Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The new Cooks Source tactic - blame Facebook, and praise the non-existent Western New England Food Bank


First, a catch-up - if you don't know what Cooks Source is, or who Judith Griggs and Monica Gaudio are, read my prior post to get everything in perspective.

As of today, the Cooks Source website consists of a long and winding statement that leads to...well, I'm not sure what. The bulk of the statement seems to be an indictment of Facebook, or of disreputable people, or of something.


We have cancelled our Facebook page on Thursday, November 4th, 2010 at 6:00PM. It has since been since been hacked by unknown parties and now someone else unknown to us has control of it. Their inclusion of Cooks Source issues and photos is used without our knowledge or consent. Please know that none of the statements made by either Cooks Source or Judith Griggs were made by either our staff or her.

We do not, and never have had a Twitter page, so what is attributed as our presence or our statements have nothing to do with Cooks Source or Judith Griggs.

We also cancelled our website on the above date, as our advertisers were listed therein, and with the harassment that has taken place on Facebook, we felt was unsafe for them.

Cooks Source will not be on Facebook again at any time in the future: hacking is too prevalent and apparently too easily performed by disreputable people. The email and Facebook abuse of our advertisers is the prime example: it is hurtful to people who are innocent of this issue, and can ill-afford the abuse -- either emotionally or financially. Small business owners are being bombarded with hate mail, and distasteful messages because someone downloaded their contact information on these bogus sites. These small business owners work very hard to keep their businesses going in a bad economy. We respectfully request this harassment be stopped immediately. If you or anyone knows of this abuse, you should go to the bogus Cooks Source (or other bogus pages) Facebook page, look to the left side of the page and press “Report Abuse,” or else go to How to Report Claims of Intellectual Property Infringement, http://www.facebook.com/legal/copyright.php The Facebook Corporate phone number are 650-543-4800, 650-853-1300 and 650-543-4811which hopefully will assist interested parties who feels these snipers who are perpetuating hate have gotten out of hand and want to report it. Interestingly, this phone number and any other contact info is not listed on the Facebook site, and has taken four people a number of days to track down.

Last month an article, “American as Apple Pie -- Isn’t,” was placed in error in Cooks Source, without the approval of the writer, Monica Gaudio. We sincerely wish to apologize to her for this error, it was an oversight of a small, overworked staff. We have made a donation at her request, to her chosen institution, the Columbia School of Journalism. In addition, a donation to the Western New England Food Bank, is being made in her name. It should be noted that Monica was given a clear credit for using her article within the publication, and has been paid in the way that she has requested to be paid.

This issue has made certain changes here at Cooks Source. Starting with this month, we will now list all sources. Also we now request that all the articles and informational pieces will have been made with written consent of the writers, the book publishers and/or their agents or distributors, chefs and business owners. All submission authors and chefs and cooks will have emailed, and/or signed a release form for this material to Cooks Source and as such will have approved its final inclusion. Email submissions are considered consent, with a verbal/written follow-up. Recipes created in the Cooks Source Kitchen are owned by Cooks Source and as such approval is given for chefs and cooks in our area to use them. Artwork used is created by our staff, or is royalty-free or purchased “clip-art.”

However: Cooks Source can not vouch for all the writers we have used in the past, and in the future can only check to a certain extent. Therefore, we will no longer accept unrequested articles, nor will we work with writers or illustrators unless they can prove they are reputable people, provide their sources, and who, in our estimation, we feel our readers and advertisers can trust and rely on for accuracy and originality. All sources will be listed with the articles, along with the permission, where necessary.

To say this has hurt our business is an understatement. But worse, it is harming the very people we are here to assist. Cooks Source’s is a small, free, local food newspaper-type magazine (called 'magazine' because it doesn't generally include what is known as 'news,') whose mission statement is to assist small businesses and farms in our area and help readers learn about sustainable food issues. We promote small businesses and farms in our area, offer recipes because our readers request them, and because we are offered cookbooks and excerpts from distributors, publicists, agents and authors, non-profits, ag organizations, chefs and home cooks so as to help them promote their works. Cooks Source is so named because it reports on food sources: the farms, the bakers, the chefs and the foodie producers and purveyors-- to the home and professional cooks and chefs in our area.

The misuse of Facebook discussed above also applies to Ms. Gaudio: she did what she felt was the right thing, and doesn’t deserve this kind of treatment, either. Regardless of what has been said, we liked her article very much.

I learned about the existence of this statement via a post from Linda Holmes at NPR. I hope she doesn't get fired for talking negatively about apple pie. But Holmes did say this:

In all honesty, it's probably a fool's errand to try too hard to parse this statement and find a coherent response to the matter at hand.


I did, however, delve into one part of the Cooks Source statement that referred to Monica Gaudio:

In addition, a donation to the Western New England Food Bank, is being made in her name.

(And yes, the original has a comma after the word "Bank.")

After all of the prior shenanigans, I can't help but wonder whether this statement should be taken at face value - namely, that a donation was made. Note that the statement doesn't say WHO made the donation. As I noted in my prior post, the 2nd Street Baking Company has made a donation to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. For the record, I could find no organization called "the Western New England Food Bank." If Cooks Source made the donation, it would presumably know the name of the organization to which it had donated. Is Cooks Source...um...trying to claim credit for the 2nd Street Baking Company donation? Perhaps not, but based upon prior history you have to wonder.

[16 NOVEMBER CORRECTION: ACCORDING TO A DAN CROWLEY POST, GRIGGS DID MAKE A CONTRIBUTION TO THE FOOD BANK OF WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS. CROWLEY: "Although Griggs has not spoken with Gaudio, she has apologized to her in a statement, made a $130 donation to Columbia University as she requested and a separate donation to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in her name. 'I donated everything I could, which was $50,' Griggs said."]
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