Friday, September 30, 2011

Muffingate's Sad Story: 178 Articles Perpetuate DOJ Myth, 37 Correct It

A report released by the Justice Department's acting inspector general on Sept. 20 uncovered a treasure chest of "wasteful or extravagant spending" at law enforcement conferences during the past two administrations. But one item stood out above the others: muffins that were apparently costing the department $16 a pop.

Such an extravagant price tag for a simple baked good was, undoubtedly, the perfect symbol of bureaucratic largess, along the lines of the Pentagon’s $600 toilet seat. But it wasn't actually true. Three days after the study was release, Hilton Hotels (which hosted the conference at which the expenditure was made) clarified that the $16 charge was for a full continental breakfast plus tax. Instead of a detailed invoice, the hotel just listed the charge as "muffins."

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