Reviews Press

Why can't the Daily Mail eat humble pie over MMR?

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7525.1148 (Published 10 November 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:1148
  1. Michael Fitzpatrick (fitz@easynet.co.uk), general practitioner
  1. London

    The recent publication of a Cochrane systematic review concluding that there is “no credible evidence” of a link between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and either inflammatory bowel disease or autism provoked demands that the British tabloid newspaper the Daily Mail apologise for its role in promoting the MMR-autism scare (http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/cochrane/clsysrev/articles/CD004407/frame.html). Instead, on 31 October, the paper published a feature by leading columnist Melanie Phillips insisting that claims that MMR was safe were “a load of old baloney” (http://www.melaniephillips.com/). Phillips proclaimed that, far from having received the “all-clear,” the “MMR scandal” was “getting worse.”


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    The otherwise unanimous verdict of the media was that the Cochrane review—following a series of studies coming to the same conclusion—confirmed that the scare launched following the now notorious Andrew Wakefield Lancet paper in 1998 was finally over (Lancet 1998;351: 637). Phillips's defiant article stands as a symbol of the woe-ful role of the media in the course of the MMR controversy.

    It is true that the MMR-autism …

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