I’ve been complaining about the antivaccine lunacy at The Huffington Post for a very long time–since a mere two or three weeks after The Huffington Post first came into existence, when it had already become apparent that, in terms of health coverage, HuffPo was nothing more than Arianna’s Happy Home for Loony Antivaccinationists. Lately, I’ve become even more disturbed by the appearance of outright quackery, such as recommending colon cleanses and “detox” to fight infectious diseases and the boosting of homeopathy and the quackery that is the Beck Protocol as treatments for swine flu and antibiotic-resistant “superbugs.” Some of us have wondered whether this is because the new “Wellness Editor” of HuffPo is a homeopath and “alternative” practitioner.
So what to do?
Blog bud PalMD has a suggestion: Vendetta! (although I’m not sure that what he describes is exactly a vendetta). In fact, compared to the title of his post, what he actually describes seems rather calm:
I’d like you to consider writing to HuffPo with specific examples of their malfeasance, and asking them to consider altering their editorial policy on health issues, for the sake of morality, health, and humanity. In your own words.
Although I understand the sentiment, sadly, I don’t think that it will do much good. The antivaccine nonsense, for example, has been very deeply ingrained in HuffPo blogging culture from the very beginning. I highly doubt, for instance, that Arianna would ever kick Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. off of HuffPo or allow any of her editors to do so. He’s just too high profile a liberal voice. Similarly, given how the influx of outright quackery has coincided with the tenure of the new “wellness editor,” I highly doubt that, short of removing her, any level of complaints will dislodge the quacks. I’d love to be wrong, but I fear I’m not, which is why I don’t think it’s a bad idea at least to try to deluge the editors with complaints about the recent spike in quackery blogging on HuffPo, the most irresponsible and utterly opportunistic of which are the claims by various charlatans that homeopathy or “detox” regimens can protect you from the swine flu.
But what else can we do, other than continue to ruthlessly mock the quackery in HuffPo whenever it rises to a certain level? Or is that what HuffPo wants, given that attention, good or bad, drives traffic its way?