Monday, 19 January 2015

Lynne McTaggart - a classless act

I have written about Lynne McTaggart before.  For example, here, here and here.  In fact, the last one is amongst my greatest hits, at least in terms of page views.  I suspect one or two people were searching for natural medicine and would have been rather disappointed to read that you can have it if you want it, just that some of it won't actually do anything you want it to do. 
Lynne McTaggart, the look on her face is surprise at the thought she might be wrong

So now it is time to write about her again.  Actually, I won't demolish her insensible blog entry, as WWDDTYDTY has already done a very nice job of pointing out what a tiresome hypocrite Lynne McTaggart is. I just want to make some general points.

McTaggart claims once to have been an investigative journalist.  Perhaps she was but there's precious little I can find to support that.  She would, presumably, have learnt that an investigative journalist needs to be even more certain that they are reporting the truth, supported by documentation, evidence, testimony.  That she misrepresents and distorts suggests the truth means that her days as an investigative journalist are well behind her, if they ever existed.  (If she wants to read a real investigative journalist, she could try Brian Deer.  Here is a link to a piece where he uncovers unscientific practices, the sort of hit that McTaggart can only envy.0

What Doctors Don't Tell You is a bit of a louse on the scalp of the medical profession.  Creates a bit of an itch but you can live with it, so long as it doesn't start breeding.  In 2012, it did just that, erupting from the newsletter by subscription it was and finding itself on the shelves of supermarkets and W H Smith.  A rather ad hoc campaign began to point out the poor advice and anti-science material that it published, asking the supermarkets to reconsider.  That most have done so, and that most now don't stock the trashy rag, suggests one of two things.

Either someone in the buying department has a bit of science knowledge, or the thing doesn't sell very well.  Based on a minute sample, the fact that copies were regularly hanging around on the shelves of my local Smith's suggest that the latter might be the case.  Commercial entities make commercial decisions.  If Tesco thought for one minute that WDDTY was a going concern, they would have kept stocking it.  It wasn't in my local mega-Tesco yesterday and hasn't been for a while.

One of the things that happened early in the ad hoc campaign was that McTaggart demonstrated a very prickly side.  In fact, it might be described as paranoid.  She comes across as a bit of a spoilt brat, crying when told she's wrong and threatening to take her ball home with her.  She whines about free speech without, I suspect, having the slightest intention to abide by her spirited use of the phrase.

So when she put up a piece about free speech it was surely not long before her enthusiasm for freedom was backed up by her greater enthusiasm for eliminating dissent.  Such a class act, I'm sure you will agree.  I archived her blog piece several times so we can see the sort of comment she was deleting.  But first, let's see one comment by the lady herself so we can judge whether she is a reliable witness in her own defence:
We're not talking about people who disagree with us - we're talking about a small, organized group of people who have actively engaged in activities that attempt to ruin my reputation and deprive us of livelihood. By their actions, they are suppressing journalism that challenges the corporate medical Establishment - exactly what the laws about free speech were designed to protect. Suppression of press critical of the Establishment is never free speech. They are welcome to their opinions - but by taking the actions they've taken, they are actively engaged in suppressing free speech. One of the people we regularly delete is a ringleader. They have no interest in honest debate. They simply want to suppress my magazine. So this is cyber terrorism by any other name and doesn't belong in my community.
Is she kidding?  No, I think she thinks she's telling the truth.  So let's examine some of those words, shall we?

 We're not talking about people who disagree with us
Yes, she is.  Of course she is.  She deleted every single dissenting comment, so far as I can see, leaving one supportive comment hanging on that made the above comment look stupid.  So that got deleted too.
we're talking about a small, organized group of people who have actively engaged in activities that attempt to ruin my reputation and deprive us of livelihood.
No, the barely organised group of people are engaged in fact checking her statements and pointing out mistakes.  By writing to the supermarkets, they did not ask for her to be banned but for her magazine not to be stocked.  Tesco, Sainsbury and others don't have to take every magazine on offer.  In fact, they don't.  As for McTaggart's reputation, amongst most people she doesn't have one.  Amongst the medical and scientific professions it is mostly trash anyway.  Amongst the woo brigade, she is a goddess.  But when someone prints and promotes something that is untrue (vitamin C cures cancer anyone?), they can expect to be challenged.  That McTaggart chooses not to engage in any way that I can detect with these criticisms but prefers to delete them, thereby sticking her head firmly in the sand, she enables the plummeting reputation to fall further.
By their actions, they are suppressing journalism that challenges the corporate medical Establishment - exactly what the laws about free speech were designed to protect.
This would be funny were it true.  What McTaggart and her tawdry magazine do is barely journalism.  The advertorial articles are laughable.  Some of the opinion is ranting rubbish.  And if she were really to find something out worth publishing, like Brian Deer, there are plenty of options available to her.  That she doesn't shouts very loudly that her journalism barely challenges the so-called corporate medical Establishment, a phrase that tells you more than enough about her state of mind.
Suppression of press critical of the Establishment is never free speech.
Quite, but free speech does not imply freedom from criticism, fact checking and so on.  If what McTaggart had to sell was such a challenge to the establishment, she might have joined with the AllTrials campaign but she didn't.  One suspects she isn't really interested in that sort of truth.  And free speech can and does attack those that publish falsehoods, whether deliberately or accidently.  It is hard to believe that McTaggart is unaware that she is somewhat flexible with the truth, with the way that she uses published material and with the fact that often she is promoting the "research" of people with huge conflicts of interest.
They are welcome to their opinions - but by taking the actions they've taken, they are actively engaged in suppressing free speech.
Apparently I am welcome to my opinions but I have actively engaged in suppressing free speech.  They say patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings.  I am beginning to think it is free speech.  McTaggart welcomes my opinion but deletes it.  Well, it is her site and this is mine.  She is welcome to come here and explain herself.  Which she won't do, of course, because she runs scared that someone, anyone, will unmask her.  Is she so unsure of her own work that dissent must be shut down.  She did so on Facebook and has now done so on her blog.  She is a hypocrite.  I can't believe she doesn't know it.
 One of the people we regularly delete is a ringleader.
 Shock, horror, probe.
They have no interest in honest debate.
It is hard, I'd say impossible, to have an honest debate with McTaggart.  She doesn't appear to want one.  She could have one quite easily but she evades and shrills and whines and deletes but she doesn't engage.  I fear a debate might be one sided. 
So this is cyber terrorism by any other name and doesn't belong in my community.
Cyber terrorism.  Hyperbole.  A few emails, a few blogs, a few DoNotFollow links hardly constitutes cyber terrorism.  This is hardly hacking Sony, is it?

 So let's look at some comments that disappeared to see if what McTaggart wrote is anything close to reality (for those without the time to stick with this, I know it's been quite long, her relationship with reality is fleeting and weak)
Guy, Jan 18: Actually, Lynne, nothing would make us happier than for you to abandon the misleading content and become a reputable publisher of factual information. Your problem here is not that we want to ruin your reputation or deprive you of a livelihood, but that your "reputation" and livelihood depend on claims, often commercial claims, that are false or misleading.

Your coverage of vaccines is a case in point. You consistently promote misleading, often outright false, claims about vaccines, and promote fraudulent alternatives. The result of this kind of activity is that people die. Actually die, not die of something unrelated some time later, as with the VAERS reports.

Fragmeister, Jan 18: Lynne, I have found, in recent days, that those with most to say about freedom of speech are those with much to be concerned about. By all means ban those you disagree with, but that always looks like running away from criticism, especially valid and evidenced criticism. That is reinforced when, as I have, the references you give in your magazine are checked. At risk of coming across as a tone troll, when you threaten to take your ball home because you don't like being questioned or criticised, you look rather like a spoilt child.

Rather than delete such posts, thereby chucking the free speech thing out with the bath water, perhaps you could defend your position with evidence and argument that can be assessed properly. You would win more fans that way, and a bit more respect from those you have chosen to tar with a rather smeary brush. 
 Guy, Jan 18: Me? No! I'm not fearful or offended. I have legitimate concerns, though - the Wakefield MMR-autism fraud led to a significant reduction in vaccine take-up, with the result that there are outbreaks of measles in the UK again, and this has led in turn to serious harm and even death.

In the same way, anti-vaccination activism in the US and Australia has led to a resurgence of pertussis, again leading to the deaths of babies.

The best evidence indicates that around a quarter of a million people die worldwide every year from cancers caused by vaccine-preventable strains of HPV. WDDTY seems to care only about the 47 people who died of something else after an HPV vaccination.

Anti-vaccination activism is a first world problem: people in developing countries are often aghast at the existence of vaccine refuseniks. They live with the daily threat of disease. Thanks to vaccines, we don't - and thanks to antivaxers that is changing.


Athena, 18 Jan: Thank you for confirming the truth of what I said in my last comment, Lynne, (which you deleted of course, together with several others).

Sheila, why should I go to the trouble of referencing, when anything said in criticism of WDDTY is censored by Lynne who risibly claims to want an 'honest debate' on the issues she raises? In fact she cannot abide the smallest challenge to anything she says; she censors and blocks critics no matter how well-supported their criticisms, thereby demonstrating that debate of any kind is the last thing she wants. Worse, she then stoops to publishing false and defamatory information about her critics - not much love and respect from her, Sizar!  

Annalei, 18 Jan: With respect, I think that you are being unreasonable in your (draconic?) removal of comments as, though I am fairly new to your website, some of your claims do not standd up to research. I was initially inspired by your commitment to revealing treatments on the forefront of medicine, as I suffer from an autoimmune disease which conventional treatment struggles to address. But I am disappointed by the quality of evidence you offer. For example, I have some background in physics as part of my degree and was perturbed by your explanation of quantum physics. It contained some very muddled and some might say misleading ideas. I feel that I and others like myself have the right to point out errors like these to prevent others from being misled, and if comments end up being deleted then I do sympathise with those who are forced to create external campaigns. Indeed - that itself is free speech!

Thanks for your time, hope you consider what I have to say (& don't delete me :( )  
 
 Athena, 18 Jan: From Lynne's perspective it is far better to publish falsehoods about people and divert from - rather than engage with - the sound arguments they make. She'll evidently say anything to defend the attempted scam on the public that is WDDTY - she doesn't need anyone to ruin her reputation for her, she has managed to do that all by herself. Yes - I do get angry when I see misinformation about health matters being promoted to the public in order to line the promoter's pockets and, thankfully, I'm far from being the only one.

If any of you are open-minded enough to read well-supported criticisms of WDDTY then google is your friend but I won't hold my breath.
 Below are some archives of McTaggart's piece so you can see even more comments getting trashed.

Second

Third

Fourth

If you can stomach this flummery, you can watch this (beware, there are some, let's call them, falsehoods on Gardasil) continuous stream of wrong.



For balance on Gardasil, read Orac.

But for the truth, I wouldn't both reading anything by Lynne McTaggart.  Nothing.  At some point in the future, I might wade through some of her quantum rubbish.  For the moment, I have more important work to do. 

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