Gonzo journalism about cats?

This week one of my sources sent me a recent newsletter from linkurl:Allerca,;http://www.allerca.com/indexold.html a "lifestyle pets" company now headquartered in Delaware that claims to have developed hypoallergenic cats. I was interested to read a rant by the company's founder, Simon Brodie, about the "gonzo journalists" who "trumpeted absolute falsehoods and downright lies"

By | July 26, 2007

This week one of my sources sent me a recent newsletter from linkurl:Allerca,;http://www.allerca.com/indexold.html a "lifestyle pets" company now headquartered in Delaware that claims to have developed hypoallergenic cats. I was interested to read a rant by the company's founder, Simon Brodie, about the "gonzo journalists" who "trumpeted absolute falsehoods and downright lies" regarding the company. I imagine Brodie might be referring to yours truly. Not because I lied in my linkurl:investigation;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/39383/ of Allerca, but because what I found out about the company was not exactly favorable, and, as far as I can tell, __The Scientist__ and the __San Diego Union Tribune__ are among the few outlets that actually reported with skepticism the wonders of these miracle cats. I left a message with Allerca's press office, asking if __The Scientist__ was included in this gonzo bunch, but did not receive an immediate response. Brodie claims that these gonzo journalists "went very quiet (surprise, surprise!) once ALLERCA began delivering kittens. They didn't write about ALLERCA when our cats appeared on live national television with allergic individuals who failed to have any allergic reaction (talk about a "trial by fire"!); and they failed to report that ALLERCA had won a TIME Magazine Best Inventions of 2006 award." But the only customers I've heard from were those who were linkurl:denied cats;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53265/ because of their particular allergic profiles, and who complained that their refunds did not come back. Shortly after they contacted me, both customers received their refunds. And as far as silence goes, I had called Allerca months ago to ask them about the linkurl:progress of their cats,;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/52947/ and received no word. Hunter S. Thompson's somewhat autobiographical adventures in gonzo journalism highlight the fact that no reporter can completely divorce himself from his own way of viewing the world. As a science writer, trained in science, I admit to being skeptical of claims that have no vetted data to support them. To me, bringing a cat on a TV show is not scientific proof that its Fel d1 protein has been disabled. A scientific publication is a start, and anything less I consider gonzo.

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