After devoting hundreds of words in recent days to criticizing Talon News, Media Matters has decided to back up a little bit. They’re not exactly withdrawing their criticism; no, they decided they needed to actually explain what Talon news was.
Their new expose, “What is Talon News, and why does it have press credentials?,” looks at how the, well, news agency is staffed and run. Their investigation “casts additional doubt on Talon’s claim to be a media outlet and raises questions about whether Gannon should be a credentialed member of the White House press corps.” Media Matters says it’s actually a front for GOPUSA.com.
David Brock’s watchdog group has spent much of the week chasing three articles by Talon’s White House Correspondent Jeff Gannon that, it says, were just about copies of administration press releases. Gannon is, according to Media Matters, “well-known for asking loaded pro-Republican questions at White House press briefings, appears to be more a political organization than a media outlet.”
Now it’s turning its sights on Gannon and Talon editor-in-chief Bobby Eberle, who is also president and CEO of GOPUSA, a “conservative news, information, and design company dedicated to promoting conservative ideals.” Despite Eberle’s claims (on MSNBC’s Scarborough Country of all places) that GOPUSA and Talon News were separate companies, Media Matters has found a number of links between the two:
In addition to Eberle’s dual role as the head of both entities, both domain names TalonNews.com and GOPUSA.com are registered to the same address in Pearland, Texas, which appears to be Eberle’s personal residence. The TalonNews.com domain name registration lists Eberle’s email address as firstname.lastname@example.org. Articles on TalonNews.com consist of brief introductory paragraphs, followed by a link to “Read more”; clicking on that link takes you to a page that announces, “This story can be found on our #1 client — GOPUSA!” Readers are then redirected to the GOPUSA.com site.
Gannon’s is hitting back, possibly attempting to distract his pursuers with one of the most garish and unattractive websites Fishbowl has seen since the days of the blink tags.
Also in response to this dust-up the right-leaning Accuracy in Media organization is accusing the left-leaning Media Matters of being, well, left-leaning. This is all too much for Fishbowl’s simple mind.
We wonder if there’s a historical precedent for an ideologically driven news agency having White House access? Do you know of anyone else? (And no, CBS’ Dan Rather is NOT an acceptable answer) Email us: garrett AT mediabistro DOT com.