During his weekly live chat with readers last Wednesday, the Washington Post’s restaurant critic Tom Sietsema learned that he had inadvertently participated in his paper’s long tradition of investigative reporting with tangible results.
“Well Tom,” one reader began, “your latest review is accompanied by a picture of my husband dining with a woman who isn’t me! Once confronted with photographic evidence, he confessed to having an ongoing affair. Just thought you’d be amused to hear of your part in the drama. This Thanksgiving I’m grateful to you for exposing a cheat!”
Although this appeared to be a message of genuine gratitude, Sietsema didn’t take it that way.
“Please, please, please tell me this is a crank post,” he wrote back. “I’d hate to learn otherwise. I file two reviews a week, for Food and the Magazine, so I’m not sure which restaurant this is.”
Tom, did you not read the note? The restaurant is not the point! You (or your photographer) exposed a cheater and perhaps saved this woman from several more years of an unhappy marriage. You should be proud! This is what journalism, at its best, is for. Well, in a larger general sense. But still.