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Gillian McKeith Has no PhD

Yup, there it is in black and white.

Over the last few days, Ms Gillian McKeith has been causing quite a storm on twitter by misusing the service, and then trying to back away and deny it. This would maybe have worked, if the service wasn’t also used by a number of very tech-savvy people, who know that the best policy is to save and screenshot everything, so that when the inevitable denials come, there is proof. It seems that Gillian would have been better off investing in a fake PhD in Social Media, and perhaps this all wouldn’t have happened.

So, where on earth did it all start? Well, It seems to have started with a woman called Rachel Moody, who noted on twitter that she was about to start reading a chapter in Bad Science (by Ben Goldacre) about Gillian McKeith. This prompted a series of pretty nasty replies from Gillian, claiming that the poster was anti-american, that Goldacre was a liar, and other such statements. Unfortunately for her, some clever sort decided to take a screenshot of the tweets, which meant that when Gillian decided to back pedal and delete the tweets, pretending they never happened, the screenshots remained. Image source: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/07/gillian_mckeith_does_not_have.php

Clearly worried about her image, Gillian has been trying to distance herself from this twitter account, first by beginning to tweet in the third person, as if it were someone else behind the account, and then by posting explicit declarations that it wasn’t her – “Do you actually believe this is real twitter site for the GM?” For a moment, you might be tempted to believe that it was all an elaborate hoax. For just a moment though, until you begin some basic fact checking, and discover that it’s essentially just another lie to add to the pile.

You see, what Gillian forgot is that you can’t suddenly delete yourself from the internet, because there will always be a remainder somewhere – be it in a cache, in a screenshot, or in the lazy code where you don’t properly remove the twitter link from your official website, but instead merely comment out the code…

Unfortunately, many people know how to look at website source code, and so it was immediately obvious what had happened. If more proof were needed, well one would only have to look at a screenshot taken from her website earlier today, where the twitter link was in pride of place alongside her other social media badges. Luckily, I have just such a screenshot.

People have been finding other forgotten links all over her website too – links in email newsletters and on less prominent pages, all encouraging you to follow Gillian on twitter, at her official address, www.twitter.com/gillianmckeith – it seems that the lazy webmaster also forgot to remove links beyond the front page.

What has the response been? Well, aside from roundly ignoring any requests for clarification, Gillian has been blocking people who tweet that she doesn’t have a PhD or other similar statements.What could have been solved with an apology, and a clarification, has instead turned into a nasty little mess and a PR disaster. Still, there are lessons to be learned here for all parties involved; 1) The print screen button should be your best friend when dealing with people like Gillian McKeith, who is a quack of the highest order, 2) Having a fake PhD doesn’t make you smart, and 3) Clicking “Undo” on the internet is a good deal harder than you might think.

Collected Screenshots not shown above

Gillian points us to her official twitter – at www.twitter.com/gillianmckeith. Can’t figure out why that url seems so familiar…

31 replies on “Gillian McKeith Has no PhD”

Thanks for this succinct roundup of the nonsense that has gone on this week. I’ve linked to this piece on Twitter, but suspect that I’m too insignificant to cause your server to collapse again.

[…] Gillian McKeith Has no PhD | And another thing… Over the last few days, Ms Gillian McKeith has been causing quite a storm on twitter by misusing the service, and then trying to back away and deny it. This would maybe have worked, if the service wasn’t also used by a number of very tech-savvy people, who know that the best policy is to save and screenshot everything, so that when the inevitable denials come, there is proof. […]

And of course screenshots can never be doctored using Photoshop…

Not that I don’t believe you, I went to the .info Site and that excellent “” is still there, but this faith the general populace have (even the court of law?) that screenshots tell the truth is disturbing.

I can envision a scenario where I can claim someone wrote something to me on Facebook. Show the screenshot of FB. Don’t believe me? Let me show you on my laptop. Where I’ve set up a DNS redirect of “www.facebook.com” to my local server, that serves up an exact copy of the site, except when I click on “messages”, I’ve created a script that’ll show said doctored message…

Bob I was one of the people who saw a number of the Tweets and I examined the site source at the time and saw the commented out links to the Twitter account. This really is a terribly poor bit of back pedalling.

Come on Bob. You sound like an intelligent guy. We’re not in court, she’s not in the dock, she’s just been caught with her knickers down in public and it’s very embarrassing for her.

It really didn’t even need someone that clever to do all this, just someone who took notice and dug deep enough.

And anyway, why on earth would you try and earn a PHD by ‘distance learning course’ from Canada or the Moon or wherever she gained it from, when here in Great Britain we have some of the Worlds best learning institutions…

Don’t blame the webmaster! It’s not easy working for an insane egomaniac who thinks they can control the internet. 🙂

Bob: The way that’s dealt with is for the person to swear under penalty of perjury that the screenshot is accurate, then appear in court as a witness where their veracity as a witness may be ascertained by the judge and/or jury.

The same way the law deals with any other witness statement.

Great blog. This whole thing has been very, very entertaining, and this blog sums it up nicely.

Did I forget to mention that gillian mckeith does NOT, repeat does NOT hold a PhD?

al

[…] ZenBuffy’s round-up was quicker and blunter than mine. It’s good to see BoingBoing firmly on the right side of this one. And I’ll update this post with links to forthcoming pieces by Jack of Kent and Dr Ben Goldacre when they’re available – those Twitter feeds are among the main hubs of gossip on this story, as those two have been at the fore of discussing it. Also, you can read a lengthy dissection of The Awful Poo Lady’s activities by Dr Ben here. Oh, and Tom Chivers at the Telegraph has a nice summary of all this too. […]

you would think after showing that the link has just been commented out she would get it corrected, it’s still there.

And don’t forget to check out the penultimate tweet that still exists on her Twitter page. It a retweet from a “fan” called @underh1, but a very cursory examination of that fan reveals a twitter account that has only two tweets on it… scratch that. Damn me and my lack of tech savy 101! It now has 3 tweets, one from a year ago when the account was set up, and a new one that arrived on the 13th (when the poo fell out of the Tupperware and hit the fan). It used to have a link to a dead “facebook account” but it is now live!

I wish I’d done my duty and screen grabbed it at the time, it’s too late now. Still, I’d swear to what I saw in court, so perhaps that will do.

Mckeith knows full well she has no doctorate and that’s why ”doctor” was dropped from that awful tv show she had where she kept poo in a tupperware box. She does own a white lab coat though and even wears glasses at times, so must be intelligent and know big, science type words. If she took up gardening she could be a surgeon. A tree surgeon maybe, but the word surgeon is still in there somewhere. Go on Gillian, do it. That’ll shut the doubters up! Doctor Gillian McKeith operates to save tree. ”She’s barking” says passer by.

I like to think that the person who removed that link from the website commented it out rather than deleting it just to make a point. Perhaps he had been following twitter, saw what was going on, and when asked to remove the link, thought “You’re not getting away with it that easily!!”

All good stuff. As noted above by some posters, all HTML and screenshots can be faked – as can entire websites.

What cannot be faked, of course, are the archives held by Twitter, facebook and so forth, complete with IP addresses.

Should any legal action ensue, this would all be very easy to obtain, and would show precisely who was sending the tweets – unless they were tech-savvy enough to go via a proxy, of course.

The web hoster almost certainly also have archives and backups of the sites as they stood at various times. So nobody would have to swear to seeing anything in court, if it came to that: simple and easily obtained facts would clearly demonstrate who typed what, and when.

Watching this quack fake on tv is embarrassing enough but at least we are seeing that she is personalityless – if that is word !

It’s worrying that she ever made it on to tv.

She’s no celebrity so please get her out of there !

the woman gives us scots a bad rep an we are not anti American ,I lived in USA and trust me she aint nothing except a jumped up ex scheamie

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