Dr Ben Goldacre of Bad Science has publicised Jeni Barnett’s segment on MMR from the Jeni Barnett Show, LBC Radio,
Sunday 1 Feb 7 January 2009. This MMR segment contained many extraordinary assertions and exchanges. You may be interested in her back and forth with her final caller.
Yasmin seems to be a nurse in Primary Practice.
JB – Radio show host, Jeni Barnett.
TIMESTAMP 39:00 into Jeni Barnett LBC Segment,
Sunday Feb 1 7 January 2009.
JB: And I think that the reason you fill up my telephone-there are no calls being able to come in at the minute- is because you’re phoning is because there isn’t a definitive answer. There is no absolute answer.
As a parent, whether you are male or female, you have to make a decision based on your family history. I took my daughter who kept getting ear infections when she was a kid and one of the doctors said to me, “If you do not give her an asthma spray, and do not do this, that and the other, she will die within a week”. You don’t say that to a young mum, well, I was an old mum but she was only a little person.
Since I had asthma and my mother in law died of asthma and I’ve told you this before, that doctor didn’t take into account where I was coming from. I required him to look in my child’s ear and give me some indication of what was going on so I could make an informed decision.
I, however, am not like Yasmin in Chelsea. You would – what would you have done in that situation?
Yasmin: I’m just wondering how much longer your programme is on air. Because I give hundreds of MMR vaccines
and all the work that we do in general practice is probably being undone by your programme in 15 minutes and I think it’s very irresponsible.
JB: Why. [Indistinct]
Yasmin: It doesn’t seem to be based on any facts. I’m very sorry to hear that your child had autism but if you…
JB: My child. Yasmin – [not] my child – somebody else’s child had autism.
Yasmin: Somebody else’s child, I’m very sorry to hear that. But if they read the Wakefield study in the Lancet in 1998, Dr Wakefield actually said that he didn’t prove an association between MMR and…
JB: Well he wasn’t really allowed to have his say, was he, Yasmin. He was kinda…
Yasmin: I think he was. I think he said it recently in court.
JB: But you’re not…
Yasmin: I think he’s being tried for medical negligence. I think that your programme is extremely irresponsible. You’re talking…
JB: Ah, let me just ask this…Let me ask you this before you go on with that.
How, if you are so certain that your MMR jab is correct, how can 15 minutes on LBC 97.3 rock what people are thinking?
Yasmin: Well, you’d be surprised. And at the moment we are expecting a measles epidemic and it’s because of people like Ken Livingstone and people like yourself.
You talk about young mothers who have a very difficult decision to make and, I agree, they do, and I spend a lot of time talking to them. But people like you don’t really make it any easier for them.
And you were just talking about somebody with an ear infection. I’ve been talking to somebody I know who had a child who woke up with the contents of their ear on the pillow and that was down to the rubella virus.
So you really need to think about what you’re doing here and why you’re doing it.
JB: Well, you see, I could argue, Yasmin, that you have to think about it, too. I’m allowed…
Yasmin: I do, every day.
JB: And so do I, as a parent, and that’s what I’m saying.
Yasmin: I’m a parent. And one of my children has had 3 doses of measles [sic. Possibly meant MMR] and there’s no problem with it. You could have a hundred doses of measles [sic. Possibly meant MMR] and it would do nothing.
[Yasmin and JB talk over each other]
JB: But why give them the vaccine if they get the measles? I never can understand that.
Yasmin: We don’t give vaccines to children who have had measles. They need a combined vaccine of measles, mumps and rubella.
If they have one dose the studies show that they possibly need to be revaccinated within a couple of years to make sure that that protection carries on for life.
JB: Do you not think, though, that as a parent, I am allowed to make a decision about what I put in my kid’s body?
Yasmin: Yes. And do you not think that a parent whose child has cancer and is having chemotherapy and has a much lower resistance to things like measles, mumps and rubella, has a right for their child to go to normal Primary…
JB: Absolutely, absolutely.
Yasmin: A normal Primary School. But because there may be one child in the class, such as yours, who is lucky to have the immunity, that child might get measles, mumps or rubella and die.
JB: Yasmin, my daughter did not have decent immunity which is exactly why I did not have her inoculated.
Yasmin: We don’t. We wait until your child is well and fit enough to give the MMR.
JB: But I don’t want my child to be fiddled with with all sorts of stuff that’s in a vaccine. Now why…
[JB and Yasmin talk over each other]
Let me finish.
Yasmin: Could you tell me what’s in the vaccine? What do you think is in the vaccine?
JB: No, I can’t.
Yasmin: Then how can you make a decision for your child? You’re taking about parents having to make decisions for the child but if you go into any secondary school, which I have done, we’ve been asked to vaccinate kids against MMR, they all say they want it.
If you’re deny immunisation then you’re denying health to your child and other children.
JB: No, no, no. My child is absolutely strong and healthy in many ways…
Yasmin: Then you’re one of the lucky ones aren’t you? If your kid had chemotherapy…
JB: Listen, listen, listen. Yasmin will you stop…Stop.
Yasmin: You’d want your child to be protected, wouldn’t you?
JB: Stop being so dramatic about it. If you
[JB and Yasmin talk over each other.]
Yasmin: You should think about what you’re doing in this programme. You’re doing a lot of damage. A lot of damage.
JB: Well, maybe. I don’t think so.
Yasmin: You don’t know what you’re talking about. You can’t even tell me what’s in an MMR vaccine so you shouldn’t be talking about it.
JB: Well, I can get it…Shall I get it off the internet, Yasmin?
Yasmin: Yeah, get it off the internet, from a reliable source, the such as the Department of Health
Yasmin: and then I might listen to you, yeah.
JB: The Department of Health frightens people.
Thanks, Yasmin, for your call.
I think it’s quite interesting. When I was told I had a high blood sugar, I was told in that room I had diabetes. I don’t have diabetes, I have high blood sugar. My blood sugar’s normal now but they frightened me. Which is what people like Yasmin does.
This is LBC 97.3.
Sadly, you will recognise all too many of the canards that fly from Jeni’s mouth in the above exchange. It is extraordinary that she condensed so many in such a short time but it is interesting that she makes many of the same errors as Patrick Holford and spreads misinformation on this critical issue of MMR and vaccination.
It is disappointing, but not unexpected to learn that Dr Andrew Wakefield has turned up in the comments of one of Jeni’s posts, offering to lend her his own, unique, brand of charisma and support – except for scientific support, of course.
Related Reading and Updates
It seems that other parts of the astonishing radio segment are beginning to appear. The above is a best endeavours transcript as it was not too clear in places.
Frank Swain of Science Punk: Jeni Barnett MMR show – full transcript
Martin of The Lay Scientist: The Barnett Transcript: Part 2 – The homeopath’s phone call. Martin has made some comments of his own.
Podblack of Podblack Cat: Jeni Barnett On LBC 97.3FM UK Radio – Vs John From Epsom
Dr Rachael Dunlop of Sceptics’ Book: Jeni Barnett talks to Amanda, mother of 8. This section covers ~ 19 to 24 mins of the Jeni Barnett MMR segment. To see the preceding section head to podblack.com. For the full audio, head to my YouTube channel.
Quackometer has part 5: Jeni Barnett MMR Rant Transcript with “Dr Rob”
We, at HolfordWatch are hosting Part 6: Jeni Barnett and the Phone Call with Yasmin on the LBC MMR Segment
Any suggested amendments to the transcript etc., please put in comments. There may be some commentary on parts of this transcript later today.
For people who might like to listen to the audio, while it is available, it is on YouTube.
Jeni Barnett on MMR on LBC Radio
Sunday 1 Feb 2009 (I assume) 7 January 2009
Should anything happen to those, the Wiki Leaks has the original recording.
Anyone who hasn’t seen it, head over to Julie Oakley of Julie’s Pictures: Ben Goldacre – my hero! – an excellent outline drawing.
9 Feb. 2009. Of course, we are constrained to mention that, after calling for a debate, Jeni Barnett has seen fit to delete comments from her blog. Of course, that doesn’t mean that they have disappeared from the internet…
It also seems to indicate that Jeni Barnett is carrying over the idea of controlling the mike and talking over people to her interactions on the internet (see Ben Goldacre’s comment). This is a very odd idea of an open debate.
10 Feb. 2009. Counterknowledge has identified Jeni Barnett’s exchange with Yasmin as its favourite part of the entire car-crash episode: Aaronovitch: can we sue LBC for Jeni Barnett’s appalling anti-MMR rant?