Earlier today, Mario Batali, the jovially rotund restaurateur behind Manhattan’s Babbo and Del Posto (among others), expressed his dismay with food bloggers everywhere. Thanks to the guys over at Eater, the Iron Chef was granted the opportunity to voice his complaints with the blogosphere, and truth be told, he might have some points:
But blogs live by different rules. Many of the anonymous authors who vent on blogs rant their snarky vituperatives from behind the smoky curtain of the web. This allows them a peculiar and nasty vocabulary that seems to be taken as truth by virtue of the fact that it has been printed somewhere. Unfortunately, this also allows untruths, lies and malicious and personally driven dreck to be quoted as fact. Even a savvy blog like the one you are reading now has strangely superseded truly responsible journalism. It is much more immediate and can skip a lot of the ponderous setup necessary in a news article. It cuts right to the heart of a matter, often disputing it as though real research has taken place.
Of course, this is hardly the first time bloggers have received criticism for wanton “reporting.” Just in the last couple weeks, the Washington Post called out a popular blog for taking liberties with a teenager (not like that) and a rich brewery CEO is suing a Canadian sports blogger for slanderous remarks. Of course, San Francisco had its own food blog backlash earlier this year. The constant criticism throughout most blog controversies (blogtroversies?) is that bloggers use their platform in irresponsible and sensationalist ways, which in turn spurs evocations of the First Amendment.
What do you think? Do bloggers have the right to say what they want? Should the determination of veracity lie with the reader or does the responsibility lie with the blogger?
Also, apropos of nothing except Batali, enjoy the above clip of our favorite clogged cook entertaining Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal.