Oct 04 2012

They try it again

Another one. Another medical coughcoughcoughcough threatens to sue Simon Singh to make him stop saying the medical coughcoughcoughcough is full of coughcoughcoughcoughcoughcough. Josephine Jones collects all the links again, and many links there are.

The medical coughcoughcoughcough is a new “alternative health” magazine jauntily called What Doctors Don’t Tell You. Jones has a picture, so you can see what it’s like:


See? Every item looks like coughcoughcoughcough. Doctors don’t know shit but listen to us and we will fix whatever it is, because it’s that simple.

Singh dared to suggest that it could be irresponsible of high street retailers to stock the title and shared his concerns with the distributor, Comag.

They apparently (essentially) told him to shove off and when he suggested he might blog the email exchange, things really went to pieces.

Comag wrote in an email to Singh:

I should inform you that we have sought legal advice in respect of this matter. We would take any attempts to damage our reputation on social media or elsewhere very seriously.

And in a subsequent email, they confirmed that they had instructed legal counsel.

This is somewhat ironic considering that the magazine’s owner, Lynne McTaggart had argued in favour of free speech, even referring to critics such as Singh and Hayley Stevens as ‘bully boys’ and ‘trolls’.

It seems it’s fine to suggest women should lock up their daughters to spare them from the HPV vaccine (page 3 of the October edition) and to assert that researchers say popular sunscreens cause skin cancer (page 9), but wrong to suggest that it might be irresponsible to allow this misleading, alarmist nonsense a high street presence.

If Comag are concerned about their reputation then threatening to sue was perhaps not a wise move.

The British Chiropractic Association may be inclined to agree, as might the Burzynski Clinic.

Can you say Streisand? I thought you could. Can you say Rhys Morgan? Can you say Marc Stephens? Can you say Popehat? I thought you could.

The Nightingale Collaboration sent 26 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority about ads in the magazine, which they think is a record.


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  1. 1

    So tired.

  2. 2
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    Treat your kid’s asthma without drugs?

    That’s just plain dangerous. Free speech? I don’t think it applies.

  3. 3
    AJ Milne

    What doctors don’t tell you: that this magazine is full of it, up to here…

    (/…but only because if they try, we sue.)

  4. 4
    PZ Myers

    Damn bullies are everywhere, aren’t they?

  5. 5
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    It’s true! Avoid giving your child drugs for their asthma, and just wait for a while – they’ll never need them again!

  6. 6
    No Light

    @Alethea – Half an hour with my mother might make them rethink their stance on asthma.

    At six years old she watched her best friend die in front of her as they walked to school.

    Her fiery temper in the face of asthma denialism, as a result of her childhood loss, is staggering.

  7. 7
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    That is extraordinary. I’m sorry if my macabre joke brought up bad memories.

  8. 8
    No Light

    Oh don’t worry! My only bad memories about it involve the handful of times I whined about needing to “Carry my stupid inhaler everywhere”. I feel like cowering just at the memory!

    Oddly enough, my mother even trained (haha) as a homeopath. It was through a usually well-meaning local charity that was dedicated to delivering free, or very cheap educational courses for women.

    I’d love to have been a fly on the wall if her “tutor” had suggested sugar pills for bronchospasm.

  9. 9
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    *airplane ears, tail swish*

    What a steaming pile of shit!

    (The “magazine”, not your post!)

  10. 10
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Ophelia, would you like some homeopathy for that coughcoughcough?
    /I kid ’cause I love

  11. 11

    Okaaaay. Look at that cover.

    Sunbathe your diabetes away? Bet endocrinologists will be glad to hear about that one.

    Nice big banner across the bottom Cervical Cancer Alert. So far, so good. Followed by ‘What every mother and daughter should know about the new jab’. I really would like to think that this is a piece about ensuring that everyone gets vaccinated, but I know that hope too often leads to disappointment. I’d be genuinely pleased if someone could tell me that this is a piece advising everyone to get the jab.

  12. 12

    My answer:

    What Mechanics Don’t Tell You! http://t.co/3LVyEzzz

  13. 13
    Argle Bargle

    It’s a pity that Singh can’t use the reply in the case of Arkell v. Pressdram.

  14. 14

    It’s a pity that Singh can’t use the reply in the case of Arkell v. Pressdram.

    That was rather restrained compared to what these nutters are doing. Singh needs to expand upon that reply…

  15. 15

    That was epically brilliant but you forgot “Rebuild your tired engine in three easy steps, with MOTHBALLS”. That would have been in the Northwest Edition.

  16. 16

    This “What X Won’t Tell You” meme is a popular one, partly because the heuristic of getting secret “insider” information is often a useful one. What Waiters Won’t Tell You (don’t order the chicken); What Teachers Won’t Tell You (the test is not going to have any questions on Chapter 7); What Carnival Barkers Won’t Tell You (the Game of Chance, isn’t.) It often makes a lot of sense to be skeptical of social authorities, or to look for tips from the pros.

    But being skeptical of science, or the scientific consensus, is an entirely different area. You can’t just take your can-do-it-myself spirit or your sense that nobody’s gonna push you around and discover that, hey, modern chemistry is completely wrong. You’re you and you’ve figured out the secret info THEY don’t want you to know … and it turns out it’s cheap and easy.

    Magazines like this do not empower people to think for themselves and make their own choices. They hamper a genuine ability to evaluate information by offering flattery and appealing to everyone’s desire to find a bargain.

  17. 17

    “Natural botox”? What the bloody hell do they think botox is anyway? It’s a 100% natural product of a bacteria that’s trying to kill you!

  18. 18
    Jafafa Hots

    Well, you have to admit that the magazine name is truthful. The magazine is FULL of things that real doctors will never tell you. (Hopefully.)

  19. 19

    The subject would make a good magazine, but this one is almost certainly not it. There is a lot of unnecessary treatment in medicine, much over-prescription, much overreaction, reliance on surgery when less invasive methods would be better, much ass covering at patient expense, etc. A magazine that intelligently exposed this and discussed it would be valuable.

  20. 20
    No Light

    Hunt – maybe you already know about it, but http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/ is an excellent blog on the subject.

    It’s not a magazine, but it is updated on a daily basis.

  21. 21

    The subject would make a good magazine, but this one is almost certainly not it. There is a lot of unnecessary treatment in medicine, much over-prescription, much overreaction, reliance on surgery when less invasive methods would be better, much ass covering at patient expense, etc. A magazine that intelligently exposed this and discussed it would be valuable.

    yes absolutely. Especially in the US where drs have to worry so much about insurance company bs before making decisions. this got linked to awhile back on pharyngula, but its a book about the drug companies and problems with it that doctors cannot circumvent.


  22. 22
    h. hanson

    This is the sort of nonsense that put me on the path to atheism. I visited a chiropractor that told me vaccinations were useless. I just thought she was quirky and ignored this. She insisted that I see her regularly because shoeing horses is so stressful on the body. It IS stressful to a body. But when she had to quit for a while because she needed a real doctor I suddenly felt better. Imagine that! I researched and was horrified that these people are allowed to practice and that the majority of people had no idea. I kept on reading and researching and found out what a lot of bunk there is that goes unquestioned. I also found out that my former chiropractor was a follower of JZ Knight and believed in channeling ancient warrior spirits from Atlantis or Lemuria or wherever the fuck Ramtha is from. I will never again be that gullible.

  1. 23
    Another lawsuit against Simon Singh… « Dub i nGal

    [...] Via Butterflies and Wheels, an “alternative” medicine magazine named What Doctors Don’t Tell You is suing Simon Singh for “libel”. That turned out to be an excellent decision for the British Chiropractic Association. [...]

  2. 24
    Quack rag distributor threatens to sue Singh: relevant links and what you can do | Josephine Jones

    [...] They try it again Ophelia Benson, Butterflies and Wheels, 04/10/12 [...]

  3. 25
    Around FtB | Pharyngula

    [...] Ophelia Benson finds Simon Singh in trouble again, being threatened with a lawsuit by quacks who don’t like him pointing out the duck-like nature of their voices. [...]

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