Occasionally newspapers like to spin a fairy tale folks and most of those are born at the intersection of Lazy Reporter and Deadline Boulevards. Other times the reports are the end result of some sort of payola like we all have recently witnessed in the saga of landfill whore Garland(fill) Robinette. In fact in a column about the Robinette scandal James Gill over at the Times Picayune filled us in on how things worked in certain media circles so it is there we begin:
In the old days, nobody fretted if a flack picked up the tab every time, and there was always a chance, say, that some travel company would fly you off for a vacation in a foreign resort in hopes of some positive ink. Reporters didn’t earn much, but, if anyone wanted to treat them nice, they were not inclined to be churlish.
Nowadays, even commentators as long in the tooth as Robinette have learned to bandy about such exquisite concepts as the “appearance of impropriety,” and it is hard to believe that the free-and-easy approach was normal as recently as 35 years ago.
There are a couple of Canadian media outlets that have relentlessly promoted Trout Point Lodge, the Globe and Mail and the Halifax ChronicleHerald. Fair enough, Nova Scotia, while possessive of wonderful natural scenery and warm friendly people isn’t known as a mecca of 5 star resorts so I imagine it is natural the media would be proud of the local resort in the boondocks. Even better though, media types evidently still get comped in Canada with free stays and the like in exchange for favorable publicity. Just last month for instance, Oliver Moore, the Atlantic Bureau Chief of the Globe and Mail revealed he was comped in exchange for promoting the Lodge and their latest pump of being a great place to hold hands with your lover and star gaze. (Barth Mississippi is also a great for that) My email to Mr Moore inquiring about Leary and Perret’s editorial role in his reporting went unanswered. The bottom line here is sleazy, on the take journalists are evidently still alive and well in Canada.
This morning Halifax ChronicleHerald business reporter Bill Power takes a crack at the Trip Advisor warning about Trout Point and its admonition to Trip Advisor users to be very leery of Charles Leary. The wordsmithing of Leary in his quoted remarks is a thing of beauty as Story Worldwide CEO Kirk Cheyfitz’s review of his very shabby treatment by Leary (who denied being Leary) is dismissed because he didn’t stay at the Lodge. Of course he did not stay at the Lodge because of Leary’s hare-brained guest registration agreement but I guess Charlie thought that was a minor detail not worth mentioning.
All this yammering about TripAdvisor by Leary, Perret and Trout Point has some important implications that Bill’s report did not consider. For instance the story mentions the positive reviews on Trout Point without mentioning many of those were self authored by Leary and Perret. In fact since Kirk Cheyfitz wrote his review on his Trout Point experience there has been another glowing review written for Trip Advisor by what appears to be a PR shill from Nova Scotia (new account and singularity of subject matter are the keys here) and that would make sense given Trout Point’s registration statement. You see that registration statement means you can’t trust anything positive you read on Trout Point because in order to comply with its terms Leary and Perret pretty much have to author the review and few folks are going to go through the trouble of getting permission before writing anything. Simply put it defeats the whole purpose of generating customer feedback.
So what kind of 5 Star Lodge does not want customer feedback? Heck folks, this past summer when we visited Blue Ridge Georgia with a flock of teenage boys to white water raft, the wait staff at Harvest on Main, as part of their training, made sure to let us know they were on TripAdvisor and they valued our input there, good, bad or otherwise. Reputable restaurants and hotels use this kind of feedback to enhance their operations while scammers and grifters do not value feedback at all. FWIW I highly recommend Harvest on Main though not necessarily with several teenage boys that would be happier eating at Pizza Hut. Mrs Sop, Gram Grams and I loved it though.
I contacted Mr Powers this morning with feedback on his article and much to my surprise he sent me a reply as evidently Charles Leary did not tell him everything that has been happening of late with him, Vaughn Perret and the Lodge. This is promising as the folks at the Globe and Mail are not interested in anything other than promoting the lodge in exchange for reporter comps so for now we’ll keep an open mind with respect to the ChronicleHerald.
Finally, for those so interested there is a media source that you can depend upon for an unfiltered look at dishonest businesses and in fact this source is the model for Slabbed in the RipOff Report. In fact the good folks at the RipOff Report have a page on Trout Point that highlights the hidden charges and such that is well worth reading.
As always I’d like to thank the Nova Scotia wing of the Slabbed Nation for keeping me in the loop on Trout Point and the local media.