By: Joe Strupp
San Antonio radio producer Susan Farris could always count on James Guckert, a.k.a. former White House correspondent Jeff Gannon, to pitch an appearance on the shows she produces at conservative talk station KTSA.
He was not only anxious about pushing his story of the day, but seemed to always have some kind of inside knowledge about the White House, as well.
“I said, ‘How do you have such great sources?’ and he just laughed it off,” she told E&P Friday. “Now we all know how.”
Farris, who has worked in San Antonio radio for more than a decade, said she came across Guckert first at GOPUSA.com, then later read his work on Talon News, his online home prior to his recent resignation. “I would call [GOPUSA] for people to use on the air and they suggested him when I asked about White House coverage,” she recalled. “They called themselves a re-write service. They would take other people’s work and put it up on their site.” (Among the charges against Guckert was that he often simply rewrote White House press releases as news stories.)
Guckert, she said, frequently passed on what he clearly thought was insider information, during his 12 appearances on KTSA during 2003 and 2004. She first heard from him the expression “shock and awe” to refer to the massive U.S. bombing attack at the start of the Iraq war, and he fingered Mary Mapes as the producer of the so-called “Rathergate” segment on “60 Minutes” before she had seen that mentioned elsewhere.
“He very often called me and offered to be on the show to talk about his stories,” she said. “I used to book him all the time. We used him on tons of White House stuff.” She said she “had no idea” that Gannon was not Guckert’s real name.