Saturday, February 26, 2005


Glenn Reynolds is caught. Here he is blatantly misrepresenting the view of the New Yorker's Rik Hertzberg in an attempt to demonstrate the reasonableness of his own belief that the GuckertGannon story is a non-story:

Actually, I have blogged about Gannon/Guckert quite a few times, as a simple search would illustrate. But I agree with Rik Hertzberg that it's a nothinggate.

Okay, let's see what Hertzberg actually wrote:

One might imagine that all of this had the makings of an old-fashioned, months-long, television-friendly Washington scandal—not as important, obviously, as, say, the Iran-contra affair of the nineteen-eighties, but more so than, say, the flap about the dismissal of several employees of the White House travel office in 1993. One would probably be wrong. The non-Fox cable news outlets began to pick up on it last week; MSNBC even assayed a special logo, “Gannongate.” A better name for it, though, would be “Nothinggate,” because nothing is what is likely to come of it. What all the memorable scandals of the past thirty years—real and fake alike, from Watergate to the Clinton impeachment—have had in common is that the opposition party controlled at least one house of Congress, which gave it the power to hold hearings and issue subpoenas. If Bush ends up having an easier time of it in his second term than any of his two-term predecessors since F.D.R., it won’t be because the scandals aren’t there. It’ll be because the tools to excavate them are under lock and key.

It's quite obvious that Hertzberg thinks it will turn out to be a "nothinggate" not because there's nothing there, which is what Reynolds clearly implies, but because the Democrats have no power to hold hearings or otherwise mount a significant investigation into the matter. Let's wait and see if Reynolds makes a correction.

And then there's this trash from Andrew Sullivan:

The real scandal is the blatant use of homophobic rhetoric by the self-appointed Savonarolas of homo-left-wingery. It's an Animal Farm moment: the difference between a fanatic on the gay left and a fanatic on the religious right is harder and harder to discern. Just ask yourself: if a Catholic conservative blogger had found out that a liberal-leaning pseudo-pundit/reporter was a gay sex worker, had outed the guy as gay and a "hooker," published pictures of the guy naked, and demanded a response from a Democratic administration, do you think gay rights groups would be silent? They'd rightly be outraged. But the left can get away with anything, can't they? Especially homophobia.

Oh good lord. Savonarola? Animal Farm? Homo-left-wingery? Blogging while drunk again? (What the fuck, by the way, is homo-left-wingery?) I'm not aware of, nor has Sullivan provided examples of, any lefty or liberal bloggers who have used homophobic language in discussing the GuckertGannon story. I certainly don't have any problem, and I suspect my fellow liberals don't either, with a fella making money selling his hot military bod on the internet. That's the sort of entrepeneurial spirit that made this country great. The reason why this guy's man-whoring is significant, and I really have a hard time believing that Sullivan doesn't get this, is that it's just way too damn precious that a journalist from a right-wing astroturf news organization, who has been prostituting his services to an administration and party which has a record of exploiting anti-gay bigotry for political advantage, turns out to have actually been a gay prostitute. I mean, is that not just beautiful? It's also very hard to take Sullivan's indignation seriously as he condemns lefty bloggers for "publish[ing] pictures of the guy naked"! Sullivan knows that those pictures were already published, they were on the internet, so maybe he could spare us his Victorian vapors.

Sullivan is probably right, though, that the situation would be different if the tables were turned and a conservative blogger had outed (I question whether "outed" is the correct term, given that this guy was publicly advertising his services on the internet) a former gay prostitute who had been working for a liberal front group and who had been placed in the WH press room specifically to ask softball questions. If that were the case, I doubt you'd have to look very hard to find real homophobia, as opposed to the undercurrent which Sullivan imagines. No, the conservative response to such a story would be a torrent of anti-gay invective, and declarations by Republican after Republican on the floors of the House and Senate that the Democratic Party hates regular American values. William Bennett would be fogging up the talk shows for months. John Derbyshire would insist that gay journalists be made to wear indentifying badges to protect the children. Ann Coulter would write a book with footnotes. Michelle Malkin would get a new perm. And it would be left to others to point out that the real story wasn't the gay hooking, it was that a pseudo-journalist, working for a liberal front group, had been placed in the WH press room specifically to ask softball questions. That's the real story, just as it is now. But, I'm sorry, no matter how you cut it, a former gay prostitute shilling for a liberal administration just isn't as darkly comical as a former gay prostitute shilling for a conservative one. Is that fair? Not particularly, no, but it's a direct consequence of being a party united around writing anti-gay bigotry into law.

AmericaBlog has been mining this story and pretty much owns it. No, it's not Watergate, or IranContra, but it's at least as significant as the majority of bullshit investigations with which the GOP Congress kept Bill Clinton tied up for most of his presidency. And it's also yet another example in a general pattern of mendacity by the Bush gang, typical of the sort of creation of false reality which this administration has raised to an art form.

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