The plot thickens

Another G/G update at Salon:

Just how blatantly the White House press office looked the other way in regard to Guckert and his dubious status as a legitimate reporter comes into stark relief when examining his attempt to secure a similar press pass to cover Capitol Hill. Guckert submitted his application in December 2003 to the Standing Committee of Correspondents, a press group in charge of handing out credentials. In April 2004, the committee denied Guckert’s request. Writing to Guckert, committee chairman Jim Drinkard outlined three clear deficiencies in Guckert’s application:

1) “Committee guidelines require that on-line publications ‘must charge a market rate fee for subscription or access, or carry paid advertising at current market rates.’ You have not demonstrated to the committee’s satisfaction that Talon News has any paid subscribers, that paid client newspapers publish Talon News stories, or that it is supported by advertising.”

2) “The application for accreditation to the press galleries states that ‘members of the press shall not engage in lobbying or paid advertising, publicity, promotion, work for any individual, political party, corporation, organization, or agency of the Federal Government.’ Talon News has not demonstrated to the satisfaction of the committee that there is a separation from GOPUSA.”

3) “Gallery rules and the application state that the principal income of correspondents must be obtained from news correspondence intended for publication in newspapers or news services. The committee feels that paying a single reporter a ‘stipend’ does not meet the intent of the rule.”

Also, you’ve probably seen this elsewhere but it seems quite significant: what exactly is Jeff Gannon’s connection to Rathergate?

Gannon bragged about passing a scoop on who obtained the troubled Bush National Guard memos to Fox News’ Sean Hannity on the conservative forum Free Republic.

“Mary Mapes is DEFINITELY [sic] behind the story,” Gannon wrote in Free Republic on Sept. 10, 2004. “This is who I told Sean Hannity got the documents. She also obtained the Abu Ghraib photos.”

“I got the scoop and passed it to Hannity,” Gannon added. “Look for my detailed story on Monday at Talon News. There is much more to this story. Mary Mapes is just the beginning.”

That story — that CBS producer Mary Mapes was the source of the troubled Bush Guard documents — shredded the credibility of anchor Dan Rather and killed any chance the facts that Bush had failed to adequately perform his duties as a member of the Texas Air National Guard would be taken seriously.

I suspected from the start that the whole CBS memo fiasco was a setup, and it seems increasingly likely that this was in fact the case.