Jerry Bovino: Purely fiction |

Jerry Bovino: Purely fiction

I knew that Steve Skinner’s column last week in the Aspen Daily News would be a piece of serious journalism when I read the first sentence, which started “Aspen Pure, my ass.” (That tasteful intro also reassured me that we were destined to read an “unbiased” column.)

Unfortunately, that was the highlight of the article, and it went downhill from there. I have to admit that sometimes I enjoy Steve’s iconoclastic work, which is often artfully laced with ounces of humor, pounds of cynicism, and kilos of vitriol. Sadly, anything reflective of real journalism is usually hard to find, as was the case in his “pretend” piece of investigative reporting today.

I received three separate phone calls this morning from real investigative reporters, who apologized for Steve’s piece and confirmed that their independent inquiries and phone calls to health officials in Alamosa and around the state showed that there isn’t any arsenic or other impurities in Aspen Pure Bottled Water. In fact, Aspen Pure passes the health standards set by the state of Colorado for water purity, which are actually much stricter than those of the FDA.

Wouldn’t an unbiased reporter have known this? Mr. Skinner’s article was nothing less than a pathetic attempt to smear Aspen Pure Colorado water, which is proud of its taste, its packaging and its impeccable credentials of purity.

Steve croons about the fact that Fiji Water supports charitable causes, including the fight against breast cancer. However, since he didn’t take 10 seconds to pick up the phone to call the Race for the Cure, he conveniently ignored the fact that Fiji donated product, while Aspen Pure, although a new company with limited resources, donated product and a cash contribution of $1,000. You have to wonder who fed Steve all the valuable “facts” in the article, and what their motivation might be in trying to destroy a young company by spreading lies. Could it have been a competitor?

Do you ever listen to Paul Harvey on the radio? He has the staccato voice and the colorful commentary, and he frequently finishes his show with something called “The Rest of the Story.” How many people in Aspen know that Fiji Water tried to crush Aspen Pure with threats of lawsuits the very first day we opened for business? How many of your readers know that our employees, who are just regular people who pay taxes and rent and mortgages in Aspen, were worried about their futures because of these threats?

How many of your readers know that, at Fiji’s request, we spent tens of thousands of dollars to alter our original label to satisfy Goliath? Fiji implied to us that they owned this valley, and they wouldn’t stand for a competitor on what Fiji perceived to be its home turf.

It’s a pretty strange position for a multimillion-dollar foreign conglomerate to take against a nascent local company, but in Aspen, I guess we are used to strange stuff. Even stranger, a few vocal locals actually jumped to the defense of Goliath. Go figure!

In an ideal world, the employees of Aspen Pure would hope for the Aspen Daily News to apologize for Skinner’s poorly written, sensationalist, inaccurate column through a front-page retraction. It would be also be nice if the journalists in our town took just one moment to actually address some of the original sincere, serious concerns that I placed before City Council.

Is our government contracting honestly? What is the purpose of asking for a competitive bid? Should Aspen be asked to live up to its own stated goals and guidelines on the environment? Why are there people in town who are afraid to address the truth on these issues?

I hope that we can have a bit of return to civility, limitation of name calling, less criticism of competitive products, and more emphasis on collegiality, understanding and fairness in Aspen. I would like to reiterate that Fiji is an excellent product, and I have no criticism whatsoever of their bottled water, which may be more appropriate than ours in many geographical locations on the earth. I simply asked, in a changing world, with changing paradigms, if in this day and age, it’s the best choice for the Wheeler.

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