John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


This Is How Rumors Get Started

Posted on September 23, 2009

This Is How Rumors Get Started


            I was in my dentist’s chair when I got a call from a friend of mine who also happens to be a prominent lobbyist in town.  “When you wrote that thing about Bobby Flay,” he said as my dentist waited patiently, “that was a joke, right.”


            Yes, it was a gag, I told him.  Satire.  I made it up.


            “Well, your piece has gotten picked up on the wire.  I got a call from a client who heard from somebody on the Hill that the President is going to do five television shows and talk about how people need to eat healthier.  They also heard that he might bring up the food/soda tax.”


            I laughed.  This is how rumors get started, I thought to myself.  And I started this rumor.


            In one sense, this episode shows how underused and misunderstood the satire genre is.  I thought my little essay which talked about how the President was going to do a cook-off with Bobby Flay at the White House, and how he was going to join four other well-known chefs on the Food Network, while refusing to appear on Paula Dean’s show, was so transparently a gag, that it didn’t need a disclaimer.  I thought the idea of the President making a mean “arugula risotto” was a dead give-away.


            But the more I thought about it, the more it came clear to me that nothing this President does, especially when it comes to appearing on television, is implausible.  It is altogether credible to think that the President would spend two days cooking on the Food Network, because, well, he has hit pretty much every cable outlet. 


            He has been on ESPN, on Univision, on CNN.  And I am certain that this is just the beginning.  I think we may see him on A&E, on the History Channel, on MTV, VH1, BET, MSNBC, and we can bet heavy money that he will be on CNBC, the Discovery Chanel, HBO, and many other cable networks before he is done.


            I am not certain that the President will be throwing down with Bobby Flay any time soon.  But it is not beyond the realm of the possible.


            In any event I sincerely apologize to anybody who may be angry that they were fooled by my little satire.  One commentator put my post up on her website and strongly commended the President for doing the Food Network shows, and condemned Republicans who may oppose such appearances.


            Sorry to inform you that the whole thing was a joke.  Hope you got a good laugh out of it.

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