Until a few days ago I’d never heard of Jeni Barnett. But now she has had her name plastered all over the internet as an excellent example of How To Loose The Internets.
Briefly, Jeni Barnett is a radio and television broadcaster who hosted a three-hour phone-in broadcast stating that vaccines cause autism. Ben Goldacre at BadScience.net caught wind of it and used a 40-minute clip of the show to play a quick game of Bad Science Bingo. Normally this would have been left at that, and life would continue as normal, and most people outside of London would have remained blissfully unaware as to who Jeni Barnett was and how woefully ill-informed she is on the current state of vaccine research. Unfortunately it didn’t end there.
LBC – the company who pays Jeni to broadcast to Londoners – decided to send in the lawyer attack-dogs to Ben Goldacre claiming copyright infringement on the clip he’d posted on his blog.
Now whether you agree with the lawyers or not, this is a monumentally dumb thing to do. Ben Goldacre is an extremely popular blogger, and his posts regarding the piss-poor state of science journalism in the UK is both frightening and enlightening in equal measures.
Can you guess what happened?
The clip in quesion is now on Wikileaks, and pretty much every corner of the internet. It is now being discussed in everything from the most obscure blog (which I think is officially this one) to the most popular. Pretty much everyone with the most vaguest interest in good science is now aware of LBC and Jeni Barnett.
And do you think it stops there?
Does it hell. Ms Barnett later decided that she was only interested in a health debate, and posted a comment to this effect on her blog, whilst calling Ben a “Bad Scientist”. As she’d invited comment, people – informed people – commented. Of course, being interested in debate, she removed the comments and closed comments on her blog.
The comments are freely available here.
Jeni Barnett: EPIC FAIL,