News outlets fall for phony tale about TV dinner "founder"





Many news organizations reported that Gerry Thomas, who died July 18, came up with the idea of a frozen turkey meal in 1951 after Swanson execs asked employees how to get rid of 520,000 pounds of surplus turkey. "Great story, but it didn't happen," writes Roy Rivenburg. "One of the dirty little secrets of journalism is that reporters rarely have time to investigate every claim people make about their pasts. If you want to embellish, just fool one reporter for one article, then you can use it to show other reporters that your story checked out."

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