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Anorak | Ron Greenslade, The Daily Express, Deadly Cancer Jabs And How Global Warming Triggers Nuclear War

Ron Greenslade, The Daily Express, Deadly Cancer Jabs And How Global Warming Triggers Nuclear War

by | 10th, October 2009

jab-as-deadly-as-cancerThe death of Natalie Morton was linked to the Express’s headline that cancer jab was a killer. Only the science was nonsense, as Ben Goldacre spots. The Guardian’s Roy Greenslade uses the story as a stick to beat the Express. But the Guardian is far from perfect when it comes to its biased reporting on science, like climate change…

SCARE story of the week went to the Daily Express for following the death of Natalie Morton with this front-page headline

JAB AS DEADLY AS THE CANCER

Readers were told:

The cervical cancer vaccine [Cervarix] may be riskier and more deadly than the cancer it is designed to prevent, a leading expert who developed the drug has warned. She also claimed the jab would do nothing to reduce the rates of cervical cancer in the UK.

Speaking exclusively to the Sunday Express, Dr Diane Harper, who was involved in the clinical trials of the controversial drug Cervarix, said the jab was being ‘overmarketed’ and parents should be properly warned about the potential side effects.”

Gary Andrews observes:

Now, with the death of Natalie Morton, hours after she’d received the cervical cancer vaccine jab [1] was always going to lead to some interesting reporting. Some has been good, some has been bad and some has been scaremongering. Especially after the point where it was established that she died from a tumour and not the jab.

Ben Goldacre contacted Dr Harper, who tells him:

“I did not say that Cervarix was as deadly as cervical cancer. I did not say that Cervarix could be riskier or more deadly than cervical cancer. I did not say that Cervarix was controversial, I stated that Cervarix is not a ‘controversial drug’. I did not ‘hit out’ – I was contacted by the press for facts. And this was not an exclusive interview.”

The story has now been removed from the Daily Express website, a paper of which the Guardian’s Roy Greenslade observes:

It is a further example of the shoddy journalism of the Express titles. As I pointed out in August, Express Newspapers has paid out more in libel damages than any other group in recent years. Its titles were the worst offenders in publishing inaccurate stories about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. It has fallen foul of the Advertising Standards Authority (example here).

Why, oh why, does anybody read the Daily or Sunday Express?

It’s not an unfair point. Inaccurate storys are poor form. You may remember this from the Observer, the Sunday Guardian that not many people read:

Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us

As Anorak”s Ed Barrett notes, “Now…” is the Daily Mail cry of pain. Now… Oh no – tsk! – what they gone and done now?

Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters.

A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.
The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.

Wow. Only it wasn’t a real report, but something put together by Peter Schwartz for the Pentagon (spotter, Tim Blair):

It doesn’t pretend to be a forecast. Rather, it sketches a dramatic but plausible scenario…

This is very much in the spirit of thinking the unthinkable. The report that we put together for the Pentagon is an extreme scenario, in the sense that most climatologists would say that this is low probability, in the sense of it happening soon, and as pervasively. But it is the Pentagon’s job to think about many cases, the worst-case scenario.

Such are the facts. Such are the scare stories.



Posted: 10th, October 2009 | In: Reviews Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink