Friday, February 25, 2005

A little Guckert in your morning paper, perhaps?

The first mention in print media of the Gannon/Guckert scandal is... the San Francisco Chronicle? Well, maybe not. But it is the first mention of it I've seen in any major daily paper. The Times and the Post haven't touched it yet, and even this is in an opinion piece. This is proving to be the exception to the rule, a giant sex scandal at the White House and it's not selling. I really don't understand why, either. If reporters are worried that gay activist groups are going to pelt them, fear not. Prostitution is prostitution and only legal in Nevada. And getting past all those security checks and the fact that he wasn't a real reporter leaves us with a hell of a story. But no one is biting. Methinks I spoke too soon. It appears the LA Times has taken a nibble, and failed horribly. John at Americablog is pissed that the reporter talked to 6 sources who are defending Guckert and 0 who have done the actual investigating. I'm no journalist (wait, yeah I kinda am) but that's just plain shitty work. Someone like that would be out on their ass in our newsroom. But just when I was sure that everything was going dark, the Houston Chronicle comes through (go figure).This morning's editorial reads

Guckert's only credential as a journalist appears to be attendance at a two-day seminar by the conservative Leadership Oriented Broadcast Journalism School. He apparently gained access to the White House using little more than a fake name, a Social Security number, and date of birth. In an age of heightened security, it's hard to believe this lapse could occur without someone inside the White House vouching for Guckert. The alternative would be little meaningful security at the executive mansion.
Now, as a blogger, I'm loathe to start saying that people who didn't go to journalism school aren't and can never be journalists. But the truth is, to be in the White House press corps, I would hope they did more than attend a seminar from a partisan group. And most of the really good bloggers have been published in regular journalistic publications. What Guckert was doing at Talon News was simply plagiarising White House press releases and transcribing speeches. If he didn't know not to directly copy an entire body of work written by another without crediting it to that person, you just can't be a journalist. It's just like any other profession, some people can do it, others can't. I mean, if you can't drive a stick (no pun intended) you can't be a race car driver. He should have just stuck to his night job (except that was illegal, too). So, I hope that other papers will begin to pick this up and at least offer an editorial on it since they are willing to go three weeks without printing a story about it.


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