A vast right-wing media conspiracy? Readers weigh in on fake newsman Jeff Gannon, the Foxification of NBC and more.

Published February 11, 2005 11:52PM (EST)

[Read "Fake News, Fake Reporter," by Eric Boehlert.]

With revelations that a stooge "journalist" was used to ask set-up questions at a Bush press conference and that pundits were being paid by the White House, why is the American press not slavering in anger and champing at the bit to get at this administration? They should be circling like frenzied sharks, waiting for the next administration cock-up. But no. Timid, cowed, afraid or complicit. With the exception of Salon and some bloggers, barely a peep. America has moved from "spin" to outright "propaganda."

While Bush might be reading the biography of Hamilton each night, I am pretty sure Karl Rove is reading the biography of Goebbels.

-- Kevin Hill

What does this say about the complicity of the rest of the White House press corps? How could amateur bloggers "scoop" the other 39 "expert" investigative journalists that were in the briefing room with Gannon every day? It would seem that finding the fake reporter sitting in the chair next to you should be a slam dunk for any real reporter who actually wants to acknowledge the (GOP) elephant in the room.

Gannon/Gluckert was right about one thing -- he was indeed "hiding in plain sight." How are we supposed to trust any member of the regular White House press corps ever again? Are they cowed and dishonest or just lazy and stupid?

-- Jim Martino

Jeff Gannon is a cheap political hack who pretended to be a reporter, but is he really any worse than the pseudo-journalists at the Fox News Network? Anyone who thinks that Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Brit Hume and company are real journalists must be using some of Rush Limbaugh's hillbilly heroin.

-- John Mize

I think it's time to go after pundits like Limbaugh too. I have family members who swear they're getting news from that guy. Making up quotes by politicians should be taboo, not just for journalists but pundits too.

I recall that in the days before cable and 24-hour news, when a newscaster offered an opinion, the station ran the word "editorial" at the bottom of the screen. I just don't see that anymore and truly worry that the line between hard news and personal views has dangerously blurred.

-- Beth Martin

As I read about "Jeff Gannon" getting access to the notoriously tight White House press room, and as more details come out about right-wing pundits accepting payola for hawking Bush administration policies without revealing the money they are taking for doing so, the paranoid, conspiracy-theory part of my brain can only draw one conclusion: fifth column.

It's so easy to imagine with this White House that a bunch of guys were put in the basement by Karl Rove or Dick Cheney or some other aide and told, "We want you to push our agenda through the press. Think of ways we can get around those traitorous liberals and present our case to the American people from an 'unbiased' press source. You know: a famous pundit, maybe even someone we allow into the White House press room. Have some ideas on my desk by Monday morning."

But this must be a paranoid fantasy, right? Could a White House really so cynically attempt to subvert one of the basic freedoms that this country is founded on: a free and independent press? They couldn't want to do that, could they?

-- Douglas Moran

[Read this week's edition of "Right Hook," by Mark Follman.]

Tony Blankley's belief that he will "steal the ears" of Los Angeles' "New Age, fourth-dimension spiritual humanitarians" and "latte liberals" who listen to KCRW's political show "Left, Right and Center" is a myth he has created in his own mind.

The reason he has no credibility here isn't because we don't want to hear what he has to say, but because we already know that he's pimping for the Bush administration. He has turned the conservative Washington Times into a Pravda for a government that lies as easily as it breathes. The mere fact that he calls himself a journalist is proof that his opinions can't be trusted.

I once wrote for the Washington Times, and while the editorial page showed a strong conservative bias, the rest of the paper didn't always kowtow. That's not true anymore and Blankley, whatever his politics, ought to be ashamed of himself and his legacy.

If Mr. Blankley wants to reduce us Angelenos to "latte liberals," so be it. We can always turn the volume down.

-- Elizabeth M. Cosin

Why is it any surprise that Brian Williams is more conservative than Tom Brokaw? NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC have become slightly moderated voices for the entire Bush agenda. Have we forgotten who owns NBC News? General Electric, Ronald Reagan's former employer. One of the largest military and government contractors in the United States. One of the largest financial institutions in the United States, with billions of dollars in insurance and financial interests.

I almost laughed out loud the other day when I saw one of the CNBC talking heads interviewing Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of G.E. Of course he disclosed that CNBC was owned by G.E., but were we supposed to think this was an unbiased news story? How many people would interview the man who signed their paychecks on national TV and ask probing insightful questions? Give me a break.

Is it any different for Chris Matthews, Tim Russert or any of the other talking heads? I don't think so.

NBC News is not Fox News, but in a way it is more dangerous. It has a reputation for being unbiased. Would that it were still deserved.

-- Harold Brown

By Salon Staff

MORE FROM Salon Staff

Related Topics ------------------------------------------