The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

It's actually a wonderful example. Are there other people to blame? Yes, absolutely, and most of the responsibility lies with one individual scientist, who's been discredited, but I think on this one you cannot absolve the media, and the reason I would say that is because it was just a small study, it had not been replicated, nothing had been proven, it conflicted with all the previous scientific evidence, and so it should never have been splashed on the front pages.

And I think the other crime of the media in relation to MMR was what we call false balance, where time and time again the editor demanded that the fact that 99.99999 per cent of medical science believed this vaccine to be safe had to be balanced in every article by Andrew Wakefield or one of his supporters. So you have the terrible situation where a MORI poll showed, at the height of this crisis, that nearly 60 per cent of the British public thought that medical science was divided. That's the bit on which the media let the public down.

I mean, if you were sitting in a GP's surgery thinking that medical science was divided about whether this vaccine would give your child autism, it's a wonder that anyone vaccinated their children. Even Wakefield didn't do that. He never claimed that everybody agreed with him.

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