By: Joe Strupp
Five days after telling E&P that he was no longer speaking to the press because it was not helping him, former White House reporter James Guckert, a.k.a Jeff Gannon, said today that he had changed his mind and was seeking the right media outlet to tell his side of the story.
Asked this afternoon about reports that he was scheduled to appear on the Anderson Cooper’s CNN show tonight, he denied it strongly. One hour later, a CNN spokesman told E&P, “He’s taping it right now.”
The segment appeared later Friday on the CNN show. Among other things, Guckert admitted that his news stories, by design, were little more than re-writes or edited transcripts of White House handouts and briefings. Cooper replied: That’s not reporting, “that’s faxing.”
“My side of the story has been poorly reported,” Guckert had told E&P before the CNN appearance. He is the former Talon News reporter who resigned last week amid criticism that he asked partisan questions, used an alias and set up numerous sex sites. “One of the frustrating parts has been that everyone has been willing to say things and not make the effort to speak with me. …
“There are a lot of people out there left hanging and bewildered by this,” he told E&P. “I need to speak to a couple of issues. I need to talk about my relationship with the White House and whether I was a plant or not — that needs to be brought out.”
When asked to address those issues to E&P, Guckert declined. He also would not confirm or deny reports he had worked as a male prostitute, but said he would address those questions as well soon.
“That would have to be part of it,” he said about the prostitution and sex Web site issue. “I can?t leave all that out there. I am still working with people who are advising me. It has to be done the right way or it may do more harm than good.”
Guckert, 47, was referring to the onslaught of coverage he has drawn as revelations about everything from using an alias at the White House to setting up Web sites have burst out on blogs. For example, he criticized the MSNBC show Hardball and radio host Don Imus for doing segments in the past two days on him without seeking his input.
“I wasn’t even given a chance to respond. Chris Matthews’ show didn?t make any effort to reach out to me, which is disturbing,” he said. “He asked Pat Buchanan to comment on some things [about him] that that Pat Buchanan has no information on.”
When reminded that he had made a point of saying to E&P that he would no longer talk to the press, Guckert said that should not have stopped those shows from seeking him out of journalistic fairness. “Does that mean they don’t try to talk to me?” he added.
Guckert he had been consulting a publicist for guidance. “I am going to try to find the best possible way to do it,” he said. “And the best possible place to do it and get the widest audience possible.”