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 BBC removes slur on Wakefield

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John Stone Posted - 07/08/2006 : 09:13:17
After extensive private representations the BBC has withdrawn its claim that Andrew Wakefield was paid to investigate whether children had been damaged by MMR vaccine on behalf of litigants. A report dated 4 March 2004 'MMR researchers issue retraction' stated:

"It followed the discovery that Andrew Wakefield was carrying out a second study at the time.

"He was being paid to see whether there was any evidence to support a possible legal action by a group of parents who claimed their children were damaged by the vaccine"

The text now reads:

"Funding was provided to the hospital where his team worked for the study, which was investigating if there was any evidence to support possible legal action by a group of parents who claimed their children were damaged by the vaccine."


Although the report says it was last updated on 4 March 2004, it was in fact changed this week. At least one other BBC report has been similarly modified.

For further background see earlier JABS Forum topic 'Wakefield was not paid to investigate damage':


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GUS THE FUSS Posted - 07/18/2006 : 00:29:19
Great to read your postings again John much appreciated.The bricks in the massive wall are coming down one by one just like the walls put up by goverments around the world by people numbers they come down.Wont be long now sense it.....
John Stone Posted - 07/14/2006 : 21:10:24
I am pleased to note that other online reports have been updated, notably 'Top doctor wades into MMR debate' (23 February 2004):


and 'Q&A: the MMR debate' (23 February 2004)


The problem seems to have stemmed from Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet, who stated on 21 February that Andrew Wakefield had "received money",


a formula he was to repeat in his Lancet statement of 5 March 2004. This, while loosely true, was misleading. To state, however, that Wakefield was paid - as the BBC did repeatedly - was simply untrue.

While grateful for these alterations I have had a somewhat surreal exchange with Helen Boaden, Head of BBC News, who insists that they are not "material" changes. In other words the admission that they actually got it wrong is not forthcoming.

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