July 04, 2004


Our beloved bird of legend finally makes it into the pages of the New York Times, courtesy of Richard L. Berke and the NYT's expert fact-checkers:

There are also the manufactured surprises, like Mr. Bush's cloak-and-dagger Thanksgiving trip to Baghdad, which drew praise even from Democrats. (The public relations bonanza fizzled after the press reported that Mr. Bush had posed with a mouth-watering - but fake - turkey.)

Will this bird fly all the way to next Thanksgiving?

Posted by Tim Blair at July 4, 2004 07:38 PM

I love that "don't forget" in the article when they mention Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000. How come they never offer any helpful reminders that George Bush won the electoral vote?

Posted by: timks at July 4, 2004 at 07:52 PM

Exactly. We all know who got the most votes. But how many times has it been mentioned that Bush won the most States? (40, if I recall correctly)...

Posted by: Richard at July 4, 2004 at 08:36 PM

I think as a GOP handicap we should let the Demos get in if they can win either the electoral or popular vote. If they keep bringing up fake turkeys and Halliburton they obviously need the help.

Posted by: Tommy Shanks at July 4, 2004 at 08:42 PM

And now its on your blog....

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Posted by: Tim Lambert at July 4, 2004 at 10:20 PM

Careful, you might go over the edge! Republicans are such bad drivers in government:

And how does Mr. Kerry top the suspense-filled plot line of this White House, which regularly negotiates hairpin turns? Just last week, the handover of Iraq happened two days earlier than expected.

That is really bad driving.

Posted by: ilibcc at July 4, 2004 at 10:30 PM


Posted by: Amos at July 4, 2004 at 11:01 PM

Even if it had been plastic wouldn't that make it an essentially true turkey?

Posted by: Paul Zrimsek at July 4, 2004 at 11:38 PM


I thought it was obvious, Bush's visit to Iraq was gutsy and very clever move that was a slap in the face to the terrorist that made them appear utterly impotent (just what the american public needed to see at that time). As well as that, the spontaneous reaction by the troops showed that he has a well spring of good will from decent people willng to put their lives on the line for their country.
At the time, the campaign to make Bush look like some sort of moronic version of Hitler that only a idiot or a monster would support was in full swing, but the reaction by the troops showed that it was O.K to like George.Dubya.

It was such a blow to the Bush haters that all they had left was this pathetic lie about the plastic turkey.


Posted by: John at July 5, 2004 at 12:18 AM

Wasn't plastic ... it was real but 'fancied up' by the cooks for display by the serving line. What was being served had already been carved.

Posted by: bic at July 5, 2004 at 12:36 AM

[OTadminstuff]I'm just testing some script fixes.[/OTadminstuff]

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 5, 2004 at 01:24 AM

John - you've got it exactly right. What amazes me - but I suppose it shouldn't - is that the "media" think nobody notices their lies.

Who was that guy who made the practice of "tell a lie big enough and often enough and people will believe it" famous?

Hmmmm - lemme think - starts with "G"?

Silly me - I thought he was long dead, but it appears he's alive and well and inhabiting the pages and TV screens of the lamestream media around the world. What a bunch of overpaid, pathetic losers.

Posted by: Barbara Skolaut at July 5, 2004 at 01:48 AM

New York Times, July 4, 2004, "Why Political Surprises Rarely Surprise" by Richard L. Berke

"There are also the manufactured surprises, like Mr. Bush's cloak-and-dagger Thanksgiving trip to Baghdad, which drew praise even from Democrats. (The public relations bonanza fizzled after the press reported that Mr. Bush had posed with a mouth-watering - but fake - turkey."

The turkey wasn't fake. "The Bird Was Perfect But Not For Dinner" by Mike Allen, Dec. 4, 2003, Washington Post, at http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A33090-2003Dec3¬Found=true

The press was irresponsibly unfamiliar with the military custom of a decorative platter at important dinners--or dishonestly determined to play such customs down, & eager to make Bush look bad -- too eager. There were also photos in the press of Bush serving out sliced turkey that the soldiers actually ate. Much of the meaning & import of Bush's visit was lost on a sloppy, irresponsible, & ideologically driven press. The press merely assumed the most publicity-driven motive about Bush when they snapped a photo of him holding the decorative turkey. In focusing on the "fake" or "plastic" or whatever interpretation of turkey, they gleefully ignored the real stories. And what was the meaning of his visit?

Bush visited Baghdad, cheered the troops up, & REASSURED Iraqis of the USA’s COMMITMENT & RESOLVE, & fired them up with talk of freedom.

The NEXT DAY in Baghdad, 1,000 Iraqis including children orphaned by the war march against the terrorists & for the Coalition.

“Iraqis march in salute to U.S.”
"From combined dispatches
"BAGHDAD — Up to 1,000 Iraqis, including children orphaned by the war that ousted Saddam Hussein, marched through Baghdad yesterday to denounce guerrilla attacks and show support for U.S.-led occupation forces.
"Five thousand to 10,000 Iraqis tried to send terrorists a cease-and-desist message yesterday from downtown Baghdad in the biggest demonstration against violence to date."

Then, a week or so later, 10,000 to 20,000 march in Baghdad, there were marches elsewhere including Basra, with snippets from W’s speech on some of their signs.

“Thousands of Iraqis call for end to violence” by Maureen Fan, Knight-Ridder via Seattle Times Dec. 11, 2003 at

"Iraqis for the 'Occupation'" by Dr. Walid Phares (Professor of Middle East Studies & Religious Conflict & a Terrorism expert with MSNBC.), FrontPageMagazine.com, December 11, 2003

"Almost 20,000 men and women - twice the number reported by al-Jazeera - marched across central Baghdad, while others repeated the move in different cities of Mesopotamia yesterday."
"Observers drew my attention to the fact that yesterday's march came after another smaller one, which took place the day after the U.S. President visited their city. They also noted that many of the banners were pasted from Bush's speeches to the Arab world last month. I was invited to make a link. Eventually I saw it. The workers, women and students in Iraq didn't mention the name of the Presidential visitor, but they heavily quoted his words. What's the message here? You can read it on the mushrooming underground websites in the region. People want freedom and democracy, even at the hands of aliens (what the Left calls "occupation" and the Iraqis call "liberation")."

A cheap glib press spits on the efforts of the President, the US armed forces, & our allies in the very streets of Iraq. The war against terrorists & WMD proliferators is not a highway bill, & the all too conveniently mediocre standards of reporting, verification, & description in the press just won't cut it any more. We need for Dan Okrent to stop defending those standards in his corrections. It is time for the NY Times & others to take their journalistic roles more seriously & professionally, & less ideologically.

public@nytimes.com (Dan Okrent, Ombudsman, NY Times)

Posted by: ForNow at July 5, 2004 at 01:53 AM

Tim Lambert, poster of the turkey graphic above, posted the following at a left wing site I refuse to link to because I don't want to encourage the morons:

Dear Mr Whiplash, the NY Times did not say that the turkey was plastic. It was fake in the sense that it was a decoration, rather than food.

Funny guy, Tim Lambert.

Posted by: S Whiplash at July 5, 2004 at 02:02 AM

The fixation on the 'fake' turkey must surely rank as one of the lowest and most pathetic points in the Left's vilification of Iraqi liberation, it combines vindictivness with utter childish irrelevence in a way few of their other attacks have.

And these morons have actual paying jobs as journalists. God help us.

Posted by: Amos at July 5, 2004 at 02:28 AM

At least Tim L. didn't post the ascii goatse man.

Posted by: yobbo at July 5, 2004 at 02:53 AM

I look for it to turn up in the Washington Post next, thereby completing the news cycle of life.

Posted by: Angie Schultz at July 5, 2004 at 03:04 AM

Dear Mr Whiplash,
Allow me to link to the site you refused to link to. Are there any other sites like that? Please be specific in your answers.

Posted by: Tim Lambert at July 5, 2004 at 03:18 AM

In addition to posing with the decorative turkey, Bush also made a point of helping to serve dinner to the troops. Here's a photo you don't often see.

Posted by: Bruce Rheinstein at July 5, 2004 at 03:25 AM

Mr. Lambert, do you have some sort of point you're trying to make? By the way, all you linked to was the main url of the blog (it's Tim Dunlop's blog, by the way), not the post S Whiplash was referring to. (And S, Tim Blair actually links to Dunlop's blog in his side menu and has linked to posts on Dunlop's site many times.)

To get back to the subject, could someone of a leftish nature who thinks that the "fake turkey" thing is a real good anti-Bush zinger explain to me just what the joke is? I'm afraid I find the satire of "Oooh, look, Bush is holding a fake turkey = fakey-fake photo-op = a fake presidency = lies that got us into war = Halliburton! Enron! Oil! Oil! Oillllll!!" to be rather labored. It just looks as if Bush picked up the display turkey and made a joke about it. Even if the turkey had been plastic, I don't see what the big deal would have been. I mean, he really was in Iraq, right? And he saw the troops, are we agreed on that much? And for those of you who actually think he was taunting them with a fake plastic turkey and then made them all eat meatloaf or MREs or something are you really THAT stupid????

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 5, 2004 at 04:13 AM

Well I'm a Guardian reader and therefore know that all americans are fat, ignorant, red neck, hicks, apart from Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore. I think 'Dubya' was holding a plastic turkey in order to fool the americans into believing that Bush had succeeded in getting Turkey to enter Iraq.

Posted by: Ross at July 5, 2004 at 04:27 AM

It's a fictitious turkey held by a fictitious president in the middle of a fictitious war!!

(Note subtle motif.)

Posted by: Brian O'Connell at July 5, 2004 at 04:33 AM

"manufactured surprise"? WTF? Mr. Berke, you cretin, it was in fact a surprise, carefully orchestrated for security reasons. You know, a war going on. You know, missiles shooting down planes, and the like -- I'm sure you've heard of this, it's been in all the papers.

When FDR snuck out of DC for various war-time summits, and employed a bit of deception and cloak-and-dagger to do so, was that somehow a mark against him? Uh, weren't U-boats an "imminent threat" in the Atlantic?

As some have (justifiably) sputtered here already, it's not just the low substantive quality of most current journalism that amazes and offends -- this sort of thing shows an infantile departure from reality and seriousness.

I do recall the aftermath of Bush's B'dad visit last November -- any remaining doubt that the media would continue to pout, bitch, and deliver cheap-shots over the loss of its favorite genocidal despotism were dashed. It's bizarre.

Posted by: IceCold at July 5, 2004 at 05:55 AM

I am so sick of the frickin' "fake" turkey! Sheer laziness on the part of lefty journalists that they must keep repeating the same canard time after time. If their politics didn't turn me off, their complete inability to be creative and original most certainly would.

Posted by: Rebecca at July 5, 2004 at 07:00 AM

I'm just wondering whether we'll see a revival of "Bush made the poor soldiers get up at 5 AM and eat turkey and stuffing for his photo-op!" story. (Remember that one?)


You know the answer to that. The reporter, in a fit of honesty, told you: "The public relations bonanza fizzled after the press reported that Mr. Bush had posed with a mouth-watering - but fake - turkey."

Posted by: jeanne a e devoto at July 5, 2004 at 10:03 AM

They could say this. "Berke did not say 'it was a fake turkey'. He said 'the press reported that Mr. Bush had posed with a mouth-watering - but fake - turkey.' That's undeniably true."

And undeniably deceptive and irresponsible.

Any bets that's how they'll defend it?

Posted by: Jim C. at July 5, 2004 at 10:09 AM

I believe that the NYT staff are all made of plastic. Perhaps this is why those mannequins have a plastic turket fixation; they're hungry.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at July 5, 2004 at 10:57 AM

Oops! I meant "turkey", not "turket".

Posted by: The Real JeffS at July 5, 2004 at 10:58 AM

Wow, you guys are really in a lather. Seriously, why get so upset over the NYT? They're a bunch of transparent libs with waning influence - their glory days are long gone. I occasionally pick up the IHT (i.e. New York Times Global) and have to laugh at the anti-Bush angle of every story. They're relentless. Give the general public the benefit of the doubt in seeing through it. Those that don't recognize the bias are beyond help anyway.

Posted by: Tommy Shanks at July 5, 2004 at 11:50 AM

NY Times choices of stories & angles influence reporting & news coverage throughout the USA. NY Times articles are regularly picked up in thousands of local newspapers. It does matter. One’s own internal mental impression of the credibility of the NY Times is but a tempting solipsism & is of seriously insufficient weight as a gauge of the NY Times’ influence thoughout the USA & the world. Anaesthetizing oneself is no way to move against it. If we don’t stand up & make ourselves heard we will lose.

Posted by: ForNow at July 5, 2004 at 11:54 AM

"Wow, you guys are really in a lather."

New to the blogosphere, eh Mr. Shanks?

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 5, 2004 at 12:19 PM


I read the segment you posted several times and, actually, what they wrote is factually correct because of the way it was written. And, by the way it is written, as a stand alone paragragh, I have to grudgingly say it is good reporting. I don't know the intent of the whole article because I refuse to read the NYT but I have little doubt it reinforces my reasons for refusing.

Expect this bird to fly until Thanksgiving. And expect to see more of this kind of reporting, particularly by the NYT:
-- an event is reported,
-- somebody creates a lie about the event,
-- the lie is duly 'reported'
-- the lie alters or affects the event,
-- the effect of the lie is duly 'reported'
-- the lie becomes a part of the history of the event (and this is where I would place what you posted) and including it is accurate and good reporting.

What is reprehensible, whether reporting or opining, is not bothering to distinguish between what is true and what is false. It is not so much that you cannot trust the report but that you damn well cannot trust the reporter and by extension the publisher. Hence, I do not read the NYT and recommend everyone else do the same.

Posted by: John at July 5, 2004 at 05:24 PM

Ah, yes, the "Al Gore won the national popular vote" myth.

It is policy in many states, including California, to not bother to count absentee ballots unless that margin of victory is smaller than the number of uncounted absentee ballots. Since the by-state margin in many states was larger than the number of abentee ballots cast, they were never counted -- and the cumulative state-by-state number of uncounted votes is larger than the national popular vote margin.

Accordingly, it is completely unknown which presidential candidate won the cast popular vote in the 2000 U.S. election, because there was no complete count of the popular vote.

Posted by: Warmongering Lunatic at July 5, 2004 at 07:14 PM

Ms Harris,
Sorry, this link goes to the post on that commie blog that Monsieur Whiplash wasn't linking to.
My point was that turkeys are funny. The more times you can include the word or refer to turkeys in a post the funnier it is. Trust me.

Posted by: Tim Lambert at July 5, 2004 at 07:45 PM

They are? Then why hasn't one been made into a major cartoon character yet? Roosters, now, roosters are funny birds.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 6, 2004 at 12:25 AM

Richard L. Berke obscures the truth in a way that propagates the fake-turkey myth in some typical NYT ways. Berke’s cleverness about it doesn’t redeem him. Robert L. Berke sits cheek & jowl with the whack jobs & hack shills who have perpetuated this myth, another member sandwiched in among the others, of G.O.B.B.L.E.

* * *

Absentee ballots contained votes not just in the Presidential election but in all kinds of state & local elections. Therefore they all had to be counted. From what I’ve read in the past, all those in California were counted, but just not on the first night.

Combined & compounded effects of voting fraud & other methods may have disguised that the popular vote was even closr than it seemed. (Other methods: as they had done to his father, so the news networks did to GWB. “Forgetting” that polls in the conservative Florida Panhandle close an hour later than others, they reported results in the Florida election such that thousands of would-be Bush voters turned around & drove home. In 2000, first they said Gore won, then they said Bush won.

Posted by: ForNow at July 6, 2004 at 01:36 AM

Warmongering Lunatic......could you provide some links about this policy of not counting absentee ballots? I question your statement.

Many states encourage mail in ballots because people travel or can't get off work, and so vote by mail. That's why I signed up for this years ago. Indeed, the popularity of this service delays the final tallies a few days here in Washington.

Also, failure to count all votes is tantamount to disenfranchisement. Please note the furor over the delays in getting absentee ballots from military personnel deployed to Iraq.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at July 6, 2004 at 11:38 AM