Imagine for a minute that we are back in the Clinton era.  Someone breaks the story that a former male prostitute using an alias and working for a phony news organization has been allowed into the White House every day without a full security background check.  This “reporter” got his start in the prestigious White House press corps despite having no prior journalistic experience and despite being denied press credentials by the journalist-run Congressional press office.

This “reporter” is known by his phony first name to the president and partisan White House press officials.  He also is known to legitimate reporters covering the White House for mainstream news organizations, for two reasons.  First, he always seems to ask questions that are supportive of the president and disparaging of the other party.  Second, and more importantly, he seems to have inside information before anyone else, including major newspapers and television networks, on key stories such as when the Iraq War is starting and whether Valerie Plame was an undercover CIA operative.  The leaking of Ms. Plame’s name, which is a serious crime, is currently under criminal investigation, yet this “reporter” has not been questioned by any prosecutors.

President Clinton was impeached and almost removed from office for having sex with an intern and then lying about it to a grand jury.  While these are serious matters, the fake reporter scenario described above is a comparably serious matter in a real story that is breaking at this moment, yet the Republican-controlled Congress is doing nothing to investigate it. 

If Bill Clinton were president at this time, you can be sure that the GOP would be all over this story, calling for full Congressional investigations and chastising the press for not fully investigating the matter.

Unfortunately, the so-called “liberal media” is showing itself to be a cowed, conflict-averse shadow of the Fourth Estate that successfully challenged and brought down the Nixon presidency once proof of serious crimes started to emerge thirty years ago.  Huge corporations own most of our media outlets these days, and their balance sheets have been enriched by Bush Administration policies. Rocking the boat and undermining the corporate-dominated GOP agenda is not in their interest. 

Go to or, or type the name “Jeff Gannon” into your favorite search engine, and you will see the credible evidence that has been unearthed about this story by the citizen journalists known as “bloggers.” 

The story of Mr. Gannon, whose real name is James Guckert, is at least as interesting as the Michael Jackson trial or Martha Stewart’s prison life.  Moreover, the Guckert/Gannon case raises important questions related to White House security in the post-911 era, White House tampering with the objectivity of the press, and possible White House leaking of classified national security information.  Finally, the male prostitution angle raises the question of how White House officials could regularly welcome a person into the White House who allegedly was participating in an illegal activity (contrary to what Mr. Gannon/Guckert says, this is not a “private issue,” because his nude pictures soliciting “business” are still on the Internet as I write this column).

Our nation’s founders wanted separation of power so that the president, Congress, Supreme Court, independent press, and state governments could each serve as a brake on the power of the others.  Unfortunately, the Republican cover-up of this Gannon/Guckert story is the latest example of the dangers of one-party rule in our federal government, and the complicity of our corporate-controlled press in allowing one party to dominate. 

The Republican Congress also refused to issue subpoenas and follow up on the serious allegations of election tampering during the 2004 election, and our democracy is the poorer for it.

The Bush Administration already has been proven to have paid reporters to report favorably on their education and social service policies.  Now the Guckert/Gannon affair shows that they possibly also went so far as to use a phony reporter from a phony news agency so that Administration press releases, which Guckert/Gannon released with very few changes as his “stories,” could be given the semblance of objective scrutiny that comes from having an independent third party, like a newspaper or broadcast company, review the facts and write an article.

Many Asian Pacific Americans came to this country to escape one-party states where government accountability and press freedom were not strong.  Some of us suffered from incarceration behind barbed wire based on our national origin during World War II.  We know from bitter experience what can happen when laws similar to the PATRIOT Act allow government intrusions and the indefinite detention of citizens with little independent oversight.  We understand how fear of an outside enemy can be used as a reason to limit civil liberties and quell dissent at home.

All of us, whether we are Republican, Democrat, or independent, should be calling for an independent inquiry into the Gannon/Guckert situation.  Our most cherished Constitutional rights depend on an Administration that is accountable to the people and a press that is free of government control.