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Thursday, February 3, 2005

planting softballs for the president

White House-friendly reporter under scrutiny [boston globe, february 2, 2005]

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.

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.

i, of course, have missed the bloggers simmering on this story, but, now that it’s made the boston globe, it’s probably worth mentioning (add my blog to the fire). at the moment, technorati is reporting 362 links from 272 sources. so, as one measure of the blogosphere’s ability to influence mainstream media, less than 300 bloggers can drive a story into the boston globe (it’s actually much less, since several dozen of the posts appear after the globe article).

oddly enough, you can find a citation for talon news (gannon’s mouthpiece), even here on the meta-roj blog. back in july, i wrote about the ketchup wars, and left it in the humor category. now, i’ll be the first to say that i hope the whitehouse would credential anyone that’s not a threat. that is, oddly enough in this time of perpetual war, part of the first amendment.

sadly, i’m not surprised that gannon gets called on a lot, particularly when the official white house mouthpiece or the president gets uncomfortable questions.

posted by roj at 10:39 am