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  • drinkthekoolaidfeelbetter drinkthekoolaidfeelbetter Mar 2, 2005 11:58 AM Flag

    Take this conspiracy theory out for a s

    Take this conspiracy theory out for a spin.

    have never been a big fan of Karl Rove, but recent events have President Bush's political adviser rising in my estimation.

    I refer to the scandal. It's a scandal you probably haven't heard about.

    It involves a fake reporter named "Jeff Gannon" who owned a number of Internet sites on which ads for gay escorts appeared and who got White House credentials that permitted him to serve up softball questions at press briefings. It wasn't just that a man whose nude photos appear on the Internet somehow got White House press credentials but that he also had an intriguing link to the Rathergate scandal.

    Yet the Gannon story has been buried in the back pages. To get the goods on it, you have to prowl the alleys of the Internet.

    I have done so. And as a result, I have to say that if Rove isn't behind all this stuff, then whoever is behind it is a genius at manipulating the media.

    Consider, for example, that charge last week by an upstate New York congressman that Rove was behind the fake memo that sank Dan Rather at CBS News. U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, a Democrat from the Woodstock area, put forth the theory that it was Rove who instigated the infamous memo that made a number of unsubstantiated charges about Bush's years in the Texas Air National Guard.

    "Why did they do it?" Hinchey said of Rove and his henchmen. "They knew that Bush was a draft dodger ... They knew that he had no defense for that period in his life. And so what they did was, expecting that that was going to come up, they accentuated it: They produced papers that made it look even worse."

    But did they? If so, they are absolutely brilliant. If that memo did indeed originate with Republicans, it was perhaps the most successful campaign maneuver in modern history.

    The timing of its release was perfect. The media had just spent a month examining Democrat John Kerry's Vietnam service in infinite detail. Now it was Bush's turn to be grilled over his somewhat spotty service in the so-called "champagne unit" of the Texas Guard. Instead the media spent the next two weeks discussing typefaces on old IBM Selectric typewriters and the thorny question of whether that document had been produced on such a machine. Apparently it hadn't. Bush was off the hook.

    I don't know if a Republican slipped that fake document to Rather's people, but if so, I'd like to buy the guy a beer. It was a nice move -- and an untraceable one. There won't be a grand jury investigation because there's no law against fooling journalists. If there were, we could just put bars on the Capitol windows when Congress is in session.

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