George Skelton on Civil Discourse and Campaigns and the Turkeys Who Run Them


FBLA confesses to being a less-than-stellar Bear State citizen. We don’t pay enough attention to Sacramento and those who cover it. George Skelton, the LA Times’ veteran reporter, writes in his Capitol Journal column today about how close politicians and reporters used to be.

While covering Ronald Reagan’s running against Pat Brown for governor, 40 years ago, Skelton and others rode with the candidates in their plane. He writes:

Reagan’s aircraft was especially colorful: a bucking, WW II-vintage, twin-engine DC-3 lent by a San Joaquin Valley turkey farmer who used it for hauling his birds. Reporters dubbed it “The Turkey Bird.” Whenever it landed, the passengers–including Reagan, sitting in the front row–would make “gobble, gobble” noises.

Today, PETA would protest that turkeys are humilitated by this invasion of their privacy.

Radio talk-show hosts would encourage callers to make turkey sounds.

Stephen Colbert would do a show dressed in a turkey suit.

Cable news would announce a five-state search for a missing blond turkey.

And a turkey would issue a statement that he was mis-interpreted.