In the Shallow End of the Jury Pool:

Can Junk Science Be Used to
Influence Prospective Jurors?

Fenton Communications Press Release
February 13, 1997

Coincidence? You make the call!

Less than one month before a new breast implant trial is scheduled to start in New Orleans, the British medical journal Lancet publishes a new study on silicone breast implants. The study claims to have identified a blood test for identifying exposure to silicone from silicone breast implants.

Well maybe and maybe not. A lot more testing will be necessary. [Click here to read my write-up of the research study.] But this story gets MUCH more interesting.

The study was touted in a February 13, 1997 press release by Fenton Communications, which claims to be "the nation's leading socially responsible public relations and advertising firm." Among other things, takes credit for promoting Our Stolen Future and other environmental and public health hysteria. The flacks' news release prompted a national wire service story and an article in the widely read and influential New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Here are a few "highlights" from that press release:.

All this could lead a cynical observer to wonder if Fenton, working on behalf of breast implant attorneys, was actually trying to influence prospective jurors called for the upcoming trial in New Orleans. After all, a Fenton-ish version of the study was reported in New Orleans' largest daily newspaper, the New Orleans Times- Picayune (February 15, 1997).

My favorite quote in the Times-Picayune article is this quote by Dr. Garry:

We think this [research] backs up the claims of ... these women that they're sick, that they're not making this up...Our study suggests there is a new disease.

Simply unbelievable. And totally false.

So much for the jury pool. I hope they only pick jurors who don't read the newspapers — or don't believe junk science.

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Copyright © 1997 Steven J. Milloy. All rights reserved. Site developed and hosted by WestLake Solutions, Inc.