More than a year ago, we set out to test the veracity of voiceofsandiego.org's Fact Check blog, which analyzes and researches seemingly dubious claims then issues a determination of, for lack of a better word, factiness.
Our submission to Fact Check: A menu from China Too Chinese restaurant. I can't vouch for other parts of the city, but these little folded menus seem to be perpetually stuffed in screen doors in University Heights.
What really bothered me was this claim on the menu:
"Enjoy 'Rich and Famous' Robin Leach's favorite, Chef Cheng's Mandarin & Szechwan food."
---Voice reporter Keegan Kyle investigated and found that Chef Cheng had carried over the endorsement from the previous owner, who claimed that Leach was a customer back when the joint was in New York. Leach told Kyle he'd never eaten at the San Diego restaurant—Cheng took over in 2008—and could recall nothing about the restaurant when it was in New York City. Leach hasn't live in NYC for 35 years.
It seems pretty cut and dry, right. Leach should know what his favorite Chinese restaurant is, and China Too certainly isn't his current favorite.
However, Leach wouldn't call China Too's claim an outright lie. It was a stretch, but still somewhat plausible because he remembers complimenting a lot of Chinese chefs.
Because of this, Kyle gave it a "mostly true," the blog's second highest designation.
I voiced my objection at the time, because the fact check's resolution gives license to anyone to claim an endorsement even if it's based on the most tenuous claims. Imagine a politician claiming an endorsement from the San Diego Union-Tribune based on a pat-on-the-head 35 years ago when the paper was under different ownership, a different publisher and a different editorial board? Scandal city.
You may well ask, "Why does it matter?" If you're Leach, your identity is your passport, your word your is your meal ticket. Also, if you're Robin Leach, you're still reeling from a 2000 settlement in which you were busted by several state attorneys general for endorsing sketchy travel deals.
Here's the good news and why I'm bringing it up again. Over the weekend, a new China Too menu appeared in our door. Despite Voice's seal of approval, the Leach line has been deleted.
Note: I deleted a line in which I took a dig at a health inspection the restaurant failed last year. It wasn't really relevant.