The latest November issue of What Doctors Don’t Tell You has appeared and has delivered on its promise to devote an issue to cancer treatment with homeopathy and other quackery.
It has been a tense month for the magazine owners as an impromptu campaign has happened where people have been writing to High Street retailers, such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s warning that the magazine contains serious health misinformation and a dangerous approach to healthcare. The magazine has seen this action as conspiratorial attack by Big Pharma lead by the bogeyman charity Sense About Science. The issue was picked up by the mainstream media and reported in the Times, radio and TV.
Much was made in the campaign about the forthcoming November issue in that it was promised to focus on cancer and homeopathy, a deadly combination.
The November editorial is long and angry. It starts
A small group of people tried to prevent you from reading this issue of What Doctors Don’t Tell You. They pressurized shops to stop selling our magazine and they were prepared to go to almost any lengths to achieve their aims, including the stagemanaging of an ‘independent’ news article in a major newspaper that contained malicious falsehoods about us and our work.
Why? Perhaps because we’d announced the next issue as a ‘cancer special’ that would include interesting new research about homeopathy.
Their whole tone is paranoid and conspiratorial placing Sense About Science at the centre of a pharmaceutical company plot. It says,
So why have we upset Sense About Science so much? There is, of course, the most obvious reason: our information threatens the revenues of some of its benefactors, most notably the pharmaceutical industry.
This is obvious nonsense and defamatory. Sense about Science does not receive money from the pharmaceutical industry, much less is it controlled by their agenda. Indeed, their biggest campaign at the moment is against pharmaceutical company secrecy over medical trials and a call to publish all trials – something that many companies are resisting fiercely.
What WDDTY do not address is the real and explicitly stated concern of the campaign: that WDDTY publishes woefully biased, misleading and dangerous nonsense about medical matters; that it seeks to undermine the relationships people have with doctors and uncritically promotes the pseudo-medicines such as homeopathy, vitamin pills and other quackery.
The editorial makes a claim that denies this:
Our job in these pages is not prescriptive but investigative—to dig out the best research we can about the ‘other side of the story’ on both conventional and alternative healthcare to allow our intelligent readers to make their own informed choices and decisions.
This is quite obviously not true. And indeed they exposed their true agenda in an email to their supporters last week:
Their agenda is explicit: they want to revel in medical horror stories and promote anecdotes about pseudo-medicine. Their use of scientific evidence too just furthers this agenda by misrepresentation of results and cherry picking studies. To pretend that they are some sort of objective independent voice giving medical information that may not be coming through your doctor is just a blatant and evil lie.
I do not use the word evil lightly. But in this case, I cannot think of another word that is better. If people accept the attitudes and information given in this magazine then they could seriously harm and even kill themselves.
Their articles on cancer in this issue are probably their most wicked yet.
The main article, under the index headline “The evidence for homeopathy”, starts off by admitting that doctors call it “nonsense on stilts”. But then goes on to repeat absurd claims that Indian doctors are successfully using this absurd quackery to treat cancer. So, WDDTY tell us that we should not think of homeopathy as nonense:
Judging by how it is used in India—where doctors routinely use it even for life-threatening diseases like cancer—we perhaps have a little way to go yet.
Several commentators guessed they would use the Banerji cancer claims to push their agenda. That some homeopaths in India make absurd and dangerous claims about how sugar pills can treat cancer successfully cannot be used by responsible people as evidence that it is effective. It is only evidence of the irresponsible and cowardly tolerance the Indian government has for pseudomedicines.
That dubious positive results exist for homeopathy should not amaze us. Given the fanatical and cult-like world of homeopathy it is not difficult to see how a country the size of India will come up with people with sufficient PR skills and a complete lack of insight to make outlandish claims for this quackery. WDDTY does not stop at homeopathy.
They conclude that,
It is perplexing why good medical studies—which are supported by the US government and leading American academics—are not being recognized, let alone discussed, in the West.
Surely cancer is so serious a threat that every avenue needs to be explored with an open mind and not left to the drug and academic cabals. Conventional medicine does not offer any genuinely effective solutions and yet continues to block anything that might, especially something as “impossible” and “nonsensical” to their science as homeopathy.
In those few words, WDDTY displays its distorting techniques. It claims questionable, unreplicated, implausible medical studies are ‘good’. It tries to attach the authority of ‘leading academics’ to the research. It posits a conspiracy of silence against such research. It portrays doctors as ‘close minded’. It treats lightly the straightforward science that shows homeopathy is impossible and nonsensical. It pretends that real medicine does not have any real solutions. This is a dangerous mix that will lead people to make very bad decisions.
In order to lend credibility to the claims of homeopathy, another article discusses, “How might homeopathy work?”. Here is a dreadful article reporting the thoroughly discredited work of Jacques Benveniste and Luc Montagnier.
The magazine claims,
If solutions with active substances are diluted to the point where there’s virtually none of the original substance left, as they are with homeopathy, the only way such a medicine could work, so the argument goes, is if there’s both a special quality to water and an ability by molecules to leave behind essential ‘information’ as a ‘memory’. Now, increasingly, scientists believe that both these requirements may be true.
This is a straightforward falsehood. There is no good reason and no good evidence to believe water can have the properties demanded by homeopathy. And scientists have rejected this notion long, long ago. That a few mavericks and eccentrics have clung to such notions does not mean these ideas have any credibility whatsoever.
Recently, someone posted their own personal story of how belief in Alternative Medicine can have disastrous consequences.
My mother and grandmother tried to brainwash me and my siblings with that homeopathic alternative BS for years. I eventually saw through it, but my little sister wasn’t so lucky. Then she noticed a lump in her breast at 26. And guess where my mom took her for treatment. That’s right. The witch doctor’s office.
When she told us my dad (long divorced from my mom over this and other reasons) and I begged and pleaded for her to go see an oncologist. They flat out refused for 8 months, instead electing for vitamin C infusions and a bunch of other alternative nonsense. I explained to both of them that I had consulted with real Medical Doctors and the consensus was that if this lump really was cancer then this effective lack of treatment was killing her. But they’d say, “you just don’t understand.” 8 months later the afflicted breast had more than doubled in size. We’re talking A cup on one side D on the other. Not until the tumor burst through the skin did they finally go to the hospital. Of course by then it was way too late.
The doctor we spoke too said that they only saw untreated cases this bad in the homeless and old people with dementia. My sister died days after her 28th birthday of one of the most treatable forms of cancer because she believed in their bullshit. Fuck alternative medicine and the charlatan pieces of shit who sell it.
We do not know how many stories like this there are. This might be extreme, but every day that someone delays seeking real medical help, or ignores the advice they have been given by competent practitioners, decreases their chances of survival. The harm caused by pseudo-medical beliefs is a difficult issue to quantify. What we can do is act as if this is causing harm and seek to minimise it.
That is why we should keep up the pressure on the supermarkets and newsagents that sell this irresponsible rag. So far, in the last month, Waitrose have confirmed they will no longer be selling it. Sainsbury’s have also made the right noises that it may no longer continue to stock it. Tesco have stuck their head in the sand and chosen profit over their customers’ lives,
Although we cannot be held responsible for the editorial content, we do stock this publication as there is demand for it and by not stocking the magazine, we would be removing the choice of a legally produced product.
This is despite a clear commitment to “create a store environment that encourages and promotes healthier choices”. WDDTY fails that very miserably.
Let’s keep the pressure on. We are moving forward slowly but surely. This is a campaign that will save lives.
As always, a full set of resources can be found at Josephone Jones.
Well, supermarkets sell the Bible…
I’m not keen on censorship.
Education has to be the only way forward – difficult and exasperating as that is.
See you next century!
It is strange that Andy the apparent champion of evidence posts a ‘story’ about someone who apparently delayed treatment in order to help justify his campaign. This story is an anecdote Andy just like Wilko Johnson’s ‘story’ in the media today. At least we know his story is real. Who wrote the other ‘story’?
I will be enquiring at my local Waitrose about WDDTY because they gave me a different account about their policy over WDDTY.
So it is onwards and upwards for WDDTY thanks to Andy who should take all the credit.
You don’t want to believe the experience of person’s sister? Then take a look at this page: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/rejecting-cancer-treatment-what-are-the-consequences/
It reports a number of studies that have been done into the consequences of refusing conventional medical treatment for cancer. The results are clear – patients who refuse conventional medical treatment are significantly more likely to die from their cancer. For example, one study into women with breast cancer found that “The 5 year overall survival was 43% for women that declined cancer care, and 86% for women that received conventional cancer care.” Furthermore, among those who refused conventional care, there was little difference in outcomes between those who used alternative ‘medicine’ and those who used none.
Incidentally, this is what untreated breast cancer ends up like (and by untreated, I mean untreated with standard medical procedures).
This is what would have happened to the sister of the person whose testimony Andy quotes. It’s not pretty.
I too find it quite amazing that this article included an anecdotal story to illustrate its point. There is no reference at all to the author and no names of the chief protagonists involved in the anecdotal tale. Conversely, when doing a search online for cancer cured or controlled by alternative methods i find hundreds of real-life cases involving real people, including actual names and pictures. Wow, what a contrast to the above article. I read about doctors being imprisoned after successfully treating hundreds of patients. Who are they a threat to? Do you wish to stifle research into all these promising treatments and imprison those who earnestly strive to find a cure, happy that chemotherapy may extend the lives of patients by 5 years. Is this the be all and end all that you are happy to live with? OK, maybe for you, but not for others who want to have the right to decide for themselves based on the evidence they can find through their own research. People ARE being cured of cancer and other diseases. There are many methods worthy of investigation that should not be shut down. There is more than chemotherapy and one day we will look back and think how could we have been so short-sighted?? One day!
Again the failures, death, are not self reporting. The cures, likely remissions, are reported as cures=FALSE. Sorry, cancer does not go away except in all but a very, very few cases and you can bet it is hanging around to return.
I know of a fine lady who had breast cancer, treated and in remission. It metastasized 6 years later and she still survived another 12 years. Remarkable fortitude on her part, but it still was the cause of her passing.
I do not believe the stories of cancer cures. I do believe the incidents of remission and those are seldom due to SCAM cures.
Stories can be interesting, useful, and illustrative — this blog is full of them. That particular one nearly brings me to tears.
But the campaign against stockists of WDDTY itself isn’t based on anecdotes, interesting though they can be. There are umpteen factual and established dangerous misrepresentations of scientific/medical studies in WDDTY: that is the focus of the campaign. The story just illustrates why this isn’t a abstract academic question about whether double-blinding is the best way to determine efficacy, but how misinformation about medicine can ruin (and end) lives.
As the WDDTY call for stories email illustrates, the publication is biased in advance to cherry-pick positive anecdotes about “alternative” treatments and scare stories about conventional medicine. That’s certainly compatible with its content. By definition readers are not getting a clear and unbiased view… and what they do get is in contradiction to far more established evidence which somehow doesn’t make it into WDDTY’s pages.
They are free to say these things — bias and hypocrisy are not illegal — but retailers should have a good hard think about the ethics of selling a magazine which deceives their customers into thinking that they would be better off eschewing mainstream medical treatment when they are ill. As Richard Rawlins mentioned, it’s a bit like porn: there’s demand but it’s socially corrosive… so as a retailer you need to choose between profit and acceptability. The campaign is pushing shops to opt for acceptability.
I’m not so convinced that it’s party time at WDDTY Towers… the more widely its content becomes known, the less credibility it will have. And if (a big if), under scrutiny, they tighten up their journalistic standards, there will be little left to write about.
Just what would you say if the relative of this women came on here. Would you imply they were telling untruths?
The free speech argument is an interesting one. Most people would accept that free speech is a qualified right and you should not cause harm by the things that you say. The way in which WDDTY misrepresents the data to further their agenda is annoying, frustrating and concerning, but it is not illegal. Or is it? It is interesting that it is much easier to get an advert banned on the basis of misleading or unproven claims than a magazine.
I would feel more comfortable censoring WDDTY if it could be proven that they cause harm. However, many things that harm people are legal, so even this principle is not clear cut. You could also argue that more good might be done by campaigning against other things that we know are harmful and are more likely to harm, for example cigarettes or unhealthy food, rather than this rather niche magazine. You could argue that this is not a fair analogy because people who smoke can do so in a way that only harms them, but many people are of course harmed by passive smoking. Similarly, WDDTY might claim that where people get their health information is up to them, which I would agree with, but what about the people harmed by advice from WDDTY through a third party – children and the frail elderly or otherwise vulnerable people. Of course, we let people be harmed in this way already, for example by making childhood vaccination voluntary.
One must not forget the law of unintended consequences, such publicity could increase the WDDTY readership, and increase the potential for harm.
Perhaps the issue is that retailers are stocking information that can be shown to be false? Well they they do this already by selling the Fortean Times or The National Enquirer. Of course, in these cases, their potential to harm peoples’ health is not the same. However, much of the main stream media peddles nonsense that might cause harm to one’s health or financial circumstances but this does not generate quite the same ire for some reason, more often such organs are ridiculed rather than censored. Is it the combination of at best nonsense and worst lies, PLUS the potential for harm that is the real issue here?
Or are we talking about the right of the people to persuade retailers who they feel are acting irresponsibly to change their ways? Although I have some sympathy with this view, surely this way leads censorship by mob rule? I wonder what John Stuart Mill would make of that. He would probably come back to the harm principle, which does not present a prima facie case for censorship as far as I can tell, much as we’d all like it too.
Competent adults should probably be able to get their health information from wherever they like – you pays your money, you takes your chances – and this applies to both alternative and conventional medicine. In some ways conventional medicine may only have itself to blame for the success of WDDTY in the way it can treat people as problems, and the recent NHS scandals and coverups can only exacerbate this problem.
Perhaps WDDTY should carry a health warning like conventional medicines do with their list of side effects, “Warning, following the advice contained within this publication could result in serious harm or even death?” Then at least people could make an informed decision when they choose to purchase it.
I should add that what almost irks me more if the way WDDTY bang on about their right to free speech but then ban me and anybody else who disagrees with them from their facebook group. As a paying subscriber (know thy enemy and all that) I feel I am entitled to comment.
Fortean Times, National Enquirer etc. occurred to me, too! Yes, a multitude of grey areas, but I think the current form of the campaign is on balance a good thing. Personal opinion.
I like Richard’s suggestion of collecting these magazines, WDDTY included, under “Fiction”, the distinction being that the former are “harmless fun” (for those who like that sort of thing) while the latter definitely has the potential to cause harm, if people actually act according to its recommendations.
This said without having actually have bought a copy of Fortean Times to see if it advocates jumping out of windows to see if ghosts/aliens/whatever will levitate you…
You never know when to call it a day!
” Every store stood behind us and stood for free speech and all are still selling it. They’re on sale today”
Not forgetting that free speech means deleting Facebook comments that are so hateful you can find them on http://wanderingteacake.wordpress.com/wddty/the-hole-quiz/.
It is difficult to find another word to stand in for evil.
Has this dispicable Rag not heard of the Cancer Act 1939? perhaps they really need some reminding , because when people DIE from reading this dangerous Clap Trap , I really do hope someone holds them responsible , As a cancer patient myself i am sickened and discusted that any responsible publisher would even allow this utter nonsense to be put on the shelves.
problem: evidence that reading the Rag directly lead to some reason for early death or much suffering.
who is responsible for policing according to the Cancer Act ?
” Every store stood behind us and stood for free speech and all are still selling it. They’re on sale today”
So, you are happy that Waitrose didn’t stand for free speech, that they caved in to bully tactics? Value your rights while you still have them! You might miss them when they are gone. Respect the rights of others to read what they wish to read and to make their own considered judgements, just as you value your own right to the same. We still live in a free and civilized society in which we can read books and magazines on all manner of subjects. But only just, as our freedoms are slowly eroding. Anyway, thanks to the misguided efforts of so-called Quackbusters subscriptions to WDDTY are increasing, it seems. People want to read it. Go read your Skeptics Times and Reason Weekly. You are allowed. Good eh!!
What nonsense this is nothing to do with Free Speech , in case you are not aware even Free Speech carries with it duties and responsibilities” :Free Speech also has its limitations, ie The rights or reputations of others,
in the case of national security , public order , ( the protection of health ) or morals.
So are you saying its alright to site racial hatred because it’s Free Speech?
This Rag needs to be removed for the protection of the public’s health.
This despicabley evil rag that is causing the deaths of so many people should be taken off the shelves immediately! It is for the survival of the nation. WDDTY is preventing people from using radiation and encouraging them to use natural alternatives. This is pure evil! We must fight to protect people from too much information. It only causes them to stray from the only true way. Dangerous and sickening! I am not over-egging it, am I?
survival of the nation ?
Please provide any robust clinical evidenced based proof that you have that any ALT works in treating cancer, Wise Up people and Stop relying on the University of Google for your info regarding treatment into any life threatening disease, I suggest doing your future research into biochemistry instead , it would be far more productive to learn about the history of cancer and the complexes of this disease , try researching cancer biology not quackery , only then you will be able to sort the wheat from the chaff , (unless of course you believe in wishful thinking and keeping your finger’s crossed for a “Cure ” )
So many Gullible people out there sadly ,who are continually brainwashed online by this ridiculas and dangerous nonsense and no doubt many more will end up paying with their live’s.
BTW , You do know that ALT makes more money in a yr than cancer research does don’t you? I find that Staggering !! Please stop lining the pockets of these despicable people sadly they can see you coming .
Good to see you back.
You have obviously been estivating for the last few months.
Loved your post.
Nice to see you have finally seen the true path.
I would have gone for sarcasm combined with a healthy measure of hyperbole, but not to worry, you hit the nail on the head.
(PS: there is still no evidence for UFOs)
i seem to have two identities, not intentional… also cairndog94. Not sure how it happened. Anyway, there is evidence for UFO’s but possibly not for extra-terrestial beings flying them. But, as you know, I do have an open mind, without any brain seepage, and I won’t discount the possibility. Close and trusted friends have shared very interesting and compelling accounts. But that’s off subject!
The UFO stuff is indeed somewhat beyond the remit of LCN’s post and we are being a bit presumptuous with his good will and patience.
Hopefully he will forgive me one last presumption if I ask you to name a blog or other forum where we can debate this and take it offline from the Quackometer.
As a starter for ten I Googled my little socks off looking for “irrefutable evidence of UFOs” and found nothing that stood up to a few seconds thought.
Best wishes and look forward to talking to you,
Etymologically ‘pornography’ refers to depictions of fornication and prostitution – but the same (traditional) distaste for ‘porn’ can be applied to the quite appaling attempts by the WDDTY publishers to mislead the public, to prostitute their integrity, and to take advantage of the gullible.
Are they ‘health pornographers’?
money is King. the Queen should speak up ! perhaps she could use Charles as her mouthpiece ?
I believe anecdotes have a place in medical decisions; not as proof of effectiveness, but as proof of harm or ineffectiveness. WDDTY seems to trumpet anecdotes as proof of both. I find it disingenuous that it ignores alt-med failures as proof of ineffectiveness.
HOW DO WE SERIOUSLY HANDLE EARLY ANECDOTES ABOUT NEW MEDS?
In the US there are one or more web sites where people can post symptoms they ascribe to meds they are/were on. The pharma studies are no where nearly long enough to establish reactions to meds until the distribution has reached the sub-sectors of the population that do react. Note that the reaction of a few does not invalidate the utility of a med for many others.
I am looking for a feedback loop that makes doctors aware that some patients can in fact have severe reactions to a med that are legitimate. It takes too long for the medical regulators to amend guidelines on reactions or interactions. Doctors need to be able to determine if a patient’s concern is real and not mindlessly rely on the pharma representatives assertions that there is no regulatory guideline stating such-and-such as a side effect.
I always thought WDDTY was a pile of tut but any rag that can get up the noses of Sense about Science, Nightingale Collaboration and David Colquhoun et al must be doing something right.
Yes, homoeopathy is about as much use as a chocolate fireguard but lets have a discussion about the 20% plus of non-elective hospital admissions in the over 65s that are related to conventional medication side effects/drug interactions or do I hear the sound of one hand clapping from the usual suspects.
Ahhh. The ‘Talk about something else’ gambit. Wondered when that would pop up.
So the usual suspects don’t want to talk about the thousands that die from AKI (acute kidney injury) induced by drugs like NSAIDs, ACE inhibitors and thiazides but the usual suspects fiddle while Rome burns trying to stop the sale of some rag that doesn’t fit their agenda.
Sad or what!!!
Have you set up your own blog to talk about it? Or if you already know enough about it, what are you doing about it? Who have you complained to? What action have you taken? What’s being done about it?
My apologies, Andy, for continuing this off-topic discussion.
I do know enough about it being a clinical pharmacist for 23 years. I visit practices and undertake clinical audits focusing on patients at high risk of hospitalisation due to the combination of drugs that they are on. I like to think that GPs value my input.
Unfortunately, I have no blog or contacts with media outlets.
I believe that target driven prescribing has led to a sharp rise in hospital admissions due to drug adrs and interactions. Failure to look at the individual with multiple long term conditions is a major factor and not taking an holistic approach.Take type 2 diabetes, the health time bomb. We have only one drug, metformin, with any robust evidence but target driven prescribing leads to the addition of therapies with poor evidence behind them such as gliptins which can increase respiratory infection rates by 12 fold or pioglitazone which can induce heart failure and bladder cancer. Tight blood glucose control in clinical studies has actually be shown to do more harm than good. Reflected in UK guidelines? Er…….no.
Do you see my point and exasperation with organisations like Sense About Science who are failing to see the bigger picture.
I hope it puts your work against WDDTY into perspective.
You know, maybe we do, but this blog post is about the harm that a quack magazine can do when pretending magic sugar pills can cure cancer.
My apologies if this subject does not meet your threshold of importance for World Problems That Can Be Discussed On The Internet.
Robin points out that ‘orthodox’ medicines can harm.
But what’s got to do with the issue at hand – the falsehoods peddled by this magazine which sets out to deceive gullible people, many of whom fall for it yet still drag red herrings across the way to truth, enlightenment and eternal bliss via the Vale of Veracity and Validity provided by evidence based medicine.
Camists should stay awy from orthodox medicine if they don’t like it.
May the Wu be with you Robin.
(Wu: Chinese for ‘nothingness’.)
getting ur knickers in a twist here.
suspects ? fit agenda ?
why don’t u keep to the agenda urself when you pop into other people’s discussion ?
one problem at a time !
want to bring up something else, go somewhere else.
i’ve worked as a doctor for 40+ yrs, and share worries about the practice of medicine. but not in this particular context.
lying to people is not one of the worries i have about doctors as a whole.
there is heavy evidence of lying in the marketing of alternative medicine.
do you agree, or not ?
I described WDDTY as a pile of tut and homoeopathy as being similar to a chocolate fireguard. Which bit of my original post didn’t you read. I was just questioning the incessant flow of bile from the “usual suspects” over a comparatively insignificant magazine when there are much bigger fish to fry. Still, that depends on YOUR agendas.
And yes, there is a significant degree of lying in the marketing of alternative medicine. Marketing is the “rattle of a stick in a bucket of swill” to paraphrase Orwell and applies to all aspects of commerce. Just compare Big Pharma’s marketing and research budgets.
In Australia we currently have an issue with some people being underpaid – why don’t you write about that instead? And there’s a guy up the road who drives way too fast all the time – but you never make note of that either. And I know of a photographer who won a national prize for a photo he didn’t even take himself – yet there’s no mention of it on your blog.
Can you do something about the planes that fly over my house at 4am every day? I’ve searched your blog but you don’t mention it. Have you got shares in Boeing?
You’re far too selective. If you’re going to complain about something, you really should make sure you complain about everything else first. Everything. No exclusions.
Come to think of it, Robin Banks is here complaining about you not complaining about medical error but I can find no concern from him about the issues I raised above either.
Sad or what?!?! Another Boeing shareholder, no doubt.
“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations” George Orwell
So if you want to live in a world of spin and PR then go ahead and get WDDTY banned. Just wondering what Orwell would make of your actions.
Just because Orwell said it (and it’s a good quote, with a good deal of truth in many circumstances) doesn’t mean that it’s always right, in every situation. I believe this one’s called “appeal to authority” https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/appeal-to-authority
Paying attention to the facts of this case, it seems to me that WDDTY is much more on the side of PR and spin, when you compare its claims to the evidence that they claim to be reporting.
“Banned” is the wrong word, though. I’m sure there are plenty of people campaigning against the distribution of WDDTY (myself included) who will defend its right to say what it says — on general principle, rather than through respect for the lies peddled — but who do not recognise any right to be provided for sale by otherwise respectable and responsible retailers.
“Banned” is the wrong word, though. I’m sure there are plenty of people campaigning against the distribution of WDDTY (myself included) who will defend its right to say what it says — on general principle, rather than through respect for the lies peddled — but who do not recognise any right to be provided for sale by otherwise respectable and responsible retailers.”
You say there are plenty of people campaigning for the banning of WDDTY ( and it IS a banning you are after) but in reality the people demanding the magazine taken off the shelves are an infinitesimally SMALL group of interconnected people and groups, with hugely vociferous voices. The vast majority of people have no idea of the existence of the magazine and those that read it are just as passionate about protecting their RIGHT to read it. If people are in fact dying in ignorance because they read it then there will eventually be a huge outcry and the magazine will be banned without any input from yourselves. But, of course, that is not the reality of it. People aren’t falling down dead in the streets. I think we might notice if they were!!
Anyway, how can you say you defend their right to say something but demand the closure of the platform they use to say it?? That doesn’t make much sense to me. You either respect their right to say it … or you don’t. I posit that you do not respect that right.
Also, are you saying that by not selling WDDTY that the retailers are otherwise respectable and responsible? So, you are happy with Nexus magazine and Paranormal magazine et al being sold? They qualify as respectable and responsible in your eyes by selling these periodicals, but not WDDTY? And how about junk food and cigarettes? Are they respectable and responsible by selling these, but not WDDTY? What is so special about WDDTY that you have such a bee in your bonnets about? These retailers have chosen to sell these items because there is a demand for them. No-one held a gun to their heads. You might not recognise their right to read certain things (and you have the right to not recognise their right, which is cool) but you certainly don’t have the right to HARRASS the businesses who have chosen to provide the material. WDDTY readers are just as intelligent as yourselves but they see things from a different viewpoint. People have the right to make their own decisions concerning their health and wellbeing and if they should make an error of judgement so be it. It has always been this way and we don’t want to live in a nanny state! We are all grown ups and if we should drop dead as a result of reading the magazine it won’t affect your lives in any way, so don’t worry about it!! People make bad decisions about medicine, conventional and CAM. C’est la vie!
Hmm, I thought someone might pick up on “otherwise respectable”! Judge for yourselves cf. the “medical pornography” comparison made elsewhere on this thread. These “family” retailers don’t stock that, and there is an ongoing campaign against “lad mags”, too. Not saying that I agree with this, but it’s not a bad simile. Do I think Tesco are wonderful? No. Do I think they’d be making a step toward wonderfulness by removing WDDTY from their shelves? Yes.
On freedom of speech vs. freedom of commercial distribution, the difference is that there is no suggestion of a legal ban on this information/opinion being available. It is a direct appeal to retailers to not stock something irresponsible, again cf. porn. WDDTY can still blog, or go mail order, or whatever, to get their important views out there. Sadly not so much advertising revenue that way, but given the WDDTY advertisers’ painful experience with the CAP code that is maybe for the best. I’m told there is porn on the internet, too… who knew?
So, you wouldn’t pursue a ban if the opportunity presented itself to you? Well, at least that is a nod in the direction of the acceptance of free speech. Kudos! As for the CAP code infractions, the sheer number of advertisers who fell foul of it is simply down to the fact that your friends deliberately targeted each and every one of them as part of a cynical ploy to starve WDDTY out of existence. Well how do you explain the fact that they are still advertising in WDDTY? They couldn’t have fallen that foul of the code. I remember one advertiser selling water purifiers said water is polluted. They were ordered to pull the word “polluted” but that was it. That is nothing compared to the claims of every advertiser for every product I see or hear everyday….. “healthy” cereals, anti wrinkle creams, deodorants that make you irresistible to women. If only THAT worked!! Let’s face if we pursue your arguments to their logical conclusion then we would have no advertising at all. I think most of the products on WDDTY are fine compare to the rest of the crap out there. There are one or two esoteric things that may or may not be dubious but that’s the sort of thing I have always expected to see in them. I am going to apply some “Big Cat” spray, go out and enjoy the results. If it doesn’t have the promised effect I will dedicate my life to getting it banned!
The problem is not what WDDTY says, but the way it says it.
In W H Smiths books have sections for ‘fiction’ and non-fiction’.
That does not apply to magazines.
MAD Magazine and those dedicated to Star Wars or other science fiction are obviously tosh in a scientific sense.
So the issue for WH Smiths is to answer ‘How are your customers to know that WDDTY is a work of fiction? Perhaps even that its publishers are taking the mickey as are those of MAD? Do WH Smiths understand that some gullible readers, who may be patients suffering from a wide variety of important and significant conditions fail to see the joke and take WDDTY seriously? And may be harmed thereby.
WH Smiths do not place pornography on lower shelves where children may access it – and may require an opaque sleeve. WH Smith do not sell material likely to incite hatred (apart from the Bible). Can WH Smith explain what steps they are taking to protect gullible and vulnerable people from being misled by WDDTY?
So rather than seek censorship or bans (which won’t work), ceasation of publication (which the publishers will not accede to) – the focus shifts to the honesty and integrity of promoters and salesoutlets who are complicit in allowing (by default) vulnerable and gullible people to self-harm and become misled by such publications.
Smiths should have WDDTY sold from shelves clearly labelled ‘Fiction’.
My agenda IS the complete and utter eradication of WDDTY and the final solution to this travesty of the truth.
It is a vile and despicable rag not even suitable for wrapping my cat’s territorial marking rectal emissions.
Even my old mate Streicher (good old Julius) would not write this toot (note spelling).
Editor in Chief
“All Doctors Are Lying Bastards And Are Only In It For The Money” magazine (issue 1 out in December)
(PS – as a stickler for strict hierarchical organisation I believe Prof C outranks you in the pharmacology stakes, although he is probably far too polite to even think it)
” infinitesimally SMALL group of interconnected people and groups, with hugely vociferous voices.”
Well said. The “usual suspects” is the label I tend to use but this is so much better.
If you have so much concern for public safety and you know so much about medicines why not produce your own magazine? Why not call it the Colquhoun Collaboration? You’d have a regular readership of at least eleven people!!!
I would be confident that my monthy readership stats are greater than there magazine circulation.
And even more confident that the Quackometer’s Comprehension stats would be vastly greater.
Indeed it is, indeed it is… 🙂
If that’s the case then why bother targeting a rag that nobody reads. Surely the free market will kill it off and save you folks a lot of time and energy making complaints.
Beause it is not true that ‘nobody’ reads it, and some who do may be killed off by making inappropriate health care decisions.
The approach to issues in life excercised by the Quackometer and correspondents is called ‘moral responsibility’.
It’s how we sentinent beings have evolved. It’s not easy, and not always comfortable, but do join us.
This comment was removed as it was a duplicate of other comments placed on other articles. This is called spamming. Please stick to discussing the article you are posting on and making relevant points regarding that article.
I am very pleased for you, but don’t expect me to pay for your whims and fancies – unless and until there is plausible scientific evidence.
I bet you would not go up in an untested aeroplane.
Sorry, I actually would not be too surprised if you did – but you would not expect other people to.
Every best wish.
Max Stirling said:
Please feel free to point out any errors in the article, along with your reasoning and evidence for your position.
I entirely agree: so-called natural and alternative ‘medicines’ get a very easy ride. For example, hundreds of homeopathic products are registered or authorised by the medicines’ regulator without having to provide one jot of evidence they are in the slightest bit effective for anything. I hope you’ll agree with me that this double standard is intolerable and demand a level playing field?
Well, no, it appears they don’t. Even the Homeopathy Research Institute seems to think they can do a trial of homeopathy for IBS for a mere £5,000: IBS trial fundraising appeal update. Anyway, there are many ways of raising the necessary funding for trials if the will to do them was actually there: Paying the price of homeopathic research
On the contrary. Indeed, Boiron have a market capitalisation value of just under 1 billion Euros. Just think what their turnover could be if they actually had good evidence for the products they make?
Then you spoil your argument (such as it was) with your own personal anecdote…
I come on ‘ere looking for me special quackological Xmas treat about some drivel regarding Steiner schools torturing kids and making Santa worship compulsory or ACF/Iqbal proving that keyboard skills and a little learning are not just dangerous things but downright effing crackers.
Woddoiget? Nuffin. Not a bleedin sausage. Eff all. No micky taking post, no Scruffy Monkey geezer taking the pee out of some wacko, no piss-take magazine covers about what geologists and plumbers don’t tell you (although my Uncle Alf was a plumber and he never told me nuffin).
I was bereft I tell you. Gutted and gobsmacked at the lack of seasonal cheer.
And then with one day left to 2014 the Black Duck bloke surpasses all his previous Yuletide offerings by calling himself Max and trolling all his OWN postings with inane drivel.
He even fooled that sawbones bloke.
Sheer bloody self-referential genius. There must be a dingbat POMO phrase to describe it.
I like your style John…great post! 🙂
Does anyone know how many copies of this magazine is sold each month