I'm a bit uncomfortable about seemingly being stuck in the middle of the National Press Club Gannon/Guckert panel, but I don't really know what to say about it beyond allaying Digby's fears that I'll just stick to my usual schtick and somehow not address the point at hand. The question, as framed by the NPC, is oddly off-base:
Now that anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can set up shop on the Web, the days when you could tell who was a reporter by looking for a press card stuck in a fedora are long gone. Both journalists and bloggers will debate whether there's a difference between them, on Fri., Apr. 8, at 9:30 a.m.This is a very silly way of looking at things. Whether or not Garrett's blog counts as journalism has everything to do with whether or not you think writing media gossip is journalism and nothing to do with whether or not blogging, as such, is journalism. My substantive blog posts aren't seriously different from my magazine articles -- they tend to involve more research and opinionating than reporting. If what I write for the Prospect is journalism (or what David Brooks writes for The New York Times or...) then my blog is journalism, too. What Jeff Gannon (still operating under a pseudonym why?) did wasn't journalism, not because it was on the internet, but because he was working for a Republican propaganda outlet. The fact that he also worked as a prostitute isn't strictly speaking relevant to his non-journalist status (you could, after all, turn tricks at night and also pitch high quality freelance reporting from time to time...you'd be a part time journalis, part time whore), though the conjunction of that fact with his good relations with the White House press office raises some questions that, one would think, actual journalists would be interested in raising, given the nature of the current White House's affection for traditional morality and the role said purported affection plays in sustaining his political coalition.
The panel includes: . . .
Garrett Graff, editor, Fishbowl DC, the first blogger to receive White House press credentials.
Jeff Gannon, whose question at a presidential press conference focused attention on the issue. . . .
Matthew Yglesias, staff writer at The American Prospect and editor of yglesias.typepad.com.
March 30, 2005 | Permalink
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Tracked on Mar 30, 2005 9:04:56 PM
Don't forget to get Guckert's card Matt. This could be a whole new career opportunity for you. You might have to shave your head though.
Posted by: Dan Kervick | Mar 30, 2005 1:14:25 AM
the days when you could tell who was a reporter by looking for a press card stuck in a fedora are long gone.
Indeed. I urge you to show up sporting the stately Homburg.
If Guckert is a paid shill pretending to be a reporter, then he is prostituting his talents as a journalist, if they exist. So he is to be admired for his consistency in day and night jobs. He is a proud whore. Amongst those who despise, especially, gay whores.
But our institutions like the NYT and the National Press Club deserve no respect for their timid response to being played like fiddles by the Bush administration. It will be taught in journalism schools. Time of Nixon: some showed integrity. Time of Bush: pass the National Enquirer. Better pictures than the Times, and more honest. Mockery of the whole process is the correct attitude. Are the credentialed press professionals? No, just whores. The most cynical--we just do it for the ad revenue--stance is still too naive.
Posted by: epistemology | Mar 30, 2005 1:24:11 AM
And get a White House press pass. Guckert can tell you how. It's easy. No special favors.
Posted by: epistemology | Mar 30, 2005 1:25:44 AM
What I don't get, is why nobody doesn't get the obvious analogy. The blogosphere for the most part isn't really competing with the newsgatherers, the APs and Reuters of the world. It's competing with the op-ed pages and the opinion mags of the world.
In other words, it's punditville. And like traditional pundits, they can vary from eurdite centrists to full-fledged activists.
"part-time journalist, part-time whore"
As David Letterman once remarked, sometimes the jokes just write themselves.
Posted by: another dan | Mar 30, 2005 1:47:56 AM
Hey if Guckert is a whore he is in fine company with our MSM.
Posted by: G | Mar 30, 2005 2:09:59 AM
I am incredibly jealous....that is amazingly cool to be on a panel with Guckert/Gannon. I would have great fun with it! You have to come back and write all about it, Matt. Go up and shake his hand...interview him. Don't miss a great opportunity because of some Ivy League attitude. What crack-up. (Who at the National Press Club OKed this Bozo to be on a panel. Someone obviously still trying to justify Guckert/Gannon's credentials. hahaha) Matth...take my advice. Have fun with it. Just think...someone is trying to present you two as professional equals. OMG, that's so funny.
If you don't take a coupla potshots at the guy, you're a fucking turncoat.
Posted by: Dan | Mar 30, 2005 3:16:02 AM
umm, Matthew. You work for a Democrat propaganda outlet.
Posted by: ronb | Mar 30, 2005 4:09:48 AM
Just a question: Is "your your usual schtick" not addressing the point at hand? I ask this because I haven't really figured out what your usual schtick is. In this post you've addressed some point (more or less OK, I guess) but I don't know if it was the point you weren't addressing...
You should just print out his Malecorps photos and have them sitting on the table in front of you. That'll put the fear of God in him.
get up there and get indignant. Cut the polite crap that the Press Club is known for.
Pound the table when you tell them that Guckert was a press release photocopy boy. Openly challenge the reason why Bulldog was invited to this confab at all. (I like Billmon's answer)
Inform the mannered crowd that if they question journalistic intent just because it appears on the web, they're too stupid, or too insecure, to be in the biz to begin with.
And then, in your most genteel voice, kick the mainstreamers in the 'nads by telling them that the lack of substantive and sound political journalism is one of the main reasons that poltical blogs have become popular. If Susan Schmidt is in the audience, point directly at her when you make the statement.
Finally, if they become agitated, smile and predict that half of them will either be unemployed or covering livestock auctions within a decade.... then wink at them.
Somehow I doubt that they even get the fact that their own totally self-insulated, self-reinforced beltway views are the reason that few serious politicos presently even give a shit about what they think, say or write.
Ummm, ronb, don't you mean that Matt works for a magazine with a Democratic bias, as opposed to GannonGuckert who worked directly through a front for a Repub political organization?
If there's not a difference, then maybe we need to requalify all the journalists out there as political hacks for Repub/Dem/others...
You have to admit, once you click on the link, that ass is fine. I say, GOD BLESS our far-right gay media shills. I HAVE SPOKEN!
Posted by: Grotesqueticle | Mar 30, 2005 9:06:15 AM
"Since you're here anyway, Jeff, can I ask you something? Who arranged for your White House press credentials?"
Posted by: Social Scientist | Mar 30, 2005 9:20:37 AM
I don't understand why everyone is so upset about this Gannon thing. Don't you understand that unless Administration officials can have discreet but hot man-on-man action, the terrorists win?
Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Mar 30, 2005 9:30:15 AM
Think of yourself as the token liberal str8 boi.
Posted by: Roger Bigod | Mar 30, 2005 9:33:32 AM
ask him if he was lying about that whole "8 inch" thing.
"But our institutions like the NYT and the National Press Club deserve no respect for their timid response to being played like fiddles by the Bush administration. It will be taught in journalism schools. Time of Nixon: some showed integrity. Time of Bush: pass the National Enquirer. Better pictures than the Times, and more honest. Mockery of the whole process is the correct attitude. Are the credentialed press professionals? No, just whores. The most cynical--we just do it for the ad revenue--stance is still too naive."
Won't it all depend on how everything Bush is trying to do turns out in 20 years? I'm personally not optimistic about Bush's place in history, but we have to acknowledge the possibility that "right place, right time" has workd for many.
More to the point, are we really ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater that is the perceived sorry state of our journalism these days? Can a modern, complex society function without some implicit trust and reliable, read "objective," institutions? No mere rhetorical questions, these.
If we really are ready for a grand free-for-all, then yes, let's continue to lump the NYT and NPC with Rush Limbaugh and any number of scurrilous purveyors of hate. I'm sure many on the right would love that world because power would trump justice every time. But at some point, if we are to remain a decent, progressive society, there needs to be an explicit acknowledgement that there is an objective truth, not in philosophical terms, but in social, agreed-upon terms. There needs to be a modicum of concensus. And journalists and the noble profession of journalism can be defined by their relationship to the truth, as vendors of "fact," but, more importantly, with fidelity to the responsibility they have to society to make sure we citizens have what it takes to govern ourselves fairly and well.
Yes, that's an agenda, and yes, I know that everything can be reduced to assertion and agenda in these times. But let's be pragmatic. Just because I view and accept the world as round doesn't mean I have to walk around it to prove it. Or, do I? Yikes, baby really needs a new pair of shoes!
NB - perhaps rather than become more egalitarian and less elitist, journalism needs to evolve in the other direction, along the lines of the AMA or ABA with accreditation and the whole shebang.
Posted by: hyh | Mar 30, 2005 9:39:48 AM
Make us proud, Matt. Give 'em Hell. Don't go along to just to get along. Bring your New Yorker attitude and crash this DC press debutante ball.
Posted by: Bragan | Mar 30, 2005 9:56:08 AM
Seriously, this is like catching the roadrunner. Think of all the small-time left-bloggers who lie awake at night dreaming "If only I had [right wing nut A] cornered in front of an audience, I could expose him on [his lies on points X, Y, Z], and my life's work would be complete!"
Posted by: JP | Mar 30, 2005 10:27:22 AM
I tell my kids, "If you're just going to be uncomfortable, don't go." And that's what you should do -- don't go. Tell them to invite John Aravosis instead. He actually understands what's at issue here. Your uncomfortableness says that you don't, really.
Posted by: David in NY | Mar 30, 2005 10:30:28 AM
> If we really are ready for a grand free-for-all, then
> yes, let's continue to lump the NYT and NPC with Rush
> Limbaugh and any number of scurrilous purveyors of hate.
I would be willing to listen to your point, HYH, except for the little incident(s) involving the New York Times and the (i) Iraqi WMD claims (ii) the Bush Administration justification for Iraqi war claims. The NYT essentially abandoned all pretense of objectivity and parroted what they were handed by the Bush Administration, with no 2nd sourcing, no qualifications, and no investigation. It was pointed out to them at the time, loudly and forcefully, and they ignored all criticism and proceeded with the stenography. 18 months later they published a 5-paragraph apology on one day on page 23A.
That was a question of WAR. What is the so-called "objective" press doing about lesser questions such as, oh, torture? Private, I mean personal, Social Security accounts?
Posted by: Cranky Observer | Mar 30, 2005 11:02:02 AM
I just want to know who he slept with. It's petty. It doesn't really treat the profound issues of national security and domestic tranquillity we face. it doesn't contemplate the constitutional crises the administration has forged (perhaps the npc could have another panel), but Matt, could you please just asked him who in the white house or campaign staff or rnc he's slept with. i know, you think you're too proud to stoop to monica-gate depths - then Matt, don't do it for yourself, do it for your loyal readers. Ask the question.
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