The [Tuesday] Papers
In a curious turn of events, it is now Rick Bayless who owes Lynn Sweet an apology.
Last night on Chicago Tonight, Bayless accused Sweet - though he didn't mention her by name - of simply making up her since-corrected story of Bayless's tweeting about the White House state dinner he recently prepared.
Unless there is evidence to the contrary, it appears that Sweet simply made a mistake. It happens.
It isn't the first time Bayless has leveled the charge.
"Lynn Sweet @ Sun-Times made up this very offensive story," he tweeted after the original story appeared.
If Sweet "made up" the story, she ought to be fired. Otherwise, the Sun-Times ought to tell Bayless to shut his trap.
In fact, Bayless's reaction makes me wonder whether he doth protest too much. After all, he would be the one with a motive to make nicey-nice to the White House.
And Sweet's apology, curiously, seems limited to the notion that he was tweeting from the White House kitchen - as if that'd be a crime in the celebrity-soaked, faux-transparent Obama administration - when he was apparently tweeting from his hotel room instead.
"Bayless at Gapers Block said he did not send his tweets from the White House kitchen," Sweet wrote in her correction. "Bayless also sent a tweet out about my post. To clarify: Bayless tweeted about the upcoming dinner and about the White House kitchen, but not from the White House kitchen. My apology."
Which still leaves open the question of whether the White House muzzled him, perhaps chastened by the Desiree Rogers Experience.
After all, Sweet wrote in her original report that "The White House press operation wanted to downplay the glamor aspect of the state dinner; these are tough economic times.
"Bayless talked about the dinner in interviews - he gave up a few facts about what he may be cooking - his Oaxacan mole, for example. 'He's been blabbing,' wrote the Washington Examiner 'Yeas and Nays' column. 'He's done interviews with the New York Times and NPR, revealing bits and pieces of the menu' . . .
"But after his Tuesday Tweet early in the morning, Bayless was shut down on Twitter.
"Last year, when the Obamas entertained the prime minister of India, Manmohan Singh, the guest chef, Marcus Samuelsson, a big name in the cooking world, was neither seen nor heard from and asked not to give interviews about the dinner in advance. He was not allowed to appear at the press preview of the dinner.
"The White House at first was keen on limiting reporting opportunities from the state dinner, but Tuesday eased up on a restrictions . . . At first, the White House was not planning any advance event to preview the dinner."
The Obama administration clearly wanted to pretend the state dinner wasn't happening.
So you can see how they might have told Bayless to zip it. That's the part of the story that Sweet hasn't seen fit to correct. I assume she stands by it. If not, she needs to be clearer about the extent of her correction. She may have simply made some unfortunate leaps of logic. That's different than making something up. And if she does stand by the rest of her report, she and the Sun-Times need to make that clear, too.
Perhaps most unfortunate in all the hullaballo is Time Out Chicago proclaiming "And never, ever forget: He's Rick Bayless, bitch!"
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Posted on May 25, 2010
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