Friday, August 16, 2013

Follow-up on Journalist Matthew Mientka

Last week, I wrote a post in response to an article by a journalist named Matthew Mientka. His article was an illustration of sloppy, lazy journalism (though I suppose to be charitable, he may also have been overworked by Medical Daily's editors, though that just speaks even worse for the online paper). Mientka's post was so riddle with errors that could have been avoided with just a modicum of basic research. As I ended my post, I said that if he did the right thing and retracted his article, I would write a follow-up post.

Well, his article is no longer up (note I have an update at the end of my post with a link to the cached version). He does, however, have a new article up that includes a little of the original, but goes beyond that to discuss autism, MMR and thimerosal in a more expansive manner. The version that is currently up, however, is not the original.

Mientka's initial post repeated the myth that MMR contained thimerosal, had a number of broken links and was overall rather roughly written. As I write this on the evening of August 15, the post is much improved. The writing has been revised somewhat and the links have been cleaned up considerably. I only noticed two link problems: one bit of text that was highlighted like a hyperlink but did not connect to anything, and one link that, based on the quote following the link, should have gone to a study by the multiply sanctioned Mark Geier, but instead went to a recent study showing no connection between antibody stimulating proteins and polysaccharides and the risk of autism (Increasing Exposure to Antibody-Stimulating Proteins and Polysaccharides in Vaccines Is Not Associated with Risk of Autism, DeStefano et al. 2013). Also gone is the statement that MMR contained thimerosal.

While the article is certainly an improvement, my impressions of Mr. Mientka and Medical Daily remain. Mr. Mientka still strikes me as a somewhat sloppy journalist, and the quality of the editors at the site seems to be lacking. He may improve, but as with before, it's disappointing to have to be the one correcting the person who should have checked their facts and proofed their piece before posting it.

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