I’m a bit late on this one, but better late than never.
|The opinionated and ill-informed actress turned talk show host, Jeni Barnett, spent an hour or so endangering your children (and hers) with what most surely be one of the worst ever accounts of measles vaccination.
Chart from BBC report
She was abominably rude to a well-informed nurse who phoned in to try to inject some sense into the conversation.
The LBC tried to stop Ben Goldacre from publicising this horrific show by legal action.
Blogs are the new journalism. The response has been wonderful. People of all ages sat up late into the night transcribing the entire broadcast. Unlike the doubtless highly-paid actress, they did it as a public service. They were not paid by anyone. It is all rather beautiful.. Within a day of the legal notice being sent to Goldacre, the offensive broadcast has spread like wildfire over the web.
The result of all this hard work is that if you type ‘Jeni Barnett MMR’ into Google, every item but one on the first page links to the sites that are highly critical of Barnett’s irresponsible and ill-mannered rant (at 7 am on 7 Feb).
You can listen to the entire broadcast here. Or read the entire transcript here.
The many people who have put work into this effort are listed, for example, on Ben Goldacre’s own site.
Holfordwatch lists many links, and also lists previous attempts of lawyers to suppress science.
When will people learn that lawyers are not the proper way to settle matters of truth and falsehood.
Dice, n . Small polka-dotted cubes of ivory, constructed like a lawyer to lie on any side, but commonly the wrong one. [ Bierce, Ambrose , The Enlarged Devil’s Dictionary , 1967]
The list of commentators, on Holfordwatch, grows by the minute. The story rapidly spread to the USA: for example the excellent Orac has spoken eloquently.
The condemnation extends far beyond the usual bad medicine writers. Anyone who wants to speak the truth as they see it sees legal actions like these as a threat to freedom of speech. A side effect is that I learned about several new blogs.
One, with a name as good as its content is A Somewhat Old, But Capacious Handbag, written by (you guessed it) Miss Prism, has Today’s irresponsible tripe courtesy of Jeni Barnett.”
Another one that was new to me is the Black Triangle blog, written by Dr Anthony Cox (a pharmacovigilance pharmacist). He writes in Conspiracy?
Anti-vaccinators have exploited the internet for years. Websites, blogs, and forums are widely used by activists to promote their wrong-headed cause. However, when the pro-science pro-vaccine lobby use similar methods a common accusation is leveled at them. Here it is posted at JABS, the UK’s leading anti-vaccine website.
“There is no way all of this could have happened so quickly without Pharma backing.” “
That is really priceless. These anti-vaccination fanatics just don’t seem to be able to grasp that there is a big army of people who care so much about the public interest that they do all this for no money and a considerable cost to themselves in time and lost sleep.
Besides which, anyone who thinks that a big corporation could whip up so much support and activity in 24 hours obviously has a rather better opinion of the efficiency of big companies than I do. They’d need 25 meetings and an awayday in Majorca before anything happened . Even a university can do better than that (perhaps only 20 meetings and an awayday in Uxbridge). One does wonder why, then, universities are always being told to be more like businesses. But that is another story.
Anthony Cox also deals with another of my favourite topics in The Today Programme’s irresponsible MMR interview. I listen to the Today Programme, I listen every morning. But I do wish they could bring their medical reporting up to the same standard as their political reporting. Their policy of ‘equal time for the flat earth society” is not my idea of impartiality.
The Sunday Times for 8th February, by coincidence, has a major article by the excellent investigative reporter, Brian Deer.
An excellent summary has appeared already Dynutrix on Holfordwatch.
Part 1.MMR doctor Andrew Wakefield fixed data on autism .
“However, our investigation, confirmed by evidence presented to the General Medical Council (GMC), reveals that: In most of the 12 cases, the children’s ailments as described in The Lancet were different from their hospital and GP records. Although the research paper claimed that problems came on within days of the jab, in only one case did medical records suggest this was true, and in many of the cases medical concerns had been raised before the children were vaccinated. Hospital pathologists, looking for inflammatory bowel disease, reported in the majority of cases that the gut was normal. This was then reviewed and the Lancet paper showed them as abnormal. “
Part 2. MMR: Key Dates in the Crisis .
Part 3. Most shockingly Hidden records show MMR truth
“A Sunday Times investigation has found that altered data was behind the decade-long scare over vaccination ”
Part 4. How the MMR scare led to the return of measles.
Let’s hope that some of the original documents appear on-line soon.
The Times on 10 February carried a beautifully hard-hitting column by David Aaronovitch: The preposterous prejudice of the anti-MMR lobby
“Last week there was a bust-up in blogland.”
“Last week, justifying herself on her blog, Barnett invoked the spirit of the insurgent ignoramus. Yes, she said, she should have been ready with facts and figures on MMR.”
“That’s why I’m passionately for Goldacre, and why I find myself wondering whether we can file a class action against LBC for permitting a presenter to inflict her preposterous prejudices on her listeners, to the detriment of someone else’s kids.”
Jeni Barnett: have you lost something?. Well well, first Jeni Barnett removed the critical comments from her blog. Then she removed the blog altogether. Seems she isn’t interested in debate at all.
Neither does she understand the internet. You can read the missing blog here, and the invaluable Quackometer has reproduced the whole blog post and all the missing comments. Great work Andy,
Stephen Fry left a comment (#223) on Goldacre’s site.
“The fatuity of the Jeni Barnett woman’s manner – her blend of self-righteousness and stupidity, her simply quite staggering inability to grasp, pursue or appreciate a sequence of logical steps – all these are signature characteristics of Britain these days. The lamentable truth is that most of the population wouldn’t really understand why we get so angry at this assault on reason, logic and sense. But we have to keep hammering away at these people and their superstitious inanities. We have to. Well done you and well done all you supporting. I’ve tweeted this site to my followers. I hope they all do their best to support you. Publish and be damned. We’ll fight them and fight them and fight them in the name of empricism, reason, double blind random testing and all that matters.”
London Evening Standard on 11 February. Nick Cohen on How my friends fell for the MMR panic.
Press Gazette covered the start of the srory on 6th February, here.
MSNBC TV broadcast by Keith Olberman votes Andrew Wakefield as “today’s worst person in the world” on February 10th. Click in video “Vaccine lie puts kids at risk”.
Write to your MP to ask him/her to sign Early Day Motion 754, MMR Vaccine and the Media
David Aaronovitch writes again in the Times, February 14th, “We need an inquiry into how Andrew Wakefield got away with it“.