James Gilden writes The Daily Traveler blog at LATimes.com, but being a Tribune cousin didn't inhibit him from taking a fair shot at the Channel 5 "Morning News" anchors who accepted free rooms at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington the night before featuring the hotel on their show.
Can viewers of KTLA ever be sure that KTLA is giving the Ritz the same scrutiny they may to other hotels? Might a negative story about the Ritz slip to the back burner that maybe should have seen the light of day on KTLA? Again, it’s not the actual fact of it – it is the impression, the feeling, that slight inkling that readers and viewers will take away from this. Is that loss of faith really worth the 1,200 bucks or so it would have cost for those three rooms?
KTLA should immediately reimburse the hotel for the actual, street-value expenses of its hosts’ stay at the Ritz Carlton Huntington and issue a statement saying that it was wrong to accept the stays and that it will not do so in the future. The morning show hosts (who I doubt had any inkling what their producers were getting them into) ought to read it on-air. Then each of the comped hosts should reveal one negative thing about their stay at the hotel – even if it is something as minor as the water took too long to heat up in the shower, or the orange juice wasn’t fresh.
The brouhaha started with a note in the Pasadena Star-News.