Jeni Barnett and LBC Radio, we say this for your own good because it must be miserable underneath those duvets. Stop making things worse. Deleting blog posts is not going to make this go away because, short of an EMP, the Internet keeps track of these things (cache for now, Quackometer has both posts, the Tiny URL version still works and there maybe images later).
Deletion will not mend fences. Talk to Dr Ben Goldacre and others. He removed the segment, please drop your rights to hold the threat of a law suit against him. Above all, talk to him. He’s a reasonable man.
Most importantly, Jeni Barnett needs to apologise wholeheartedly and without reservation, to Yasmin. Nobody but Jeni Barnett believes that Yasmin’s phone call was “vicious”. Dr Petra Boynton gives an excellent analysis of the infamous phone call that closed the MMR Segment for the 7 Jan 2009 show and holds it up as an example of why health professionals are wary are talking with media people. Even Jeni Mimosaphant Barnett can not possibly think that removing the blog posts is a sufficient proxy apology to Yasmin whom she explicitly disrespected both in the call and in her blog post or the other health professionals whom she implicitly disrespected and decried.
Does Jeni Barnett have any understanding that people are angry that she takes the word of business people with a conflict of interest (to a large extent, that fits the description of Tracy, anti-vaxer and homeopath) and seems to lionise Dr Andrew Wakefield whilst speaking with contempt of the Dept. of Health, Health Professionals such as Yasmin and many hard-working doctors while also implying that the health and research professions contain a disproportionate number of callous individuals or corrupt liars?
People put a lot of thought into giving Jeni Barnett the information that she seemed to request in response to her errors. There was no need to delete those comments.
It is a puzzling thing. The truth knocks on the door and you say, ‘Go away, I’m looking for the truth.’ and so it goes away. Puzzling. [Robert M. Pirsig]
As Ciaran rather charmingly remarked, relatively speaking:
we’ve gone for a picnic on her comments page with a G&T in one hand and a Cochrane review in the other.
There was certainly no need to delete the posts. This isn’t Groundhog Day, you can’t wipe the past and give it another go. Although this tactic does remind us of a certain
Former Visiting Professor Patrick Holford who made more than a few gaffes in his response to a Watchdog programme and then deleted it when somebody took him at his word and researched his ‘corrections’. The same Holford whose idea of a blog is opening it up to comments only from those who have drunk the Kook-Aid [sic] and signed up to his 100%health subscription service.
However, as both Jeni Barnett and Patrick Holford (plus, 1 and <a href=”http://holfordwatch.info/2008/01/26/patrick-holford-and-andrew-wakefields-discredited-findings-part-2/”) have expressed that they are convinced by Dr Andrew Wakefield (and here), James O’Malley has designed a Scientific Study that PROVES Andrew Wakefield Fandom is Deleterious.
Jeni Barnett, a certain former Visiting Professor, our advice is – less deletion, more dialogue.
Updates and related reading
Botherer of Cream has a very good overiew of the LBC Radio, Jeni Barnett, Ben Goldacre kerfuffle as well as summarising the recent and former revelations about Andrew Wakefield, his conflicts of interest, and flaws in his research: Goldacre Vs Barnett, Why The Internet Will Get You.
This is why Barnett’s mistake was so huge. Finally, after a decade of this hideous man’s work having somehow dominated, despite dozens and dozens of further studies failing to reproduce the results, and the MMR being repeatedly proven safe, the tide in the media is beginning to turn. Newspapers that perpetuated the myth are beginning to report the truth. This hopefully means, along with the recent revelations as to the depths of Wakefield’s malpractice, the tide might begin to turn.
Botherer also, and rightly, highlights the excellent technical support from Positive Internet, during Ben Goldacre’s time of Boing Boing and the Stephen Fry Effect (we should also note that Positive Internet rescued Quackometer at his time of need).
The Biologista remarks on: The Streisand Effect. Biologista highlights that there has been:
No meaningful apology. No recognition of the continuing damage this evidence-free nonsense has done to public health in the UK and Ireland. And of course, no glimmer of having realised that everything she and LBC have done so far, including this, is just making things worse for her and her employers.