Riled

A couple of things that have raised my hackles recently.

The BNP missed out on a council seat in East Wickham (Bexley) by less than ten votes. (Cheers Darryl @ 853 / Transpontine.) You know my feelings; others do a good job of dissecting the result. (I wonder if there's anywhere that mentions the percentage turnout in East Wickham. A total vote of less than 3,000 sounds quite poor, but you never really know.)

And in freedom of speech news: LBC's lawyers tried to stifle debate last week by forcing Ben Goldacre to remove an audio clip of presenter Jeni Barnett making some astoundingly ill-informed remarks about the MMR vaccine. The good doctor's done a nice job of pointing out how the media whipped up this shitstorm to begin with in the face of poor original (and, apparently, fiddled) evidence, ignored an enormous mountain of contradictory data. And then refused to acknowledge its role in the startling decline of MMR takeup and accompanying rise in measles cases.

So it's hilarious, sad and frustrating in equal measure when a radio station decides to lawyer up in the face of criticism. They're claiming infringement of copyright and putting their hands over their ears and singing 'nya nya nya we can't hear you' when someone mentions 'fair use'.

Then the internet came to the rescue. People have made transcripts and posted shorter snippets of the audio that definitely fall under 'fair use'. People wrote about it everywhere (and I'd just like to point out that the Londonist story, picked up by a Bad Science commenter, was one of mine. *shines buttons* Thankfully the London measles figures were in the news again so there was an excuse. Ben Goldacre later posted the BBC story to his delicious links; I'd love to think that was via my story, but I doubt it). I think the moral of this story is that idiots exist everywhere and they're not afraid to sick lawyers on people, but occasionally the people bite back.

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2 responses to “Riled

  1. Nick February 9, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Jeni Barnett is a dangerous, ill informed loon.
    I learnt recently that some children actually can’t be vacinated, due to pre existing medical conditions. It’s a harrowing thought to think that through this kind of scaremongering their lives are being put at risk.
    The whole MMR saga is a very, very sad one.

  2. Ant February 9, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    If 100 children have to die to get Jeni Barnett off the radio in the afternoons, it’s a small price to pay.
    LBC has a pretty ropey record with it’s 1-4 slot, but the ignorant, boring, self righteous claptrap espoused by Barnett, coupled with her incompetant stumbling delivery make me want to claw the ears off the side of my head.
    I loathe her with a passion.

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