@bengoldacre (@tomchivers @jamesrbuk) The first thing to say is that as I'm sure you know, Ben, placement/headlines/etc aren't Jeremy's responsibility, and he was at pains to ensure the story emphasised Wakefield's discredited status, so I hope you'll stop monstering him to your 270,000 followers.

That aside, it seems to me clear to anyone who sees the story that the tone, from the very start and in the furniture as well, is not 'he's reopened a debate!' but 'he still refuses to take any sort of responsibility'. It also seems to me quite sensible as measles spreads in south wales to ask whether the author of this whole awful saga remains unrepentant.

It's not as if we give him unqualified airtime. He's referred to as discredited and struck off in the first two pars, which also feature reference to 'widespread consensus that it was the panic over his flawed research that led to the surge in the disease'; experts condemn him in the standfirst and later in the story; the headline refers to him as the MMR *scare* doctor. A leader on the subject is obviously less prominent but reflects exactly the same view. I struggle to see how anyone seeing any part of our coverage, including the splash headline, would be less likely to immunise their child or worse informed about MMR. I struggle to see how any sort of responsible follow-up by any other outlet would do so either.

You also retweeted the observation that this is a simplistic paper-selling exercise. This is completely mistaken, as anyone who knows anything about the patterns of newspaper circulation will know. The simple fact is that except on days like Thatcher, Olympics, or an especially strong scoop, our choice of splash story doesn't make a difference to circulation outside of the margin of error. Rather, you hope that over time consistently good choices will have a positive impact, and you try to select stories that you think will matter to your readers. We had a number of other options today, all respectable - Thatcher and the BBC, for one. I'm prepared to deal with criticism on the basis that we've taken the wrong approach, but I find the assumption that it's some sort of dastardly, money-grabbing, plot deeply wearing and ill-informed. I really hope that any more of this can at the very, very least avoid that sort of cynicism.

Finally let me add that your tweet that we put a '12 par statement by wakefield on front page' is quite misleading. So is @edyong209's, which says we put it on the front page and links to the piece which WASN'T on the front page. In fact we put a demolition of that statement on the front page. That statement in all of this context on page five is a very different thing. If you're going to monster us - and Jeremy in particular - so thoroughly to your considerable audience I'd say you have some responsibility to acknowledge the principle details of our coverage even if you don't agree with them. To your followers who don't read the independent, especially as you don't link to our splash, it will seem as if we've just put MMR GENIUS WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG on the front along with a piece written by him. I hope you can see why this is an important distinction.

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