This is in lieu of the controversial Big Bad Blogger's issue on the world of food blogging (http://showbizandstyle.inquirer.net/sim/sim/view/20110122-315972/Please-Dont-Give-Blogging-a-Bad-Name)... and inspired by fellow blogger, Madz's recent blog post.
I'm trying to keep an open mind regarding the restaurant owner and the blogger's side. What if the restaurant owner just didn't like the review she received and started bad-mouthing the blogger's credibility? What if the blogger really is an extortionist? Or what if there's a third person behind all of this and is using the blogger's post to extort the restaurant owner? All I have are mere speculations right now.
It raises the issue of credibility and ethics in writing a food review. Honestly, I wasn't troubling myself with both the former and latter because this blog is all about appreciation of food. How can I bad mouth food? Unless it is adulterated with some kind of poison, I rarely have something bad to say about any meal at all.
Let me equate sponsored food reviews with prescribing medications. Pharmaceutical companies have been giving all types of perks to physicians ever since time immemorial. The more frequent they are giving these perks, the more the physician becomes familiar with that brand of drug and eventually knows nothing else. And the doctors start prescribing this brand of medication even though it's hard on the patient's pocket.
It is also the same with politicians. When people find out that they have accepted "gifts", it dampens their credibility and they can get into a lot of trouble.
Sponsored food reviews make it easier for the food blogger to "discover" good food. Restaurant owners make it convenient for food bloggers to write about a new food experience. Unfortunately, it may lead to blog posts that are biased and misleading. It may lead the blogger to write a review out of indebtedness. They may testify to something and make it seem to be what they really are not.
There's nothing wrong with being invited to discover a new restaurant dish. It only becomes indecent when we start writing crappy posts just because we are thankful of the free stuff.
I never knew blogs has turned out to be this serious. What a downer.