Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

THE NATION

Twists, Turns of Presidential Pretzel Crisis

Media: Any news agency worth its salt knows how to separate fact from fiction in Bush caper. The lowdown on a 'savory snack.'

January 20, 2002|ROB HIAASEN | BALTIMORE SUN

During a national esophageal crisis, it's more important than ever to present the facts and work to dispel rumors:

TRUE: President Bush, 55, fainted briefly last Sunday in the White House after choking on a pretzel. The president, who was watching the Baltimore Ravens-Miami Dolphins football wild card playoff game, quickly recovered and was reportedly in fine health except for a scrape and bruise on his face that came from his fall from the couch.

FALSE: The Dolphins' doddering offense caused the president's choking and subsequent loss of consciousness.

TRUE: The president apparently experienced a "vasovagal syncope" episode, whereby his coughing stimulated a nerve that triggered a temporary decrease in his heart rate.

FALSE: Fox News war correspondent Geraldo Rivera said the Lord's Prayer over the "hallowed ground" where the president conked his head, as the two presidential dogs looked on.

TRUE: Headlines from international newspapers came down in buckets Monday: "Bush in Pretzel Scare" (Scottish Daily Record), "Bush Faints Over Biscuit" (The Mirror), "President Downed By Pretzel" (The Herald Sun), and "Bush Finds Pretzel Hard to Swallow" (Calgary Herald).

FALSE: In the United States, the pretzel is also called a biscuit.

TRUE: Each fall, the Snack Food Assn.--a Virginia-based trade group--sponsors its "exciting and fantastic" annual pretzel seminar. Last November, in York, Pa., the 2001 Pretzel Seminar attracted more than 80 attendees and featured a tour of Stauffer's C-P Converters. "The 31 tabletop exhibits at the Wednesday afternoon lunch did a brisk business," reported the association's newsletter, the "Snack Report."

FALSE: At last year's pretzel seminar, Britney Spears debuted her new song, "I'm a Slave 4 U." Spears then joined the other attendees for a round of golf at the Heritage Hills Golf Resort. Spears recorded a par-72 after members of her foursome agreed among themselves to fabricate her score in hopes of prolonging her first visit to York, Pa.

TRUE: Pretzel sales garner roughly 5% of the $20.69 billion "savory snack" market in the United States, according to the Snack Food Assn. Savory snacks include popcorn (not theater popcorn), potato chips, tortilla snacks and meat snacks.

FALSE: "Beef Jerky" pretzels are a leading savory snack.

TRUE: Popular forms of pretzels include: twist, mini, sticks, rods, nuggets, thin, knots, sourdough and filled.

FALSE: Created in A.D. 610, the first known pretzels were used to choke especially cranky monks in southern France.

TRUE: Snack historians say pretzels were created in 1800 by monks who spent long hours forming chunks of dough in the shape of a person's hand while praying.

FALSE: Vice President Dick Cheney, who watched the Ravens-Dolphins game from an undisclosed location, was ordered by the Secret Service to immediately "put down" his Doritos and cease watching the second half.

TRUE: "We're glad the president enjoys savory snacks," said Ann Wilkes, spokeswoman for the Snack Food Assn.

"We're grateful the president is OK, but choking can happen with any solid food."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|