@Bengoldacre and #Badscience , live and awesome at #CIJournalism


An attempt at the livest of live blogging. I’ll update the top. Look to the bottom of tips on scientific journalismness.


‘Fake’ investigative journalism is going to be challenged. S’nice start.

MRSA spread over UK hospitals, as told by the News Of  The World and The Sun.

‘Dr Christopher Malyszewicz’, being the “respected MRSA specialist” that he is, provided the statistics and ‘facts’.

MRSA doesn’t grow on flat, dry surfaces. They was lyinggsssss :O.

‘The lab that always gives positive results’ was the cause, led by a famous microbiologist that Ben claims cannot pronounce common bacteria.

The ‘shedquarters’ were 6m X 2m. Literally, ‘nough said.

It’s just one example of the hilariously poor sources well respected news distributors use without (or tactically with) no prior research into their reliability.

As Ben says, “what journalists want to be true” to create a story or evidence to promote or sure-up the facts in a story.

Even after being ‘outed’ in a sense, Dr Vanya Grant amongst others still believed that there was enough evidence provided by the ‘shedquarters’ to prove MRSA was… there. (Liveblogging leaves you with a lot of ‘for lack of a better word’ cases: apologies).

Ben goes on to tell us that health scare stories are attractive for a few very powerful reasons: simple, provocative and not understood by the wider general public.

Andrew Wakefield is next mentioned. Technically evil. iven no clearance to test on children with learning disabilities but did, connecting MMR vaccine and the development of autism, amongst other health problems (bowel problems, for example).

Links back quite well to the earlier statistics workshop with Andrew Garrett of Sense about Science, where one doctor; can speak out with irrelevant and shakey statistics and be held to account.

“One person’s word is not useful information”. Well said. To call such ‘investigative’ journalism fake is completely fair and such occurences should be released into wider public knowledge.

Vaccine scares are said to be localised: on a wider scale, I suppose they are shot down or considered false because of further research, or such silly medicinal mistakes are not made in more than one place.

Certain cases are examplared, like polio cases in Nigeria said to be causing infertility and Hep (spell check ^^) B causing MS in France.

The word ‘mischief’ was mentioned as I was in mid tappy-tap. I thought I’d stop and appreciate this.

‘Journalistic mischief’. May use that one again.

Ahhh. Cervical Cancer jab. I remember this one. In the Daily Mail in England and Ireland respectively, the cervical cancer jab killed and saved peoples lies.

The Irish Daily Mail even ran a campaign to have the jab rolled out more feverently across the whole of the UK. Just plain crazy.

I won’t write many more case studies in such intensive owmyfoothurts-style detail, but Krigsman and colonoscopy claims in 2002 are identified as borderline fraudulent and autism-MMR claims in 2006 said to be the same.

In fact, at the exact same time, unpublicated publications that proved whole-heartedly that the autism-MMR links were entirely false, and went on to detail how false-positive results could easily be obtained by poor practice.

Not published and publicised. Mmm, tasty bias.

To show why this matters, we talk about raising awareness.

Kylie increased mammogram bookings by 40%, for example.

Do I count as an investigative journalist? Ben tells us that investigative journalism doesn’t like investigators who aren’t journalists.

So, for example, academics

Throughout all systematic reviews ever, studies showed that when a company funding was a factor, results were 4x more likely to benefit the benefactor.

New drugs funding also shows this bias. Nearly every drug is better than the nearest rival because of funding. Definately also worth looking into in apparently nearly every case.

Man, I’m writing a lot. More than Ben Goldacre has written, it seems. If you’re still reading, props. And love. <3.

Examiation unveils that there are “endless reviews showing that they (new drugs reviews) are misleading”, and simple, collective examination at that.

Leave your e-mail at the bottom of everything, Ben says. And, apparently, don’t trust Kenny Logan when it comes to drugs.


Evidence of his company and massively overpowered PR companies swatting off obvious and fair complaints with libel threats to users of Dore, a very unusable drug.


Man, now I know i’m going to be rushed off my arse to try and keep up. Bear with me.

The company went bust. I missed out a lot of details in the middle.


“If they say ‘can we talk on the phone’ they know they’re in the wrong”.

People ignore you.

Record EVERYTHING, use a dictaphone, phone recorder, blahblah etc.

Respond to criticism at face value, and don’t let things drop, even when word doesn’t get out, because it won’t.

Science is the easy bit. If it’s not published, it’s bull.

If someone says “the science shows”, checkitoutttt. Don’t just point at science, explain it and make it acessible and understandable.

You won’t find good stuff unless you enjoy it.

One Response to “@Bengoldacre and #Badscience , live and awesome at #CIJournalism”

  1. 1 links for 2010-07-10 « Onlinejournalismtest's Blog

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