Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

This week’s embargo breaks, celebrity edition: Facebook causes asthma, NRC Gulf oil spill report

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A few embargo breaks this week:

Science’s Science Insider reported that the embargo had been broken on a National Academies report on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It’s not clear who broke it, but the Academies released it early in response.

Then, FoxNews.com broke the embargo on a Lancet case report of a man who had an asthma attack after seeing how many men his girlfriend had friended on Facebook. (Hat tip, Elie Dolgin.) The story appeared here Wednesday, but is no longer working; they pulled it down after The Lancet contacted them. The site then posted this version as the embargo lifted yesterday at 6:30 p.m.

Now for the fun part. Well-known medical journalism critic and blogger Ben Goldacre tweeted this yesterday morning, hours before the embargo lifted (hat tip, NeilWithers):

my psychic powers tell me that at 00:01 on Friday, some of Britain’s shittest journalists will publish articles on Facebook causing.. asthma

Goldacre must’ve heard about the Lancet paper, although as far as I know he’s not on their press list so wouldn’t have been breaking the embargo. As he put it:

@lawrenceitv haha dunnno, not seen the precise wording myself. i merely divined this prediction psychically.

And if Goldacre’s celebrity status is not enough, Sarah Palin seems to have alleged an embargo break of her new book, American By Choice. But as David Frum pointed out, it’s not clear Palin had much of a case.


Written by Ivan Oransky

November 19, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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