Friday, November 24, 2006

PLASTIC TURKEY MYTH

"By the end of the Bush presidency, there will be as many Lefties believing in the plastic turkey as there are that believe that Islam is a religion of peace."

Bush Serving FoodIn 2003, President Bush visited the troops in Iraq in a surprise Thanksgiving dinner tour. He was shown with the turkey, and morale was definitely boosted. The troops tend to love President Bush, especially those who served when the previous administration was in power. The difference in attitude toward the military was stark and many remember and appreciate it.

One of the memes that went around at the time was that the turkey President Bush was photographed with was fake. That it was plastic, a faux turkey. Given the plastic age we live in and the astonishingly staged and fake photo ops that the Clinton administration engaged in, this always struck me as an odd point to criticize anyone on. The truth is, the turkey wasn't plastic, it was quite real and quite edible - the troops ate it, in fact.

Even the New York Times admitted the turkey was real, in 2004:
An article last Sunday about surprises in politics referred incorrectly to the turkey carried by President Bush during his unannounced visit to American troops in Baghdad over Thanksgiving. It was real, not fake.
To a point, I understand their ignorance about the bird, the NYT ran a big story about the turkey being plastic, then did a correction buried in their paper about it being real. Few people find, let alone read the corrections, so false stories and misleading information lives on, and papers like the Times don't have the honor or courage to clarify the situation.

Over the years, Tim Blair has been all over this story, every time he sees someone mention the myth, such as John Kerry, Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed, ABC Correspondant Nick Grimm, outhern Illinois University physiology instructor Mick Youther, Australian Greens member of Parliament Michael Organ, CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, bloggers Daniel Patrick Welch and Marc Perkel, media monitor Yamin Zakaria, The Nation's Naomi Klein, Slate's William Satelan, SF Chronicle's Mark Morford, New York Post columnist Matt Taibi... the list goes on and on.

Why this detail? What difference would it make if the president posed with a fake turkey for a photo op, does that somehow negate his trip to Iraq? Would the troops then hate him? What about this detail fascinates people so much that they won't take the slightest effort to research and understand the truth about this issue?

Now there's a column out at the Capitol Times by David Benjamin, where the plastic turkey appears again. He writes of five fake events in the Bush administration, and number five?
Plastic Turkey for the Troops. On the first Thanksgiving of the Iraq war, Dubya surprised the troops with a turkey dinner. Except, well, the turkey, which photographed beautifully, was fake. And Dubya didn’t actually hang around for dinner. Nice uniform, though.
Here were the other four:
  1. "Mission Accomplished"
  2. "The Jackson Square Light Show"
  3. The failed attempt to steal the 2000 Election by Al Gore
  4. "Dubya's Ground Zero Grandstand Play"
More on those in a minute. First, Tim Blair's commenters, after he noted yet another person who really ought to know better repeated the myth:
All five events are entirely defensible and presidential in this media age. Pseudo-events only to a pseudo-intellectual.

“The Life and Times of the Last Kid Picked”? The title of his book sounds like a memoir.
-by JDB


It’s a shame we can’t arrest a “professional journalist” for fraud when they write something that’s so easily shown to be false.

If a stockbroker said the same sort of thing about their offerings as many “pro” reporters did about their subjects, they’d be up on federal securities charges.
-by cirby

And Dubya didn’t actually hang around for dinner.
No, he just manned the chow line and served food to the troops. The President of the United States slingin’ hash for the grunts.

I guess Benjamin missed the pictures.
-by Dave S.

"No, he just manned the chow line and served food to the troops. The President of the United States slingin’ hash for the grunts."
Now while that was a pure photo op, I’d just like to point out the sheer significance of said foto op for any trolls or unbelievers nearby.

The man universally recognised as the ‘Leader of the Free World’ or ‘The Most Powerful Man on Earth’ (apologies to Rove McManus The Dark Lord Karl Rove), is serving up food to his ‘footsoldiers’ in the same fashion as the folks who normally do this ‘lowly’job. (No-one who is truely hungry thinks they’re less important than the shooters, but thats another story...)

However, can anyone recall Joe Stalin, or Chairman Mao, or Ho Chi Minh, or even Mick Gorbachev commiting a (remotely) comparable act?

RE: #5, Can anyone link me to something that proves Sen. J. McArthy was right more often that the KGB? I’ve heard Joe had about a 75% sucess rate, whereas the KGB was about 55% with spotting spies…
-by the Wizard of WOZ


Time for glance down memory lane. There’ve been more plastic turkey discussions, analyses, poems, & lyrics, here than can be reasonably linked to, though, by using previous efforts, one can try. Certainly all the following is worth sending to David Benjamin.

Turkey was not plastic:
“The Bird Was Perfect But Not For Dinner,” Washington Post, Dec. 3, 2003, at (note changed URL) http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A33090-2003Dec3
Dec. 4, 2003 7:07AM entry at Instapundit http://www.instapundit.com/archives/012856.php

Photos of Bush serving, yes, edible turkey from behind counter to troops in Baghdad:
Visual II, The Corner, National Review, Dec. 6, 2003, 9:15 AM
Touching Turkey, The Corner, National Review, Dec. 6, 2003, 9:12 AM

Important events around that time, which many media critters love to obscure with their plastic-turkey myth and decorative-turkey consolation hysteria:
Nov. 19, 2003 - Bush’s “Three Pillars” speech at Whitehall Palace in London.
Nov. 27, 2003 - Bush & Condi Rice fly into Baghdad to visit the troops and reassure Iraqis of US resolve.
Dec. 5, 2003 - Anti-terrorism march in Baghdad, “Iraqis march in salute to U.S.,” Washington Times, Dec. 6, 2003.
Dec. 10, 2003 - Anti-terrorism marches in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, “Thousands of Iraqis call for end to violence,” Maureen Fan, Knight Ridder via the Seattle Times, Dec. 11, 2003; also, “Iraqis for the ‘Occupation,’” Walid Phares, FrontPageMagazine.com, Dec. 11, 2003.
Dec. 13, 2003 - Capture of Saddam Hussein.

The plastic turkey myth has shown considerable persistence, and, at Tim Blair’s sites, its debunking has correspondingly become a long-lasting vein of humor.
Dec. 5, 2003 - GOBBLE GOBBLE
- WHO’S THE TURKEY NOW?
- BUT DID SHE HOLD A DECORATIVE TURKEY?
Dec. 6, 2003 - THE GUARDIAN’S PLASTIC TURKEY
Dec. 10, 2003 - SHE DON’T GET NO RESPECT
Dec. 13, 2003 - ALAN RAMSEY, KING TURKEY
Dec. 14, 2003 - HISTORIC MOMENT
Dec. 16, 2003 - SURE, WE’VE CAUGHT SADDAM ... BUT PLASTIC TURKEY!
Dec. 21, 2003 - G.O.B.B.L.E. MEMBERSHIP INCREASES
Dec. 25, 2003 - IT’S ALL ABOUT TURKEYS
Dec. 28, 2003 - REALISM AND SAUL LANDAU
BONUS GOBBLEFEST:
March 10, 2004 - JOHN F(AKE) KERRY

Plastic Turkey Tales Addicts’ Corner: At each month’s archive page, do a simple browser search on the word “turkey” to find the relevant threads. It is unfortunate that not all further articles linked from within those threads remain. The blog Deeds for instance is gone.

Dec. 2003 http://timblair.spleenville.com/archives/2003_12.php (the Unforgettable Month)
Jan. 2004 http://timblair.spleenville.com/archives/2004_01.php
Feb. 2004 http://timblair.spleenville.com/archives/2004_02.php
Mar. 2004 http://timblair.spleenville.com/archives/2004_03.php
Apr. 2004 http://timblair.spleenville.com/archives/2004_04.php
Etc.
-by ForNow
The only plastic turkey in 2003 was John Kerry.

Now let us peek at these other "fake moments" David Benjamin lists in his Pseudo Events:
1. "Mission Accomplished." Ah, the USS Abraham Lincoln. The glorious landing. The flight suit. The boyish smirk. The banner. The declaration of triumph in Iraq, with only 2,500 more American kids (give or take a thousand) left to kill. Brilliant! Dazzling! Mwah!
This is a common talking point of the left, "He said mission accomplished and they're still dying over there! It's longer than WW2!!!"Indeed it has been longer than the battle portion of WW2. Not longer than the occupation, however, which was nine years after the war was declared over. After the mission to defeat the Axis was declared accomplished. Those of you with some historical understanding will see what I'm getting at here.

The mission was to defeat Saddam Hussein and Iraq's army, to win the war and occupy the country. Then the next mission started: calm the country down and help Iraq build a stable democracy for its self. We're still working on that, and by WW2's calendar we have about 5 years to go before we've been there too long.

The real reason the Mission Accomplished scene annoys the left? Bush looked incredibly presidential, triumphant, and it was an incredibly potent image. They had to tear it down so it wouldn't linger and inspire.
2. The Jackson Square Light Show. Three days late (again), Dubya coptered into the Big Easy. Stagehands set up a thrilling array of klieg lights, powered with giant generators. Dubya knitted his brow, clenched his fist, made a speech and blew town. Then the stagehands packed up the lights and took away the generators. Rescue teams went back to hunting for dead bodies in the dark.
First, the light given by the Kliegs was only for the small area President Bush was at, and they were set up by the press for that event. If anyone should be yelled at for the lack of lights, point at the press, and at the Governor of Louisiana and the Mayor of New Orleans for not doing what they should have years before the hurricane hit, not to mention the two-day period before it hit. The President didn't show up for a few days, and the cries were "where is he?? Doesn't he care??" When he shows up the cries become "He only showed up, doesn't he care??"

This was quite simply because it never was about President Bush caring or not, it was about how much damage they could cause him in the press. That incident in American history was spectacular for the lies, unsubstantiated, false rumors reported, and shoddy work by the press, not to mention outright deliberate effort to make the administration look bad.
3. Bush v. Gore. The perfect TV pseudo-event. Talking heads suffered a case of the collective vapors while reading the Supreme Court decision that handed the 2000 election to George W. Bush. You could cut the suspense with a knife, but only if you neglected to note that all the justices on Dubya's side (except, of course, for William Rehnquist, proud product of Tricky Dick) had been appointed by administrations in which Bush's father was president or vice president.
Yes, I can see why when Al Gore was carrying his concession speech to give, then changed his mind and ran to the Florida Supreme Court to unconstitutionally extend the time for counting and to overturn the Secretary of State's final statement on the election. The Supreme Court of the US pointed out that the Constitution plainly gives the power to decide how elections are conducted and timed to the state legislatures, and the Secretary of State was simply obeying the laws set down by previous, Democratic legislators.

Pseudo event? Yes, Gore's attempt to steal the election by using the courts was. The allegations of ballot problems was. The deliberate attempt to make Florida voters look like morons was.
4. Dubya's Ground Zero Grandstand Play. Bush got years of media mileage for showing up at ground zero in New York three days late. Dressed like a manly man and yelling through a megaphone as firefighters cheered and cops wept, Bush promised to hunt down Osama bin Laden and avenge this outrage. Since then, Bush has exploited the victims of Sept. 11, cut funding for first responders (firefighters and cops) and, um ... Osama? Still out there.
Yeah I can see why this would upset leftists like Mr Benjamin: he looked incredibly capable and like a very great leader, he was exactly the man we needed, he said exactly what needed to be said, and it was yet another incredibly iconic moment they desperately need to tear down lest it be a positive memory and part of the national psyche about a hated Republican.

President Bush didn't cut funding for any responders, those are not only state-funded (and unconstitutional for the federal government to spend money on), but legislative, not presidential power. That's like blaming a doctor for the lights flickering in the hospital. Osama Bin Laden is still out there? If he's alive yes. Need I remind people of the mafia boss who eluded capture on the small island of Sicily for over 2 decades? When President Bush stood up and made that speech, he was talking to all terrorists of global reach, all the previously-neglected monsters and murderers and promising we'd take the fight to them, that we'd deal with them.

Of all the scenes here, this is the one the modern left needs to attack most. The memory of that day and the response it requires and demands is what they most need to ignore, forget, and demolish. People who remember it and people who think about it remember what the war on terror is about and why we're fighting. For the radical left and the anti-war isolationist right, that simply must be blotted out.

*UPDATE: The New York Times does not hold its corrections online, so the link goes to the most recent correction page rather than the original. The quoted material is what they posted on that page before updating for newer corrections.

**UPDATE: Tim Blair found the correction online. He also links this correction at the bottom of moonbat knucklehead Joel Stein's article.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

9/11 Orchestrated by Bush, The Turkey was plastic and we have never been to the moon. Known Facts