A story on journalism.co.uk from Judith Townend reports that Jeni Barnett has received ‘hundreds of extremely personal and abusive comments,’ says her agent, Robert Common.

“[The comments] do not address the debate about the use of MMR and that is the reason for taking the comments off Jeni’s website,” Common said.

Jeni invited people to join the debate about MMR following her controversial broadcast on January 7 th where she spouted misinformation about MMR, autism and vaccinations in general. However, comments posted disagreeing with her stance, no matter how polite, were quickly removed from her blog.

Some of the comments left on the journalism.co.uk blog make this point.

Andy Says:

February 11th, 2009 at 8:08 pm

Whilst I would not approve of any threatening or abusive comments, the vast majority left on Jeni’s blog were simple and robust criticism of her stance and behaviour. Plus the subsequent behaviour of LBC.

As so many people did take the time to explain quite carefully what was wrong, I have reposted these blogs and comments on my own site. Make your own mind up.

Perhaps Jeni, or her agent Robert common forgot about the internet cache, but Andy from Quackometer.net did not. He has posted all the comments, as they originally appeared for us all to see.

One thing that surprised many people posting on this story, was Jeni’s somewhat hypocritical cry that these comments were abusive personal attacks. This is a bit rich when you consider she herself yelled over the top of Yasmin, now identified as an NHS nurse, then later referred to her as “vicious”.

The Biologista Says:

1. Jeni herself described at least one of her pro-MMR callers “vicious” and has been very dismissive of all of her critics. Regardless of the evidence they produced or how mannerly they were, their concerns were regarded as “sarcasm”.

David Jones Says:

February 11th, 2009 at 9:42 pm

Most of the messages have been saved and are on the Internet for all to see. None were personally abusive. On the other hand, Barnett described a perfectly reasonable and concerned nurse who called into the show as ‘vicious’, which is simply untrue. The transcripts are available, read them for yourself, see who’s indulging in personal abuse.

This is precisely the point Jeni. You can put all the spin on it you like but the facts remain. The audio, the transcript and the blog comments as they originally appeared are available for us all to see.

In the meantime, Ben has issued a personal plea on his blog to not send abusive emails to Jeni following a phone call from the programme director of LBC.

As the saying goes, if you give people enough rope….


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  • Yes, Ben reveals all about the LBC/Jeni Barnett incident on this week’s Skeptic Zone. Tune in this Friday January 20 th for a special with Ben Goldacre.

  • As I underatnd it Jeni’s manager was quite a bit more abusive on the phone to Ben