Friday, February 6, 2009

Jeni Barnett, LBC, stupidity and threats

Dr. Ben Goldacre ( blogged about a programme on LBC fronted by someone called Jeni Barnett, some x list celebrity apparently.
This woman is brave: she wasn't about to let ignorance stop her from making the most asanine pronouncements about vaccines, health, parental choice, the medical profession, science and evidence and related matters. It seems that valour and critical thinking are not always to be found in the same person.
Ben commented on this person's woeful ignorance and the stupid comments that she made and also posted a 44 minute clip, as an audio file, from her programme on his blog. The point was that, to fully understand this person's broadcast ignorance and stupidity, the audio clip had to be heard. People could then consider all that she had to say.
Now, you would have thought that LBC would be happy for this excerpt from their programme to reach a wider audience and would have realised that there is a real issue of public interest here.

Were they happy for free speech to prevail?

Were they happy to allow critical comment about their show?


What they did was set their lawyers onto Ben to muzzle him.

This is what Ben had to say:

"Two days ago I posted about a broadcast in which their presenter Jeni Barnett exemplified some of the most irresponsible, ill-informed, and ignorant anti-vaccination campaigning that I have ever heard on the public airwaves.

To illustrate my grave concerns, I posted the relevant segment about MMR from her show, 44 minutes, which a reader kindly excerpted for me from the rest of the three hour programme. It is my view that Jeni Barnett torpedoes her reputation in that audio excerpt so effectively that little explanation is needed.

LBC’s lawyers say that the clip I posted is a clear infringement of their copyright, that I must take it down immediately, that I must inform them when I have done so, and that they “reserve their rights”."

However the LBC gang may have bitten off more that then can chew. The Blogosphere is now full of this and the clip in question can be heard here.

So, poor old LBC. Talk about shooting themselves in the foot!


The transcript can be seen here

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