Excerpt: The Blogging Revolution

News & Politics
Open-Source Journalism

In early February 2005, a handful of bloggers at DailyKos.com started to look at a White House correspondent named Jeff Gannon, who was employed by an organization called Talon News. Gannon had come to their attention after media watchdog group Media Matters put a spotlight on softball questions he lobbed at White House spokesmen and President Bush himself.

Suddenly, hundreds of DailyKos readers and other bloggers, like those of Atrios and AMERICAblog, starting peeling away layer after layer of lies and deceit. "Jeff Gannon" was actually "Jim Guckert," and Talon News was merely a front organization for GOPUSA. And the situation got uglier. Guckert was found to own various domain names for military-themed gay escort services and was actually a male escort.

So we had a prostitute pretending to be a journalist, working for a Republican group pretending to be a news organization, who was given access to the White House and the president to lob softball questions at press conferences.

The revelations offered a good insight into the depths and reach of the White House propaganda machine, but the whole episode revealed something else: that hundreds of people had worked collectively to expose the various threads of the story. It was an achievement without precedent, carried out by the open-source investigative crew. Guckert may have been the first target, but he won’t be the last.

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