Talon News, although it once described itself as "a news company which covers political, national, and world news," saying that it "focuses on those stories often overlooked by other media outlets," was exposed as a "sham" news organization with fake White House "correspondent" "Jeff Gannon" who apparently obtained access for nearly two years on day press passes to the White House and White House press briefings through Talon's close affiliation with the conservative organization GOPUSA, a right-wing site owned by Texas-based Republican activist Bobby Eberle, and is guilty of plagiarism.
Note: The Talon News URL http://www.talonnews.com is no longer active and cited links may not work.
The Raw Story reported February 24, 2005, that another blogger, "Ron Brynaert, author of the progressive WhyAreWeBackInIraq weblog, found at least two instances in which Talon news correspondent Leslie Wetzel copied verbatim or near-verbatim content from articles written by Fox News and the Associated Press." See "Another Talon News 'reporter' found plagiarizing mainstream press."
It now appears that "No News is Talon News." In a February 23, 2005, update, Blue Meme reported "Still not a byte changed since last Thursday... It is as if Dan Rather stepped down, and CBS News went dark."
The Talon News web site once stated:
- "The recent public focus on Talon News, while much of it malicious, has indeed brought some constructive elements to the surface. It has also brought many kind messages of support, and for that we are extremely grateful.
- "In order to better serve those readers across the country who enjoy Talon News content and look forward to receiving it each day, we feel compelled to reevaluate operations in order to provide the highest quality, most professional product possible.
- "Thus, Talon News will be offline while we redesign the web site, perform a top-to-bottom review of staff and volunteer contributors, and address future operational procedures.
- "We look forward to bringing an even better product to our readers in the future."
John Byrne's The Raw Story, which was hot on the trail of the Talon News-"Jeff Gannon" story, announced February 22, 2005, that "Talon News appears to have plagiarized content from Fox News, others."
- The Raw Story article for examples.
- Louise, "Talon's News Sources," Daily Kos, February 1, 2005.
However, this can also readily be seen in copy attributed to Gannon -- and perhaps others who were allegedly "writing" for Talon -- in the links to articles published with the Talon News byline in the Hawaii Reporter.
The Hawaii Reporter.com web site shows the Talon News byline beginning September 12, 2003, following the absence of any media feed for the Hawaii Reporter during the month of August. Until that time, the predominant byline had been that of UPI. After Talon News first appeared in September 2003, it dominated daily news postings. See the listing of "correspondents" whose names accompany the Talon News byline below.
Stories were allegedly "filed" from numerous locations, as would be the custom of correspondents on location, to include Washington; Sacramento; Los Angeles; Nashville; Wilmington, DE, New York; Pyongyang, North Korea; Montgomery, AL; and Bangkok, Thailand.
The last filing for Hawaii Reporter under the name "Jeff Gannon" was February 8, 2005. As of February 23, 2005, only two more items from Talon News were posted: one on February 9 and the other February 17. No other media feed has been posted to the web site.
Early February 2005, Media Matters for America revealed that for over a year James Guckert alias Jeff Gannon posed as a "journalist for Talon News" at the White House press conferences. Guckert was best known to ask softball questions or to ask questions within the White House's agenda.
James Foser posed the question January 28, 2005, "What is Talon News, and why does it have press credentials?":
- "Talon News, a conservative company whose Washington bureau chief and White House correspondent Jeff Gannon is well-known for asking loaded pro-Republican questions at White House press briefings, appears to be more a political organization than a media outlet.
- "Media Matters for America recently highlighted three Gannon articles that were little more than reprints of Republican and Bush administration releases; Media Matters has also noted Gannon's role as White House press secretary Scott McClellan's lifeline and Talon editor in chief Bobby Eberle's partisan political activities. A more in-depth look at Talon, Gannon, and Eberle 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.
- "Eberle is also, as Media Matters has previously noted, president and CEO of GOPUSA, a "conservative news, information, and design company dedicated to promoting conservative ideals." Though Eberle has claimed on the September 13, 2004, edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country that GOPUSA and Talon News are separate companies, they overlap heavily.
- "Talon News apparently consists of little more than Eberle, Gannon, and a few volunteers, and is virtually indistinguishable from GOPUSA.com."
Websites That Syndicated Talon's Content
- AmericaFirstParty.org (formerly linked directly to Talon News).
- Free Republic.com.
- Hawaii Reporter.com.
- The Land of the Free.com.
Talon News "Byline" Hawaii Reporter: Correspondents
- Richard Brownell
- Stephen Dewey
- Bobby Eberle
- "Jeff Gannon"
- Jim Hauser; also see web site jdhauser.com.
- Terri Hillhouse
- Jeni Horn
- Mike Illions
- Charles Mahaleris
- Teresa Martin
- Mike Minton
- Jimmy Moore
- Doug Patton
- Jeremy Reynalds
- Steve Roeder
- Robynn Rutledge
- Sarah Wagner
- Leslie Wetzel
Other Talon News Contributors
Who Is: Talon News
A September 25, 2004 WHOIS record for www.talonnews.com:
Cache Date: 2004-09-25
Registrar: NETWORK SOLUTIONS, LLC.
Registrant: Eberle, Bobby (ISYFUGKQUD)
- 2620 Sunday House Dr.
- Pearland, TX 77584 US
Domain Name: TALONNEWS.COM
- Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:
- Eberle, Bobby (24065026I)
- 2620 Sunday House Dr.
- Pearland, TX 77584 US
- 281-412-2184 fax: 999 999 9999
Record expires on 29-Mar-2006.
Record created on 29-Mar-2003.
Domain servers in listed order:
- NS1.DATAPIPE.NET 18.104.22.168
- NS2.DATAPIPE.NET 22.214.171.124
- Bruce W. Eberle
- Cybercast News Service (CNS)
- Eberle Communications Group, Inc.
- Free Speech Foundation
- Hawaii Reporter
- Jeff Gannon/External Links
- Jeff Gannon: Investigation
- manufactured journalism
- Michael Aiello
- Rathergate: Jeff Gannon and Talon News
Articles & Commentary
- "Talon News GOPUSA Story File," WhyAreWeBackInIraq. File begins with posting September 21, 2003.
- Bobby Eberle, "Holiday Greetings from the GOPUSA Team," GOPUSA, December 2004: "With 2004 coming to a close, please accept my sincere appreciation for all your comments, suggestions, and feedback. ... In particular, I'd like to thank Terri Hillhouse and the entire GOPUSA team for their drive, dedication, and support. I'd also like to send a special thank you to all those who personally provided me with their assistance, guidance, and friendship, including Kathleen Eberle, Bruce Eberle, Mike Hiban, Don Stewart, Paul Teller, Tim Goeglein, Stuart Richens, Matt Smith, Jennifer Ohman, Bob Johnson, Liz Sheld, Julie E. Cram, Phillip Stutts, Chuck Muth, Grover Norquist, Karl Rove, and G. Gordon Liddy."
- "What is Talon News, and why does it have press credentials?" posted at freddevan.com Blogspot, January 30, 2005.
- Charlie Savage and Alan Wirzbicki, "White House-friendly reporter under scrutiny," Boston Globe, February 2, 2005.
- "Fake Ass Talon News," WhyAreWeBackInIraq, February 6, 2005.
- "Steve Roeder: Serial Plagiarist For Talon News," WhyAreWeBackInIraq, February 8, 2005.
- "Gannon Quits After Blogger Inquiry," MediaCitizen Blogspot, February 9, 2005: "3:30pm Update: Once again, Talon News has 'scrubbed' its site. Apparently, we were sending too many people to their homophobic reporting ... They have removed the stories in question along with most other material describing their relationship with Gannon save a brief explanantion of his resignation." MediaCitizen has the material archived. See web scrubbing.
- "White House reporter's credentials questioned. Man worked for Web site owned by Republican activist," CNN, February 9, 2005.
- Georgy, "Finding the Foot Behind the Talon," The Raconteur, February 9, 2005.
- Eric Boehlert, "Fake news, fake reporter. Why was a partisan hack, using an alias and with no journalism background, given repeated access to daily White House press briefings?" Salon, February 10, 2005.
- Kos, "700,000 users on Talon News? Hardly," Daily Kos, February 10, 2005.
- "Alan Keyes & Talon News," WhyAreWeBackInIraq, February 11, 2005.
- Karen Brooks, "Owner says news service will continue White House coverage," Dallas Morning News, February 11, 2005: "The politically conservative owner of the online Talon News Service said Friday that his site would continue its coverage of the White House despite harsh criticism of one of his reporters. ... Bobby Eberle Jr., a Houston activist and engineer who also runs the popular GOPUSA political Web site, told The Dallas Morning News that he plans to replace reporter James Guckert, who went by the name Jeff Gannon."
- Scott Ross, "Gay Adult Domain Names Help to Out Alleged Republican Propagandist," AVN Online.com, February 11, 2005: "Talon News now directs interview requests to Jennifer Ohman, the Director of Public Affairs for Oliver Northâ??s Freedom Alliance."
- "GOPUSA & Talon News: Explained," WhyAreWeBackInIraq, February 12, 2005.
- "Bobby Eberle Rewrites Reuters For Freepers," WhyAreWeBackInIraq, February 16, 2005.
- "Dear Dr. Bobby Eberle, Ph.D.," WhyAreWeBackInIraq, February 18, 2005.
- Rachel Graves, "Web sites operator stirs up politics, journalism debate. Scandal places his Pearland-based Internet enterprise under a microscope," Houston Chronicle, February 18, 2005.
- Dotty Lynch, "Rove-Gannon Connection?" CBS News, February 18, 2005.
- Kevin Bass, "Wanna Be a White House NewsMan? Go GOP!" The Austin Chronicle, February 18, 2005.
- John Byrne, "The missing link? Partner of GOPUSA founder has checkered past as Republican moneyman," The Raw Story, February 19, 2005: "Did Bruce Eberle get Gannon top White House access?"
- "Talon News, The Raw Story & Rep, John Conyers," WhyAreWeBackInIraq, February 22, 2005.
- John Byrne, "Democrats in House leading push for Gannon inquiry not surprised by Talon plagiarism," The Raw Story, February 22, 2005: "In an email Tuesday evening, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) called Jeff Gannon a 'stenographer for White House presss releases,' and another reporter's apparent plagiarism 'cutting and pasting' reporting."
- "Talon News Gets the Hook in Wake of 'Gannongate'," Editor & Publisher, February 24, 2005: "First it lost "Jeff Gannon" as its White House correspondent. Then it scrubbed all of his articles from its site. Now Talon News is going dark. ... The Web site, closely linked to Texas Republican activist Bobby Eberle and his GOPUSA.com, posted a message on its home page today announcing that Talon was going offline for, as it said, a 'top-to-bottom' review."
- Justin Gest, "Talon News site closes to re-evaluate operations. The negative online traffic and publicity made it difficult to work, publicist says," Houston Chronicle, February 24, 2005.
- "Oops, Talon News Stole It Again," WhyAreWeBackInIraq, February 24, 2005.
- William Pitt, "Talon News Has Ceased to Exist," truthout, February 24, 2005.
- "How To "Write" Like Jeff Gannon: Example #1," WhyAreWeBackInIraq, February 25, 2005.
- "Lights Out for Talon News," CBS News/Associated Press, February 25, 2005.
- "The Unembedded Talon News Plagiarist," WhyAreWeBackInIraq, April 2, 2005.