Protecting the powerful is a feature, not a bug

September 21st, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, legal chill, libel, politics | 45 Comments »

Here’s a quick piece about libel that I bashed out on request for CiF, covers ground you’ll have read before but it’s always good to keep libel alive in peoples’ minds. Read the rest of this entry »

“We are more possible than you can powerfully imagine”

July 29th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in alternative medicine, bad science, legal chill, libel | 37 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian
Wednesday 29 July 2009

Today the Australian magazine Cosmos, along with a vast number of other blogs and publications, reprinted an article by Simon Singh, in slightly tweaked form, in an act of solidarity. The British Chiropractic Association has been suing Singh personally for the past 15 months, over a piece in the Guardian where he criticised the BCA for claiming that its members could treat children for colic, ear infections, asthma, prolonged crying, and sleeping and feeding conditions by manipulating their spines. Read the rest of this entry »

A characteristically amateurish and socially inappropriate approach to pitching an article

May 8th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, legal chill, libel | 21 Comments »

Hi there. I’m going to write 800 words on the British Chiropractic Association suing Simon Singh, and the early adjudication on meanings. I’m assuming the Guardian don’t want it, since they apologised over the original piece (let me know if you do, natch, wld love to). If you are some kind of editor, and you want to print it on paper, let me know, or I’ll give it to Padraig at Index on Censorship, who I love, but they are a bit little, and this issue deserves a wide readership as well.

I will say things like:

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LBC, MMR, Jeni Barnett, an Early Day Motion, the Times, and, er, a bit of Stephen Fry…

February 10th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, dangers, jeni barnett, LBC, legal chill, MMR, regulating media, scare stories, stifling criticism | 155 Comments »

I thought since a few days have passed that I should let you know what’s happening with the slightly ridiculous LBC situation. If you skip to the bottom you will find a discussion on some mischievous activism which I think has great potential.

Since LBC unwisely threw their legal weight around to prevent you from being able to freely experience and ponder that astonishing 44 minute tirade against MMR, the inevitable has happened. The audio has been posted on a huge number of websites around the world, over 120 blogs so far are linking to the story, and more importantly, hundreds of thousands of people are talking and reading about the ignorance that Jeni Barnett exemplified in that worrying broadcast. It has been covered in the Times, and an Early Day Motion is being set down in parliament.

Read the rest of this entry »

Er, “help”. Legal Chill from LBC 97.3 and “Global Radio” over Jeni Barnett’s MMR scaremongering

February 5th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in Global Radio, jeni barnett, legal chill, MMR, stifling criticism | 234 Comments »

[Update: recent developments are now available here, including an EDM in parliament and discussion in mainstream media]

[Update: links to transcripts and audio hosted elsewhere at bottom of post]

One more thing, since Stephen Fry excellently tweeted this post to his 8 billion followers (weirdly he wakes me up every morning) I’ve had to activate supercache to prevent the site from dying. This means your comments will be stored for later but can only appear intermittently, sorry about that, nice to have you, and do look around for the site for more educational moron-baiting entertainment.

LBC have instructed their lawyers to contact me.

Two days ago I posted about a 7th Jan 2009 broadcast in which their presenter Jeni Barnett exemplified some of the most irresponsible, ill-informed, and ignorant anti-vaccination campaigning that I have ever heard on the public airwaves. This is important because it can cost lives, and you can read about the media’s MMR hoax here.

To illustrate my grave concerns, I posted the relevant segment about MMR from her show, 44 minutes, which a reader kindly excerpted for me from the rest of the three hour programme. It is my view that Jeni Barnett torpedoes her reputation in that audio excerpt so effectively that little explanation is needed.

LBC’s lawyers say that the clip I posted is a clear infringement of their copyright, that I must take it down immediately, that I must inform them when I have done so, and that they “reserve their rights”.

To me this raises several problems:

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