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Ben Goldacre on how the media reports on vaccines and medicine

By way of badscience.net:

Speak it, brother Ben!

Oh, and don’t be too hard on your hairstyle and clothing in that one. I could totally picture you as an incarnation of The Doctor in that getup. That sweater vest does look a bit Peter Davison-ish, although the curly locks do rather echo Tom Baker.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

15 replies on “Ben Goldacre on how the media reports on vaccines and medicine”

That was great! I also liked that he pointed out that drug companies do sometimes cover things up. One of the big anti-vax canards is the drug companies are hiding the dangers of vaccines and anyone who defends vaccines must be in the pocket of Big Pharma. If my memory serves me correctly, wasn’t it people in the evidence based community who helped uncover the Vioxx scandal and then most loudly condemned Merck for the cover up? Did David Kirby have anything to say on the subject other than to hold it up as evidence that drug companies lie (and therefore they’re lying about vaccines)?

I need to relax and take a deep breath right now.

With all of the money that anti-vaxers claim is being paid to shills and government control, one would think that money would be more effectively used in shutting down their websites if they really wanted to censor the “truth”.

Does anyone really believe that if there was really a secret society then would they let whale.to and AoA exist if they are as all powerful as they believe?

Another chemist I know was recently Pfired-just one more in a line of good scientist let go due to mergers. If Pharma is so all powerfull, why are they letting people go and their stock prices falling?

I do like the news caster admitted in closing that they are part of the problem. A great first step to sanity.

Wonderful job by Dr Goldacre, seems he’s not just a good writer, but an excellent speaker.

No no no, the vest is way more Sylvester McCoy than Peter Davison. 😉

Great video. Thanks for sharing!

Hmmm. You may have a point there. You could even add the curly hair.

Rewatching the video, I also notice that at times he reminds me of Richard Dawkins in his mannerisms and the way he addresses the audience.

Ben Goldacre is becoming something of a star here in the UK, and rightly so, after all he’s been willing to take on people like Matthias Rath despite significant legal threats…Ben won http://www.badscience.net/2008/09/matthias-rath-pulls-out-forced-to-pay-the-guardians-costs-i-think-this-means-i-win/

I saw the talk he gave at the Science blog meeting last August and can vouch for him being a very entertaining speaker, but don’t take my word for it, he gives quite a few talks up and down the country http://www.badscience.net/about-dr-ben-goldacre/upcoming-talks-readings-parties/

Perhaps the media tide will turn with a big measles outbreak. As soon as one kid dies because of not being vaccinated or being around a kid whose parents chose not to. Sadly, that may be the only thing that stops this nonsense from being covered as a) a conspiracy, or b) two equal sides.

“Pretty strong feelings”?

I thought that Ben Goldacre was merely speaking plainly and clearly about the state of things. Good job.

“I do like the news caster admitted in closing that they are part of the problem. A great first step to sanity.”

Indeed! And curiously, I’ve heard nothing similar from American media. In fact, such an opinion piece criticizing all the media at length probably would not be found in US mainstream media–certainly not on our television networks.

No, the Faux News clowns don’t count; first, they wouldn’t know actual journalism if it bit them on their asses, and second, all their commentators do is whine about “liberal” media; that is, every media outlet except Faux News.

Quite frankly, with a few exceptions, many US journalists and their news organizations are craven and ignorant. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that there is very little actual competition in US media anymore–much of it having disappeared in a host of mergers and acquisitions.

At any rate, it is heartening to read and see some people fighting the good fight. Go Dr. Goldacre and Orac!

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