Ah, the irony of it all. The administration of George W. Bush, easily the most homophobic president of modern times, deployed a homosexual escort and promoter of gay life styles as one of its “propaganda as journalism” shills.

James Dale Guckert, aka Jeff Gannon, infiltrated the White House press corps as a so-called journalist working for two GOP-backed web sites. He quit after some left-wing blogs outed him but – like most Washington scandals – the story gets juicier.

The bloggers revealed Guckert had registered a number of web site domain names with gay themes, including hotmilitarystud.com. Guckert admitted registering the names but claimed he never put up any web sites with gay themes.

Like so many who shill for Bush’s White House, Guckert is a liar.

Paul Leddy, a California Web designer, says Guckert contacted him in an America Online chat room in 1999 and contracted with him to create a gay escort web site, paying $200, plus $50 in monthly maintenance fees. Checks to pay the fees came from Bedrock Corp., a company also listed as the owner of Guckert’s blog, jeffgannon.com. Leddy says Gannon submitted nude photos of himself for posting on the site.

Another of Guckert’s web sites offered his services as a male escort for $200 an hour or $1200 a night. Guckert described himself as “military, muscular, masculine and discrete.” (His misspelling, not ours).

Guckert is also a tax scofflaw. Delaware court records show he failed to pay more than $20,700 in personal income tax from 1991 through 1994.

Bush’s minions saw Guckert as a valuable commodity, granting him access to classified documents, including the infamous memo that outed Ambassador (and Bush critic) Joseph Wilson’s wife, Valerie Palme, as a CIA operative. House Democrats are demanding a special investigator into that stunt.

Still unanswered is how Guckert became a poster child for an administration that preaches homosexuality is a sin and threatens the wrath of God on anyone who advocates gay lifestyles. We thought the holy rollers who have taken over the Republican Party only dropped to their knees in prayer.

Yet Guckert’s sexual preferences are not the story here (they just make it more interesting). Real concerns should be raised over increasing revelations on how the Bush administration uses paid propagandists disguised as journalists. From video press releases dressed up to look like real news stories to hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to right-wing columnists to write favorable opinion pieces about the administration, the Bush administration proves it will stop at nothing to mislead the American public.

We once thought it impossible that anyone could top Bill Clinton’s ability to look the American public in the eye and lie like hell but Dubya makes Bubba look like a bumbling frat boy.

Bush lied to Congress, our allies and the American people about why we needed to invade Iraq. He lied again to Congress and the country about the true cost of his politically-motivated Medicare prescription plan. He lies repeatedly about when the Social Security system will run out of money. Recently disclosed audio tapes shows he lied (through omission) about his past drug use.

And, to promote his lies, Bush’s administration and backers deploy liars like James Guckert to pose, under an assumed name, as a journalist.

And were these political hacks are so desperate to find a shill they didn’t even bother to check his background?

Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Perhaps Bush, like other public homophobes, decries the gay life because of yet another secret in his sordid past. Maybe booze and cocaine wasn’t the only thing our President stuffed into an available orifice.