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Another Tale of the Corrupt and Bungling BBC

BBCBy John Stone

The BBC is convulsed by the fall out of the scandal of Jimmy Savile , the DJ who died last year having been sheltered by the corporation and others for 50 years from serial sex abuse accusations. The Newsnight program which expediently shelved its report on Savile not to interfere with the hagiographic programs about him scheduled for last Christmas, has now blundered with a follow up report which wrongly implicated Conservative Party grandee, Lord MacAlpine, in the age old North Wales children’s home sex abuse case. BBC Director-General George Entwistle  has been forced to resign while the Chairman, Lord Patten (who is himself under threat) remarked “If trust goes it’s over”.  For a long time the BBC has been riddled with agendas while truth has taken a back seat. It is therefore no surprise that they make corrupt decisions or bungle reports, it is just that on this occasion they have been caught out.

Against this background Age of Autism re-publishes John Stone’s review of the BBC Trustees response to his complaint about the ‘Science Betrayed’ radio program last year ‘BBC Trustees Stand By Groundless Insinuations Against Andrew Wakefield in Radio 4 'Science Betrayed ' Programme’. We believe that the program and the response of the BBC hierarchy is demonstrative of the BBC’s arrogant culture and its utter contempt for truth.

The decision of the BBC's Editorial Standards Committee - whose six members are also Corporation trustees - fails to take account of emerging facts, and hides behind Brian Deer's flawed and logically untenable account of events. We publish UK Editor John Stone's final submission to the committee.

I am responding to the document from Part 4... It is important to note that Mr Deer’s claims have unravelled very substantially in the past 5 weeks as the result of a report on Nature News, and further correspondence in BMJ Rapid Responses including statements made by the BBC’s expert advisor on this complaint, Prof Ingvar Bjarnason, by BMJ editor Fiona Godlee, by Brian Deer himself and by Dr Amar P Dhillon, the senior histopathologist co-author of the Lancet paper. These events demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt the original recklessness and unfairness of the programme in March.

Point 1

I note that progress with the University College London Inquiry stalled after the programme, a source of frustration to the editor of the BMJ at least, who complained to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee [1].

The ESC’s attitude to Conflict of Interest is dangerously whimsical: it leaves the BBC free to waive concern about people it likes and crucify people it does not. Unless they decide on objective, citable consistent criteria they will make arbitrary decisions. Anything else is touchy-feely, self-referential nonsense.

I also note that the committee failed to take account of evidence I provided that Andrew Wakefield had embarked in the documentable shape of published papers on “a wider study to replicate findings in the Lancet paper” so it is quite hard to know what Prof Pepys was complaining about. Some people want these papers withdrawn, but they are quite certainly there and their existence factually contradicts Prof Pepys’s claim in its present form.

Point 2

I refer to my previous comment in relation to CoI.

Point 3

Once again this is an arbitrary judgement. It is saying that Mr Deer is such a fine person and dedicated journalist that normal ethical constraints do not apply in his case. But it has already been conceded that his unusual arrangement with the GMC was not explained in the programme (which also reflects on the ethics of the GMC). I note that the Committee now cite his current disclosure in BMJ, which also does not explicitly describe the arrangement, but it is also inconsistent on the part of the ESC because it is argued elsewhere in the document that what may have been said in the BMJ is no direct concern of the BBC. Indeed, it is evidently the BBC’s choice not to disclose this embarrassing matter. There is, nevertheless, a serious inconsistency running throughout the response that one minute the BBC is leaning on BMJ, the next saying that programmes claims stand on their own (though they plainly don’t).

Point 4

A discussion is obviously not fair in the context of a programme which persistently gives more weight to one person than another (and by the way fails to get to the bottom of what is being discussed). I note the ESC’s concluding remarks:

“The committee said that it was clear that it was the reliance of Mr Wakefield (Dr??) on the red books as of evidence of “the child’s prior normality” which Mr Deer was criticising. Accordingly, the Committee did not uphold the complaint on this point.”

This is both a false alternative and an historically unfounded insinuation: as well as the red books Dr Wakefield was reliant on GP correspondence, the medical histories taken by Prof Walker-Smith, and the parent consultations with the neurologist Dr Harvey and the psychiatrist Dr Berelowitz. While this may be Mr Deer’s opinion it shows no respect for factual accuracy. It is not correct and it is not fair comment.

Point 5

I quote:

“The Committee noted for the most part, allegations made in the programme had been challenged in the course of the GMC tribunal”.

This is a false statement. These allegations first saw the light of day in a Sunday Times article by Mr Deer in February 2009, and were repeated in BMJ in January 2011. The defence at the GMC hearing which began in 2007 never had to address these allegations.

“The committee note that the tribunal has the same standing as a court of law: and its findings on fact were entitled to be relied upon by the producers of the programme.”

However, all the findings that were remotely relevant to the programme are still under appeal by Prof Walker-Smith, and this was not said, and the absence of any warning regarding this is surely a serious lapse of procedure on the part of the Corporation.

With regard to the evidence of Susan Davies, it is evident that what she is saying is the results of the biopsies were both consistent with significant inflammation and with normality. I note that after the recent intervention of Dr David Lewis as reported in Nature News Prof Bjarnason, Dr Godlee and even Mr Deer had to retreat substantially [1]:

“But he (Bjarnason) says that the forms don't clearly support charges that Wakefield deliberately misinterpreted the records. "The data are subjective. It's different to say it's deliberate falsification," he says.

“Deer notes that he never accused Wakefield of fraud over his interpretation of pathology records…

“Fiona Godlee, the editor of the BMJ, says that the journal's conclusion of fraud was not based on the pathology but on a number of discrepancies between the children's records and the claims in the Lancet paper…”

Although Godlee had previously stated under pressure from Age of Autism readers in February [3]:

“The case we presented against Andrew Wakefield that the 1998 Lancet paper was intended to mislead was not critically reliant on GP records”

I note that Prof Bjarnason’s admission came after new evidence and after his advice on this complaint, and suggests that he had been jumping the gun before.

Further to this Dr Dhillon, the senior pathologist in the paper has also now made a lengthy statement which gives the clinical context in which the interpretation of the biopsy results were modified and which gives the lie to the suggestion that Wakefield was acting on his own and/or fabricating something [4]:

The reappearance (BMJ Nov 2011 online: http://www.bmj.com/highwire/filestream/536428/field_highwire_adjunct_fil... ) of some of my histology grading sheets for the Lancet 1998 study (Wakefield AJ et al. Ileal lymphoid nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis and pervasive developmental disorder in children. Lancet 1998;351:637-41) is interesting. I have not seen the grading sheets since 1997-98 when I gave them to Andy Wakefield. Following the interest shown in the grading sheets in the November 12 2011 BMJ Feature “Pathology reports solve “new bowel disease” riddle” (BMJ 2011;343:bmj.d6823), accompanying articles and editorial it is evident that there are a number of misunderstandings. Many of these are a result of a lack of understanding of the essential difference between the systematic documentation of specific microscopical features in a grading sheet by a “blinded” (ie in the absence of any clinical, or other information) pathologist on the one hand; and on the other hand concluding an overall clinicopathological diagnosis by integration of clinical information with diverse lines of investigation (including information in the grading sheet). The difference between the two activities should be understood better. The online grading sheets represent an incomplete record of my observations of the slides of gut mucosal biopsies from patients who were included in the Lancet 1998 study, and there were “normal control” biopsies as well; however:

 -Of those grading sheets attributed to me not all are mine (grading sheets on p38-47 and p55-64 inclusive of the BMJ Nov 2011 online document belong to someone else: NB the handwriting is different to mine)

 -The boxes with assigned patient “case numbers” on the grading sheets have been put onto the grading sheets by someone else (ie “child 1”, “child 2” etc): this information was not available to me at time either of the slide review or Lancet 1998 publication

 -Neither the clinical details per case, nor the original diagnostic histopathology reports were available to me at the time of my review of slides

 -At the time of my review I had been told that slides of study cases were mixed with “normal” controls: which slides were of study cases and which were controls was unknown to me. My research review of the slides in 1998 has important differences with the routine diagnostic histopathology process:

 -Routine diagnostic histopathology is done with knowledge of individual patient’s clinical details as far as they are available at the time of diagnostic reporting, and so the rendering of a diagnostic histopathological opinion in this situation is usual and appropriate (in direct contrast to the situation that pertains in a blinded research review)

 -Then there is a joint review by clinicians and pathologists to evaluate the significance of the microscopic observations in the light of additional clinical, endoscopic, radiologic, and laboratory data that has been obtained after the “diagnostic” biopsy has been reported

 -It is not unusual for the clinical significance of microscopic observations to be reinterpreted and altered by this process, and it could be that the histological diagnostic interpretation subsequently has to be corrected. Thus the purpose of my grading sheet observations in 1998 was not, could not have been, nor was it intended to conclude the final diagnostic assignment of colitis (which has to be made in the light of full clinical/endoscopic/radiologic/ laboratory data; and response to treatment)

 -Therefore on the grading sheets “nonspecific” means: “this microscopical appearance doesn’t remind me of any particular disease entity”, and this is why in none of my grading sheet observations have I stated “colitis”. Bowel disease is not diagnosed by gut mucosal histopathology in isolation:

 -I am of the opinion that the histological interpretation should never (or not very often) replace clinical judgement

 -“A final diagnosis can only be made with the full clinical information and a biopsy specimen should be reported as diagnostic only if full supportive clinical information is available.” (Jenkins D et al. Guidelines for the initial biopsy diagnosis of suspected chronic idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease. The British Society of Gastroenterology Initiative. J Clin Pathol 50,93-105;1997). In 1998 there was no paediatric gastrointestinal pathology literature to refer to for guidance regarding ileal and colonic mucosal biopsy microscopical appearances and their interpretation or significance in autistic children. In 1998 the series of cases in the Lancet paper was unusual, if not unique, and it was one of the aims of the study to explore the significance or otherwise of the subtle histological changes in autistic children with gastrointestinal symptoms. Prejudgment of the significance or otherwise of the histological changes in isolation in the 1998 study cases would have been inappropriate previously, and remains so now.

-Several expert gastrointestinal pathologists and gastroenterologists have commented on the grading sheets (BMJ Nov 12 2011) and they have stated that the findings cannot be colitis; however:

-It is a mistake to apply uncritically adult gastrointestinal biopsy histopathological thresholds of normality vs abnormality to children

 -The expert gastrointestinal pathologist and gastroenterologist commentators have tried to assess the diagnostic implications of data represented in histopathological grading sheets alone

 -This is a fundamental mistake: the significance of the histopathological component of any diagnostic equation depends on consideration of the histopathology within the complete clinical context

 - The current opinions of the experts regarding the significance of the histology grading sheets are subject to retrospective bias by knowledge of events since 1998. At the time of submission of the Lancet 1998 publication I had the clinical, laboratory, endoscopic and histology information presented to me in summary tabular form, and aggregated descriptive text only.

 -My grading sheets were with Andy Wakefield and my general recollection of my impression of my slide review was that some biopsies were a bit inflamed, and others were not: I did not know which case was represented by which set of slides, and which sets of slides were “normal” controls. As far as I recall, the changes were not severe in any of the slides, but it is not unusual for gut mucosal biopsies to show little abnormality even in clinically well defined cases of gastrointestinal disease, particularly in children

 -My clinical colleagues had collated all of the available information, including my microscopical grading sheet observations in the context of their knowledge of each patient’s condition and concluded a final diagnosis of colitis when this was considered by them to be appropriate

 -Thus, at the time of submission of the Lancet 1998 publication, with the limited supplementary information available to me (which I had been prevented deliberately from knowing during the study); and in the context of a comprehensive clinicopathological review by trusted clinical colleagues, the designated diagnosis of colitis seemed to me to be plausible.

Corroborating this is the sworn testimony of Prof Simon Murch at the General Medical Council relating to the meeting which took place to address Davies’s initial concerns [5]

Counsel Q Was there any meeting about the histology section?

Murch A Yes, I recall a meeting. I suspect that I may not be alone with that, but I do have a very good recollection of the meeting. I think the reason was initially that Dr Davies had seen the draft of the paper and just wondered whether the description of the histology perhaps oversold it. In other words, was the description in the paper something that was rather more florid than the lesion she remembered and thus my recollection is that she arranged a lunchtime meeting – I believe it was Friday, that is possibly irrelevant – in the manner of our normal histology meeting in the same place, in the histology seminar room, where the various pathologists who had seen the tissues attended at the same time and so this would be from the paper Dr Anthony —

Q I want to run through a list of names and then if I miss out anyone then of course add them in. Let us start off with Dr Davies; was she present at that meeting?

 A She was indeed.

Q Professor Walker-Smith?

 A Yes.

Q Dr Thomson?

 A Yes.

Q Obviously yourself.

 A Yes.

Q Dr Andrew Anthony?

 A Yes.

Q Dr Dhillon?

 A Yes.

Q Dr Heuschkel?

 A I believe that Dr Heuschkel was present, yes. I am less certain about that, but that is my recollection from that meeting.

Q Dr Casson?

 A I believe so, yes.

Q Dr Malik?

 A I also believe so, yes.

Q Dr Wakefield?

 A Yes.

Q Are there any others you remember being present at that meeting?

 A I think Dr Alan Phillips may have been there as well but I cannot recall with certainty.

Q Were the original histology slides that had gone to Dr Davies’ lab looked at at that meeting?

 A They were.

Q What was the outcome of that meeting about the description of the histology?

A That all the pathologists present when the slides were reviewed case by case agreed that the wording in the paper – we had a table of the histological findings, which I believe will be as seen in the paper here – they all agreed that the wording was reasonable. So I think that Dr Davies was then satisfied that the paper could go forward for publication without change in the histological description.”

Against this background it would be very unwise for the ESC to give precedence to Dr Davies’s initial impression or to assume that they know what is in the GMC transcript on the basis of Mr Deer’s somewhat selective account. Was anyone told by Mr Deer of Dr Davies’s Friday meeting in which between 9 and 11 doctors present came to a concensus about the paper’s histological findings in the GMC transcript?  I note that Prof Murch was re-instated by the GMC and has not been accused of dishonesty. And I note the continued silence of Prof Bjarnason after Dr Dhillon’s intervention, in which he explicitly challenged his critics over interpreting grading sheets in the absence of the other clinical data, of using the same criteria for grading in the case of children as for adults.

It is clear that programme gave a false and misleading impression about the significance of the pathology results. The point that Dr Davies initial readings did not detect significant findings is in no way anomalous in relation to clinical practice or the historical circumstances. This is taking a random detail out of context and making a meal of it to give a false impression. Dr Davies (who unlike Prof Bjarnason was there) pronounced herself satisfied and it was a group of 9 or possibly 11  experts who agreed the text of paper on this matter, including herself. The BBC cannot afford to indulge in unfounded innuendo over this matter.

The Committee noted that the majority of allegations made in the programme have been found proven by the GMC tribunal and that the only other specific allegations in the programme are made by Brian Deer, sourced to Brian Deer and clarified in the script where necessary as allegations rather than proven fact.

It is hard to corroborate this claim in detail, but once again the programme failed to state that the matters relevant to the programme’s claim were still under appeal by Prof Walker-Smith and this surely must be an error of procedure.

The Committee noted that subsequent verification by the editorial adviser of relevant sections of the GMC tribunal transcripts supports the programme's confidence in their sources.

This is just citing an unidentified source as corroboration of unspecified claims. It is impossible either to dispute or sustain.

Point 6

I have commented before on the BBC’s surreal concept of fairness: inviting someone to contribute to a programme in which they have been told effectively that their character will be assassinated does not make it fair.

The Committee noted that the opening of the programme, about which the complainant is particularly concerned, listed only those charges which had already been found proven by the GMC.

This is a misrepresentation. I do not believe that I have ever commented on that passage, I objected to the hyperbolae afterwards, where I pointing out that nothing in this case compared as a modern medical scandal with Harold Shipman or Vioxx (and I might have added Thalidomide, contaminated blood for haemophiliacs, Paroxetene, the cover up of the Camelford water disaster or Joseph Mengele - who is actually still in living memory). It was patently a preposterous claim that it was the worst medical scandal in living memory, and unfair comment.

The committee also failed to take account of the extent to which the association between autism and gut pathology is by now widely – if not universally - accepted in mainstream medicine, for which I provided good evidence, including a very recent US National Institutes of Health paper which gave honourable citations to both Wakefield and Prof Walker-Smith. For this reason the strictures of Prof Jones which the committee invoked, and which I also do not agree with, were still not relevant at least in respect to gut pathology in autistic people. I find it troubling that my documentary evidence on this matter was not only disregarded but also not even reported, thus giving an entirely false impression of mainstream science in this field.

[1] http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/science-and-technology-committee/news/111110-ucl--wakefield/

[2] Eugenie Samuel Reich, ‘Fresh dispute about MMR ‘fraud’, Nature News http://www.nature.com/news/2011/111109/full/479157a.html?s=news_rss

[3] Fiona Godlee,’BMJ response to emails from readers of Age of Autism, 7 February 2011 http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.c7452?page=1&tab=responses

[4] Amar P Dhillon, ‘Re: Pathology reports solve “new bowel disease” riddle’, 17 November 2011 http://www.bmj.com/content/343/bmj.d6823?tab=responses

[5] GMC hearing against  – Day 113 Friday 16 January 2008 Pages 43/44 .

John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.

Posted by Age of Autism at December 21, 2011 at 6:01 AM in Current Affairs, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, John Stone | Permalink | Comments (14)

 

Comments

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To all parents of vaccine injured children.

STOP PAYING YOUR LICENCE FEE.

1. Cancel payment

2. Ignore ALL letters & do not communicate either verbally or in writing. DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING.

3. In the unlikely event that an inspector should call, refuse to answer any questions & any request to enter your property. They have no rights of access.

4. Legally, a licence is only required to watch LIVE TV programs. You DO NOT need a licence to watch DVD's, play video games, watch internet videos etc

5. You will not be summoned to court or fined UNLESS you SIGN anything or they are able to prove that you watch LIVE TV.

I haven't paid for 18 months now because I refuse to pay for propaganda that is killing, maiming & deceiving millions of people.

If you follow these instructions, they can't touch you.

That's the best way to make your point.

The BBC is lying about man made global warming, wars of aggression in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, the false flag attacks of 9/11 & 7/7, & the iatrogenic causes of autism, auto immune diseases & cancer through vaccination.

It's not going to change or recant. It's purpose isn't to report the news. It's purpose is to manufacture propaganda on behalf of global financial, corporate & political agendas.

Posted by: humanati | June 16, 2012 at 08:29 AM

Yep! but the message to PHARMA is,"were here for the long haul" I still have another 30 years to go at least .My kids would jump from the 6th floor rather than have a vaccine....

END GAME ! PHARMA LOSERS...

Angus ...

Posted by: Angus Files | December 23, 2011 at 05:55 PM

@Barry: "...its never really been about science..."

Amen. IMHO it's always been a clash of ideologies: (1) those who believe that "public health" is a complex, multifaceted, holistic discussion, a collective, and most importantly, a natural result of the total commitment to, and mutual respect for, the health and well being of each individual, vs. (2) those who view public health as a collection of metrics, compliance numbers, something that requires the sacrifice of a few unfortunate individuals in order to be achieved. Anything else would be too "expensive".

Much of the science may well be beyond my grasp, but as you say, it's never been "science" telling us we that have to break a few eggs. The word "science" however is always used to wipe the broken egg off of the faces (wash the blood off the hands?) of those who preach this kind of fascism.

Hence, I agree with you - 99.999%. It's never been about science, but "science, the excuse" is always available to help wash down the politics...

Posted by: Shiny Happy Person | December 23, 2011 at 11:49 AM

Shame on the BBC! Well done to John for standing up to power, and the abuse of it, at the BBC. As Christopher Hitchens might have said,

"If you gave the BBC an enema, the whole corporation could be buried in a matchbox."

Posted by: Mark Struthers | December 22, 2011 at 05:21 AM

Leveson seen it and done it before he is lap dog to the Pharma ,...

http://www.sabotagetimes.com/life/muddy-waters-and-whitewash-at-the-leveson-inquiry/

Angus

Same Shit Diffrent Year..

Posted by: Angus Files | December 21, 2011 at 06:43 PM

Hi John- I think there is definitely a bit of a UK grass roots rebellion against the 'spin' and the 'stretching' of facts to suit the case!! I DO hope so and Yes, I would like to think the BBC trustees are themselves reflecting on how much THEY were influenced by the 'spin and stretch'!!

Anyway, Well done you for doggedly pointing out to the BBC trustees the 'error of their ways'. Sometimes we seem to be banging our heads against a brick wall, but even when we get negative responses, our arguments and logic persist within the records and, like the Murdoch ramifications, will eventually come back to haunt them. The S&T Committee are already running for cover, closely followed by the Higher Education Funding Authority.

Have a great Christmas everyone!!
Love
Jennyxx

Posted by: Jenny Allan | December 21, 2011 at 06:30 PM

Dr Kelly nothing in the Leveson "white wash"

Leveson same Geezer done the MMR litigation...

Sorry to all celebs, you might now find out how it feels to be dunked! by the UK Courts ALL in one SLAP!!!By Leveson..


Angus

Posted by: Angus Files | December 21, 2011 at 06:30 PM

Hi Jenny

In the spirit of the term "spin" I would also like to coin the term "stretch" as in "stretching a point". In 2004 we saw the Hutton Inquiry into the death of Dr Kelly "stretch" the truth to find BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan technically guilty of falsehood and Tony Blair technically not guilty of falsehood. Everything had been stretched to suit policy.

Of course, the BBC was already pretty far gone by then but the two senior execs were forced to resign and BBC fell ever further under the influence of Whitehall. And what we see in this document is stretch: everything pulled so out of shape that it is unrecognisable, while bureaucratic decorum is sort of observed, but not without embarrrassment.

John

Posted by: John Stone | December 21, 2011 at 06:06 PM

Well done John ...when will Cameron and ALL ,the political parties speak up?

ALL ,have had a turn in POWER now in the UK and not made a diffrence...


well done John

Angus

Posted by: Angus Files | December 21, 2011 at 05:49 PM

A couple of 'snippets' from the BBC Trust's lengthy response.

"This appeal raises issues requiring consideration of the guidelines relating to accuracy and impartiality.
The Committee noted that the guideline on accuracy requires that content is well sourced, based on sound evidence, thoroughly tested and presented in clear, precise language. The Committee noted too that output should not distort known facts, present invented material as fact, or otherwise undermine the audience’s trust in the BBC’s content."

Oh Deer!! It seems the BBC regards 'baby books' as clear precise language and Deer's 'interpretation' of their usage and function within the UK health services as 'well sourced' and not 'distorted'.

Prof Pepys, UCL medical director's deal with MMR manufacturers GSK was signed in 2009, NOT 2011 as claimed by the BBC; this was BEFORE The GMC verdicts on Dr Wakefield and his colleagues. In 2010 Pepys's research also received huge funding from the Medical Research Council, funded by UK TAXPAYERS. A great deal for GSK, spared the costs of developing potentially lucrative treatments, but maybe not so good for us UK taxpayers!! This was University College London spin-out Pentraxin Therapeutic Ltd.'s March 2009 tie-up with GlaxoSmithKline PLC around a novel treatment for amyloidosis This should MOST CERTAINLY have been declared on the Science Betrayed programme.

It was very interesting to note the reference to the recent commissioned 'BBC science reporting review' by Professor Steve Jones, a retired genetics expert.

"The Committee noted Professor Jones’ recommendation that when making editorial judgements about impartial there should be no attempt to give equal weight to opinion and evidence."

So THAT'S OK THEN FOLKS!! Prof Jones has decreed that us poor UK taxpaying, licence paying suckers, are going to get 'opinions' such as those of Deer and Godlee, shoved down our throats as 'evidence', whilst the true facts are distorted and suppressed. In the BBC pipeline are GM foods, climate change, no doubt with nuclear power, and all kinds of government and corporate promoting propaganda.

Jones took no submissions from the public when compiling his report, but instead used the 'expert' Science and Media Centre, a pharma sponsored autonamous pressure group led by a female member of the 'Revolutionary Communist Party'. Science qualifications? NONE, just a second rate degree in 'journalism'- a bit like Brian Deer really. I think his degree is in 'philosophy'. It figures!

We should all withhold our licence fees until the BBC is prepared to properly UPHOLD its own constitutional values and ethos.

Posted by: Jenny Allan | December 21, 2011 at 05:37 PM

Hi Barry

I do believe it was important not to leave these things unsaid, and a lot more was said which was confidential. In the end I think trustees were more inclined to stand by their advisors than openly shift but I wouldn't be surprised if they are worried about those people. The UK press complaints cmmission awards less than 0.5% of cases to the complainant and used to be proud of the record but it wouldn't surprise me if the BBC is even worse: this was certainly the comment of the editor of the Daily Mail to the Commons media committee in the summer. However, my impression is that the episode put them under great strain and I wonder whether some lessons haven't been learnt.

John

Posted by: John Stone | December 21, 2011 at 05:18 PM

It appreciate all your hard work John, but I stopped hoping a long time ago, to see the liars in this affair come clean and tell the truth.

They simply can't do that, because it will be the end of them if they do. These people have no conscience, nor do the cowards with the legal and /or the moral responsibility to see that justice is done here .

We live a dark period of human existence, where people think nothing of harming children for money, and an apathetic public chooses to look the other way.... because the TV tells them it's OK to do that.

There's been no betrayal of science here, because its never really been about science. What been betrayed here, against every imaginable human instinct..... are tiny, innocent, defenseless children.

Posted by: Barry | December 21, 2011 at 03:34 PM

Well done John. Regardless of the outcome - it is always worth letting these people know that Dr Wakefield still has massive support around the world and that we will not let them forget it.

Posted by: Deborah Nash | December 21, 2011 at 08:05 AM

I too complained to the BBC about this programme in April 2011 and received this terse response. The BBC is an absolute disgrace. It is funded by the UK people via a licence fee and is SUPPOSED To be free from political interference and commercial pressures. The BBC Trust members are FAILING in their duty to the British people.

Dear Mrs Allan

Reference CAS-678205-FGR76W

Thanks for contacting us regarding 'Science Betrayed' broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 24 March. I understand that you feel this programme was inaccurate in that new documents have come to light which suggest that Dr Wakefield was innocent.

While I appreciate your concerns all our programmes are carefully considered in advance to ensure their content is suitable for broadcast, accurate and informative. At the time of broadcast the allegations against Dr Wakefield which led to him being struck off by the General Medical Council were still, technically, correct. We were simply covering the story from this perspective but I’m sorry you found this inappropriate.

We’re guided by the feedback we receive and I can assure you we've registered your complaint on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that's made available to all BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, channel controllers and other senior managers. The audience logs are important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.

Thanks for taking the time to contact us.

Kind Regards

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Yuck

I would be a bit wary of the North Wales allegations and particularly the lack of care with which they've been reported.

http://web.archive.org/web/20101204183038/http://www.richardwebster.net/whatthebbcdidnottellus.html">http://www.richardwebster.net/whatthebbcdidnottellus.html">http://web.archive.org/web/20101204183038/http://www.richardwebster.net/whatthebbcdidnottellus.html

About Savile there is now plenty of evidence that he was being protected by the police, the BBC and was receiving bizarre political patronage.

I think we can expect this wherever rights are composting.

Child porn rings uncovered in police depts, DHS
by Joel McDurmon on Sep 10, 2012

FrontPageMag.com reports,

A former Maine politician has been arrested for his alleged role in running a major prostitution ring that apparently includes an all-star client list of some 170 Maine police, lawyers, clergy and politicians. There is no news yet if children were involved; however, a retired police officer from Maine had recently alerted the Department of Justice (DOJ) about Maine police covering up child sex abuse. Eric Holder, Director of DOJ as America’s Attorney General, has taken no action. . . .

Across America police officers appear to be engaging in the child porn industry in epic numbers. . . .

Child porn was found on the work computer of, among others, Homeland Security’s trainer Dave McMullen at Vermont’s Police Academy. McMullen is alleged to have committed suicide after this discovery. Vermont’s Rutland Herald wanted the police records. Vermont’s Supreme Court denied this request providing legal cover of total secrecy for police who do child porn in Vermont. How is this in the best interest of Vermont’s children? It is not. It is, however, in the best interest of a pedophile ring.

Corrupt police and judges form powerful barriers no ordinary citizen can breach. Exposing pedophile rings, much less rescuing trafficked children, becomes impossible when judges and police protect each other. In Maine, the retired police officer reported to the Department of Justice, “I have witnessed actions (or inactions) from Maine’s judiciary that I have not previously witnessed in 34 years of involvement with the court system.” Of Maine’s corruption, the officer said, “I am used to that from criminals but not from police officers.” US Attorney General Eric Holder, Director of the Department of Justice, has taken no action.

BBC is Spooky

You don't surprise me.

Jane V

One of the sinister implications in all of this is the Steve Jones argument, because (1) professional concensus can be achieved by intimidation and indeed that is the policy of the pharmaceutical industry as stated in a House of Commons report of 2004-5:

‘221. ………. Considerable resources are invested into building long-term, sustainable relationships with stakeholders and ‘key opinion leaders‘ and journalists. These relationships are used to promote the use of certain brands and counter concerns relating to safety. Efforts to undermine critical voices in particular were identified, under terms of “issues management”. In later evidence, in response to the ISM’s memorandum, Pfizer stated that PR is entirely legitimate and can “help to educate and inform”. According to the PMCPA, PR activities may include “placing articles in the lay press, TV documentaries, soap operas etc“.’ [p60 'The Influence of the Pharmaceutical industry' 2004-5 - English Parliamentary Health Select Committee report]

And (2) as we know in case of British Medical Journal's business partner Merck, they actually talked about "seeking" doctors "out and destroying them where they live":

http://childhealthsafety.wordpress.com/2009/10/12/merckdestroydoccritics/

And on the BBC's basis it is actually alright to go and out destroy people where they live if they step out of line with mainstream opinion, and apparently anything which re-inforces mainstream opinion is supportable even if it is a vicious and transparent pack of lies.

We had a relative who upon retiring from being a spook worked at the BBC. And from their account, they weren't the only one. That is all the relative said about it.....

Well done John, parents of vaccine damaged children past and future owe you so much for never giving up the fight.

Our own ABC here in Australia takes it lead from the BBC and the BMJ. I complained about a recent story on the ABC's Media Watch here in Australia. 'Media Watch" was very critical of another commercial network's news story about vaccine safety because it gave two sides to the debate. The problem for Media Watch on the government owned ABC was that they did not view the story on vaccines from WIN TV as balanced because WIN allowed an opposing view from the AVN (Australian Vaccination Network run by parents of vaccine damaged children). The Media Watch presenter believed WIN's story gave people the impression that vaccines caused autism which he said scientists were all in agreement that this was not the case. I have copied out their response to me (below) and would like to reply with some pub med articles that show "scientists are not all in agreement" which is why I complained about "their false reporting" endangering the lives of Children. Ironically the Media Watch presenter accused the AVN and WIN TV of endangering the lives of Children for allowing the AVN to air thier views on commercial TV. Note too how their response relies heavily on the writings of Brian Deer in relation to Prof Walker Smith and AW.

RESPONSE TO COMPLAINT FROM ABC (Australia)

Thank you for your email of 1 October concerning Media Watch story ““false balance leads to confusion”

As your correspondence raised concerns of a lack of accuracy, your email was referred to Audience and Consumer Affairs for consideration and response. The unit is separate and independent from ABC program areas and is responsible for investigating complaints alleging a broadcast or publication was in contravention of the ABC's editorial standards. In light of your concerns, we have reviewed the broadcast and assessed it against the ABC’s editorial requirements for accuracy, as outlined in section 2 of the ABC’s Code of Practice: http://about.abc.net.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/CodeOfPractice2011.pdf . In the interests of procedural fairness, we have also sought and considered material from Media Watch.

The WIN news story which was broadcast on 16 August 2012 raised awareness of a measles epidemic in the area. Medical authorities were urging people to immunise their children in an effort to reduce the impact of the “worrying” outbreak. In addition to an interview with Dr Cathryn Archinal from Shell Cove Family Health, the reporter aired comments from Meryl Dorey, Head of the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN). It is worth remembering that measles can be a very serious illness causing death and long-term disability. Mortality varies from about 3% in wealthy countries to above 25% in very poor communities and even higher among immuno-suppressed victims. The vaccine, if widely distributed, is very effective in preventing spread of the disease.

Media Watch did not question the right of the AVN to promote their views on vaccination. The role of Media Watch is to analyse and comment on the media, in this case WIN TV. Media Watch examined whether it was appropriate for WIN to include Ms Dorey’s views in a news story without clarification of what the AVN is, what qualifications Meryl Dorey has and how much weight her views hold.

WIN allowed the statement by Meryl Dorey “All vaccinations in the medical literature have been linked with the possibility of causing autism, not just the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine” to go unchallenged, giving viewers the impression that the statement was true.


The WIN reporter stated “in NSW just over 6% of 2 year olds and 9% of 5 year olds have not received the recommended vaccination. There remains heated discussion between possible links between the jab and the development of autism” and ended the story by saying “Choice groups are calling for greater research into the measles vaccine”.

By including these unchallenged statements in the story, a viewer of the report may have gained an impression that there was some dispute within the medical fraternity about the safety of vaccination. As Dr Jeremy McAnulty, Director of Health Protection, NSW Health, said in a statement on 28th September, 2012:

“Any link between measles vaccine and autism has been conclusively discredited by numerous in-depth studies and reviews by credible experts, including the World Health Organisation, the American Academy of Paediatrics and the UK Research Council.”


The point of the Media Watch story was to examine “false balance” in the media. As Jonathan Holmes said in the program:


“It’s a classic example of what many – especially despairing scientists – call ‘false balance’ in the media. As the British Medical Journal put it last year in an editorial about the “debate” in the UK :


“the media’s insistence on giving equal weight to both the views of the anti-vaccine camp and to the overwhelming body of scientific evidence ...made people think that scientists themselves were divided over the safety of the vaccine, when they were not.”


While we have enormous sympathy for anyone who suffers from autism and their families, the link between the MMR vaccine and autism has not been established. The recent High Court case exonerated Professor John Walker-Smith from the charge of having misrepresented his research to his patients and their families. It made no judgement on the validity of the research or its outcomes. The General Medical Council's findings against Dr Wakefield still stand, his paper has been withdrawn by The Lancet, 10 of the 13 researchers have disowned the research, and subsequent studies continue to fail to find any link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

In summary, the program made a valid point about the need for the media to present important information in a responsible way that reflects the real balance of weight of evidence. It contained no factual inaccuracies.

Accordingly, while noting your concerns, Audience and Consumer Affairs are satisfied the broadcast was in keeping with the ABC’s editorial standards for accuracy. Nonetheless, please be assured that your comments have been noted and conveyed to the producers of the program.

Thank you for taking the time to write; your feedback is appreciated.

Some excellent posts on here . Compliments to all .

I cannot wait for Kate & Williams first born , and the media surely cannot miss that photo opportunity of the first multi-dose vaccines for the new heir .
I'll be asking about the childs vaccine schedule that is for sure .

The pressure is on Phillip .....

BBC - 90 years of duping the British Public ...again and again , what fun .

It is interesting that we (Australians) are only receiving "snippets" about what is occurring at the BBC. Perhaps our government has something to hide?

The other night the ABC aired a series called "The Devil's Dust." It was based on a true story of James Hardie (in conjunction with the government)and how they covered-up asbestos poisoning.

If you are interested in watching the two episodes, they are available on iview, but the show will expire in approximately 10 days time.
http://www.abc.net.au/iview/

You can also read an article about the cover-up with James Hardie.
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2004/sep2004/jhil-s29.shtml

Cover-up's will eventually be exposed and governments will eventually need to justify their reasons for the cover-up.

Our time will come with vaccines!

Elizabeth Gillespie

After we have fuzzed, written, attended meetings, beat up on our chest -- the main stream will finally accept that gut is indeed involved in this mess. THey will then pretend that they all were never dragged kicking and screaming to this conclusion.

I am taking names, and I sure know that those in the fight are taking names too.

They have reason to be ashamed but they know none.
They have reason to be afraid too -- and they should be because there are a lot of people out here pretty angry over the most important thing in their lives being damaged and then even worse being ignored.

Ah yes dear old Aunty Beeb .. her veracity has never been of the best .. their 2nd WW broadcasts .. nothing but government lies. Nothing changes except the faces.

When these despicable's are able to fleece one for the license fee courtesy of govt legislation then they have no need to tell the peasants the truth.

Thank you John Stone for being such a doughty fighter for the cause.

It is quite clear to me that news organisation that I have dealt with and tried to make representations too since February 2004 had zero integrity: that there was never a moment when they were not bending over backwards to be unfair to Andrew Wakefield with the arrogant certainty that they could get away with it. Surprisingly, the news service did not touch Deer's re-heated allegations of 2009 or 2011 but when the science department put its toe in the water in 2011 they were backed to the hilt by the hirearchy, going all the way up to the untrustworthy trustees. There never was a moment in any of this when they could not have known they were involved in a dirty war, and that the casualty was truth.

I have sometimes wondered whether it was the Hutton report that led to the resignation of the then Chairman and Director-General of the BBC in late January 2004, which was the final nail in the coffin - that there might have been some minimal integrity without those events but the alacrity with which they all misbehaved at least from thence onwards was truly breath-taking. You felt that these were people who did not mind if they never told the truth about anything, and that it really had become like Orwell's Ministry of Truth.

.......and this is the response I got from the BBC Trust after appealing to them:-

''The Trust does not adjudicate on every appeal that is brought to it, but only those that qualify for consideration'. Following this route means we can deal with complaints in a logical progression from BBC management to the Trust and those most closely involved with the complaint have an opportunity to respond first.

As the Trust is therefore not in a position to involve itself in your complaint at this stage I am forwarding your letter to BBC Audience Services so that they can make a further response to the concerns you raise on behalf of the BBC's Management.'

(I NEVER heard a dicky bird from the BBC Audience Services)

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