A few years ago, I used to write for Examiner.com. I wrote about public health and epidemiology, and I was paid one penny per click. That is, for each new and unique person that visited my page there, I got paid one whole cent. One whole cent! Anyway, I stopped writing for them because the leadership began to hire writers that wrote about conspiracy theories, alternative medicine, and other such nonsense.
Before I stopped writing, I wrote an article criticizing a physician from Stanford University for a number of inconsistencies in an op-ed piece where he said that the H1N1 pandemic was not a pandemic. It was, and I displayed all the available information on it to counter his claims. Before I published the article, I emailed him for a response. Here is his response:
“It’s true that I’m not an epidemiologist; on the other hand, you’re not a writer.
There are a couple of things YOU don’t know:
1. I didn’t select the headline (title) of the article; mine was “The Pandemic That Wasn’t.” The article was made available to a number of newspapers via a wire service, and each outlet selects its own headline. I expect you to clarify that in your online posting.
2. The WHO’s premature and unnecessary declaration of a pandemic was more than a “mild inconvenience” — witness, for example, the slaughter of all the pigs in Egypt — which makes your airplane analogy poorly chosen.
I don’t consider your comments to be “insolent”; I think “snide” would be more accurate. It’s the kind of over-compensation that one often sees from people who have master’s degrees but were not able to obtain doctorates.
Don’t bother responding to me; I’ll delete it unread.
I asked my wife if I should email him back, three years later, and ask him if we may discuss this again once I finish the DrPH program. She said I shouldn’t. I think she’s right. I shouldn’t argue with people who don’t know what a pandemic is. It can get crazy.