Posted - 12/05/2006 : 14:03:34
In a succesion of articles, the defence of the
Government's fabricated illness orthodoxy and
the reputations of its leading proponents Sir
Roy Meadow and Prof David Southall, has fallen
to the hands of journalist Jonathan Gornall.
Gornall is a curious figure, best known for his
failed attempt to row across the Atlantic a
couple of years ago, and his raffish, not very
pleasant, and recently terminated Times column:
Two articles on the Meadow case appeared in The
Times last year (30 March, 24 June), followed by
pieces in Hospital Doctor, The Guardian:
'Royal College rewrites Child Protaction
'How doctors' anonymity in family courts is
'Was message of sudden infant death study
Whether Gornall is the man you would want to
defend you reputation is an open question.
Clearly he is a senior journalist of a sort,
however, if a report in the Independent is to be
believed his own career at The Times seems to
have drawn to a close under a cloud of
embarrassment earlier this year.
Normally speaking this sort of tittle-tattle
would not interest me. What is bothersome about
Gornall's contribution to the Munchausen debate
is that it does not seem hugely principled.
Responding to his article 'How doctors'
anonymity in the family courts is under threat'
I twice felt forced to challenge him regarding
what point he was making:
"Re: Author's reply 21 November 2006
"Jonathan Gornall writes:
""Small wonder that John Stone, despite reading
my piece three times, has failed to "pinpoint
any argument in favour of expert anonymity and
court secrecy" in my article. There isn't one.
That was not what the article was about, as I
suspect he well knows."
"Well, if so, it amounts to a defence of secrecy
by ad hominem attack - beginning with the way
Sarah Harman dresses. And challenged by me
Gornall fails once again to produce an argument.
There is surely no argument: if the evidence
cannot bear scrutiny then it should not be
given. At least for once the Government seem to
be on the side of transparency and
accountability. Presumably, Gornall is lobbying
for the status quo, but cannot do any better."
He did not return to answer this.
Edited by - John Stone on 12/20/2006 08:49:14
Posted - 12/14/2006 : 08:05:40
continuing correspondence to Gornall's latest
piece can be read here:
The key letter regarding the validity of
Gornall's claims is from Richard Webster.
Richard Wilson alleges that there are co-authors
(the interests of Sir Roy Meadow and David
Southall are closely associated). Reference to
the vaccine issue and infant death can be found
in the letters of Michael Innis, John
Heptonstall and Hilary Butler.
Gornall responded to some of the criticisms
yesterday in a smoke and mirrors performance
which disguises real lack of substance. It
speaks volumes that the defence of so much dodgy
science has now fallen to someone who elsewhere
styles himself "Bridget Jones's sleazier, older
brother". Gornall cannot have it both ways: he
cannot be professionally sleazy and hold the
moral high ground at the same time. BMJ should
hang their heads in shame. This is an insult to
so many families.
Edited by - John Stone on 12/19/2006 15:27:57