White Coat Underground

Vendetta!

The time is now. The gauntlet of idiocy rests at our feet. Shall we turn and walk away, or shall we bend down, pick it up, and accept the challenge? What? What’s that you say? Turn from the forces of darkness?

ARE WE NOT WO/MEN?!?

We must not turn from the task before us. The Huffington Post has spit in the eye of reason, and worse, has aided in the proliferation of horridly deceptive health news, thinly-disguised infomercials, and frankly dangerous lies.

We have nothing left but our honor, and our honor demands vendetta.

Now, before you start sharpening your knives, I’m actually asking something rather more serious of you.

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.

Yeah, it’s not as fun as a knife fight, but you’ll get used to it, and you’ll save yourself from waiting in an ER with all those coughing people in masks.

Comments

  1. #1 Joe
    April 30, 2009

    ARE WE NOT WO/MEN?!? No. We are Devo.

  2. #2 anonymous
    April 30, 2009

    Vendetta means …[checks English/Italian dictionary] VENDETTA!

  3. #3 Dianne
    April 30, 2009

    Now, before you start sharpening your knives,

    Poison. Surgeons use knives. Internists use poison.

  4. #4 StThomas
    April 30, 2009

    I just sent this:

    I write to express my concern about a number of recent articles in the
    “Living” section, of Huffington post.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matthew-stein/when-a-super-bug-strikes_b_192543.html

    In this article, the author appears to advocate drinking colloidal
    silver, electrocuting oneself, drinking water with ozone dissolved in
    it, and subjecting oneself to magnetic fields. These “therapies” are all
    medically useless, and may be dangerous. He speaks first of the dangers
    of swine ‘flu, then continues, as if he had made a logical connection (I
    found none), explaining the benefits of various CAM practices. In the
    comments he offers partial justification to dissenting comments none of
    which hold water.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mj-wegmann/3-sure-fire-strategies-to_b_191859.html

    Dr Wegman offers chiropractic as a “sure-fire” strategy to prevent the
    swine ‘flu, offering some studies, which even if reputable, would not do
    what he says: verifiably prevent ‘flu.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kim-evans/swine-flu-protect-yoursel_b_191550.html

    Similarly, Kim Evans describes the horrors of swine ‘flu, then continues
    to “cleansing”, her therapy, so called; I believe this is some form of
    colonic irrigation.

    Alternative therapies are one thing, but here we have three people using
    the Huffington post to invoke the fear caused by a world-wide disaster,
    to promote alternative therapies. Dr Wegener and Miss Evans both seem to
    be in a position to benefit from this directly. The options they suggest
    have no plausible mechanism, and I do not see how they can claim what
    they do, by the rules of physiology, and indeed physics. I am also
    disturbed that Mr Stein appears to advocate drinking a substance which
    is normally only used externally.

    The times are quite frightening, and people will tend to seek
    information in places like the Huffington Post. I fear what may happen
    if someone were actually to believe any of the above.
    I am also upset that the Huffington Post, whose coverage I enjoy, and
    which I read every day, departs from good sense, to give pseudoscience a
    platform.
    I would welcome articles in “Living” consistent with fact, and would be
    very happy if things changed.

  5. #5 Ron Hager
    April 30, 2009

    A dog licking your face provides greater medical knowledge and benefit than the Huffington Post.

  6. #6 Dr Benway
    April 30, 2009

    This is what I want to know: where are the republicans? Why aren’t they capitalizing on this obvious home team weakness? Especially considering that developing a universal health care bill is a priority for the Obama administration before the end of the year.

    If I were a republican, the HuffPo would look like a friggin’ gold mine of comedic potential.

    Have all the sane, clever republicans vacated the party?

  7. #7 Mu
    April 30, 2009

    Now, before you start sharpening your knives

    Chemists just pour butyric acid down your cars air ducts.

  8. #8 samantha
    April 30, 2009

    is there a specific person/department/editor at HuffPo we should be writing to? So that all the letters (or should these be emails?) go to the same place, and their effect is not diluted, would you post what person, department, address, or email these should be addressed to? Thx!

  9. #9 chezjake
    April 30, 2009

    Bravo, Pal. I’ve been hoping that someone would start organizing the science blogosphere to protest the blatantly bad health information coming out of HuffPo.

    May I suggest that you also come up with a tag that all bloggers can use when criticizing HuffPo health writers and Arianna’s apparent policy of encouraging woo.

    Personally, I’ve given up reading *anything* at HuffPo. If their health coverage is so off the wall, why should I believe anything that’s written there?

  10. #10 Joe
    April 30, 2009

    “Chemists just pour butyric acid down your cars air ducts.”
    Posted by: Mu | April 30, 2009 5:35 PM

    I can’t smell many malodorous compounds: pyridine, skunk, ethane thiol …

    However, butyric acid is an irretrievably brutal stench. If I were a sadist, I would refuse to do it to your car.

  11. #11 melior
    April 30, 2009

    In my experience, thoughtful reasoned arguments get little traction from editors, who simply count the number of feedback letters generated and call it a win.

    Well-placed ridicule, on the other hand, can work wonders. I’d suggest a more successful approach might be writing thoughtful, reasoned letters to Jon Stewart pointing out their choicest lunacy for televised mockery.

  12. #12 AgnosticNews
    April 30, 2009

    Now, before you start sharpening your knives

    A mathematician would figure out how to take vengeance, and after demonstrating that there is indeed a solution, peacefully retire.

  13. #13 mxh
    April 30, 2009

    @DrBenway

    This is what I want to know: where are the republicans? Why aren’t they capitalizing on this obvious home team weakness? Especially considering that developing a universal health care bill is a priority for the Obama administration before the end of the year.

    If I were a republican, the HuffPo would look like a friggin’ gold mine of comedic potential.

    Have all the sane, clever republicans vacated the party?

    Yep. The problem is that republicans have already decided to abandon reason, so they don’t care or probably even realize that the health “advice” that huffpo is pushing is crap.

  14. #14 FreeSpeaker
    April 30, 2009

    While it is nice to start with a nice letter to HuffPOOP, it is an exercise in futility. They have declared a war on science and health. They do not want to do anything else.

    This is W A R, and nothing less than a full counteroffensive, being as pointed as you can be, is the only solution. Take no prisoners.

  15. #15 ScepticsBane
    May 1, 2009

    So…. the old Huff has got yer goat eh?

    Well, it must be all that talk they have on medical reform, respecting alternative medicine and questioning standard paradigms and treatments that must have you all in a dithers…….

    GOOD!

  16. #16 Orac
    May 1, 2009

    Uh, no. You’ll note that none of us have complained about posts about health care reform in HuffPo. We’ve only complained about its support of antivaccination lunacy, “quantum” pseudoscience,” and, most recently, the purest quackery.

  17. #17 bob
    May 1, 2009

    Once you get past the whole killing-people thing, the us-vs.-them mentality of CAM might be the most dangerous part. Look at ScepticsBane’s comment: “your side is angry, so my side must be right!”

    ScepticsBane, surely you don’t believe in EVERY alternative medicine modality? I’d be surprised if you even buy the HuffPo’s latest handful of stuff, because it’s all over the map. So, why are you giving them blanket support?

  18. #18 Ramel
    May 1, 2009

    “ARE WE NOT WO/MEN?”

    Well apparently I’m a Denebian slime devil….

  19. #19 Liz Ditz
    May 1, 2009

    Via Ben Goldacre’s twitter feed:

    Report Suspected Fraudulent Products or Criminal Activity Associated with H1N1 Flu Virus (Swine Flu)

    http://www.fda.gov/oci/flucontact.html.

    If the good ScienceBloggers reported each of the heinous HuffPo articles to the FDA — something might happen.

  20. #20 Michael Simpson
    May 1, 2009

    From the esteemed Dr. Benway:

    Have all the sane, clever republicans vacated the party?

    Those would be moderate Republicans who were socially liberal and fiscally conservative. I believe there are around 2 left, both in Maine. Today’s Republican is socially conservative (actually, I can’t find the right term, but Christian/anti-science/anti-intellectual right-wing nutjobs), and fiscally irresponsible.

    I used to vote for moderate Republicans (well, only if endorsed by the Liberal Party) when I lived in New York.

    As for HuffPoo, I think since most Republicans are anti-science by nature, they probably agree with some of the stuff written therein.

    Going slightly off-topic, did anyone see Law and Order:SVU this week? The story line had to do with a mother who was an anti-vaccination nutjob being arrested and tried for murder. Not the murder of her own child, but her child transmitted measles to another kid who died. Typical pablum (and the mother was found innocent), but interesting nevertheless. I wonder if parents who don’t vaccinate their kids, and those kids die or cause others to die, can be charged with some felony?

  21. #21 llewelly
    May 1, 2009

    This is what I want to know: where are the republicans? Why aren’t they capitalizing on this obvious home team weakness?

    For the same reason the Democrats don’t capitalize on the identical dangerous foolishness of prominent Republicans like Senators Orrin Hatch and James Inhofe – both of whom strongly support the supplements industry, and many other forms of So-Called Alternative Medicine. Neither party will call the other party on sCAM, because both parties have many prominent members who support it, and rely on sCAM businesses for campaign funds

  22. #22 ERV
    May 1, 2009

    *gasp!*

    BLOG WAR!

    We havent had a blog war in AGES!

    BLOG WAR! BLOG WAR! BLOG WAR! WHOOOOOOOOOO!

  23. #23 Denice Walter
    May 1, 2009

    I’m starting to think as ALL woo as *advertisement*(or at the very least,as a *prelude to an advertisement*)rather than as real information,so it might be possible to argue this way to the *providers* of free air time(e.g.public tv or radio) or free blog space(e.g. a political blog like HuffPo).So, to PBS/NPR:”Don’t you know you’re providing free informercial airtime to Woo-slinger A? While I realize that they might help you acquire pledge money, aren’t you ‘cheapening your *brand*’, so to speak as a public venue for information,science, education,etc., which might even call itself “commercial-free”? Similarly, to a blog:”You should charge some type of ad rate to Woo-meister B and Woo-maitresse C,who benefit financially from posting on your blog,selling products, books,or services.They are either using you to direct traffic to their own blog for sales or to help *make them famous*.”

  24. #24 Mojo
    May 4, 2009

    @Orac:

    Uh, no. You’ll note that none of us have complained about posts about health care reform in HuffPo. We’ve only complained about its support of antivaccination lunacy, “quantum” pseudoscience,” and, most recently, the purest quackery.

    Ah, but that would involve looking at evidence, and SkepticsBane doesn’t believe in that.

  25. #25 hat_eater
    May 7, 2009

    To all whom it may concern: if you use Firefox and Foxmarks/Xmarks, the newest version lets you write site reviews. Use it wisely. Good luck.
    http://www.xmarks.com/site/www.huffingtonpost.com/
    Sorry for spamming a bit, but I’m posting this to several blogs where discussion about the HuffPo war on health tahes place.