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Is the White House Whitewashing History?

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Posted on Feb 11, 2007

Margie Burns, reporting for the Brad Blog, says the White House may be up to some old, unsavory tactics, deleting unfavorable material from its website in potential violation of the Presidential Records Act of 1978. At issue are briefing references to Jeff Gannon, the faux journalist whose non-questions helped deflect criticism during press briefings.

The Brad Blog:

Just prior to the 2004 elections, The BRAD BLOG revealed a number of embarrassing White House moments that had been scrubbed—- in violation of the Presidential Records Act of 1978—- from their website. Eventually, in the weeks just prior to the election, and after WaPo, AFP and other wire services picked up the story which broke here, they were forced to restore all of that information to the website. (Highlights from that series of reports here.)

Now it looks like they may be at it again.

Two years ago, I posted a piece at another web site on “Go ahead, Jeff,” i.e. Jeff Gannon, actually named James Guckert, at White House press briefings. The White House web site has a search function of sorts, usable given the exact name or phrase as a keyword. My search term in February 2005 was Scott McClellan’s phrase “go ahead, Jeff,” meaning - as Jeff’s sympathetic questions made amply clear - that McClellan was calling on mysterious White-House-press-pass person Guckert/Gannon, whose exact activities in the White House have yet to be clarified. I have tried to phone Mr. Guckert but probably have not gotten through.

The precise dates of those press briefings at which Mr. Gannon/Guckert had been explicitly called on, found at that time, were November 17, 2004; December 10, 13, 17 and 21, 2004; and January 10 and 25, 2005.

Now, belatedly running the same search this morning, I found further briefings with equally revealing questions posed by Mr. Gannon. However, the previous references to Gannon/Guckert appear to have been scrubbed…

Checking previously cited briefings - from December 10 or December 13, 2004, intermittently through January 2005 - I cannot turn up the key “go ahead, Jeff” line at all, in any of the transcripts where I found it before.

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By Bukko in Australia, February 12, 2007 at 9:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dale, it sounds like you’ve been reading Howard Zinn about the Puritans. Growing up in the U.S., I knew the joke about Australia getting the prisoners and America getting the Puritans. That was supposed to mean “ha-ha, Australia got the bad part of the deal.” But now that I’ve escaped here, I see what it means is that the religious colony was settled by wowsers with sticks up their arses, whilst the “thief-colony” was populated by people who knew how to have a good time, (even if they did nick the party supplies.) And a culture’s underlying behavioural template has a tendency to be repeated, as generations follow the pattern of their forefathers.

As far as controlling history, a wise man oonce wrote “He who controls the past controls the future.” Hmmm, now where did I hear that?

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By Dale Headley, February 12, 2007 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Whitewashing history”?  So what else is new?  The 5th, 8th, and 11th grade textbooks in this country portray the Pilgrims as an oppressed people looking for religious freedom.  What they were really looking for was a place they could impose their brutal, Calvinistic, anti-humanistic, religion upon their congregations without the encumbrance of secular laws.  They wanted to be free to hang Quakers, burn recalcitrant females, wipe out native peoples (giving praise to God for the bloodiness of their massacres), and send Roger Williams off to the hinterlands of Rhode Island for suggesting that human beings had value beyond being slaves of a vengeful God.
    Also, the evangelical right wing promotes the fiction that the founding fathers created a nation based upon judaeo-Christian beliefs.  Nonsense!  Nearly all the founding fathers were deists and specifically rejected the core tenets of Christianity.  Neither the word “God” nor the word “Christian” appears in the Constitution.
    When you control your country’s history, you pretty much control its people.

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By vet240, February 12, 2007 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s not white-washing, it’s covering your tracks.
Like a burglar setting fire to your house after he’s taken everything out he wants.

If bush isn’t impeached for these obvious crimes ask yourself, How does that benefit the Democrats. ZI can see how it benefits the Republicans. It erases the history of a mad man that they made persident.
But the Democrats? What is your gain Pelosi? Impeachment isn’t on the table? Why not?!!!

My advice to Ms.Pelosi? Remember how long Ford lasted and read “A Tale of Two Cities”.

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By JKoch, February 12, 2007 at 11:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Was Jeff Gannon / Jim Guckert worse than other White House groupies?  He got money for turning tricks and favors.  Correspondents of networks and major dailies, on the other hand, kiss sordid rubbish and give orgies of affection for free.

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By Toby, February 12, 2007 at 10:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

They have been scrubbing the site almost since day one. Extremely annoying when you try to find something that was there last year, or the year before.

But my astonishment is with others astonishment that they do this!
In fact, my astonishment is that anybody anywhere, at any time believes ANYTHING coming out of the George W. Bush White House!


Hey folks, who are we talking about here? The man who loves to lie, supported by the administration that loves to support the lie. And the odd collection of aids, who lacking the intelligence to understand the difference between moral righteousness and amoral manipulation, love to repeat the lie.

Why on earth is there still any thinking person out there who expects Truth, Justice and respect for Constitutional Law to come out of the George W. Bush White House?

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By Bukko in Australia, February 12, 2007 at 7:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In this “1984” administration, is it any surprise that a person would be expunged from the record, just as Winston Smith did with people who fell out of favour with the Party? Every drop of flop sweat that oozes from their pores, every stinking molecule of vapour they exhale, these people are filthy.

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By Wayne Smyer, February 12, 2007 at 5:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Jeff Gannon/Jim Guckert had free access to the White House, Lincoln Bedroom and Karl Rove., but was the “access” free? Check
Is Mary Carey the GOP Porn Queen or is it Jeffy Gannon?

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By trantieungoc, February 11, 2007 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The White House would become Black House when king George is still living there.

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By Rodney Matthews, February 11, 2007 at 6:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Bush adminstration has been whitewashing history since they stole the 2000 election. The whole presidency has been one big lie. From the war in Iraq, to the false sense of homeland secutity. If illegal immigrants were terrorists we would have 12 million in our country.That’s why fighting them there so we won’t fight them here is the biggest lie of fear ever told. The unnecessary deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and robbing of the US and Iraqi treasury to enrich cronies will a legacy left unmatched by any despot or dictator the world has ever seen.

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By Dale Headley, February 11, 2007 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is a monumental struggle now taking place between the congressional representatives that the people elected to save the nation, and the propaganda juggernaut created by Dick Cheney.  The neocons and their military-industrial complex are desperate: they just may not realize their fantasy of ruling the world after all, because their slimy rocks - one by one - are being turned over by the burgeoning investigations.  And how are they fighting back?  By returning to the first commandment of the Nazi playbook - thou shalt lie, lie, lie, until the people shalt come to believe!

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By wsmith, February 11, 2007 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why not index the site with one of those spider programs? If their search engine can find it on the server and display, then it (and the whole site) could be spidered and archived on your machine.

I can’t recall the name of the one I used to have. I’ll bet they’ve all been greatly improved since then.

And don’t forget, you can try one of those site archives. One is called The Way Back Machine, at

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