Today I stumbled upon a website called scienceblogs.com. I found a post called “What to do about the Huffington Post’s support for anti-vaccine nonsense and quackery?” written by a surgeon/scientist called Orac.

The gist of the article (from May 1, 2009) was the tone and quality of the science articles on the Huffington Post and AH’s apparent anti-vaccine vendetta (and other issues). Since many of us have a lot of problems with how political issues are presented on HP, I found it extremely interesting that scientists on this site (read the comments) are taking issue with the quality of science there.

Here is a link to the post I describe:

What to do about the Huffington Post’s support for anti-vaccine nonsense and quackery?

More links to articles by Orac about the science at HP:

Antivaccination rhetoric running rampant on the Huffington Post

Woo-meister Supreme Kim Evans takes on rationality and the swine flu at The Huffington Post

More quackery at–where else?–The Huffington Post

Who is Patricia Fitzgerald (and why should you care)?

Needless to say, I entered a comment inviting Orac to planetpov.

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javaz
Member

First off, I offer my sincerest condolences to those who have lost someone to the H1N1 or regular flu and secondly, my sympathy for those who contracted the H1N1 and suffered severely.

Not everyone who chose not to be vaccinated with the H1N1 shot or refuses regular flu shots is a RW-conspiracy-loving-government-mistrusting-moron.

My husband and I have done extensive research since the H1N1 scare, and then we made our decision not to be vaccinated.
There are several reasons we researched the topic when it first arose last spring, but the main one is that we knew a person who contracted Guillain Barr

KQµårk 死神
Member

Like any health decision it’s personal and you should make it based on all the info you can find.

The people I can’t stand are the people that tell you what you should do who know nothing about the subject.

KQµårk 死神
Member

NEW MAIN. 😆

abby4ever
Guest

What Main? We don’t really get a Main here do we?

Is it a proper crime to hang the President in effigy? Will there be a trial?

KQµårk 死神
Member

You need to get your satire meter checked. 😉

abby4ever
Guest

Normally I’d agree…but I thought maybe you were referring to the effigy story and had replaced it or something, wasn’t sure….

:]

Pepe Lepew
Member

GEITHNER!!!!

YOU SON OF A BITCH!!

abby4ever
Guest

Come on you guys, wake up…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwCGW58DTE4

I did it!!! I got the video embedded.

Pepe Lepew
Member

I prefer this version:

abby4ever
Guest

LOL !!!!!!!!!!!

KQµårk 死神
Member

It’s just the Monday blues ugh.

abby4ever
Guest

ot: I don’t usually do this, but if any of you get a chance, take a peek at the New Main at hp. They have an image of Geithner on it that…he looks like ‘The Picture Of Dorian Gray’. I guess it’s his turn now to have hp post the most unflattering images of him they can find…

Just awful.

Pepe Lepew
Member

GEITHNER!!???

I’M OUTRAGED!

Gretel1or2
Member
Gretel1or2

Arianna obviously has some personal issues against Geitner, hence the constant stream of negative anti-Geitner headlines in the HP main. I believe that readers are beginning to get tired of those recycled “outrage” headlines..they seem to be receiving fewer and fewer posts.

jan4insight
Guest

Well, good night, all. It’s been great on my first day here – looking forward to coming back for more!

Cheers 🙂

KQµårk 死神
Member

G’night jan very nice to have you aboard.

jan4insight
Guest

Ty, KQuark.

And now it’s Good morning, all!

abby4ever
Guest

Hello. I must have missed you somehow. I’m abby, and I myself have only been here a fortnight so don’t ask me anything important.

A really warm welcome to you, Jan.

kesmarn
Admin

Hi Jan! A late, but sincere, welcome to the Planet!

And a quick helloooo to all Planeteers! I have my favorite third grader home today. She somehow managed to contract mono (?!?)over the holidays, but is doing better today. Still in need of a little TLC and home health care, though, so I’ll be spending more time with her and Sponge Bob today than doing grown up stuff here! Hope to be a grown up once more a little later in the day.

Till then, bye, all!

jan4insight
Guest

TY, kesman 🙂 I’m looking forward to joining the fray 😉

Would someone please tell me how to view one of youse guy’s profiles? I’ve asked at the Help Desk, but I’ve gotten buried (and I wanna know!!!).

Emerald1943
Member

Good mornin’, Kes! I’ve been trying to reply to your comment but my computer is totally weird this morning.

Just a quick question…how is your 85 yr. old patient? I was wondering about him.

kesmarn
Admin

Em, my friend! I’m off duty from home health care as of 8 p.m. here. My third grade patient is going to her best pal’s house for the night, after they’ve both been cautioned to wash hands, share no beverages and generally maintain sterile technique! She’s really doing much better, so I think they’ll be okay.
Thanks for asking about my 85 year old patient. (To all who don’t know the story, he and his wife were both in the hospital–but different hospitals!–at the same time, and missing each other greatly.) But I didn’t get a chance to get the rest of the story! I was on a different unit the next night, and then got on-call. I’m scheduled again for tomorrow, so maybe I’ll get a bit more info then. So often that happens, doesn’t it? You get to know someone and then circumstances separate you and you don’t get to see how the story plays out.
I’ve been out of the loop here for a couple of days, but I gather your friend’s 85 year olf mother, who was beaten, is still holding her own? I may have missed updates. Hope all is well with you, Em!

BigDogMom
Member
BigDogMom

Welcome jan4insight…this is where the big kids play, just watch out on the jungle jim and you’ll fit right in.

whatsthatsound
Member

OT, but how come God never blogs here anymore? Was it just a one and done? I thought having the Big Fella around gave real class to this joint.

abby4ever
Guest

From the Guardian, April 6 2009:

“The HuffPo’s rise has been impressive. Less than four years old and with fewer than 60 staff (including seven news reporters), it is now a competitor to the New York Times, 158 years old and with more than 1,000 journalists. According to the ratings website Comscore, in February the HuffPo drew more than a third of the Times’s traffic: 7.3 million unique users to 18.4 million.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/apr/06/huffington-post-us-newspaper-industry

How accurate are these numbers, does anyone know?

nellie
Member

I don’t know how anyone can call HP a competitor with the Times when HP is a news aggregation site that, for the most part, reprints material from AP. That is a ridiculous assessment. I’m surprised the Guardian — which is known for groundbreaking reporting — would make that kind of comparison. The New York Times has some of the best trained journalists in the world — developing original material and adhering, for the most part, to strenuous standards of reporting. I will leave Judith Miller out of that category.

One of the reasons people go to HP is to read articles published by the New York Times.

abby4ever
Guest

Maybe the Guardian considers AP to be a competitor with the Times. If, as you say, “HP is a news aggregation site that, for the most part, reprints material from AP,” then it might as well be AP, pretty much. If it’s a mirror of AP and AP is competitor with the Times, it would fall out that the Guardian is, virtually, competitor with the Times. Ipso facto!

I very much doubt if that is the Guardian’s reasoning, but you never know…

Maybe something deep in the article itself explains what they mean, I am looking but I can’t find much…

I am just horsing around.

nellie
Member

It’s an excellent link, at any rate. Thanks for posting. It shows that concern for journalistic standards at HP is widespread. And that’s a good thing.

KQµårk 死神
Member

I still consider the NYT and HP as much different entities as well. But it is a shame how great old new sources like the gray lady have become reliant on the news wires and cut back the number of real journalists they employ.

KQµårk 死神
Member

Great info but now to be totally facetious. Faux News constantly doubles of triple MSNBC in ratings too. 😉

Bernard Marx
Member

Which according to the wingers means that they tell the truth.

whatsthatsound
Member

Saying that Huffpo “competes” with the New York Times is like saying that “Monday Nite Football” competes with the Dallas Cowboys. The teams go out there and do the work, and MNF just televises it, comments on it, and slurps up all the advertising revenue.

KQµårk 死神
Member

Good analogy but don’t tell Aryanna’s hedge fund people that. They don’t know any better.

BigDogMom
Member
BigDogMom

Looked up Aryanna’s Hedge Fund, they have an office located not far from me….One of head honchos lives up the street from me, real wanker. They have been posting jobs for various positions for the last 6 mos., seems that they can’t get anybody to work for them…gee, I wonder why? Could it be that the pay sucks and they want you to work 50+ hrs a week w/no OT.

Marion
Member

That’s the Guardian. They’re the most liberal UK newspaper around, so they’ll give HuffPo kudos. There’s nothing like HuffPo in the UK. The newspapers all maintain their own blogsites. There’s Guido Fawkes, who’s a conservative aggregate like Drudge, but no one pays any attention to it. The Guardian probably got those figures from HuffPo, who bigs itself up.

Johan Hari, who’s an Op-Ed columnist for The Independent (better than the Guardian, IMO) posts his columns on HuffPo.

Trust me. No one in the UK gives a shit about Huffington as a talking head. She tried too hard in the 70s and early 80s to muscle her way into the media here. They see her for the intellectual lightweight that she is. Huffington posted an appearance she made earlier this year on BBC’s Newsnight, but it was a Friday night appearance, with Kirsty Wark, who’s only slightly more lightweight than Huffington. She didn’t get Jeremy Paxman or Gavin Esler, the big hitters.

choicelady
Member

Great post, E-cat! This is dear to my heart.

Because I’ve had some health problems induced by bad western meds, I tend to shy away from a lot of things my doc wants me to do. I have developed major food intolerances thanks to an unneeded sulfa drug that affected me violently back in 2000, so when the doc wanted me on Lipitor with its digestive complications, I told her to give me three months, and we’d talk. I then took a dose of my own homemade “medicine” and started eating Benecol, a plant sterol ester-based margerine substitute. It’s expensive (Promise Control is cheaper so I now use that) but is about the equivalent of a co-pay – $10 per month. I lowered my cholesterol by doing two things – stopping some really bad habits I’d acquired eating on the run, and eating Benecol. Lowered it 60 points in three months. My doc is annoyed but cannot argue with the results.

That said, I find it wildly contradictory that HuffPo decries various medical things, berates Congress for not doing what she thinks they should in challenging PhRMA, and then has an entire section devoted to FOR PROFIT “natural” medicine. If I did everything suggested there, I’d be bankrupt. What’s the difference between a snake oil doc pushing pills and a snake oil doc pushing other pills? In the latter case, the results are dubious at best. The only reason I know for sure that Benecol and Promise Control work is that my husband used them, and now I have. It was a no-harm, not much money alternative, but some of the stuff Ariana pushes is a bit more dicey and a lot more money. She seems perfectly OK with people spending freely on Little PhRMA, so where’s the logic?

I think Arianna is hypocritical, and I think she is becoming dangerous. On this as on so many other levels.

KQµårk 死神
Member

Thanks for the tip about Benecol. Fortunately I have naturally low cholesterol but my wife has high cholesterol so I’ll tell her about it.

I just don’t know how these supplement pushers get off making all the claims they do and not be under the umbrella of drug regulations.

Remember the whole Kava Kava disaster?

I hate big PhRMA because they focus on drugs you can live with rather than cures but these supplement manufacturers get away with bloody murder. Probably 90% plus of the money supplement manufacturers sell offer nothing but a placebo effect.

Pepe Lepew
Member

Kava Kava? How about putaining Accutane? Took it for 90 days in the 90s and now I have all kinds of stomach problems that might be related.

KQµårk 死神
Member

Ouch I don’t want to scare you but I heard it could trigger Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. My father-in-law has Crohn’s Disease and just had a large part of his intestines removed because of it.

Pepe Lepew
Member

Now Accutane’s been pulled off the market.

I’m waiting for the class action lawsuit so I can sign up. Put my kid through college.

KQµårk 死神
Member

Pepe your post on Accutane just reminded me of a reaction I had to a drug called Reglan during my last hospital stay. I took it for nausea and about 30 seconds after they injected it into my IV I started to literally feel like I was crawling out of my skin. I never felt anything so uncomfortable in my life that was not associated with pain. My heart rate spiked an the only way the could bring it down was with Morphine.

But the amazing part was within two hours of receiving the drug I saw one of those class action lawsuit commercials about people who had used Reglan for chronic conditions. About half of the symptoms they mentioned I experienced. It still amazes me that they use drugs like Reglan even when there are ongoing class action lawsuits about it’s use.

Pepe Lepew
Member

I didn’t have an immediate reaction to the Accutane, but it did work to clear up my really severe rosacea (which had become precancerous).

Then about two years later, I started to have severe stomach problems. Puking blood, diarrhea that would last two solid weeks, massive cramping. etc. (sorry if that’s too graphic). It was diagnosed as e. Coli, salmonella, Crohn’s, and now finally, I’m pretty convinced it’s colitis from the Accutane.

As long as I avoid coffee, I can cope!
And, yes, that was a major sacrifice in my life.

Khirad
Member

Amen, you echoed me earlier, only so much more eloquently.

KQµårk 死神
Member

Ditto I love how choicelady expresses herself so eloquently.

Khirad
Member

Khirad
Member

Oh, lord, some of the articles have some real quacks – like yoga, chamomile and St. John’s Wort can solve whatever ails ye… and don’t get me started on the nexus of where Alex Jones meets the anti-Psychiatry $cientologists in the comments – and AH, herself, has allied herself with this crowd. The criticisms against PhRMA are valid, but are taken to absurd conspiratorial lengths, and has me despairing. Speaking of, that Picard poster reminded me of this site:

http://www.despair.com/lithographs.html

(I’m not shilling, never bought anything myself, their posters just make me laugh hysterically)

nellie
Member

Excellent article, e’cat. It’s not too surprising that the inaccuracies and bias we find in the political content would also apply to science articles posted at HP.

What HP lacks, obviously, is accountability. I just want to point out that at PPOV, because we don’t censor debate, and because we discuss in a way that encourages rather than discourages participation, we hold each other accountable for the information we post. It’s just another advantage of civil free speech.

I’m encouraged to see other sites take on HP. It’s reputation has been unchallenged for a long time. It’s good too know we’re not the only ones who find the site problematic — and are willing to write about it and back up what we say.

KQµårk 死神
Member

I pointed out earlier today the one of huffy’s most irresponsible articles was their addition of foreclosures to a misery index. For one how can you call it a misery index when a large portion of the population does not own their own homes? A misery index should be as comprehensive as possible so it measures the impact on most people’s lives. Besides everyone knows now the level of home ownership during the Bush years was never sustainable so the baseline was an outlier. People simply got loans that never should have based on an over bloated housing market. But this was your typical huffy manipulation to make Obama, especially the Treasury Dept look bad.

nellie
Member

Their misery index drove me CRAZY. It was such bad statistical methodology. I can’t even believe they got away with that.

Accountability — it’s on my mind tonight.

KQµårk 死神
Member

It was the most intellectually dishonest set of articles I’ve ever encountered.

jan4insight
Guest

Good point, KQuark. May I nominate another set:

Remember the first week of November last, when AH decided Obama’s “first” “year” was up, and branded him a “failure” and had all her bloggers write articles on said theme?

😛

Boy, did make my blood boil! Not only the flat-out condemnation of our President, but the convenient labeling of his first “year” when he’d only been in office less than 10 months – talk about intellectually dishonest!

KQµårk 死神
Member

What a coinkidinky. I was just surfing to science blogs myself earlier. It’s one of my faves.

I would recommend the sub blog denialism within science blog. It taught me more than any other single source about how healthcare systems work around the world. Mark Hoofnagle who has a MD and PhD in physiology really knows his stuff.

http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/

I’ve heard more than a few “progressives” spout conspiracy theories about the H1N1 virus including Huffy. Ask Adlib about his experience with H1N1 sometime. The anti-science mentality does not end at the shores of the Drudge Report.