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I canceled my appearance on the upcoming panel with Gannon/Guckert, the homophobic White House Republican prostitute accused of plagiarism

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(Below is a longer explanation of what transpired over the past five days. But I wanted to mention this now, since Atrios had posted that Gannon/Guckert and I were going to be on a panel next week.)

We WERE going to be on a panel, but the panel moderator, who works at the Annenberg School, isn't interested in the Gannon issue being one of the main topics we discuss on the panel - i.e., she wants to have Gannon on the panel as an actual expert blogger and gay rights savant! the moderator literally told me that rather than have the panel devolve into a discussion about the Gannon issue, she'd rather have Gannon and me talk about ex-gay conversion therapy. And what pray tell is Gannon's expertise on ex-gay conversion? That he may have once charged an ex-gay $200 an hour?

Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend (see the link for Pam's explanation of what transpired) and I simply could not lend our names to helping giving Gannon credibility as an authentic gay journalist and civil rights pundit - as though somehow Gannon is the respectable conservative counterpart to our blogs and our voices - so we both pulled off the panel last night after five days of begging the moderator and the conference organizers to give the people what they want - a panel discussion about the Gannon affair from last year, or at least making the Gannon issue one of the main issues the panel would discuss. The response we got from the panel moderator was that we could certainly mention Gannon in our introduction or our responses to any question. Gee, that's swell of you.

It's the National Press Club all over again. Somehow the fact that Gannon was exposed as a $200/hour hooker while writing homophobic articles for some far-right religious-right suck-up rag now establishes him as a credible journalist when he wasn't before. He's been accused repeatedly of plagiarism and has yet to prove otherwise. Why not put the Washington Post ex-blogger, the one who had to quit because of his serial plagiarism, on a panel and get his expert advice on journalistic research and ethics?

Pam and I agreed to be on this panel knowing full well that Gannon was going to be on it. Some of you, and some of my friends privately, didn't like that fact. Still, I defended the decision because I "knew" - ha! - that a panel about gay blogging with me and Gannon on it was going to clearly address the Gannon affair as one of the key issues to be discussed, and that would permit me to call Jeff/James on his bull. In my wildest dreams I never imagined anyone with an once of journalist blood in them could ever consider Gannon a serious blogger, journalist, or gay rights sage. That is simply sick, and neither Pam nor I will have any part of it.

(Note: I'm not speaking for Pam, she can explain her own view on her own blog, but we have been in touch and I know Pam shares my concerns and that's why she too has withdrawn from the panel.)

Finally, I really need to address one thing. The man running the entire show in Philly next week just sent Pam and me an email suggesting that we were "hiding behind our computers" by canceling our appearance on the panel, as if Pam and I are afraid of Jeff Gannon.

Putting aside the fact that Pam and I had agreed months ago to appear with Gannon, so there obviously wasn't any fear on our parts, I do have to admit I was nervous about one thing.

Whether Jeff would sock me with a bill for $200 after the debate was over.

(PS Pam dropped a couple of hundred bucks on her plane ticket to Philly. She tells me she's gonna go to Philly anyway, even though she's not speaking on the panel anymore. Perhaps some of you could donate a little love to Pam to thank her for her courageous stand.)

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