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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Calling Bullshit on Eater's Crusade to Bust Restaurant Critics

Posted By on Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 5:24 PM

click to enlarge One-time New York Times critic Ruth Reichl in disguise.
  • One-time New York Times critic Ruth Reichl in disguise.
Our favorite morsel from the blogs.

To catch a d-bag: Tim Carman of Washington City Paper calls Eater a dick for its initiative to unmask food critics. Eater National's Greg Morabito, you see, has this ongoing obsession he calls "To Catch A Critic," in which he urges readers and restaurateurs to bust professional food critics (who operate anonymously) by publishing their pics. (A certain former Eater SF editor obliged locally, by the way, with gotcha photos of Chron's Michael Bauer.) Morabito:

Somehow, a fair amount of critics have successfully avoided having their photographs made public. So with that in mind, we've assembled a handy guide to spotting some of the country's biggest anonymous restaurant critics, including the best possible photos we could find.
He reveals pics of the New York Times' Sam Sifton, the Washington Post's Tom Sietsema, even Patty Unterman of the Examiner. Carman's response? An open letter hot with irony:

I'm specifically writing to applaud your recent attempt at investigative reporting, under the headline, "Anonymous Restaurant Critics: A Field Guide." It was a masterstroke of public service journalism. I can't think of a better way to help diners in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, and Washington D.C. than to arm restaurateurs with photos and inside information on critics so that owners can game the system and ensure that customers continue to pay hundreds of dollars for meals and service that only Sam Sifton and Jonathan Gold can receive.
And this:
Politically, is on the cutting-edge of modern thinking, standing arm-and-arm with the country's best minds, like Sarah Palin and members of the Tea Bag Party, who believe the media cannot be trusted and their power must be neutralized by any means necessary.
Palin? Teabaggers? Nicely done, sir.

Exposing restaurant critics on the one hand, then complaining that those same critics are too well known to receive completely anonymous treatment, has always struck us as seriously, disturbingly bipolar, and the height of douchebaggery. Anybody with us on this?

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