I’m unhappy with the response I’ve had so far from the Guardian (following last week’s complaints about their misleading osteopathy article) and have been posting here and here on the subject.
To anyone who’s not been following the saga, I’ve summarised how I feel in my latest comment under the follow-up article by Martin Robbins:
I am hugely disappointed by the Guardian’s response to this situation, including the way I personally have been treated.
I have now made three separate complaints to the Guardian. As well as my original emails (mentioned above), I have also sent an updated version of my complaint to email@example.com. I have said I would be happy for them to publish my email. I have not had any reply to this.
I mentioned in all my complaints that I have also contacted the ASA and the PCC.
This is the response I have had so far:
– An autoreply from firstname.lastname@example.org
– Deletion of my comment above, where I linked to the open letter of complaint on my blog (though I admit this was probably due to procedures rather than anything personal)
– Personal insults from the deputy editor of the print section in which the piece originally appeared (after I had politely asked for him to respond to criticisms of his comment above)
I can only hope that behind the scenes, they are discussing what the official response will be and that a satisfactory conclusion is imminent.
In contrast, when I complained recently to another newspaper about what I felt was a misleading article promoting a fad ‘alkaline’ diet, I had courteous replies from the person dealing with the complaint, including a personal response from the journalist who had written the original article. They also removed the offending article from their website and published a follow-up article by their in-house doctor (Christian Jessen) to set the record straight (in print, a week later, in the same section as the original article). On that occasion I had not contacted the PCC, nor was I aware of any other complainants.
I was satisfied with that response, with only one minor niggle: I believe that in the follow-up article, Jessen was suggesting that I had overreacted in using the word ‘dangerous’ to describe the diet. The reason I had said that is that I believe that inaccurate and/or misleading articles in reputable newspapers can lend credibility where it is not deserved. This can lead to vulnerable people being denied (or denying themselves) essential treatment. In that case they were promoting a diet devised by someone who believes cancer and diabetes can be ‘reversed’ by diet alone.
(EDIT: In light of this, I must point out that Young believes cancer and both Types 1 and 2 diabetes can be reversed by following his pH Miracle diet)
The comments by cauli (including suggesting that mjhunter is being misled and should not need medication for asthma) illustrate precisely the reasons for my concern.
While I realise the original Guardian piece was not suggesting that osteopathy is an alternative to medication, it is still irresponsible to print misleading uncritically promotional information.
I await further developments.