This story first hit the
wires early in the month and The World’s Laziest Journalist has been urging me to mention it. So here it
Of course it comes from AFP - l'Agence France-Presse.
What else would you expect?
Republicans dip freedom fries in "W Ketchup", not Heinz
Friday, July 9, 2004 11:54 EDST
The big deal?
WASHINGTON, (AFP) - Americans allergic to the subtle Democratic flavor of Heinz ketchup can now
plunge their "freedom fries" into a 100-percent guaranteed, patriotic alternative: "W Ketchup."
“You don't support
Democrats. Why should your ketchup?" says the W Ketchup Internet site wketchup.com, which promises a totally US-made condiment,
right down to the bottle.
Heinz ketchup is an institution on American dining tables.
But the taste has soured
a little for Republicans because Heinz empire heiress Teresa Heinz-Kerry is married to John Kerry, the Democrat hoping to
unseat George W. Bush -- also known simply as "W" -- on November 2.
W Ketchup insists its initial stands for Washington,
as in first president George Washington, whose face adorns its bottle beneath the Stars and Stripes.
makes no attempt to hide its leanings, even sporting a poetic homage to Republican icon Ronald Reagan, who died June 5 at
93, on its Internet site.
"G5s (Gulfstream jets) or GIs? A Tough Choice," W. Ketchup tells prospective customers.
"Choose Heinz and you're supporting Teresa and her husband's Gulfstream Jet, and liberal causes such as Kerry for
President," it warns.
… Heinz has 57 varieties, but also 57 foreign factories, it claims. "W Ketchup comes in
one flavor: American."
who are these people and how’s it going?
"We are simply a group of friends who came up with the idea at a barbecue in upstate New York
a few months ago. We are all investors," said W Ketchup chief operating officer Susie Oliver.
Thousands of bottles
had been sold in the three and a half weeks of business, she said. Orders are taken in batches of four bottles for 12 dollars
Testimonials on the company's Internet site are glowing for the Republican-style ketchup.
you for giving us a delicious American alternative to the standard Heinz Ketchup. Henry Heinz may have been a great American,
but I have absolutely no interest in supporting The Kerry's anti-American causes," wrote "S.S" of Akron, Ohio.
Bully for Akron.
Of course Heinz (the company) says it is non-partisan, stressing
that all the Heinz family trusts together hold less than four percent of the stock. And neither Teresa Heinz, nor her
husband, have any role in management, it stresses.
This is not an important story, but why not? It did hit Keith
Obermann's MSNBC “Countdown” show a week or so ago, in his "Oddball" section. It's been out there.
Why pick it up? There may be good reason it's being ignored.
It's just silly. CNN maybe has done covered
it, but I'm not sure.
Of course it has been reported as a sidebar in many larger items about Teresa's fortune.
This friends-of-the-GOP idea was to boycott Heinz, her late husband's company, but then the conservatives found out almost
all of the Heinz political contributions actually go to the GOP. Always have. Oops. It seems it is true
Teresa doesn't run Heinz at all - she just owns most of it. So the angry conservatives have dropped that boycott idea.
Of course I could work probably work this all into something longer about the Irishman, Boycott, and how he got his
name used so widely, and Heinz - a Pittsburgh company – my hometown. And I was in one of their commercials back
in 1964 (Ketchum, McLeod and Grove was the ad agency as I recall). A meditation on Pittsburgh, on Heinz, on Pittsburgh's
favorite sons - Gene Kelly, Andy Warhol, Ernest Borgnine, Henry Mancini (from Aliquippa actually, five miles down river).
And Perry Como (actually Canonsburg, ten miles south). And Gertrude Stein, born in Allegheny General Hospital, just
as I was. We'll see. It all needs to percolate a bit.
No. Who cares?
AFP points out that
this ketchup war is only the latest political skirmish to be fought on “the battlegound of American menus.”
Freedom fries. Yep.
AFP also reminds us that Star Spangled Ice Cream was launched last year as “a
conservative alternative” to the Ben and Gerry's, from the lefties Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Dennis Kucinich fans,
up there in Vermont. Star Spangled Ice Cream offers "I Hate The French VANILLA (Real American Vanilla, NOT
French Vanilla)" and "Nutty Environmentalist (Rich Buttery Ice Cream with Roasted Pecans)."
Geez. Get a life.
Is this all for real? Here is the accompanying AFP wire photo…
If you go to the website of the folks who distribute W Ketchup you see this story actually was everywhere.
From their press page some of the highlights -
Dylan Ratigan interviews Susie Oliver
Video (2.3 MB, WMV format)
July 14, 2004
'W Ketchup' Offers Alternative for Republicans
Video available at Yahoo News
July 13, 2004
Fox News Special Report with Brit Hume
who prefer Freedom Fries to French Fries ... now have a new choice at the dinner table.”
July 9, 2004
ABC’s Good Morning America
In an on-air taste test between W Ketchup and Heinz,
W Ketchup was judged as tasting “more conservative, with a sweeter, more compassionate taste.”
July 7, 2004
CNN’s American Morning
“Some GOP supporters ... have created an alternative to Heinz ketchup.”
June 22, 2004
Radio interview with Southern California's KWAVE 107.9
MP3 format (2.7 MB)
June 21, 2004
Sify News (India)
Americans dip freedom fries in 'W Ketchup'
July 15, 2004
Démocrate ou républican? A chacun son ketchup
by Véziane de Vezins
Page, July 12, 2004
“Americans allergic to the subtle Democratic flavour of Heinz ketchup
can now plunge their ‘freedom fries’ into a 100per cent guaranteed, patriotic alternative.”
July 11, 2004
Republicans launch 'W ketchup'
by Oliver Conway
July 10, 2004
ARD Tagesschau (Germany)
Republikanisch korrekte Tomatensauce
July 10, 2004
Sunday Times, South Africa
Ketchup politics amuses the US
by Claire Gallen
July 9, 2004
IBL News (Madrid)
'W Ketchup' para los repúblicanos, Heinz para los demócratas
July 9, 2004
Ketchup für die Republikaner im US-Wahlkampf
July 9, 2004
SBS World News (Australia)
US Ketchup Delivers Message in a Bottle
July 7, 2004
Un ketchup sauce républicaine
July 4, 2004
… and this is followed
by ten or twenty US sources for the story, including the Los Angeles Times on July 4th, which I missed. That
was a Sunday – production day for Just Above Sunset - so I
was too busy to read the actual newspaper that day. I just skimmed it, then Harriet-the-Cat slept on the various sections.
She has the proper attitude toward the press.
Other French Media
an email on many topics Ric Erickson in Paris did add this…
Well, let's go back to the Heinz Ketchup story then. It got thirty seconds of France-2 TV-news
prime time. (Didn't I write this already?) France-2's Joe in America said the 'W' brand wasn't a big hit
with the expat French living between your shores. Or did he say conservatives didn't like it because it doesn't taste
like Coke 'Classic?'
Sommat like that.