Sunday, February 13, 2005

Nice Work If You Can Get It

Howard Kurtz on Reliable Sources in a discussion with Bill Press, former host of Crossfire, on Gannongate:

PRESS:… I think this guy is a phony. And let’s call him by his real name, James Dale Guckert. And you know what he was? He was in there for two years, Howie, every day getting a daily pass under a pseudonym by the White House.

KURTZ: But there are lots of people that change their names. Woody Allen isn’t his real name. What’s the big deal about that?

PRESS: Big deal? After 9/11, you try to get into the White House not using your real name. I mean, it would not work for anybody else. They let this guy in, clearly, as a lifeline to Scott McClellan, who is — and so whenever he got in trouble, he’d call on old James Dale Guckert, who would bail him out with a softball question, Howie. Nobody else would be able to get in like that. And you know what I really want to know? Is not only why did the White House let him in, but why didn’t the other so-called mainstream press, who knew this guy was a phony all those years, why didn’t they do something about it?

Okay, two questions: Can Kurtz name another White House reporter who uses a pseudonym? And if you can be as dense as Howard Kurtz and still get a job as a writer for the Washington Post and have a show on CNN, who can’t get a gig like that?

[Updated to add copy from the transcript of the program.]