James O'Brien clashes with caller over anti-lockdown scientists

2 November 2020, 15:05

By Fiona Jones

This is the moment James O'Brien clashes with a caller over how much media attention should be given to anti-lockdown scientists.

Caller James from Liverpool took exception to James O'Brien's comparison of anti-lockdown scientists with anti-climate change scientists.

"Epidemiology, public health, virology, immunity is not one consensus...climate change is much more recorded for years and years and years," he said.

James O'Brien responded that until very recently outlets could not have climate change scientists on without having an opposition there to deny its existence.

The caller said that comparing anti-lockdown Sunetra Gupta, theoretical epidemiologist at the Department of Zoology, with climate change deniers implies she is "not in consensus" - to which James pointed out she is not in consensus with SAGE or independent SAGE.

"Independent SAGE was set up precisely because of concerns that Government SAGE might be in the pocket of the Government and they are all part of the consensus in regard to lockdowns and circuit breakers," James said.

After the caller insisted WHO does not believe in lockdowns, James clarified that WHO have said nothing will succeed "unless it is supported by test, trace and isolate."

James said that he is not saying anti-lockdown scientists are wrong, he is merely pointing out they do not conform with the consensus.

"What you have in the context of consensus is a view that is supported by a massive majority of what we would call, for the sake of argument, qualified scientists," James said, "we will always be able to find a few who don't agree with the consensus...you couldn't name one and now you're laughing at the idea of there only being a few."

He pointed out that if 90% of scientists believe in a lockdown and 10% do not, then the media should reflect that.