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Author Topic: Anatomy of media stories that Filipina women have world’s smallest breasts  (Read 2675 times)
Joe Carillo
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« on: July 11, 2016, 09:47:05 AM »

Over the weekend, I sent e-mails to three major Philippine media organizations—the Philippine Star, ABS-CBN TV network and ANC cable channel, and Philippine Daily Inquirer—regarding feature stories they ran last week on a supposed global research study reporting that, among others,“Philippine women have the smallest breasts in the world.”

Below are the substantive points raised in my e-mails, which up to this time (July 11, 2016) have not merited a response from the media organizations concerned nor their retraction of the evidently dubious story.







July 11, 2016

Gentlemen:

I have done some checking and I found every reason to believe that the basis for your respective feature stories on “Philippine women as having the smallest breasts in the world”—stories posted in your print and online editions or broadcast on TV from July 7, 2016 onwards—is fake and a downright fabrication. You may want to do your own fact-checking to assess its genuineness and authenticity.

That undated research study, “Scientific Analysis Reveals Major Differences in the Breast Size of Women in Different Countries” (http://tinyurl.com/z6olu2e), turns out to be of highly doubtful provenance. Uploaded on the web as a PDF document, the 24-page supposedly scientific report has a categorical page-by-page header that it was published in The Journal of Female Health Sciences. However, the document gives neither the journal’s volume nor date of issue nor any verifiable particulars about when, where, and how the research was conducted. Also, nowhere on the web could the name of that journal be independently found except in the citation itself for that particular study. This indicates that this journal, unless categorically shown to be existent and satisfactorily vetted, is most probably fictitious, and that the uploading of the PDF file was done primarily to generate worldwide institutional publicity for a particular company’s lines of brassieres.




That dubious research study was the basis of a feature story under the byline of Mark Molloy, “US women have the biggest breasts in the world – study reveals,” in the Lifestyle section of the online edition of The Telegraph (UK) for its June 29, 2016 issue ((http://tinyurl.com/ja2hfb9). The June 28 online edition of the U.S.-based Seventeen Magazine also came out with a substantial variation of that size-of-breasts report under the headline “American Women Apparently Have the Biggest Boobs in the World” (http://tinyurl.com/zoc7vg7). The source material for this report is that same research study used by the Telegraph as basis for its feature story.

Neither the author of the Telegraph story nor that of the Seventeen story indicated who made representations to have the findings of the supposed research study publicized, but it is worth noting that the Telegraph story casually provided a companion boxed story, “How to Ensure Your Bra Fits Correctly.” The credits for that boxed story indicated that it was supplied by experts of Rigby & Peller, a London-based company that identifies itself as curators and sellers of luxury negligee, brassieres, swimwear, and nightwear (https://www.rigbyandpeller.co.uk/).


What seems to have been overlooked by the London-based and New York-based media outlets is the apparent doubtful provenance of the research study. There are several telltale signs that it is spurious. Its supposed primary author, “John D. L. Anderson—Curator of Human Anatomy, New Delhi School of Applied Sciences,” is very likely fictitious. A search on the web shows not a single indication of that person’s existence and that of the position and institution appended to his name; curiously, there is a “John D. Anderson, Jr. …Curator of Aerodynamics at the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.” All of the names of the co-authors of that research study—Susan C. Chandler, Megan A. B. Mason, Chennan B. Khan, Jennifer E. Lindsay, Richard M. Sandler, and Liu G. Wong—are apparently also fictitious along with the academic or research institutions appended to their names. Indeed, other than different “Jennifer E. Lindsays” who are engaged in other occupations, not a single one of the names of the co-authors can be independently traced and verified on the web except in the authorship entries in the posted PDF document itself.

After the appearance of the online Telegraph feature article in the United Kingdom, it was rehashed for the Philippine Star by its writer Alixandra Caole Vila and came out in the paper’s online edition last July 8, 2016 under the headline “Study: Filipino women have the smallest breast size in the world” (http://tinyurl.com/jrxqe4p). On July 7, ABS-CBN News also featured on its website a rehash of that story under the headline “Study: PH women have smallest breasts in the world” (http://tinyurl.com/zragzo2), and although I cannot confirm this at the moment, I think it very likely that the story had also been broadcast in both the ABS-CBN commercial TV network and in the ANC cable channel. The Philippine Daily Inquirer also ran in the Technology section of its July 7 print and online editions a shorter feature story about that study under the headline “Filipino women have smallest breasts—study”; that webpage was deleted yesterday (July 10) but Google’s archives has a record of it (http://tinyurl.com/hd6oxh6). I must add that as of today, media pickups and dismissive commentary about this story on the web appear to have become viral worldwide.

Based on my own fact-checks as well as on various feedback from print and online readers, I am now practically certain that the supposed research study is spurious and that various media outlets here and abroad have been misled into thinking that it is authentic. I therefore think that the study should not be accorded the level of credence it is getting and should no longer be disseminated to avoid further disinformation. I also strongly suggest that a retraction of their respective stories on this matter by all the Philippine media outlets concerned is called for in the interest of honest and truthful journalism.

Thank you.

Sincerely yours,
Joe Carillo
« Last Edit: July 11, 2016, 05:29:44 PM by Joe Carillo » Logged

Joe Carillo
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« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2016, 02:35:17 PM »

Responses to “Anatomy of media stories that Filipina women have world’s smallest breasts”:

Isabel F., Philippine-based English teacher and freelance journalist, says by e-mail:
July 13, 2016 at 9:36 A.M.

Joe – It’s useless to criticize the Manila media which is often so sloppy with research & writing that one just needs to grin & bear it. I may have told you I’ve moved to Cebu, after many years in HK, & the Cebu papers are worse. Journalism staffed by total amateurs.

Jose A. Carillo says:
July 21, 2016 at 2:30 P.M.

So glad to hear from you again, Isabel, and sorry for this much delayed reply. I know it’s tough for them to retract that dubious story on the size of Filipino women’s breasts, but who knows that they might just relent when the facts start staring them in the face?
 
Ganga Sudhan, Singapore-based magazine editor and ELT specialist, says by e-mail:
July 16. 2016 at 7:38 A.M.

Good catch. The standards of journalism these days are so horrendous.

The [supposed research study] itself is registered under a webhosting provider called Webhost Pro (usually it should be under the site owner) and it looks like that one article is the only one on the “database.”

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Jose A. Carillo says:
June 21, 2016 at 1:11 P.M.

That’s right. Based on your lead, I checked for the particulars of that undated research study, “Scientific Analysis Reveals Major Differences in the Breast Size of Women in Different Countries.” The web address of its source leads to Science Database Online.org, which has the following office address:

Science Database Online
Web Host Pro Inc. 530 W. 6th St. Suite #805 Los Angeles, CA 90014

On the single-page site, Science Database Online bills itself as “Your Comprehensive Global Source of Scientific Articles and other Reviewed Publications.” However, it turns out to be just a shell website welcoming prospective visitors, with a sign-in slot for username and password followed by this message:

“Problems with logging in to your account?

“Access to the SDBO is granted exclusively by the Universities, Institutions and Private Companies sharing the SDBO system. Turn to your local SDBO contact person to get access or reset your password. If you have techical [sic] problems or other questions concerning the SDBO service, please contact SDBO Customer Info:

Science Database Online Info .

The above clickable address leads to this e-mail address, sdboinfo@yahoo.com <sdboinfo@yahoo.com>, which provides a pro-forma blank e-mail sheet with the message “not synced yet.”

There is no way for a casual visitor to enter the site’s supposed database, an evident indication that there is no available science database on the site to speak of. It is, in effect, a dead end.

Menie Odulio says on Facebook:
July 18, 2013 at 1:08 P.M.

Clickbait. Even big media outlets are prone to bypassing verification because of time pressure and the need to generate clicks and have their story shared by people on social media. There seem to be less and less real journalism and more and more media businesses. Truth is just an afterthought to generating income.

Jose A. Carillo says:
Glad to hear from you again, Menie, and thanks for your feedback! I’m still making an effort to get the PHL media outlets concerned to retract their misleading feature stories based on that fake research study. Wish me luck!

Menie Odulio says:
Good luck! I didn’t bother reading that story prior to your pointing it out here because I was thinking that it didn't apply to me or most ladies I knew, so it really sounded fishy to me.
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