It was laying in the driveway wrapped in plastic. It had been there a while, thawing now in the solar oven of a 48-degree Thanksgiving Day morning, Someone in a delivery truck had plopped it there in darkness at 39 degrees.
I was not happy to have to carry it into the house. It weighed a lot. Some things you have to do. After all, it was our Thanksgiving Day paper turkey.
I immediately hauled it to the bathroom scales. It tipped in at 4.7 pounds. It was probably the largest paper turkey I had ever seen.
I pulled out my Canon and shot a photo of it. Records these days need proof. Then I carved off the fat.
The fat section was a confusion of bright colors. It had exclamation points and $ signs. A butcher would call this the ads section. I weighed it too. Wow, 3.5 pounds. That left 1.2 pounds for the news section, a chunk of meat varying day to day in nutritional content but still, as any self-respecting journalist would say, it is the white meat of the turkey. Its most important part.
The turkey was created by a well-known company in these parts, The Arizona Republic. It thinks so highly of itself that the “T” is always capitalized.
The sad thing was this turkey’s news section looked much like the ads section.
Page One, the section with the most important news, was plastered behind something I just learned is called a spadia. It is an ad section that wraps half way across Page One. The spadia was designed to promote Fry’s Food Stores. One of the most prominent ads was for a package of Lay’s Potato Chips for $1.77 “with card.”
And Page One itself looked much like an ad. The “news” headline of the day was “the Big Thanksgiving Issue.” Pasted near the top was an ad for Kohl’s Black Friday $10 off ad — with a purchase of $25 of more.
You would have to look really hard to find the only legitimate news story on Page One, “Hotel Owned by Phoenix has lost $28M since 2008.” It was a small story hidden at the bottom of the page.
If you were to look at “the” Arizona Republic turkey this morning you would think that making money was by far the most important thing this newspaper does. And you would be right.
Publishers of much better newspapers ala the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times would no doubt hold their nose and say, “What a travesty!”
Tomorrow will be a black Friday indeed.