Definitions

Gaggle

Gaggle

[gag-uhl]
A gaggle is a term of venery for a flock of geese that isn't in flight; in flight, the group can be called a skein.

In military slang, a gaggle is an unorganized group doing nothing. In aviation, it is a large, loosely organized tactical formation of aircraft.

In colloquial Western Canadian English, a gaggle is an adjective describing a largely disorganized group of Jildos (another colloquial adjective describing a woman that tends to be annoying and lacking in her own individual opinions) putting forth discontent among all related fellows.

In the field of systems biology, The Gaggle is an open source software framework for exchanging data between independently developed software tools and databases to enable interactive exploration of data.

Press gaggle

A "press gaggle" (as distinct from a press conference or press briefing) is the nickname given to an informal briefing by the White House Press Secretary which (as used by press secretaries for the George W. Bush administration) is on the record, but disallows videography.  The term can also be used to refer to the informal interactions between the press and the press secretary that occur before a videotaped press briefing.

One former member of the White House Press Corps provided the following historical context:

"Gaggles" historically refer to informal briefings the press secretary conducts with the press pool rather than the entire press corps....they were more or less off the record, and their purpose was mostly to exchange information - the president's schedule and briefing schedule, from the administration side; heads-up on likely topics or early comment on pressing issues, from the news side....When the President traveled, sometimes the press secretary would hold a gaggle with the press pool that travels on Air Force One - not every time, but sometimes, and always informally.

In contrast, Ari [i.e. Ari Fleischer] does a gaggle on the plane every time the President goes out of town, and a transcript is made available for press corps members who weren't on the plane. These mid-air mini-briefings are the "gaggles" you can find transcripts of on the White House website.

The nickname is thought to stem from the idea that these more freewheeling press sessions, where the talk is much more rapid and free-form, are like a "gaggle of geese" honking. For example, the blog maintained by Newsweek magazine's political reporters is called The Gaggle; on their main page, their definition for "gaggle" when used to refer to the Washington, D.C. press, is "a flock of reporters pecking at a politician.

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