A couple of days ago, I did a Respectfully Insolentâ¢ takedown of a disappointingly credulous and misinformation-laden article published on Medscape about the human papilloma virus vaccine Gardasil. The article was clearly biased, and, worse, it quoted Oprah’s favorite woo-loving gynecologist Dr. Christiane Northrup parroting germ theory denialism and the myth that Louis Pasteur “recanted” on his deathbed. All in all, it was a terrible article.
Today, multiple people have pointed out to me and I have seen at the blog Holford Watch that the link to the Medscape article now leads to a “page cannot be found” error. Apparently, Medscape has pulled the article. At least, that’s the only explanation I can think of. Maybe Medscape has some shame after all.
On the other hand, this is not the way to go about it. Rather than admitting it made a mistake in not adequately fact-checking the article, leaving such ignorant quotes by Dr. Northrup to be included, and publishing such a shoddy article in the first place, Medscape has instead apparently taken the cowardly way out and simply quietly pulled the article, perhaps hoping that no one will notice. A better course would have been to pull the article, but leave that link leading to an explanation why the article was pulled. By taking the cowardly way out, Medscape has, if anything, lowered rather than raised my opinion of it. Although I’m happy to see that its editors apparently still have a sense of shame, I’m disappointed that they chose such a poor way to correct their mistake.