Yesterday’s Guardian carried a puff-piece for osteopathy which was so obviously a free advert for Ben Katz the “London Osteopath” that it prompted me to write to the Life & Style editor at firstname.lastname@example.org to complain. Here is the text of my email:
I write with concern about Bim Adewunmi’s piece on osteopathy at
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/jun/13/health-and-wellbeing . It contains unevidenced assertions as to how osteopathy can supposedly help asthma and pneumonia. A single study is referred to once but no reference or link is given so it is not possible to assess its quality. Indeed the only link given is to ‘the London Osteopath’ Ben Katz’s website and therein lies another concern, this piece was clearly written by Katz as descriptions of treatments given are told in the first person and the by-line is “As told to Bim Adewunmi”.
This alleged article is clearly nothing more than an infomercial for Mr. Katz. Your columnist Ben Goldacre has written on the practice of those with something to sell getting journalists to write puff-pieces about their product or service because in a supposed news story, claims can be made which would not be allowed in a paid for advert. It is a pity you did not run this nonsense past him before publishing.
[Address & phone number given]
If I get any response I’ll blog it.