Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Some Quick Tidying Up Business

I meant to post this the day I got the answer I was looking for, and offer my sincere apologies to everyone for not doing so. I posted what looked like a legitimate letter talking about Sen. McCain and his actions on holiday in Fiji some nine years ago. After e-mailing the cited writer--a professor at Cowell College in California--I found that not only had she not written the letter, she took offense to the use of her name to bolster the credibility of it. Here is Professor Gamel's response to me, reprinted in full:

I have received thousands of emails and phone calls about the Turtle Island account.

I did NOT write that account, forward it under my name, or ask for it to be widely distributed.

I have never been to Turtle Island (which costs $2000/day), have never met Senator McCain, was a classics major, not an English Literature major, and never eat pancakes.

I regret the misinformation which is circulating, but it is not my doing, and I protest the misuse of my name.

How I think this happened: on 16 September I received this account 3rd-hand and forwarded it, with full email trail information and the name of the purported author (whom I don't know), to several friends with whom I discuss politics. It was further forwarded, and at some point the trail was deleted and I was misidentified as the author. I suspect whoever did this thought that my name and contact information would make the story more credible.

Snopes.com is investigating the account; current status "undetermined."

This is NOT an organized effort on the part of any political candidate.

I hope you will pass this information on to anyone interested in this story.

And finally, the story itself isn't necessarily false. But we'll never know unless the author herself comes forward.
So again, I offer my apologies to Professor Gamel and to anyone who took the Fiji story seriously. While I did get some answers I was not diligent enough to post them as soon as I had received them. To reiterate, the letter I posted on the McCain family's vacation in Fiji during 1999, while not proven factually incorrect, is nevertheless a prop to scare women away from Sen. McCain. Until the original writer steps up, we won't know if those events are true or not, but for me, I consider the story a fabrication.