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Hullabaloo


Sunday, April 24, 2005

 
Who Made Mr Gannon?

Huckster Sunday is positively reeking with big huckster news. Raw Story has the results of the Gannon FOIA requests that show that he had some very unusual access to the White House. Why, he was there on days there weren't even any press briefings. And he frequently appears to have spent the night. (Well, he didn't sign out, anyway. One wonders if that's normal protocol.)

But that's not all the Gannon goodness we have today and it's not even the best. Michael Dietz of Reading A1 has a great investigative piece on Alternet about how Jimmy became Jeff.

Reading this would almost make you think that somebody helped him form a new identity.

When JD pulled up stakes at the beginning of 2002, Bulldog went with him, at least for a time. His profiles, some of which were live on the web until recently, seem to have stopped being updated after May of that year. His last client review, though, posted Nov. 12, comes weirdly late in the game. Perhaps significantly, that review describes Bulldog as "a very well-rounded man who is interested in talking about everything from the Orioles to politics." It seems almost like a coded message, a kind of sly wink. Because politics, now, was on the agenda: and Jeff Gannon, the D.C. insider of Bulldog's dreams, had that very day published his first editorial.

The Birthing of Jeff Gannon

Jan. 18, 2003, a day of nationwide Iraq war protests, was clear and cold in Washington hovering just above the freezing point. The tens, even hundreds of thousands who rallied on the Mall and marched to the Capitol needed whatever warmth they could husband. So did the relative handful of counter-protesters organized by an apparently one-off group called MOVE-OUT (Marines and OtherOther Veterans Engaging Outrageous Un-American Traitors) and by the D.C. chapter of the national Free Republic organization. For those 50 or so pro-war right-wingers, who managed to attract almost as many attending press, warmth was conveniently available in the form of a sympathizer's apartment located close to their rally point at 8th and I Streets. Joel Kernodle of MOVE-OUT made sure to mention it in his after-event thank-yous:

I would like to thank the Marines who went there with me, the folks at FreeRepublic and especially Kristinn Taylor and Raoul [Deming], U.S. Navy Capt. Frank Davis who gave us a place to call home while we were there, [and] Jeff Gannon "The Conservative Guy" who has a web site and writes and speaks to conservative issues, who let us use his place just off the march route for an on-site headquarters.


JD Guckert had left his two-bedroom duplex in Wilmington just a year earlier, and he had left "his guys," the TKEs, under a small cloud of mystery. It was a deliberate effect. "The only time [JD] had ever actually mentioned working for a living," the Mu Alpha brother who spoke to us said, "was when he moved to D.C., and even then all that he mentioned was that he needed security clearance and that he would be working as a 'contract negotiator' for a DoD subcontractor." Though likely no more real than JD's Marine play-acting, in one respect the hush-hush fantasy rings true: having arrived in D.C., James Guckert vanished. His appearance in the background of the Free Republic rally (along with his attendance at another D.C. Freeper event, a Sean Hannity book-signing) marks one of the only times in an entire year when the man who had been JD is visible in any location outside of cyberspace.

Everything solid in JD's life -- his residence, his place of work, his circle of friends -- melts into air. We can surmise the actual date of his move only from its probable trace in the internet records: on Jan. 25, 2002, the domain "theconservativeguy.com" was created. (The registration, to a "J. Daniels" of Bedrock Corp., referenced a Delaware address, a mail drop just down the road from JD's old duplex.) It would be at least another four months of silence before a web site appeared at the new domain, and the Conservative Guy announced his existence.

What was happening in those blank, incubatory months? (An almost identical period of latency, oddly, separates the registration of "jeffgannon.com" in mid-June from the first appearance of Jeff Gannon's byline on the web in November.) With its crude layout, minimal graphic design and limited, untimely content, the Conservative Guy web site itself hardly demanded so much lead time. Perhaps the work had gone into crafting the identity.



And how, exactly, did he make a living during this period? Did someone "meet" him and think that a man who not one person remembers ever making a political remark in this life could be a perfect blank slate? Did this man whose entire life has been spent as an office worker in dull and colorless businesses in rural Pennsylvania just suddenly have a Walter Mitty fantasy that happened to come true?

Who created Jeff Gannon?



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