Whopper of the Week: Biggest Christmas tree.

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
Nov. 29 2002 12:03 PM

Whopper of the Week: Egan Acres Tree Farm

Miami discovers the pitfalls of mine-is-bigger braggadoccio.

"We've got an affidavit to prove it. Egan Acres Tree farm, one of the largest sellers of Christmas trees, sent the company organizing [Miami's] Holiday Village a certificate bestowing the title of 'tallest Christmas tree in America' on our [110-foot] tree."

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—Oscar Corral, "Miami's Christmas Tree Tops NYC's," in the Nov. 24 Miami Herald. The story was picked up by Dana Canedy in the Nov. 25 New York Times.

" 'That's absolutely wrong. I guarantee it. We beat you by two feet, nine inches,' said Vito Serrao, owner of Strictly Custom Christmas Trees, which provided Newport [Beach, California]'s White Fir. 'I measured it myself. I went to the top in a cherry picker and dropped a measuring tape. We've got the record.' ... Calls made Tuesday to Egan Acres Tree Farm—the company that supplied Holiday Village with the certification calling our Norway Spruce the biggest Christmas tree in the United States—were not returned."

"Newport Beach got the taller tree at half the price; it paid Serrao $100,000 for its tree. "

—Fermin Leal, "Tall Tree Tale Pits East vs. West," in the Nov. 28 Orange County Register.

Got a whopper? Send it to chatterbox@slate.com. To be considered, an entry must be an unambiguously false statement paired with an unambiguous refutation, and both must be derived from some appropriately reliable public source. Preference will be given to newspapers and other documents that Chatterbox can link to online.

Whopper Archive:

Nov. 22, 2002: Dr. Janet Travell

Nov. 16, 2002: Fox News

Nov. 15, 2002: Manhattan's 92nd Street Y

Nov. 8, 2002: William Webster

Nov. 1, 2002: Harvey Pitt

Oct. 25, 2002: George W. Bush

Oct. 18, 2002: North Korea

Oct. 11, 2002: Michael Bloomberg

Sept. 27, 2002: Rep. Tom Tancredo

Sept. 13, 2002: Al-Muhajiroun

Sept. 6, 2002: National Republican Congressional Committee

Aug. 29, 2002: Eddie Joe Lloyd

Aug. 22, 2002: Larry Klayman

Aug. 2, 2002: Al Gore

July 26, 2002: Princeton admissions dean Stephen LeMenager

July 19, 2002: James Traficant

July 12, 2002: Maryland Lt. Gov. candidate Michael S. Steele

July 5, 2002: Hesham Mohamed Hadayet

June 28, 2002: WorldCom

June 21, 2002: Terry Lynn Barton

June 14, 2002: Tom Ridge

June 7, 2002: Former FBI Deputy Director Weldon Kennedy

May 31, 2002: Ari Fleischer

May 23, 2002: Condoleezza Rice

May 17, 2002: Robert Mueller

May 9, 2002: Karl Rove

May 3, 2002: Gen. Richard Myers

April 25, 2002: Donald Rumsfeld

April 18, 2002: George W. Bush

April 11, 2002: The Rev. Robert J. Banks, archdiocese of Boston

April 5, 2002: George W. Bush

March 29, 2002: Major League Baseball

March 21, 2002: Billy Graham

March 14, 2002: INS commissioner James W. Ziglar

March 8, 2002: Robert Zoellick and the U.S. steel industry

Feb. 28, 2002: Al Sharpton

Feb. 22, 2002: Olympic skating judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne

Feb. 14, 2002: Kenneth Lay

Feb. 8, 2002: Enron spokeswoman Peggy Mahoney

Jan. 31, 2002: Monsanto

Jan. 24, 2002: Linda Chavez

Jan. 17, 2002: George W. Bush

Jan. 10, 2002: Simon & Schuster

Jan. 4, 2002: The Associated Press

(Click here to access the Whopper Archive for 2001.)

Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His  book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.

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