Howard Kurtz details an upcoming profile of the obsession dejur of the lefty blogosphere, Jeff Gannon.
Jeff Gannon’s seamy past leaked out months before he asked President Bush a loaded question during a news conference.
As a correspondent for the now-defunct Web site Talon News, says the forthcoming issue of Vanity Fair, Gannon was hammering Tom Daschle during the South Dakotan’s campaign to hold onto his Senate seat. Daschle aides traced an e-mail — ostensibly from a constituent who wanted reaction to one of Gannon’s stories — to an Internet profile of Gannon, wearing only dog tags and boxer shorts. “The Daschle campaign spread the word, but no reporters bit,” the magazine says.
Gannon doesn’t deny advertising online as a $200-an-hour gay escort, but describes himself as the victim of “a full-scale jihad” by liberals. Vanity Fair says he falsely told friends he had been a Marine — Gannon says he displayed military paraphernalia and “didn’t disabuse anyone of that notion” — and owes nearly $21,000 in back taxes. Gannon believes God bestowed a White House assignment on him so that he could atone for past transgressions, Vanity Fair says.
In defending his name change, the man born as James Guckert says Jeff Gannon has a “nice ring to it — like Wolf Blitzer, which isn’t his real name either.”Kurtz notes that Blitzer’s name is real, unlike Gannon’s. The “seamy past” Kurtz refers to is a single, non-explicit picture, hardly enough to trace back to his past. That leap required examination of expired domain records, research in the Internet Archive, and (most importantly) files from a web designer employed by Gannon. Perhaps is does explain why Media Matters For America pushed the issue so hard, while letting bloggers dig into the seamy details of the story.
Update: What I meant about the “seamy past” was that all the Daschle campaign had was a single, slightly odd picture in an AOL profile, which (at best) would arouse suspicion that Gannon was gay. Led by Media Matters non-stop campaign to dig up dirt on Gannon, bloggers spent more than a month digging though his life, finally arriving at the hidden gay prostitution past. The new details indicate the possibility that it was always about Gannon’s sexuality, since the interpretation of that single picture is all they had to start with – courtesy of the Daschle campaign.