By: Mark Fitzgerald
Two years after he became a famous, or infamous, White House correspondent, Jeff Gannon is back with a book excoriating his former colleagues, and recounting his days of reporting “behind enemy lines” at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
In a publication announcement, Gannon says his book, “The Great Media War,” names names of the liberal activists with press passes he says dominates the Washington press corps — and he takes aim at those who made him the center of a sensational scandal that included getting daily White House access with an assumed name, allegations he advertised himself on a gay escort service, and maintained Web sites including hotmilitarystud.com.
“The basic premise, which is revealed in the title, ‘The Great Media War,’ is that for decades liberals controlled the media,” Gannon said in a telephone interview Wednesday, “and when conservatives tried to at least get a fair representation in the major media, they had to fight to get there. And now the liberals are fighting to hold onto their once-exclusive franchise.
“I’m a casualty of that conflict,” Gannon added.
He said he was moved to write the book in part because of the “mischaracterization” of his journalistic work.
Gannon came to public attention in 2005 at a nationally broadcast presidential press conference in which he asked a question that included criticism of Democratic senators Harry Reid and Hilary Clinton and concluded “how are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?”
Within days it came out that Gannon’s real name was James Dale Guckert, that his employer Talon News was apparently sponsored by GOPUSA.com, and that he had been covering the White House for more than a year getting daily press passes despite the assumed name and partisan affiliation of his organization.
In the book, Gannon said, he recounts what he calls his journalistic successes in reporting on “Rathergate,” the South Dakota U.S. Senate race, and the Valerie Plame affair. “I was the only White House reporter who got that story right,” he said.
The book also lashes out at some of the people, blogs, and news organizations that publicized Gannon’s past. The DailyKos blog, for instance, publishes the work of “stalkers and hatemongers.” Media Matters for America are “smear artists and character assassins,” and the “Angry Gay Left” are “vicious and conflicted hypocrites.”
Gannon last made industry headlines two years ago when he began writing commentary pieces for the gay-oriented weekly Washington Blade. Since then, he said, he’s continued to freelance, and to offer media consulting to conservative organizations, although he does not work for political candidates.
Gannon said he does not want to paint the press corps with a broad brush, because he got along with many of them despite political differences. “Helen Thomas and I never had a cross word ever,” he says.
Information about the book is at www.thegreatmediawar.com.