Al Jazeera on the Wakefield fraud, less false-balance
Posted Jan 07 2011 7:02pm
One of the really bad parts of the past few days has been watching the media fall into the same old traps. Instead of taking this opportunity to sideline Andrew Wakefield and his supporters, they have given them a lot of airtime to make unsubstantiated, and sometimes just wild, accusations and claims. It is the false balance idea—give both sides of the story.
I ran across this video of Al Jazeera which gave a brief quote of a response by Mr. Wakefield but otherwise discussed the fraud and the fallout.
As time goes on I hope that even less time will be given to Mr. Wakefield and his supporters. If they won’t address the very real and very serious questions of fraud, what’s the point in hearing about the vast conspiracy that they claim is ongoing?
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What seems odd to me is the low rate of reporting the UK press. The Telegraph and New Scientist mentioned the BMJ finding, but apart from that I don't see anything. The Guardian, The Mail, the BBC, don't give anything on their websites (presuming that searching for "wakefield" would be sufficient).
What seems odd to me is the low rate of reporting the UK press. The Telegraph and New Scientist mentioned the BMJ finding, but apart from that I don’t see anything.
Well, could it be that the UK doesn't really have a free press, given it's so plaintiff-friendly in libel cases?
It's true that the UK isn't a good place to defend against libel action (which is one thing that makes the BMJ article's directness surprising). But I find it hard to believe that the major newspapers would be afraid of reporting on what the BMJ already published.
My guess is there's some amount of embarrassment over previous coverage, and (most shamefully, IMHO) they don't see it as sufficiently newsworthy.
Bruce is right. I would've expected The Mail at least to be reporting on this. They love Wakefield usually.