Critics: Your Days Are Numbered

The-Critic03102010 .jpgIt’s been a tough week so far for the world’s arbiters of taste. On Monday, Variety fired two of its full-time critics — one for film and one for theater. Today, The Wall Street Journal dropped a restaurant critic. Will this prove that bad things come in threes, or are our nation’s full-time reviewers facing a critical situation?

Although we know Variety dropped its longstanding pair of critics because to keep them didn’t make “economic sense,” the case of the Journal is less clear. From The New York Times‘ story on former Journal food critic Raymond Sokolov:

Mr. Sokolov said his editors had told him The Journal was abandoning restaurant criticism, and asked him to report on food trends instead. After thinking it over, he said, he declined this new beat.

Looks like a major publication is utterly abandoning restaurant criticism. But what does the Journal‘s spokesperson say?

Ashley Huston, the director of communications for the paper, said that The Journal would continue to run restaurant criticism after Mr. Sokolov’s departure. “We are not abandoning restaurant reviews and are still committed broadly to food coverage,” she said.

We’d like to believe Huston, but if you’re in the thumbs-up/thumbs-down business, we recommend you watch your back.