With Covid-19 infection numbers climbing steeply once more, and the strong possibility that something like another national lockdown may be no more than a few days away, the last thing we need is parts of the media establishment peddling less than totally safe information - or, equally bad, telling the public to doubt what health professionals tell them.
But that is what is coming out of an increasing number of newspapers, and even broadcast media outlets. In the latter category, that means Murdoch property TalkRADIO, where the all-nonsense breakfast show of self promoting host Julia Hartley Dooda has been pushing test stats denial, while telling medical professions who disagree that they are wrong.
She has become enamoured of the testimony coming from one Michael Yeadon, telling her followers “Every journalist and MP should be asking the PM & Health Secretary: why are we using a Covid-19 test that has 90% false positives? Read this by [Michael Yeadon]: Lies, Damned Lies and Health Statistics – the Deadly Danger of False Positives”.
That the article has been published by Lockdown Sceptics, the denialist outlet run by the loathsome Toby Young, does not occur to her. Nor does the scepticism of medical professionals and mathematicians, not least Dominic Pimenta, who she has dismissed with an airy “No, I wouldn't invite him on because, while I'm sure he is an excellent doctor, he clearly has no expertise in this particular area”. Did she bother to find out?
But she does know that “I'm pretty sure you don't listen to my show then. He clearly doesn't understand the false positive rate so how on earth could he provide expert analysis of it? You clearly don't understand it either. Maybe you should learn about it before insulting other people”. She now knows all about false positives. Allegedly.
Maybe that includes TalkRADIO’s audience. So let’s look at Michael Yeadon’s Twitter feed. Here he is quote-Tweeting someone who used the #KBF hashtag, which usually means Covid denial and anti-Vax: “A good prompt to anyone reading this. If the health sec won’t disclose the false positive rate by COB tomorrow, the public is entitled to draw conclusions about his candour & the reliability of the Pillar 2 test” he thunders. To no purpose.
Here’s another Yeadon RT: someone approvingly quoting David Icke. DAVID SODDING ICKE. And there’s Julia Hartley Dooda lionising him. Meanwhile, she’s said this earlier today: “Yes, but we have very low prevalence of the virus in the community (1 in 1,000) and many of those getting tested have no symptoms (at least 25%) with most others having mild symptoms of other seasonal viruses. That means the [False Positive Rate] is close to the actual prevalence for these tests”. Over to Dominic Pimenta.
“Where does this information about symptoms come from? I can't find it anywhere, and is the basis of all of this supposition. Also, once more with feeling, you CAN'T have MORE false positives than TOTAL positives”. It’s becoming clear why Ms Hartley Dooda won’t invite him on her show: he has the patience of a saint, his arguments are well-founded and factually sound, and he would make her look even more stupid than she does already.
Discussion and even dissent are not a problem. Wilful misinformation certainly is.
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Here's an interesting one with the British press... back in the early 90s The Times (Yep, Murdoch again) got into the HIV Denial business.
Nature had to run an editorial denouncing them:
"Nature, a London-based international science journal, this week accused The Sunday Times, the flagship of Rupert Murdoch's publishing empire, of pursuing a line of reporting that was "seriously mistaken, and probably disastrous."
In an unusual two-page editorial in the Dec. 9 issue, Nature said it was so alarmed by what it called the "unbalanced" and "selective" nature of the paper's reporting on AIDS that it would regularly monitor the coverage. Nature said it was concerned about the potential damage the paper was causing by leading young people and adults to believe they have little reason to fear infection with H.I.V."
Papers this week have been saying there's little reason for people to fear Coronavirus.
Sounds like is time for the Nature medical editors to boot up their Macbooks and get writing about the current crop of idiots...
Yet Julia wouldn't think twice of scampering down to her local GP surgery, wonder what she would say if her lovely 'medical expert' GP told her to kick the Prosecco and white wine..?
Farage had the last laugh at the European parliament, now Alex Jones can do the same when he receives rapturous applause on question time.
Hartley-Brewer says :
“No, I wouldn't invite him on because... he clearly has no expertise in this particular area”.
That should disqualify EVERY pundit she gets on her p*ss-poor show, surely?
"Also, once more with feeling, you CAN'T have MORE false positives than TOTAL positives”
To be fair I didn't see the claim that you could have more False positives than TOTAL positives. What is true is that when you do screening for a relatively rare condition you can very easily end up with more FALSE positives than TRUE positives.
David Colquhoun, literally the man who wrote the textbook, explains here:
With a real test with a sensitivity of 0.8 (80%) and specificity 0f 0.95 he demonstrates a false positive rate of 86%.
This is why health professionals are worried about Boris's promises of mass testing.
A stupid woman mouthing stupid, lethal propaganda.
A woman with the intellect of a dead flea.
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