Word up, Seftel
In response to a very interesting article that ran last week in the Wall Street Journal, about bloggers writing favorable reviews in exchange for free meals, Howard Seftel of the Arizona Republic just wrote a detailed commentary about his ethical standards as a critic, and some folks' lack thereof.
All I can say is, ditto. It's just sad that anyone would need to point this stuff out in the first place. But it is necessary -- I can't tell you how many random people have asked me about my job and assumed that I'm treated like royalty, and then acted surprised that I am really a secret agent.
Anyway, I am dying to know which oh-so-classy "restaurant critics" in this town actually waltz into a restaurant and announce themselves. (I'd love to witness that -- it would be a hilarious bit of color to add to a column.) Hello, didn't these people read Garlic and Sapphires? Obviously not, and I'm sure they never took journalism 101, either.
And I completely cringe at the thought that some unscrupulous editor hopped a free trip to London, on a restaurant's dime, and put their poor food writer in a very awkward position. For shame!