Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Wakefield’s false claims backfire

Posted in Left Brain Right Brain by Skepdude on July 8, 2009

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT LEFT BRAIN RIGHT BRAIN

Last week Andrew Wakefield announced to the world that the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) had ordered the Sunday Times to take down some articles about him from its website. Wakefield suggested that this was a tacit admission by the Times that its story was inaccurate and this message was dutifully repeated by Age of Autism and the rest of Wakefield’s online supporters.

As I reported previously, the PCC is waiting on the final outcome of the GMC disciplinary hearing against Wakefield before conducting its own inquiry over the articles and felt it would be fairer all round if the material was temporarily removed from the Times website. The Times agreed and removed the articles as a courtesy to the PCC. The Times was not impressed by Wakefield’s ungracious response and as a result the material is now back on their website.

This is not the first time that Wakefield’s actions have backfired on him. Four years ago he tried to sue Channel 4 and Brian Deer for libel over a documentary, MMR: What they didn’t tell you, that contained damaging revelations about Wakefield’s role in the MMR scare. As with his current complaint to the PCC and his recent press release, Wakefield’s action in bringing the case seems to have been motivated by a desire to please his loyal supporters rather than a serious attempt to settle the issue. Unusually for a litigant, Wakefield showed a marked reluctance to clear his name in court, seeking to delay the hearings for two years. When the court decided that Deer and his legal team were entitled to see the unredacted medical records of the children who were the subjects of Wakefield’s original Lancet paper Wakefield withdrew the action and agreed to pay costs to Brian Deer.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT LEFT BRAIN RIGHT BRAIN

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