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Beltway Baiting

Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 19 years ago, in 2005, on the World Wide Web.

Hey, you Beltway liberal types? Look, I’m bored silly by obsessively tracking every little move in the gladiatorial arena of DC, and I even think it’s destructive of serious politics. But I was with you on this whole weird Jeff Gannon / James Guckert story. Republican red herrings to one side, there was a real story here. The story was about how Gannon–a man who had no journalistic qualifications whatsoever and who engaged in some pretty transparent deceptions to try to cover over his life as a gay prostitute–was nevertheless clearly maneuvered, through immense administration favoritism, into the inner circle of the White House Press Corps, because he served as a useful administration-designated plant in the audience at press briefings. The story wasn’t about prostitution, much less homosexuality; it was about yet another glaring example of the Bush Administration’s willingness to institute the mechanisms of an overt propaganda machine–including using tax resources to exert control over the press corps through pay-offs and privileges to useful reporters and commentators. Or, here, creating a useful reporter out of thin air.

That’s an interesting (and depressing) story about the shamelessness of this administration. That’s why I was willing to get your back on it. But, hey, folks? This?

(Update: The reward is now $20k as of 03-02-05)

Have you seen this man?

A wealthy Washington socialite is offering a $10,000 reward for proof that Jeff Gannon (pictured), an allegedly gay kinky-sex prostitute / escort / white house reporter / GOP operative, has had any type of sexual, or romantic, relationship with any top-ranking Washington official(s) — or proof that he engaged in any illegal sexual activities or favors.

A local socialite, who wishes to remain anonymous, has teamed up with this site to offer a $10,000 reward to anyone that can provide hard proof.

We are looking for evidence (photos, phone pictures, locks of hair, DNA on a suit) that Jeff Gannon had any type of sexual, or romantic, relationship with any top-ranking Washington official(s) — or proof that he engaged in any illegal sexual activities or favors.

— Reward: Jeff Gannon information. Washington Socialites 2005-02-23

This is not an interesting story. This is gay-baiting. You are trying to dig up dirt on prominent officials’ sexuality and you are aiming to out them against their will–in order to destroy their political careers. That’s fucked up.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t object to destroying some dumb jerk’s political career. If I had my way, everybody’s political career would be destroyed. What I do object to–and what any one who claims to take homophobia seriously as a social problem should object to–is the fact that the tactic being used for destruction here is to out men who’ve been having sex with men before they are ready to come out, and the reason for outing them is to pander to the homophobia of hard Right voters. If that homophobia didn’t exist, and if the homophobes weren’t willing to ruin people’s lives over the gender of their sex partner(s), the plan wouldn’t work. But it does, and they are, and you’re willing to make use of it to try to score political points. That’s fucked up.

You might claim that the issue here is prostitution, not gay prostitution specifically. Horsepucky. It’s an open secret that powerful men, including some powerful Republican officials, have made a habit of patronizing women in prostitution. But there isn’t a bounty out for information on proof that some Administration official somewhere paid for heterosexual sex, is there? And you’re not musing on your blogs about it, are you? That’s because you’re not concerned about any of the ethical questions involved in the many different kinds of prostitution in the world; you’re concerned about political leverage, and you’re more likely to score a clean kill if you can out someone as gay. And that’s fucked up.

Get your heads out of the Beltway. Just stop it.

4 replies to Beltway Baiting Use a feed to Follow replies to this article

  1. Rad Geek

    D’oh. Fixed. Thanks!

  2. Laura J.

    the Bush Administration’s willingness to institute the mechanisms an overt propaganda machine

    I’m guessing this was intended as “the Bush Administration’s willingness to institute the mechanisms OF an overt propaganda machine”? It sounds a little odd without a preposition there. ^_^

  3. Sheelzebub


    I’m behind exposing the neocons on their hypocrisy, but I’d like us all to lay off the gay-baiting. It’s not very progressive.

    Besides, if we get another debacle a la Ken Starr, I’ll lose my breakfast over the visuals. The cigar was enough.

  4. Ask, and you shall receive. Or not.

    Rad Geek, it is indeed true that many conservative extremists see in the Left’s digging of the Gannon scandal a latent proof of homophobia, and I can even concede that some bloggers might want to take advantage of his being gay to cast some ridicule on Republican shoulders, which would be irresponsible gay-baiting, as you have pointed out.

    However, this is not the reason bloggers have been in a frenzy over Jeff Gannon’s paid encounters in the highest circles. They believe that besides being a plant in the press, Gannon could have been a tool in order to blackmail political and economic figures of the country.

    Craig T. Spence’s male prostitution ring shows that it is a real possibility, and that it should be investigated. I might not approve of the manner, but the matter is too serious to be ignored considering the connections between George Bush’s government and his son’s.

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