Jeni Barnett made some very irresponsible comments about the safety of MMR recently.
During a rant on her LBC radio show, she spat misinformation and conspiracy theories about the safety of MMR and vaccination. In addition to shouting over the top of nurses and GPs who had called in to politely correct her. But like Jenny McCarthy she has a “Mommy” instinct, so she obviously knows best. No-one can compete with that, least of all science.
When Ben Goldacre was sent a clip of her rant, he did the responsible thing and posted it to his blog so that millions of people could hear the irrational, ill-informed, potentially damaging opinions for themselves.
And believe me, you will not believe how bad this is until you hear it.
The response from LBC was to threaten Ben with legal action for a breach of copyright. This threat has backfired in a major way for LBC. By threatening to slap Ben with a lawsuit unless he remove the offending material (which he subsequently has), they have effectively started a huge Streisand effect which is currently resonating across the globe.
“To all of you Bad scientists, who are SO angry with me, good luck with your research. Should you fall ill I will attend you as best I can with my motherly love. Should I fall ill, as a non paid up member of your club, will you administer to me? And should I refuse your drugs then what?” Jeni Barnett
The mp3 appeared on Wikileaks sometime this morning with 13 servers hosting it from all over the world. People have already begun blogging it, with links to the Wiki page.
My good friend Res posted the entire 40 minutes (the excerpt originally on Ben’s blog) on my YouTube channel. Several people have commented that transcribing the segment is the best way to get around the legal red tape. Time will tell if this is the case, however…
…I hardly think it matters anymore, following pleas for help on his blog and twitter, Ben has mobilised an army and this thing has gone viral.
As a example of Jeni’s complete lack of scientific understanding she said this gem during her show; “Have you had the flu jab? But still you’ve got the cold?”. The influenza virus is not the same virus that causes colds. FAIL.
Well done LBC for making what could have been an embarrassing stuff-up which may have resulted in a few cranky posts on Jeni’s blog into a world wide scandal. (Interestingly, someone calling themselves Andy Wakefield from Thoughtful House posted a message on Jeni’s blog offering assistance. Well, I guess he would know!)
Thank you Ben for bringing this to our attention. Thank you Res for posting this to YouTube.
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