Ben Goldacre – my hero!
Jeni Barnett's exchange with an MD caller to her LBC phone in programme.
As someone who went to a convent boarding school where the nuns thought that deportment badges and a fancy uniform were more important than an education, I was completely deprived of any kind of science education as a child. We wrote odes to autumn in biology classes and physics and chemistry were not taught at all. So science is something I’m thoroughly enjoying learning about late in life. Anyway as part of this self-education one of my regular reads is Dr Ben Goldacre’s hilarious irreverent blog where he writes about bad science journalism and science-related frauds.
In the UK we have had very poor take-up of the Measles Mumps Rubella vaccination, entirely down to a now discredited scare relating MMR jabs to autism. As a consequence the herd immunity to measles, mumps and rubella is now as low as 60% in parts of London. Ben recently posted about a London radio phone-in where the ill-informed, but nonetheless loudly opinionated, presenter Jeni Barnett once again brought up this old chestnut. By posting a twenty minute clip of the three hour programme he has brought down the ire of the broadcaster, LBC and they've sent their legal department after him for breach of copyright. How silly, with the viral power of the internet we can all broadcast snippets of the programme and really embarrass the company.
As a mother of four children, I mind quite a bit when someone, through ignorant prejudice refuses to vaccinate their children and thus endangers the health of other children. However, what really makes me hopping mad is when someone uses their position as a broadcaster to influence an even greater number to do so.
Anyway if you're interested, Ben’s blog is here.
And the broadcast can be heard here.
The comments section of Ben's latest post provides lots of useful links if you wish to complain about the programme or learn more about the subject.