HOUSTON (Reuters) - A Texas-based Web site whose conservative
connections touched off a White House media controversy has shut down
"to reevaluate operations," according to a message posted on the site.
A spokeswoman for Talon News said the site closed because its founder,
Bobby Eberle of Pearland, Texas, "can only take so much beating" over
the page's political slant, the Houston Chronicle reported on Friday.
Talon, which could not immediately be reached for comment, came under
fire after its White House reporter, who identified himself as Jeff
Gannon, asked a politically loaded question at a White House press
conference and was accused by critics of being used by the Bush
administration to spread conservative propaganda.
Since then, Gannon, whose real name is James Guckert, has been linked
to gay porn Web sites and prostitution, and photos of him naked have
circulated on the Web.
Questions have been raised about how he was able to get coveted White
House press credentials working for a little-known organization and
working under a fake name, but the White House has denied giving him
Talon News founder Eberle is a Republican who has another Web site
called GOPUSA.com, which touts the Republican Party and conservative
Talon News said in its message that the Web site would be redesigned
and "a top-to-bottom review of staff and volunteer contributors" would
"The recent public focus on Talon News, while much of it malicious,
has indeed brought some constructive elements to the surface," the
Spokeswoman Jennifer Ohman was quoted by the Chronicle as saying the
controversy had drawn strong criticism from Web site visitors.
"The attention by and large was negative. If anything it seemed to
fuel the fire," she said.
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