Years ago, many liberals believed that former White House correspondent Jeff Gannon/Guckert, who drew national attention for his past life as a gay escort after he was caught lobbing "softballs" during Bush administration press briefings, was a GOP plant "embedded with the liberal Washington press corps." Despite months of research by countless internet researchers, no hard evidence ever proved the connection.
On Fox News Channel Monday morning, shortly after news of Helen Thomas' resignation had hit the wires, former "Bush's brain" Karl Rove said that the White House never has "complete control over who finds themselves in the White House press room."
"Look, a White House -- regardless of which party is in control of [it] -- does not have complete control over who finds themselves in the White House press room, and she's been antagonistic -- as you say -- to conservatives for many, many years, but that's not the business of the White House to determine whether or not -- simply because they are antagonistic -- they have a role in the White House," Rove told Fox's Megyn Kelly.
Rove claimed that "there would have been a huge uproar from the press corps itself," if the Bush administration had tried to have Helen Thomas kicked out.
Then, without mentioning names, Rove said the Bush White House wanted to boot one "mentally ill" correspondent but couldn't.
"We had a problem with a woman who was, I think, mentally ill, who is a minor player on the journalistic scene," Rove claimed. "Who literally the former White House chief of staff used to take her for cheeseburgers at McDonald's in order to make sure she was fed and it seemed to be a homeless person and we couldn't get her out of the White House press operation."
Shocked and laughing, Kelly asked, "Who was it?"
But Rove ignored her, as he begin a spiel about how the Obama administration would never allow him to cover White House briefings, which seemed to contradict his earlier conviction that the White House never has "complete control over who finds themselves in the White House press room."
"Jeff Gannon, a $200-an-hour gay male escort, resigned from EberleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Talon News in February of 2005 after pictures and stories emerged which revealed that he once toiled as a gay male prostitute," Raw Story reported in 2005. "Eberle shut down the news site shortly thereafter, although his satellite Website GOPUSA.com remained active."
The little known "news organization" first attracted attention after Media Matters reported that a softball question Gannon asked of President Bush at a press conference had been lifted from a skit aired on Rush Limbaugh's radio show.
It later emerged that Gannon had attended scores of White House press briefings, often providing the White House press secretary an easy out amid heated grilling from the press. It also surfaced that Gannon had used a pseudonym while posing as a reporter Ã¢â‚¬â€œ his real name was James D. Guckert.
Bloggers also discovered that Eberle once interviewed Bush adviser Karl Rove, which could explain how he was able to a get a veteran male escort past the Secret Service. RAW STORY revealed that Gannon made more than 200 visits to the White House during his tenure as a Talon News correspondent.
This video is from Fox News' America Live, broadcast June 7, 2010.