That was the title of Fiona Godlee's webcast from the National Institutes of Health, Fogarty International Center, Tuesday, 6 September 2011. Dr. Godlee is the editor-in-chief of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and published the three part series by Brian Deer exposing the fraudulent research of Dr. Andrew Wakefield. Her talk can be viewed in its entirety here.
She reviewed the key points of Mr. Deer's protracted investigation of Dr. Wakefield's MMR research and the painstaking measures the BMJ took to review and validate Mr. Deer's reports. She raised concerns of fraud in science and what medical/scientific journals could do to prevent such an occurrence from happening again. She also discusses the role of the media and their contribution to the legitimising of Dr. Wakefield's, now retracted, Lancet report. Dr. Godlee also makes an intriguing proposition for improving public health communications by entreating investigative journalists to work with epidemiologists. We have already seen the success of solid science reporting by the likes of Brian Deer and Seth Mnookin so it is a feasible proposition.
Dr. Godlee provides an honest and thorough analysis of fraud in science/medicine and public health communications deficits along with some criterion to prevent fraudulent scientific reporting. All in all, an informative talk and interesting points made during the question and answer session. Jake Crosby from the Age of Autism made an embarrassing showing by introducing himself as "Jacob Crosby from the George Washington School of Public Health and Health Services", not disclosing himself as a student and implying he represented the school as faculty or staff. Not to mention, I doubt the George Washington School of Public Health and Health Services sent Mr. Crosby as their representative, but rather, he attended as Age of Autism's lackey. Mr. Crosby also missed the point of a "question and answer" session and launched into a churlish diatribe of fraud allegations against Brian Deer which can be viewed at the 54:04 mark on the webcast.