth is out there. I happen to think the memo was legitimate. On my side, I've got the sworn testimony delivered to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, excerpted in this Jan 30 post. On her side, I can find a Dec 26, 2003 WaPo story, where anonymous leakers say the memo is not accurate. Dum de dum, what to believe...
Folks can choose as they will. But one might hope that Ms. SZ would alert her readers to the possibility that an alternative theory with substantial support is out there. Her theory, which seems to incorporate a forged memo, implies a fairly high level of skulduggery, so we would love to hear about it. It's baseball time, we have our Yankees cap, we are long tinfoil - tell us.
OK, mad dash to the goal line: The indefatigable (but not unendurable) Red Dan, who labors with the Strength of Ten (Ten Lefties, or about 0.6 TEUs, which are Turner Equivalent Units) has left some thought-provoking comments about two GOPUSA conferences in Washington (2003, 2004). Surely, this implies some sort of connection between GOPUSA and the GOP?
Well, it is certainly consistent with the view that Bobby Eberle wanted to promote himself as a player in the Republican Party. His Texas-based group goes to Washington, rents space, brings in speakers, invites Tom Goeglin of the White House, whose job is promoting grass-roots efforts - why not? Does this prove that Karl Rove is behind Eberle, or just that Eberle figured out that getting involved with Karl Rove's people was a good promotional strategy?
And while we are full of questions, here is The American Prospect co-sponsoring a conference loaded with top Dems (and some token Reps). Where is the integrity, the separation of press and Party, etc.
We are drifting now. I am fully satisfied that Talon News was a partisan operation. Whether it was a creation of the White House propaganda machine seems to be the issue (unless someone wants to redirect me to the goal posts).
And on the subject, let's chat for a moment about our friends at Media Matters. Might we consider them to be a partisan operation? Please. Are they profitable in their own right (with no subscriptions, and web-based advertising), or do they rely on shadowy liberal backers? Well, since they are set up as a non-profit, let's guess that they rely on contributors. So, are they journalists? (Google-News says "yes"). Could they get accredited in to the White House? I have no idea.
But, other than the non-profit status, they are different from Talon News because...?
Well, they pay salaries to their people, and they have some impressive resumes there. Is that what makes them journalists? If Talon News took off, could the people there become journalists?
MORE: I am a Rare and Radiant Light Where The Sun Does Not Shine. Cool - am I the Light of Galadriel? Uhh, not exactly - the Pecking Duck is having problems with me, and with Google. Because I have a Dark Heart, his problems provide my amusement.
Good links on Guckert at MediaCitizen.
UPDATE: David Corn, who pushed the Plame scandal onto the front pages, does not see much in the Jeff Gannon story. Props to the Brainster. Hertzberg, Corn - pretty heavy talent lining up behind "Nothing to see here".
AND MORE: The message is taking hold. And as the probable second victim, I have just two words for these guys - it'll never happen.