This just gets better and better!
Tom Whipple, The Times science corespondent is on form this week and keeping Lynne McTaggart and the folks at What Doctor’s Don’t Tell You under rightful scrutiny.
For some background into the recent WDDTY story, you should read Anarchic Teapot’s splendid summary of events so far. Also, always worth looking at Josephine Jones’ Masterlist of WDDTY blogs for a broader background.
So, to continue from where AT left off, today Lynne continued her offensive-defence against Tom Whipple and his article in The Times that ran earlier this week.(summary not behind paywall here.)
Luckily Tom is on fine form and keeping an eye on the WDDTY Facebook page. Below is the latest press release, so to speak, on behalf of WDDTY by editor Lynne. Tom has responded to every point raised and I’ve added these into the release for readability:
WHAT THE TIMES ARTICLE DIDN’T TELL YOU
@Tom Whipple: the following are all the reasons your article fails to meet the most basic standards of responsible journalism:
1.You did not make sure to get hold of us to give us right of reply. None of our editorial team has any record of calls or emails – other than your contacting our distributor Comag’s export division, which didn’t know anything about us.
“Please see call and email logs, as screengrabs posted on previous thread. These definitively show I did contact you.”
(added from previous post)
2.This story had no news deadline and need not have been published until you did get hold of us. The only responsible thing to do, when you are writing a story that is critical of an organization and individuals, particularly when you only represent the views of an organization sponsored by the very industry the magazine is critical of, is to wait to publish until you’ve given the publication a right to reply.
“There was an imperative to run because I knew another news organisation was interested. Never in ten years of journalism though have I had the situation where a company of your size has failed to get back to me in the time I gave you – I saw no reason it would happen this time, so pitched this as a story on the Monday morning. I held off from writing it on Sudnay, despite the editor beign interested, because I feared I might not get you then.”
3.You failed to represent the meaning of our magazine’s content fairly. You inferred the content of one ‘story’ from a front cover headline and even misquoted that. Our vitamin C article never claimed that vitamin C cures AIDS. It simply quoted a study by Dr. Robert Cathcart showing a favourable response when he used it against HIV.
“You had a front cover headline stating “Mega-cure for the incurables – Vitamin C fights it all from AIDS to measles” That is wholly umabiguous to me. As someone with the journalism experience you say you have, you will know puffs and headlines need to represent the article – especially when they are on the front of a magazine.”
4. You mistake the views of the subject of an article for the views of the publication itself, as you did with the MMR article, where we simply interviewed a doctor critical of the MMR. If the Times quotes the King of Syria’s views in favour of his country’s chemical attacks, does that mean the Times is also in favour of those attacks? By your reckoning it does.
“As someone with experience in journalism you will also know that a magazine is responsible, legally, for the views of the people it represents, and how it represents them. That was why the lawyers at The Times made me cut some quotes I had from other people before using this piece. You puffed a box of advice from a GP uncritically – as advice for readers. I am extremely comfortable with this as being a view put forward by your magazine. If you are not, please do speak to our lawyers.”
5. You misrepresented as the actual content of a story the promise of a story. Your ‘evidence’ for our story about homeopathy and cancer was a two-sentence teaser about a story we haven’t even published yet. You have no idea yet what we’re going to write about, so how can you say we’re going to write that homeopathy ‘cures’ cancer?
“Will your article about homeopathy and cancer not imply that it could be used to treat it? If so, I will be flabbergasted – and will apologise.”
6. You seem to confuse simple reporting of information for editorial claims of ‘cures’. When we do publish that homeopathy story, we will report on scientific studies carried out by the US government and successful use in a particular clinic. Reporting – not claims of ‘cure’.
“I said your magazine “suggests homeopathy could be used to treat cancer”. Will it not do that?”
7. You misrepresent the facts that we did publish. You say we ‘imply’ the HPV has killed hundreds of girls. On the Gardasil story what we actually wrote was that 1) the US government has reports of 68 deaths, 2) VAERS reporting system logs in about a tenth of vaccine adverse events and 3) a charity set up by the family of one dead girl has logged more than a 100 deaths following the vaccine – names, photos, stories from the families themselves. Do your homework.This information is not news. It has been widely reported throughout America. Many doctors have condemned that vaccine. It’s just news over here.
“Current edition, “Thousands of young girls have died or suffered permanent harm after being given the vaccine”. Previously, you have said, “your doctor and your daughter’s school nurse are not likely to tell you about the 100-plus American girls who suddenly died after receiving an HPV [human papillomavirus] vaccine.””
8. You have dressed up your own opinions as ‘news’. This article was shot through with your own prejudices and views about our magazine and coloured your misrepresentation of our material. The article was an opinion piece. It had no business being in the news section of the newspaper.
9. Finally, and most shamefully, you allowed yourself and the Times to be the patsy of an industry-backed organization with an agenda to kill a publication critical of that industry. And we’re talking about an industry with a track record of well documented deceit over the safety of its products – the very information your newspaper should be revealing, and not defending.
Your article is laced with malicious falsehoods and falls lamentably below the professional standards of the Times, which has always sought to be fair-minded and to write balanced views. Shame on you.
What professional training have you had?
“I think I’ll leave 8 and 9 because they do not deal with fact. Again, please desist from slandering me on this page. If you have a genuine grievance, there is our reader’s editor, then the PCC then – if that fails – the legal route. Please take it.”
It feels like some kind of Streisand Effect is occurring here! As you can see on the WDDTY Facebook page, Lynne keeps making the same points over and over again, despite having received quality answers and evidence against her assertions. It’s basically like arguing with a copy of their magazine! Your just not going to get anywhere positive.
The real positive that many people are aiming for it to see supermarkets, like Tesco, live up to their own corporate values and remove this dangerous magazine from their shelves.
Tesco can run their business however they want. They choose to set their own moral codes and as such we, as consumers, should expect them to apply them evenly. They were happy to remove a Halloween costume for being in bad taste. Well, the same rules should apply.
They lend completely unacceptable legitimacy to a dangerous alt-med rag. If you type ‘magazine’ into google this is fairly unlikely to appear, yet any 14, 15, 16 year old girl can wander into Tesco and pick this up and read a terrifying and inaccurate article about the HPV vaccine. Customers expect ALL the products on the shelves of their local Tesco to have undergone at least the most basic of safety checks. This doesn’t appear to apply to this product. I demand a recall!
It seems like there should be a place for a regulator around here somewhere.
UPDATE WHILE I WAS WRITING!
Lynne admits contact! Huzzar!