Friday, February 18, 2005

Gannon and Daschle

It seems that Jeff Gannon had a part to play in getting rid of Daschle:

Gannon took up the Republicans' dirty work with great gusto, beginning more than a year before the election, in the summer of 2003. Working with two local South Dakota bloggers, both of whom later turned out to be secretly paid operatives of the Thune campaign, he targeted Daschle and discredited mainstream journalists. Among Gannon's direct hits was an embarrassing story that revealed that the three-term senator and his lobbyist wife, Linda, had applied for a "homestead exemption" on their costly Washington, D.C., residence, claiming it as their primary residence.

Gannon went much further, however, in accusing reporters at the state's most important newspaper, the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader, of shilling for Daschle and, worse still, of colluding with the senator in the intimidation of his political adversaries. Such wild attacks were then played back on the Thune-financed Web logs, which attracted substantial attention in the Senate race and influenced coverage in the South Dakota media. As the National Journal explained in a post-election analysis, the blog assault "opened a new and potentially powerful front in the war over public opinion." The National Journal and local journalists agreed that the blog campaign against Daschle was "crucial." A top Argus Leader editor conceded, "I don't think there's any way to say [the blogs] didn't" affect the paper's coverage.

This isn't necessarily unjournalistic behavior, especially these days. I'd like to know where Daschle's paycheck came from, ultimately.