A conservative writer who penned praise-filled prose about President Bush and his policies and accepted complimentary tickets to the "Heroes, Red, White and Blue" inaugural ball, and an array of inauguration-related memorabilia is denying any wrongdoing. Deanna Swift says that by accepting the gifts, she may have "opened the door for liberal media attacks" on her popular conservative blog.
Swift denies that she has become a mouthpiece for the Bush administration
By Howard Ogilvie, Swift Report Ombudsman
WASHINGTON, DC—Conservative journalist and commentator Deanna Swift, the Houston-based editor of the Swift Report and a frequent contributor to its pages, denies that she did anything wrong by accepting complimentary tickets to the "Heroes, Red, White and Blue" inaugural ball and one of three candlelight dinners, along with an array of inauguration-related memorabilia.
In a letter sent to Swift Report executive editor Todd Fox in Los Angeles, Ms. Swift said that while she has done nothing wrong, accepting gifts from the White House may have compromised the Swift Report's ability to circumvent the liberal media filter. "From the day we went live, our goal has been clear: to get the president's goals for our country past the media filter and right to the American people. But I fear that by accepting these gifts, I may have created the appearance of impropriety, and opened the door for liberal media attacks on the Swift Report." (Click thumbnail, left, to enlarge view of letter.)
Plugging the president
In recent months, Ms. Swift has reported favorably on a number of controversial White House initiatives, including a word of mouth marketing plan in which chatty seniors plug partial Social Security privatization among their friends, neighbors and relations, and a product placement plan that would allow key administration figures to appear alongside corporate brands in return for hefty corporate donations to the Federal Treasury.
At an editorial meeting late Sunday, Mr. Fox announced that he was accepting Ms. Swift's apology and said he has complete faith in her ability to report on the Bush administration and its policies. "This is basically a function of growing pains," said Fox. "Deanna accepted gifts and hey that doesn't look good, but can she still deliver impartial and evenhanded reporting? Two snaps up!"
Ms. Swift is expected to file stories from Washington this week on the State of the Union address, and to attend several White House sponsored town-hall style meetings in the south, where Mr. Bush will make the case to African Americans that private retirement accounts will help them as they rarely live long enough to collect benefits from the current Social Security system.
A red face—but no regrets
In an emotional letter of apology, Ms. Swift said that she regrets causing the appearance of wrongdoing, but hopes that the news organization that she helped create can continue to help readers "fight the filter." Mr. Fox has requested that Ms. Swift immediately return to the White House all of the inaugural memorabilia she received, including a crystal ice bucket, etched with the presidential seal, Bush license plates, a decorative inaugural afghan and an inaugural money clip.
"During the past few months, the Swift Report has shone a bright light of praise and recognition on the Bush administration and its policies," said Mr. Fox. "It is past time we cast the same unflattering fluorescence on ourselves. Let's face it: Deanna's enthusiasm for the topics she covers, from Social Security privatization to homeschooling and torture, is what attracts a growing body of readers to her work. We're ready to put this unfortunate episode behind us and move on."
The Swift Report was created in November by Swift and Fox. They are part of a growing movement of conservative journalists that spends its days chronicling abuses by the liberal media. The Swift Report has no relationship to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.