Some reporters like to tell you that they refuse, in all circumstances, to accept gifts from the people or organizations that they cover. Some reporters also lie.
Among the tote-bag loot waiting for journalists picking up their Democratic Convention press credentials Sunday:
* "Special Edition" reporter's notebooks (sponsored by the International Association of Fire Fighters).
* Not one, not two, but three separate Media Guides (in addition to a Visitor's Guide).
* A copy of The Good City: Writers Explore 21st-century Boston, featuring works by the likes of Susan Orlean and Jack Beatty. (Opening sentence: "Americans have always been ambivalent, at best, about their cities.")
* A little pictoral pamphlet entitled "Kennedy: A Delegate's Guide To His Wit and Wisdom."
* A packet of "Craisins," which apparently are sweetened dried cranberries ("the better dried fruit snack because they have the goodness of Ocean Spray cranberries in a snack that tastes great," the packaging explains).
* A copy of N.A.D.A.—The Official Used Car Guide from the National Automobile Dealers Association.
* A two-ounce package of Dunkin' Donuts coffee.
* And a "Limited Convention Edition" box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, featuring pasta in the shape of donkeys.
"We really wanted to use [the goodie bag] to highlight some of our local industry," Boston 2004 Communications Director Karen Grant PR'ed The Cape Cod Times. "We had a two-fold goal: to highlight companies and provide tangible products."
But The Boston Globe lamented the tote's "ho-hum freebies," and went the extra mile to track down some non-plussed goodie-bag experts:
"What does Craisins or mac and cheese say?" said Evangelia D. Souris, president of Boston image-consulting firm Optimum International Center for Image Management. "These are not things that will move people."
Maybe not, but at least they're expensive. According to The Globe, bag sponsor New Balance donated $750,000 to the host committee and another $250,000 for the canvas totes, Dunkin' Donuts agreed to meet all the convention's coffee needs, while Gilette donated a whopping $1 million large. Which the razor company is probably regretting, since security regulations at the Fleet Center forced incoming journalists to dump out all the dangerous gift-blades, which were stacking up in impressive piles a full day before the convention began.