09 July 2007

The British Press...(continued)

I've run a number of posts here about how badly our newspapers report on certain subjects. Yesterday, however, we reached a new low, with two sickening articles in the Observer about MMR and autism, including a cringing interview with the person who has done most to spread FUD, and consequently led to increased deaths and serious disabilities via higher (perhaps quasi-epidemic) measles and rubella infection rates. The main article was the front page headline.

I almost cancelled my Guardian/Observer subscription on the spot, but then how would I get my regular dose of ire?

I will not go into this subject in too much detail here, as there are far more qualified people, and better writers to boot covering this development.

I will instead first link to Ben Goldacre's Bad Science post which covers the developments pretty well, links to other stories, and has some interesting developments (including one of the two scientists the Observer quoted as "privately supporting an MMR link" apparently accused the Observer of fabricating comments, and therefore presumably leaving the Observer with just one of the seven academics thinking this way. Evidence shown on Ben's post seems to show this "academic" as somewhat unhinged and unprofessional at the very least.

Other links to follow include:
A reasoned article at Breath Spa for Kids
Or have a look at the journalist's qualifications for writing about this subject!

Also look out for articles at The Holford Watch
- an anti-dote site to one of the more ridiculous "media nutritionists" who pass themselves off (to the gullible press) as scientists.

MMR WAS a valid idea to be researched as involved in (some cases of) autism. But it has been researched ad nauseam and shown not to be involved AT ALL. The damage done because of the insistence on this link is severe around the world and especially in this country. What is so sad to see is how the supposedly-intelligent broadsheets run with this stuff.

Perhaps, those who believe in good science reporting should complain to the Press Complaints Commission?

Incidentally, if anyone dares to say the Observer is balanced because Goldacre writes a column for the (sister) Guardian, then please also show me when he's been on the front page, or where an editorial has taken up his piece to correct an earlier sare and FUD article?

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1 comment:

Jon said...

thanks for the link, Ian - and yeah, that was a shockingly bad story.

I'd like to think we're working on an antidote, though sadly development is still far from complete ;)