‘Jeff Gannon’ Signs Off: Tells E&P He’ll No Longer Talk to Press

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By: Joe Strupp

James D. Guckert, the former White House reporter who’s been accused of everything from asking partisan questions to being a male prostitute, is no longer speaking to the press, claiming it does not help his cause, he told E&P this morning.

“I talked to attorneys, and I am no longer talking to anyone [in the press] anymore,” said Guckert, who has used the alias Jeff Gannon. “It doesn?t seem to clarify anything any longer. Everything I say, people start a new conspiracy theory. I am not going to answer any more questions. It seems to distract from what is really going on.”

That approach is a shift from Guckert’s activities in the past week, when he has appeared on CNN and National Public Radio and allowed several other news organizations, including E&P, to interview him.

Guckert, who says he is 47, said he was not planning any specific legal action related to recent events but had contacted an attorney just in case. “It’s always good to have an attorney hanging around,” he told E&P. “I’m not expecting anything, I am just listening to good advice.”

The controversial reporter resigned last week from his job with obscure conservative Web site Talon News, which is operated by a Texas Republican activist, after revelations that he had changed his name and allegations that he had set up sexually oriented Web sites.

Since his resignation, questions about who should gain access to White House press events have grown, prompting a special meeting for later today between the leadership of the White House Correspondents’ Association and Bush Press Secretary Scott McClellan.

In addition, evidence emerged on the site Americablog yesterday suggesting that Guckert not only set up sex sites but also offered his services as a male prostitute. When asked by E&P today about such accusations, Gannon declined to confirm or deny. “I am not going to talk about that,” he said.

He also would not comment on McClellan’s statements to E&P in an interview yesterday, in which the White House spokesman claimed he did not know that Guckert used an alias until recently, never talked to Guckert outside the briefing room, and knew very little about Talon News.

When asked if he thought the recent coverage of him was fair, Guckert said only, “I think we have reached a new point in journalism. Other people will decide what is fair.”

Guckert also would not rule out a future job in journalism, saying “it’s way too early.” He added, “I couldn’t say. There are always lots of opportunities out there.”

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