Scott on Jeff (Now That’s a Switch!)

From Holden:

Little Scottie finds another,less-convincing story about just when “Jeff Gannon” first received a White House press pass and with whom JimJeff was affiliated at the time.

NEW YORK Former Talon News reporter James Guckert obtained his first White House press credentials as a representative of the pro-Republican Web site, GOPUSA, not as a Talon News reporter, as previously believed, Press Secretary Scott McClellan told E&P today.

McClellan said White House Press Office staffers considered the openly partisan site to be a legitimate news organization when they gave Guckert, a.k.a. Jeff Gannon, the first of numerous day passes in February 2003.

“He faxed a letter in on his [GOPUSA] letterhead, they checked that it was a conservative news Web site he worked for,” McClellan explained, referring to his staffers who handled such credentialing at the time. “There was a check to make sure it was a news organization and a news Web site. There was a determination made at that point [that it was legitimate].”

[snip]

“Our staff assistants do a good job,” he said. “The staff assistant went to verify that the news organization existed.”

However, Eberle has told The New York Times that he later created Talon to build a news service with a conservative slant and “if someone were to see ‘GOPUSA,’ there’s an instant built-in bias there.”

[snip]

White House credential rules state that reporters may only obtain credentials if they represent a news organization that “regularly publishes” — which would have eliminated Talon News in February 2003, as it did not exist then.