Old Wives' Tales
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Toxin du jour
Claim: Photograph shows Senator John Kerry eating alone in a mess hall after being snubbed by U.S. troops in Iraq.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2006]
Origins: In mid-December 2006, Senator John Kerry undertook
The photograph reproduced above showing Senator Kerry in a mess hall on
This image doesn't capture the senator eating alone due to his being snubbed by U.S. troops, however. First of all, he isn't eating alone. (He's obviously talking to people who are sitting to his left just outside the frame of photograph.) Moreover, Kerry staffer Frank Lowenstein (who said he was present when the photo was snapped) reported that the picture wasn't taken during an "eat with the troops" event, but rather during an off-the-record breakfast discussion with newspaper reporters for which the small group deliberately sought out an empty table so they could converse in private:
I was there when the photo was taken. I traveled withLater reports indicated that Lowenstein's description was a little bit off: The man sitting across from Kerry in the photo is not Marc Santora but Mark Danner, another reporter from New York who accompanied Santora on the trip to Iraq:
Snubbed? Alone? Hardly. Sen. Kerry isn't eating alone. In fact that photo is at an off the record breakfast meeting Senator Kerry conducted early Sunday morning with the very real Marc Santora of the New York Times Baghdad bureau and his younger colleague from the newspaper.
The man shown in the green shirt across from
Additionally, Senator Kerry spent nearly a day and half (out of two days in Iraq) outside of the Green Zone because he felt strongly that he wanted to hear from troops on the front lines. On Saturday morning, he greeted
Danner confirmed to me that he's the guy with his back to the camera, saying his jacket and the back of his head looked the same as in the photo. He added that his position in relation to Kerry was the same as the photo showed. And here's what Danner had to say to me about the empty seats: "If there were empty seats it's because we sought them out. We wanted an empty table so we could talk. It's that simple."Last updated: 10 January 2007
Told that the Kerry people had confirmed that the meeting was an off-the-record talk with reporters, Danner replied: "The discussion was off the record, but given the fact that the Kerry people have confirmed it, I suppose it's all right if I confirm it."
"Santora was to my right," Danner also said. "It was very early in the morning at about 8:30, in the green zone. The reason that people weren't sitting directly around us was that we were having a private conversation." Asked if the troops showed animosity to Kerry, Danner said: "Not in any way that I noticed. A number of soldiers came up and asked to have their photograph taken with him."
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