Sorry, no Gannon
Come on John, you want to meet me. You know
There was supposed to be this panel with John Aravosis, Pam Spaulding and Jeff Manwhore Gannon. They reconsidered.
I canceled my appearance on the upcoming panel with Gannon/Guckert, the homophobic White House Republican prostitute accused of plagiarism
by John in DC - 4/26/2006 11:48:00 AM
(Below is a longer explanation of what transpired over the past five days. But I wanted to mention this now, since Atrios had posted that Gannon/Guckert and I were going to be on a panel next week.)
We WERE going to be on a panel, but the panel moderator, who works at the Annenberg School, isn't interested in the Gannon issue being one of the main topics we discuss on the panel - i.e., she wants to have Gannon on the panel as an actual expert blogger and gay rights savant! the moderator literally told me that rather than have the panel devolve into a discussion about the Gannon issue, she'd rather have Gannon and me talk about ex-gay conversion therapy. And what pray tell is Gannon's expertise on ex-gay conversion? That he may have once charged an ex-gay $200 an hour?
Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend (see the link for Pam's explanation of what transpired) and I simply could not lend our names to helping giving Gannon credibility as an authentic gay journalist and civil rights pundit - as though somehow Gannon is the respectable conservative counterpart to our blogs and our voices - so we both pulled off the panel last night after five days of begging the moderator and the conference organizers to give the people what they want - a panel discussion about the Gannon affair from last year, or at least making the Gannon issue one of the main issues the panel would discuss. The response we got from the panel moderator was that we could certainly mention Gannon in our introduction or our responses to any question. Gee, that's swell of you.
It's the National Press Club all over again. Somehow the fact that Gannon was exposed as a $200/hour hooker while writing homophobic articles for some far-right religious-right suck-up rag now establishes him as a credible journalist when he wasn't before. He's been accused repeatedly of plagiarism and has yet to prove otherwise. Why not put the Washington Post ex-blogger, the one who had to quit because of his serial plagiarism, on a panel and get his expert advice on journalistic research and ethics?
Pam and I agreed to be on this panel knowing full well that Gannon was going to be on it. Some of you, and some of my friends privately, didn't like that fact. Still, I defended the decision because I "knew" - ha! - that a panel about gay blogging with me and Gannon on it was going to clearly address the Gannon affair as one of the key issues to be discussed, and that would permit me to call Jeff/James on his bull. In my wildest dreams I never imagined anyone with an once of journalist blood in them could ever consider Gannon a serious blogger, journalist, or gay rights sage. That is simply sick, and neither Pam nor I will have any part of it.
(Note: I'm not speaking for Pam, she can explain her own view on her own blog, but we have been in touch and I know Pam shares my concerns and that's why she too has withdrawn from the panel.)
Finally, I really need to address one thing. The man running the entire show in Philly next week just sent Pam and me an email suggesting that we were "hiding behind our computers" by canceling our appearance on the panel, as if Pam and I are afraid of Jeff Gannon.
Putting aside the fact that Pam and I had agreed months ago to appear with Gannon, so there obviously wasn't any fear on our parts, I do have to admit I was nervous about one thing.
Whether Jeff would sock me with a bill for $200 after the debate was over.
(PS Pam dropped a couple of hundred bucks on her plane ticket to Philly. She tells me she's gonna go to Philly anyway, even though she's not speaking on the panel anymore. Perhaps some of you could donate a little love to Pam to thank her for her courageous stand.)
Why I won't be on the panel in Philly
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
I was scheduled to appear next Wednesday at the National Media Panel on Blogs during Equality Forum. I'm still going to Philly, but I won't be on the panel. John Aravosis of AmericaBlog has declined to participate as well.
When I received the email from panel moderator about the final agenda of the panel discussion last week, I was surprised to see that the Gannongate dustup was not going to be the centerpiece of the agenda, in fact it wasn't mentioned at all. Quite frankly, a discussion of journalism, ethics, and the intersection of sexuality, politics and impact of blogging puts the Gannon story front and center -- it should be the focus of the panel, not a sideline.
John's blogging on the White House Press Whore/Talon "News" cub reporter Gannon/Guckert is a landmark in LGBT and mainstream political blogging. No matter what anyone along the political spectrum may think of John's views on some issues, this is the elephant in the room that people are coming to see a discussion about.
In my response, I made it clear that most regular readers of my blog have zero respect for Gannon as a representative or voice of the LGBT community in the blogosphere, regardless of politics. He's a homophobe and a serial plagiarist. He has little to add to the discussion about LGBT media and blogging, since his blog has no impact or influence in the community in terms blogger journalism; he's a joke.
There have been many rounds of correspondence over this, up until last night, when I finally tired of trying to get clarity and resolution on this -- the issue is principle. This panel is planning to give Gannon legitimacy as a blogger/journalist while refusing to focus on his scandal, the only thing he's legitimately able to speak about on this front. It's unfortunate - and a repeat of what happened at the National Press Club when Gannon was given a forum. John elaborates more here.
If the goal was meant to politically balance the panel in a discussion of the responsibilities of bloggers writing about LGBT issues, there are certainly right-leaning gay bloggers of influence who could have been invited. Gannon can't even represent this; he rarely writes about LGBT matters at all.
So, unless these organizers have a come-to-Jeebus moment at the 11th hour, I've deep-sixed my first panel appearance. It was something I had looked forward to; since we already bought the plane tickets we'll still be there to attend events, meet up with Philly bloggers, see the city and celebrate Kate's birthday.
Many thanks to those at Equality Forum for extending the gracious invitation to appear.
Myriad reasons why Gannon is the story:
* Condi, 'ho boots, and rent-boy Gannon: sex and power in Washington
* Make your own Jeffy Lube pro-war rally poster
* ePluribus Media: The Spectacular Rise of the Miraculous Mr. Gannon
* Gannongate - the Players
* AmericaBlog: A man called Jeff
* Crooks and Liars: Jeff Gannon retrospective in video
Yeah, kick Pam and John a couple of bucks for their efforts.
Me, I would have read up and relished kicking the shit out of that fake Marine. I hate people who lie about their service. But to be compared to the lying little shit is a bit much. So I see why they walked away.
The organizer needs to understand, credible people do not appear with frauds. Deborah Lipstadt doesn't debate Holocaust deniers, and gay journalists and bloggers shouldn't have to share the stage with a manwhore to discuss gay issues online.
posted by Steve @ 6:46:00 PM