Friday, February 18, 2005


You know who else I like, is that Leo Sayer

Obviously a better title for this post would be "Thune your questions will be anthered" or "Thune it will all be over" but since nobody's told us to stop using Simpsons quotes....

Okay, this Jeff Gannon, Boy Reporter story is a bizarre kalaidoscope of hooks, so many, in fact, that it's very very hard to pick one and say "This is why this matters." I mean, we've got:

*The escort angle
*The Valerie Plame angle
*The GOPUSA/Bobby Eberle/Texas Republican Party angle
*The possible White House coverup angle, particularly with conflicting Editor & Publisher interview with Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan (and James Guckert himself)
*The Mary Mapes/CBS/fake TANG memo/Rathergate angle

And about a dozen more. However, to me, Joe Conason's article in today presents potentially the most fruitful avenue of investigation: Conason's ties to John Thune's successful campaign to oust Sen. Minority Leader Tom Daschle.

Gannon went much further, however, in accusing reporters at the state's most important newspaper, the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader, of shilling for Daschle and, worse still, of colluding with the senator in the intimidation of his political adversaries. Such wild attacks were then played back on the Thune-financed Web logs, which attracted substantial attention in the Senate race and influenced coverage in the South Dakota media. As the National Journal explained in a post-election analysis, the blog assault "opened a new and potentially powerful front in the war over public opinion." The National Journal and local journalists agreed that the blog campaign against Daschle was "crucial." A top Argus Leader editor conceded, "I don't think there's any way to say [the blogs] didn't" affect the paper's coverage.
This is the stuff of dirty tricks scandal. The implication that the Thune campaign coordinated with Gannon is almost inescapable. Thune appeared on Gannon's radio show the same day that Gannon reveals the dirt about Daschle's primary residence (D.C. rather than South Dakota). Two blogs in South Dakota - being paid by the Thune campaign - relentlessly flog several "scandals" somehow "uncovered" by this fake journalist/Republican shill/male prostitute.

And yet, there seems to be a conspicuous silence when it comes to South Dakotans following up on this story!

Now, in the case of, that makes sense. After all, it was founded by the young Jason Van Beeck - paid by the Thune campaign and later hired by Sen. Thune - and is now operated by history professor Jon Lauck, who was the other blogger paid by the Thune campaign.

The Rapid City Journal doesn't seem to have said anything either. However, their blog does have one mention - that doesn't mention the Thune connection - of Gannon being a dick to a reporter.

But in the case of the Argus Leader, the silence is shocking and highly unprofessional. This man, this fake journalist, who used his fake journalist credentials to try to shame the Argus Leader for being a SHILL for Tom Daschle, now doesn't get any investigation himself? Is there a money trail leading from Thune to Gannon? To GOPUSA?

These are crucial issues, and I hope somebody out there can help.

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