Journalists appear to love knocking hotels. Anyone on the receiving end of newspaper stories knows how unfair they are - economical with the truth, in order to entertain. The wonderful thing, if you are a journalist, is that the recipient of your knocking copy cannot answer back.
We saw this in stark contrast, with a journalist called Anna Blundy, and an article that she wrote in the Times. She stayed here one night, did not eat in our restaurant, returned in the middle of the night without taking a night key, was drunk (she confessed this in the article), made a heck of a lot of noise, damaged our property, and had the effrontery to criticise our hotel in her Times article - called it "Fawlty Towers".
A complaint to the Editor of the Times confirmed that they would only "allow" me a short letter of re-buttal, nothing like the length Ms Brundy had been give to attack us. Taking it to the Press Complaints Commission got me no further. They were happy with the limited right of reply that the Times had offered.
Some years ago I had a run in with a Mr Rubenstein, then editor of the Good Hotel Guide. This book relies on comments from guests to build up a picture of what a hotel is like. Unfortunately they do not check what they write. One year an article on our hotel claimed we had been without electricity for several days, when in fact it had been for less than a day. The Guide had criticised us for not warning guests of our lack of electricity. I wrote to Mr Rubenstein asking for a correction to be published in the following years guide - his reply to me was that if I did not like what was written, then he would stop including us in his book. An attitude that is fine up to a point, but as Mr Rubenstein himself was very sensitive to criticism, and demanded a right of reply whenever anything derogatory was written about him, it appeared to be a case of one law for journalists, another for hotel keepers.
I read a stinging anti- hotel keeper article recently from the Telegraph's writer on hotels - one Ms Paddy Burt. This good lady stays in hotels, then writes articles about her stay for the titillation of Telegraph readers - a group of people who you would no doubt feel were in need of titillation. If Ms Burt were to stick to fair criticism then that would be fine. However, fair criticism is not good journalism. Thus it has to be made "entertaining", hence attacks on other guests accents or clothes, reporting of conversations with the proprietor (which technically was off the record, in as much as the proprietor had no idea that he was taking to a journalist, and that the journalist was intending to entertain the world with his views on the government/the England football team/the town council or whatever)
Ms Burts articles are therefore generally not appreciated by the hotels she attacks. They sometimes write to the Telegraph complaining. Ms Burts recent article was an attack on these poor souls who had been bold enough to complain about her articles. Apparently it is fine for her to criticise hotels, but it is not fine for those hotels to criticise her.
Interestingly, to illustrate the point the great lady (Ms Burt) visited these pages and they incurred her wrath. And this is what she wrote on the Telegraph web site
There's a whole page dedicated to journalists on fawlty-towers.com, the website of the proprietor of The Corisande Manor Hotel in Cornwall. He starts off by saying:
"Journalists appear to love knocking hotels"... [I am flattered to find that I feature quite prominently]..., "I read a stinging anti-hotel keeper article recently from The Telegraph's writer on hotels - one Ms Paddy Burt. This good lady [do I detect a note of irony here?] stays in hotels, then writes articles about her stay for the titillation of Telegraph readers...If Ms Burt would stick to fair criticism then that would be fine...it has to be made entertaining [flatter me some more] hence attacks on other guests' accents or clothes...conversations with the proprietor (which were technically off the record...)"
I had never heard of this hotel, let alone stayed in it and although it's a highly entertaining website, might it not be better if he directed his energy towards making his guests happy. Maybe someone who reads this has stayed there and will have a contribution to make.
Sounds as if Ms Burt is a little thin skinned like most journalists, and does not appreciate that what is sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander. The thought that "might it not be better if he directed his energy towards making his guests happy" is gratuitously daft, are all hotel keepers supposed to have no spare time Paddy? Bet you do not spend 24 hours a day making Telegraph readers happy!
Yes, journalists are the worst at trying to impose double standards. One hears so often nowadays, that tabloid editors are upset when other tabloids investigate their personal love lives, whist their own newspaper will regularly "expose" other peoples. Why are journalists such wimps. Why do they think they can attack the rest of us in newspapers that may have circulation's of millions, but that we have effectively no right of reply (except for a limited few lines on a letters page). Power without responsibility has been the prerogative of the harlot throughout history!
And if you want to stay in a nice hotel by the sea in Cornwall, Corisande Manor Hotel, Cornwall
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