Mike on the Equality Forum — and Jeff Gannon's pre-panel 'report'
Mike Rogers has posted about his experience at the Equality Forum panel with Jeff Gannon over at BlogActive. A snippet:
The panel was a great opportunity for me to bring up questions on Gannon’s work. Where is his accountability when there is proof of his plagiarizing previously published articles? And Was he ever at the White House when the day changed (at midnight)?
(He answered neither.) I also loved that he referred to Matt Drudge, who I reminded the audience was yet another closeted gay guy working against our community.
There will be an article up at Raw Story later today with some exclusive video footage from the event shot by PoliticsTV.com and more details about the panel, including a response to my suggestion that Gannon debate me in DC. And, from what I’ve read, I’m a pretty good debater, well better than O’Reilly.
Kate and I would like to thank Mike, John, Susie, David and Brandon for helping to celebrate Kate’s birthday in advance of the “festivities” that evening.
Also, Raw Story has a piece up, Gannon comes out: Former escort, conservative reporter grilled on White House visits.
In a conversation with RAW STORY Thursday evening, Gannon spoke frankly about numerous questions this site has raised about his work. RAW STORY was the first to publish the Secret Service logs of his visits to the White House, revealing that Gannon checked in on numerous occasions but failed to check out.
“That’s a problem with Secret Service record keeping,” Gannon said when asked why Secret Service logs show fourteen days he failed to check out. He referenced an article from 2003 which revealed shoddy record-keeping by the presidential bodyguard.
“I think you’re going to see that in this Abramoff thing that’s coming out right now,” he added. “You’re probably not going to get a complete historical record.”
Asked if he ever slept over at the White House, Gannon said, “Never. Absolutely never stayed overnight at the White House. Never ever.”
John Byrne also reports that Gannon supported the outing of Virginia Congressman Ed Schrock (R-VA), who resigned after Mike exposed Schrock’s trolling for men on a phone sex hotline with audiotapes of the calls for “action.”
Yet perhaps the most stunning of Gannon’s comments was his assertion that he supports “outing” gays who live one life and vote another. Gannon – who himself was “outed” as a former sex worker without his consent – said that he supported the outing of erstwhile Virginia Congressman Ed Schrock (R-VA), who resigned in disgrace after Rogers posted tapes of him soliciting gay sex on the Internet.
You might remember this gem of a recording of Schrock on the prowl:
I weigh 200 pounds, hazel eyes, blond hair, uh, really buffed up, really tan. Ah, I’m just looking to get together with, uh, any white guy, uh, who has got a great body on him, has got a good-size endowment, is cut, just to get together, get naked, play with one another, get each other off, nothing hardcore, I have to be incredibly careful, incredibly safe, incredibly discrete, I cannot overemphasize that. If that appeals to you, uh, I’d like to hear from you, so hit me back. Thanks. Bye.
Back to the forum — as predicted, when it came to answering questions about Gannongate, the moderator slapped Mike down — the very reason John and I dropped out.
He floated several questions of Gannon which went unanswered at the panel but were taken up in our interview Thursday for this story.
“Dozens of times when you didn’t leave the White House during the day. What happened?” Rogers asked. “Were you ever at the White House at midnight, when the day changed?”
At one point, the moderator interjected, saying that Gannon couldn’t respond.
The panel was recorded by Politics TV and you can see the video here.
I just got back into town and checked my email and I found a message from Jeff Gannon:
I’m sorry you didn’t come to the Panel. I was looking forward to meeting you. I enjoyed participating in an event that lived up to the principle of diversity.
Best of luck with the blog.
He also included a link to his Washington Blade column, written before the panel occurred. It’s outrageous, basically, he accuses me of being convinced by John to drop out. Oh please, I guess I have no principles of my own, right? Maybe I just shine John’s shoes too, Jeff. Damn, I know I’m not a top-level blogger, but there seems to be a running patronizing theme here (considering I was nearly invisible in the press release by EF that scorched John for dropping out). Oh well, consider the sources…
But last week, I was informed that Aravosis had decided to withdraw from the panel following a dispute with the organizers about the content of the discussion. He convinced another panelist, Pam Spaulding, to pull out as well.
Mike LaMonica, program director for Equality Forum, issued a news release stating, “Mr. Aravosis wanted to control the content of the overall panel. When no compromise could be achieved, Mr. Aravosis elected not to participate.”
Aravosis subsequently accused the Equality Forum of lying in a diatribe published on his blog. Aravosis and Spaulding were replaced, and the planning went forward without them.
Uh, the organizers did lie, Jeff, and we all saw what happened. Again, he turns it back to the old saw that he’s a victim of conservative bashing.
Further, the organizers lived up to the principles the Forum espouses by inviting someone with my point of view. They recognize that the GLBT community is more diverse than any other, cutting across racial, cultural, religious, socioeconomic and political lines.
The Equality Forum realizes that my conservative viewpoint needs to be included, since I represent a segment of the community that has few voices. This is something Aravosis must view as threatening, since he led an unsuccessful advertising boycott of the Blade last year when it began publishing my columns.
THOSE WHO WOULD TRY TO SILENCE or intimidate others who have different points of view are doing the community a tremendous disservice. So much discussion of GLBT issues is influenced by partisan political rhetoric that actually impedes progress. A more reality-based approach to these issues will yield long-term results that are better than a few short-lived victories.
Yes, it would have been very productive to have a valid conservative blogger viewpoint on the panel. That wasn’t what was on the agenda. I’d welcome the opportunity to discuss ethics, journalism and blogging with JG/JG if his “issue” is on the table as fair game, since he truly is an “expert” on that subject.
As is my style, I politely — and appropriately responded to JG:
I’m sorry that the panel was not able to be agreed-upon so that I could be there. John A. played no role in
“convincing” me to withdraw. The emails from days of back and forth between Katherine and Malcolm (the fallout chronicled on both John’s and my blog) speak for themselves. The matter was poorly handled by them.
This would have been my first panel so I had little motivation to simply withdraw as a lark or folly.
Perhaps we can meet and discuss the issues at some point in the future at a better-constructed forum.
Someone has to take the high road.