Thursday, 26 February 2015

Right-wing attacks on the ABC continue. This time Gerard Henderson's tilt at Media Watch & Professor Chapman backfires spectacularly

Weighed under by budget cuts and loss of an international platform the Australian Broadcasting Commission, everybody's Aunty, must wonder when Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's flying monkeys will cease their attacks on its integrity.

Fortunately some of those who become collateral damage in the war on public broadcasting bite back publicly, as did Simon Fenton Chapman AO BA(Hons) (UNSW), PhD (USyd), FASSA, HonFFPH (UK).

Professor Chapman in Crikey on 23 February 2015:

Over the weekend and this morning, The Australian's Gerard Henderson and Simon King spent a lot of ink explaining to readers that I have "as much authority to discuss health affairs as I [Henderson] do. Namely, Zip."
Their readers needed to be told this because last week Media Watch tipped a very rancorous bucket over The Australian's reportage of a "study" from Victoria by acoustic engineer Steven Cooper that involved just three households of altogether six long-time complainants about the local wind farm. There was no control group. Here and here are critiques of the many manifest inadequacies of his report.
I was one of four people quoted by Media Watch in the program, and this got our Gerard very excited. He wrote to the program:
"Media Watch's decision to associate Professor Chapman with the words 'expert' and 'scientific' gave a clear impression that he is qualified to assess scientific research. However, Paul Barry neglected to advise Media Watch viewers that Simon Chapman had no scientific or engineering or medical qualifications. He has a BA (Hons) from the University of New South Wales and a Ph.D. from Sydney University. Dr Chapman's Ph.D. is in Sociology. In other words, Simon Chapman has no qualifications to assess the research of the acoustic engineer Steven Cooper … Media Watch misled its viewers last Monday by implying that Professor Simon Chapman is an 'expert' who is 'scientifically' qualified to assess the heath effect on humans of wind farms. The fact is that Simon Chapman has no formal qualifications in science or medicine or engineering."
This morning Simon King went one better with his discovery that ""He does not have a PhD in Medicine". In fact, I do have a PhD in medicine. Here's a list of 14 of us who graduated in 1986 with … wait for it … a "PhD in medicine", as King could have read if he'd checked my CV (line 1, page 3) or asked me.
I did my PhD in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine (that M word again). The duffers on the Order of Australia committee also seem to know that I contribute to health and medical research. My citation reads "for distinguished service to medical research as an academic and author".
King and Henderson appear to know nothing about the nature of contemporary expertise and how nearly all complex problems in health and medicine today involve researchers from different disciplines working together. In my school in the faculty of medicine there are staff who are biostatisticians, historians, psychologists, ethicists, economists, epidemiologists, and social scientists. Only some — probably a minority — have undergraduate degrees in medicine. Henderson's primitive understanding of expertise begins and ends with the possession of an undergraduate degree…..
Steven Cooper, whose CV has no mention of any PhD or undergraduate degree in medicine, until recently referred to himself as "Dr Cooper" on his home page. I look forward to The Australian covering this…..
Read the rest of the article here.

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