Chef Rick Bayless Claims Lynn Sweet ‘Made Up’ Story About White House Tweets
The Chicago Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet reported, yesterday, that celebrity restaurateur and state dinner guest chef Rick Bayless was circumventing White House directives by Twittering from the White House kitchen. Overnight, Bayless took major exception with Sweet’s story, calling it “offensive” and saying she “made (it) up.” (h/t Billie Hill)
Here’s part of Sweet’s report:
While the White House press operation is trying to downplay the glamour aspect of the Wednesday State Dinner honoring Mexican President Felipe Calderon and his wife, Margarita Zavala and limit coverage, guest chef Rick Bayless, the Chicago cooking superstar, is so big the White House cannot muzzle him and force him into the background.
Bayless is going around the White House communications team and twittering from the White House kitchen. This is his latest, filed Tuesday morning: “Thanks 2 the 100s of well wishers! Ready 4 day 2 n rather small White House kitchen. Chef was challenged by some ingred,but last arrive 2day”
The White House is, indeed, unusually buttoned-up about details surrounding tonight’s state dinner, and as usual, is keeping the press’ access to a minimum, but Bayless says that the rest of Sweet’s story is a deep dish of lies. From his Twitter feed last night:
When asked where he was when he made the tweets cited in Sweet’s article, he replied, “In my hotel!”
Bayless had only sent three tweets since arriving in DC, and when viewed in sequence, it’s easy to see how it could look like he hopped right onto Twitter and stayed there as he reached the White House. Only the time stamps give it away:
Just arrived in DC. Headed to the White House kitchens. I have to say: I’m a little nervous … 2:59 PM May 17th via Twittelator Thanks 2 the 100s of well wishers! Ready 4 day 2 n rather small White House kitchen.Chef was challenged by some ingred,but last arrive 2day Tue 18 May 07:43 via Twittelator
The thing about Twitter time stamps is that, until they’re more than 24 hours old, they are listed in terms of how many minutes/hours ago they were sent, which makes reading the timeline that much more difficult.
Although Lynn didn’t cite any, it is possible she had a source other than Bayless’ Twitter feed. She has a longstanding relationship with many of the White House press staff, including Robert Gibbs. I’ve reached out to Lynn, and to the White House, but haven’t heard back yet.
Update: Lynn published an updated version on her blog, with a clarification:
Clarification: Bayless at Gapers Block said he did not send his tweets from the White House kitchen. 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.
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