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Bush and the Turkey
Status: CorrectionI received the following email about the photo in the Hoax Photo Database of Pres. Bush holding a "Trophy Turkey" during his 2003 Thanksgiving trip to Iraq:
Naturally wanting to maintain my "reputation for accuracy" I immediately looked into this. The New York Times did indeed print a retraction in 2004:
Unfortunately, what's missing in that retraction is an explanation of what evidence made them change their mind. Who did they interview? What's the source?
I figured someone must have dug deeper into the story and found someone who was there who could attest to the fact that the turkey was real, but all I could find was a lot of conservative sites linking to that one NYT retraction. Though in my search I did come across a Turkey Dinner George Bush doll on Amazon (plastic Bush holding a plastic turkey).
Eventually I took a closer look at the Washington Post article in which Mike Allen (who traveled to Baghdad with Bush on that trip) made the original allegation about the turkey, and that's where I found it:
Allen notes that the turkey was a "decoration," but he also notes that it was "roasted and primped" (i.e. it was a real bird). Apparently a lot of people (including myself and the New York Times) focused on the word "decoration," not "roasted." In fact, I had to read that paragraph several times over before I noticed the word "roasted." Funny how the mind can make us ignore some details and focus on others. Must have been my liberal, anti-Bush bias clouding my judgement.
Anyway, I've now corrected the entry in the hoax photo database. Thanks to the correspondent for correcting that error.
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Just about anybody who has ever eaten in a college cafeteria on a holiday will have observed the same thing. There are the holiday decorations, turkeys or pie or cake or whatever that's on display as you move down the serving line, and then there's the food in the trays in front of you that is pre-cut and ready to go so that serving 2000 people doesn't take a day and a half. How hard is that to understand? The food on display is real food, it's just not meant to be consumed right that second. Its role is to provide the holiday atmosphere and set the mood. It's no more fake than the food in the trays. The food in the trays is just more convenient to serve to a large group.Posted by kcom on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 02:35 PM