It's called 'a shill'
The Bush administration has provided White House media credentials to a man who has virtually no journalistic background, asks softball questions to the president and his spokesman in the midst of contentious news conferences, and routinely reprints long passages verbatim from official press releases as original news articles on his website.
Jeff Gannon calls himself the White House correspondent for TalonNews.com, a website that says it is "committed to delivering accurate, unbiased news coverage to our readers." It is operated by a Texas-based Republican Party delegate and political activist who also runs GOPUSA.com, a website that touts itself as "bringing the conservative message to America."
Now, the question of how Gannon gets into White House press conferences is coming under intense scrutiny from critics who contend that Gannon is not a journalist but rather a White House tool to soften media coverage of Bush. The issue was raised by a media watchdog group and picked up by Internet bloggers, who linked Gannon's presence in White House briefings to recent controversies over whether the administration manipulates the flow of information to the public.
It's called a 'shill', boys and girls, and all the great con artists use them. A friendly plant in the audience; the 'client' who claims that really is great-uncle Ruben's voice issuing from the bogus medium, the 'cripple' healed by the faith healer, the cohort who actually wins the rigged shell game. Nice to know that Karl Rove studies the classics.