Have our partisan liberal media evaporated? Are we now in an era when President Bush has as much control of Washington's journalism output as Vladimir Putin's defenders assert he does? (The Moscow line, if you haven't heard, is that Bush ordered the firing of Dan Rather.) These questions are overwrought and self-evidently silly, and yet, the Left is on Orange Alert over its slipping control of the public agenda.
Witness the still-ongoing attempts to inflate the teeny-weeny scandal over James Guckert (a.k.a. "Jeff Gannon"), the former White House reporter and alleged male escort. Here we have the supposedly momentous scandal of a man who was allowed to ask a conservative question to Scott McClellan in the 43rd minute of a 45-minute White House briefing nobody sees on cable news anymore.
As for anyone who thinks it's a scandal that White House security would let an alleged sex worker into the White House, they ought to remember that these same liberal Guckert-obsessers found no scandal in the Clinton years when the White House was letting in Chinese arms merchants and Miami cocaine dealers for fundraisers -- not to mention the intern who was treated like a sex worker.
While many media outlets have largely ignored the left-wing Internet frenzy over "Gannongate," NBC and MSNBC have not. NBC's Campbell Brown scored a Guckert interview on the Feb. 24 "Today" show, asking the big question: "You don't deny you were writing news with a perspective, with a partisan perspective?" They apparently never do that at NBC. When Tom Brokaw raved about Bill Clinton being "Elvis" at the Democratic convention and then described the Republican convention as a hard-right scam, a "con game," that, apparently, was textbook fairness and balance.
The Guckert outrage is much stranger when it's shoveled nightly by Keith Olbermann on MSNBC (unofficial motto: "The Network No One Watches"). Not a night has passed by that Keith hasn't found a new way to inject Guckert into his snarky souffle. It's a bit difficult to imagine where Olbermann gets the audacity to prance and fuss about "fake reporters," considering his credentials as an often-fired sportscaster who moonlighted as a pitchman for Boston Chicken. That's not even addressing the journalistic seriousness of his MSNBC showcase, where he routinely tackles the weighty topics like who's attending the wedding of Prince Charles and the leaking of Paris Hilton's cell phone number.