Tuesday, April 28, 2009

4/23/09: LGF, ScienceBlogs expose HuffPost's hosting of medical quackery


This one's gotta hurt. From
Little Green Footballs:
Apparently, physicians and medical scientists are just as disgusted with the Huffington Post as your average “right wing” blogger. Who knew?

Jim Carrey, husband of anti-vaccination kook Jenny McCarthy, has written a screed for Arianna advocating the latest Dark Ages fantasy of the left and the right: that vaccinations cause autism.

The story links to a detailed expose' at ScienceBlogs.com, which dismantles both HuffPost, and Jim Carrey's pontifications therein, regarding vaccines and autism. Excerpt:

After writing about a new low of pseudoscience published in that repository of all things antivaccine and quackery, The Huffington Post (do you even have to ask?), on Tuesday, I had hoped—really hoped—that I could ignore HuffPo for a while.

After all, there’s only so much stupid that even Orac can tolerate before his logic circuits start shorting out and he has to shut down a while so that his self-repair circuits can undo the damage. Besides, I sometimes think that the twit who created HuffPo, Arianna Huffington, likes the attention that turds dropped onto her blog by quackery boosters of the like of Kim Evans.

Certainly, the HuffPo editors seem utterly untroubled that, among physicians and medical scientists, HuffPo is viewed with utter contempt and ridicule.

None of this is news to anyone who with a shred of understanding of yellow journalism, and how it degrades the culture that embraces it.

And yet, HuffPost is the first venue that the most powerful Senator on the Armed Services Committee runs to, to publish his hyper-partisan diatribe against the Bush administration for daring to keep America safe from more attacks by militant Islamists for seven years, by roughly --- and lawfully --- interrogating the self-professed terrorists behind 9/11.

If this is the future of Internet "journalism," as seems to be the prediction of some industry insiders, and HuffPost's management, the Huff-Watch staff will commence scanning the skies for four distinctive horsemen...

More here:
Articles about & statements by HuffPost re its journalistic and business practices


4/26/09 UPDATE 1: Uh oh, there's more...

Again, from LGF... Phil Plait, astronomer, wrote in Discover Magazine:
I am embarrassed I ever wrote anything for HuffPo, which is now a cesspool of misleading misinformation.
Read it here. Talk about putting it mildly...


4/26/09 UPDATE 2: Arianna Huffington on "truth" and "objectivity" in "journalism"

Oh, the irony. From a June 2008 interview with PoynterOnline, here's Ms. Huffington pontificating on the need for accuracy in the media:
A lot of the discontent with traditional journalism is because too many reporters have forgotten that the highest calling of journalists is to ferret out the truth, consequences be damned. Unfortunately, this is a concept that has fallen out of favor with too many journalists, who are obsessed with a false view of "balance" and "objectivity" and have become addicted not to the tireless pursuit of truth, but to the tireless promotion of the misguided notion that every story has two sides. And that the truth is supposed to be found somewhere in the middle. But not every story has two sides and the truth is often found on one side or the other. The earth is not flat. Evolution is a fact...
Right. How does this pontification square with HuffPost's providing a platform to quacks and Hollywood actors who claim that vaccines cause autism --- not just on random website, but on one that's now been elevated to being a White House "insider"?

Only Ms. Huffington can answer that one.


5/4/09 UPDATE:
Arianna Huffington testified before the U.S. Senate on... "The Future Of 'Journalism'"

Given the contents of this article, and the other features on Huff-Watch, this is truly other-worldly:

HuffTV: Arianna Testifies About The Future Of Journalism Before Senate Subcommittee On Communications

Some interesting notes:

At this point, let's all just keep repeating to ourselves, a la "Animal House," "All is well... all is well... don't panic..."


5/5/09 UPDATE: Oncologist publishes dissection of HuffPost's "war on medical science"

It continues...

The Huffington Post’s War on Medical Science: A Brief History
by David Gorski, MD, PhD, FACS, ScienceBasedMedicine.org, May 4, 2009
Excerpt (emphasis added):
[A]rianna Huffington’s political news blog has become a haven for quackery, even going so far as to entitle his followup post The Huffington Post’s War on Science. And he’s absolutely right. The Huffington Post has waged a war on science, at least a war on science-based medicine, ever since its inception [...]

My disdain for The Huffington Post’s treatment of medical science goes way, way back–all the way back to its very beginnings.
As I mentioned before, a mere two or three weeks after Arianna Huffington’s little vanity project hit the blogosphere, I noticed a very disturbing trend in its content. That trend was a strong undercurrent of antivaccination blogging. [...]

There is little doubt that the blogging culture of HuffPo is steeped in anti-vaccine pseudoscience. If that were all that’s wrong with HuffPo, it would be bad enough. But it’s not. This year, HuffPo blogging has taken a turn for the worse. For HuffPo, this year is the year of the quack.


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