"A NEW LOW"? Yesterday a former Oliver North associate named Cliff Kincaid attacked me for doing exactly what he's been doing: criticizing left-leaning bloggers for engaging in a sexual witch hunt over the matter of Jeff Gannon, the pseudonymous male prostitute caught servicing the Bush administration at White House press briefings.
The Boston Phoenix, a counter-culture publication, has taken the anti-Gannon campaign to a new low, citing a left-wing blog as reporting "rumors" about an unnamed "high-ranking, married White House aide who may or may not have had a homosexual affair with Gannon" and who "may or may not" have provided Gannon with a confidential document about CIA employee Valerie Plame. There is no evidence cited for any of this, but that doesn't seem to matter at this point.
Kincaid is quoting from my column in this week's Phoenix. Here is what I actually wrote:
Readers of the Web site Raw Story ... know that there are rumors involving a high-ranking, married White House aide who may or may not have had a homosexual affair with Gannon, and who may or may not have provided Gannon with a confidential document concerning the investigation into who leaked the identity of former covert CIA operative Valerie Plame to syndicated columnist Robert Novak and other journalists.
This is piling rumor upon rumor. And in any case, Gannon told Anderson Cooper that reports about his having claimed to have seen the Plame document were based on a misunderstanding. In fact, he said he'd only seen a Wall Street Journal article describing the document.
That was immediately followed by my quoting Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz, who told me:
I'm a big fan of bloggers, but the blogosphere has also become a repository of a lot of mean-spirited rumors that seem unaccompanied by a shred of evidence. I am not going to publish any such unsubstantiated crap without being able to pin down the facts. That's one of the things that distinguishes the much-maligned mainstream media from the freewheeling world of the blogosphere
Could Kincaid have got it any more wrong? You see what's happening here. I took Raw Story to task for rumor-mongering. Then Kincaid came along, twisted my words out of context, and then took me (or, rather, the "counter-culture" Boston Phoenix) to task for - yes - rumor-mongering! Thus does Kincaid contribute to the notion of a monolithic left, trying to bring down George W. Bush because one of his favorite reporters likes to pose naked on the Internet.
I sent Kincaid an e-mail yesterday, suggesting that he take a reading-comprehension course and pointing out that if I were really interested in "taking the anti-Gannon campaign to a new low," all I had to do was name the White House aide mentioned in Raw Story. It's not like it's a secret. In fact, I'm sure many Media Log readers know exactly who I'm talking about. But, as Kurtz says, it's "unsubstantiated crap."
Anyway, if Kincaid responds, I'll be sure to post it here.