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Julia Moskin brings up a point increasingly important in the Web world, of which Josh Ozersky is a leading member—and one whose work I enjoy and learn from: when it's relevant to declare that a meal, or food, or wine you're writing about came to you courtesy of the people who made it. In the widely discussed recent example Moskin wrote about, the freebies were, shall we say, major: a whole wedding, and a foodie's dream wedding too—only appropriate, given what a discerning foodie Ozersky is. As it happened, Ozersky's donors were also his good friends, who genuinely wished him well on his nuptials. But they, like everybody these days, live on publicity, too, and he's in a position to give it.
My position is, always say if you got something free. And feel free to write about it, if it's something you're genuinely enthusiastic about—as Clay Risen did last week with his zillion-dollar whiskey, which prompted him to decide that food criticism ain't art, and me to defend it. Food writers have written about food, and wine, sent to them in the mail for decades. The general way of defending yourself, and your probity, is simply not to write about something you don't much like or think worth drawing people's attention to.