Simon Baron-Cohen: ‘Thinking differently about autism*.’
Alison Singer No Longer Speaks for Autism Speaks

The NYT: Crypt Keepers of Autism Journalism

Crypt keeper By Katie Wright

When I think of the NYT and their autism reporting, certain adjectives just pop into my head: fossilized, stale, stagnant, musty, fusty, clichéd, unoriginal, ancient, torpid and moribund. I think of Dick Cheney, bad black and white movies, the Taliban, out of date calendars, decaying food…

Yesterday’s piece by Donald McNeil was a tour de force of their properties. It was a celebration of the old, the indolent, an elevation of antediluvian thinkers and ideas, a virtual festival of inertia! Well done Mr. McNeil you have now surpassed all your peers in producing the most irrelevant, inaccurate and stale reporting on autism yet! McNeil’s fawning piece on Paul Offit is truly a wonder. The reader is told again and again, at length, of the Paul Offit’s work undercover, the price on his life!  One imagines Offit is interviewed from an “undisclosed safe location.” He is portrayed as a Man Alone, facing an army of threatening, killer parents!

This preposterous piece is also a tale of two Nancys.  I am sure everyone remembers Nancy Minshew and Nancy Synderman- team ancient history. There is a charming quote from Nancy Minshew as she compares autism to “the Elephant Man disease, which does not show up until later in life.”  Is there an epidemic of Elephant Man disease that I am not aware of? Are schools being overwhelmed and over-run by Elephant children? Are these Elephant children parents suing school boards everywhere?  Minshew has got such a way with words and that is why the parent community appreciates her so much. Nancy Synderman takes the opportunity to push her truly horrible book, coming soon to remainder bins near you. This former J&J consultant and non expert in autism is again, given a platform to expound on her rigid and irrational autism beliefs.

For “balance” McNeil interviews autism parent, Dr. Peter Hotez, father of a young adult with autism. Dr. Hotez has spent his professional life working for a vaccine institute, so take a guess where he stands? Hotez says unequivocally all autism is genetic, case closed. McNeil did squeeze in two quotes from Generation Rescue founder, JB Handley. McNeil allowed Handley to state that he personally knows hundreds of recovered children and that he believes death threats are terrible. Wow, the reader learns so much! Minshew is given more space to speak more about how autism like Elephant Man Syndrome than Handley was to talk about why the environment is triggering the autism epidemic.

Nowhere in this sloppy reportage do we learn that Offit sold his rota vaccine for 104 million dollars. Nowhere does McNeil discuss the Hannah Poling case, the HUGE backlog in vaccine court or the MIND Institute’s recent report that there is no way California’s autism epidemic is genetic. I doubt McNeil even read the report. Just so you know,  Don, Dr. Irva Herz-Picciotto publicly exhorted the autism research community to move past genetic research and towards a vast new investment in environmental research because it is clear that environmental triggers are truly fueling this epidemic.


Katie Wright has two young boys. Her oldest son, Christian, is severely affected by autism. He developed normally; smiling, talking, walking; only to lose every skill and every word by the age of 2 and a half.  Upon the advice of medical professionals Katie and her husband were advised to pursue only high quality behavioral therapy, speech and OT for Christian. It had no meaningful impact on Christian until his parents sought help from DAN! doctors who treated the underlying causes of Christian's descent into autism. Christian has improved but still has far to go. He has Inflammatory Bowel Disease, the measles virus in his gut and an immune system akin to a late stage AIDS patient. Christian does not have a psychiatric disorder. Before autism, Katie Wright was the Clinical Director of Sexual Assault Crisis Center in Stamford Connecticut. Katie is proud to serve on the Boards of NAA and SafeMinds.

Comments

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Autism Grandma

(From Kathy Blanco post above) "and then you realize, you ARE dealing with the devil." AMEN SISTER.

The Pharmaceutical Industry gained their financial power over the "News" media when they finally bribed enough congressmen with "campaign donations" to get the law passed which allows their myriads of toxic drugs and vaccines to be advertised in the media. Since they have so much control over the media, it is a miracle that any FACTS regarding autism ever get published, and no surprise that "news" is a broadcast platform for their propaganda.

The facts and science regarding Autism and Vaccines is readily available on the internet, but the misinformed American public is too busy with their email to do any research in searching for the TRUTH. Instead they blindly accept the "News" as factual and therefore continue to parade thier innocent children into the doctor's office for one vaccine after the other. When their child developes autism, ADD, or another neurological disease, only a minority of us ever "connect the dots".

But the GOOD news is that more people are continually joining our minority in spite of the official indoctrination that infects the medical system as well as government and journalism. Our job is to continue sharing the factual and life saving information with others since the "news" media is obviously incapable of handling that responsibility.

Those journalists who have come to recognize the truth have had their hands tied and their mouth taped closed by thier employers. But as we can see by this blog and the many other organizations and dedicated Warriors, the battle is being fought by increasing numbers of parents, doctors, and scientists. Our side is publishing the truth in the face of many others who can not or WILL NOT. And it takes a lot of angels to do battle when we "realize that we ARE dealing with the devil".

Evelyn Grady

Twyla

Here's an excellent article touching on Offit's idiocy/hypocricy/moral turpitude/etc.:

http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/janak/090115

Alison MacNeil

I wrote to the NYT Health Editor, Barbara Strauch (212)556-1838 strauch@nytimes.com yesturday.I spent a lot of time trying to keep my emotions in check, trying not to be the overly outraged vaccine injury parent that I am, trying to just slam her with facts; $104 million, Hertz- Picciotto, conflict of interest. Apparently she shut her email down. These people are such wimps.It's like trying to fight with a limp piece of fetticcini! Don McNiel's (no relation thank God)review was a big fat sloppy wet kiss. The photograph alone -Offit sitting in his wood paneled office, while I chase mice in our freezing condo due to Nick's expenses enraged me even more. My God what is it going to take to blow this thing open? I'm firing up the tivo to watch shrill Nancy Snyderman's echoliac "there's no controversy, vaccines are safe" while she hawks her new book on the morning shows. I feel the tide shifting, but will we ever get justice?

holly p

perfect katie!

Twyla

Yeah, this article really really sucks, just like Gardiner Harris's "Parents vs. Science" article.

What's really cool, though, is at the bottom of the article is an "Ads by Google" box, and the very first link says "Autism is Reversible - Jenny McCarthy's organization. Thousands of children recover. www.GenerationRescue.org" Yay for whoever paid for this ad and placed it there! (Jenny & Jim & JB?) How convenient for readers to click there and hear another side of the story...

Ant Bethany

Maybe Donnie-boy has a man-crush on Pauly.. Who knew!!

Barbara Fischkin

Katie

excellent work. Your edginess is absolutely apt!!

Diane

Great article Katie.

While I didn't like the article nor the bias - I however, do see it as progress on the journey. The fact that JB and GR got ANY mention is definitely progress - in the past we got nada zilch. If one parent reads this and then learns about how to help their child, then this is a great thing!

Now we just need to keep working to get more words and better stories. This comes with educating your local reporters (they all start somewhere) in your local markets. Keep talking about the increase in diagnosis and for those with kiddos who have recovered (not mine - yet) please tell your story. Many want to forget the past - but we need your good, true documented stories of recovery in the media, just like we need more from those who recieved vaccine court settlements.

Ray Gallup


One other thing about the NY Times in particular. There has been talk it is on the edge of bankruptcy, so we can all hope it goes under very soon.

It won't be missed!!!!

Ray Gallup

Kathy Blanco

One of the secrets I have learned about the CDC is that they have basically set up a network of intelligent officers, if you want to call it that, who, on closwer examination, are to "spread lies" about the prevelances of diseases, and or "monitor" that the behavior of the public is square on with CDC's OR NOT, and or towards those diseases. Orginally, to monitor infectious outbreaks, yeah right. They do this, by sticking key decision makers into positions like reporters at major news outfits, decision policy makers on boards/hostpial regeants, and are infiltrated even into our politicians and health chairmans at high levels. Dr Offit is an official member-I am VERY sure of this (without proof, but no brainer). I am sure they generate UPI releases for all the masses to hear. THEY ARE CALLED THE EIS. I don't know the "original purpose" of this group, other than to circumvent/hide/nondisclose the truth to the origins/causes/cures of these diseases.

I hope, Katie, that you may find a FOIA document on who those members are, and report/publish that next time, the obvious "go getter do gooders" who claim they are "all concerned" about this "supposed" epidemic, will make that public, and advertise WHO is on that list. I tried to obtain that document, and it isn't easy. They are supposed "silent" members. Yet, attend yearly meetings? Where is the roll call? I want it! Considered "civilians" in the loft or mix of society, so as to not point fingers back at the original thinkers of this paridigm, the CDC. The agency of untruth, lies, and agendas. Apparently, being in this club, is quite prestigious. Apparently, even some writers at NBC/CBC and ABC are still in this club too, and write scary "measles storylines", too.

As you start to obtain this information, as a parent, it does almost feel like it's you against the big boys, and after a while you finally get it...that is...my best "interest at heart" is in fact "diobolicle acts of treason/murderous rampages on my children and yours". This is why I say, I am sooooooo anti vaccine, I cannot tell you, I am sooo anti toxin vaccine or "greening a vaccine", or anti schedule, anti "just make one shot at a time", or what I like to call the "reasonable thinking parent trying not to appear like a cukoo anti vaccine zealot". (actually I would prefer to be called that)..I don't want to give these creeps ONE DIME, ONE NEURON of my child, or my grandchildren and their children and so on and so forth. They will never inject their toxins/genetic changing, oncogenic viruses into my kids, So Help Me God.

I hoped that that would be our large autism battle cry, but alas, I am one of those parents who constantly thinks, you cannot be on the fence, or play with the devils on this, especially when you learn vaccines don't work, are dangerous, and are not the reason for the decline in these diseases. Then you learn what true health is, and that the solid "so called science" of vaccines, is in fact, a disengenous guessing game/experiment of mass proportions, on who can take a vaccine, or not (and they don't care who can't take them). Then you learn they up the antigens, or not tell parents how very bad lots are still given out like candy, and then you realize, you ARE dealing with the devil.

They don't deserve my respect, time or day, nor does the media, which constantly, as Ray has expressed, ignore our constant mails, letters, and faxes. They in fact, CANNOT report our commentaries and ideas/science and research, because, they might "be out of a job" as soon as you can say "vaccines may cause autism"....and on that vein of reference, no pun intended, the DEVIL, delights in people with no choices, and or choose ways in which our choices are made for us. I don't have a choice any more whether or not my child will obtain his full health, or freedoms, or the pursuits of happeiness (even myself). I gave that choice over to people, who had NO THOUGHT, no REFERENCE on science, and, who CONSTANTLY give away poor, weak arguments that these tools of health so called, are important. If they were so great, they wouldn't have to mandate it.

I only hope our world would wake from their blissful slumbers, but as parents who know, that we have become less sheeples, and real thinkers. Our stories are real, our lives our real, our observations, our science, our tests, and even our biomedical reasons, for why OUR children became autistic and are relieved of symptoms of autism. Everyone has a story, some are common, some are unique, but one thing is for sure...we are people READY to have autistic kids, because we did not know as parents, THAT WE WERE TOXIC, INFECTED with multiple pathogenic bacteria and viruses, had MITO PROBLEMS or our KIDS, and or some METHYLATION/GLTUATHIONE block so to speak, so that there were no possibilities of our discovering, gee, maybe my kid is a sititng duck? Does this mean, we have genetic flaws, probably, because we too are INFCTED, toxic, and the like, and because we didn't get multiple vaccines like our kids, are open to the same damages as our kids are....the apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

As to timings, yes, you can have an injury to your brain in minutia, and it shows up years later, WHEN DEVELOPMENT comes, or SHOULD COME. And I don't think that autism is always NOT genetic, there are offshoots of autism like symptoms that have very genetic origins (Fragile X, etc)...but again I ask, is that because your genes or bad or that you have been oxidatively stressed as a parents, expoused to toxins, or infections? I also believe in utero infections can cause autism, such as syphilis, such as lyme disease, such as even the flu virus at a key time (especially if mother uses fever reducers).

This is why I say, the next frontier in all this parent appointed and very argumentable autism epidemic, is that we parents have not gotten the education on HOW NOT TO HAVE AN AUTISTIC CHILD...even in our DAN conferences, we are only BEGINNING to scratch this large surface. For in so doing, maybe we could have avoided vaccines, or mothers were amalgam free and chelated, and mineral supplied at KEY TIMES and KEY MOMENTS, antivirals/antibiotics in mothers, and detected of infections numberous, so that we did not pass that down to our kids? Maybe, if they have a saliva test for abnormal proteins indicating autism, may in fect be a large signal to the OB GYN, pump some IV Gluathione/Mb12/Zinc in that tmother pronto? Treat her thyroid, etc?

ONE CAN ONLY HOPE, that his direction is the direction of our major autism organizations, but alas, they too, get caught up in the frey of fundings, and often hire the WRONG researchers into their folds, only to find, they are not doing their original missions of their non profits. I am into prevention of autism, it must be the key to stopping this epidemic. This means avoidance of doctors, pediatricians, vaccines, dentist who put mercury in our teeth, not drinking our municiple fluoride waters, etc etc...it means, for me personally, I don't trust manmade ANYTHING.


Anne Dachel

Katie, thank you for the excellent points you made. Right now, Offit, Synderman, Minshew, and a host of other “experts” get the last word. They’re not worried about autism. In their world, autism hasn’t increased and the only real problem is that some parents falsely link vaccines to their children’s autism.

Everyday news stories are out across the U.S. describing the financial impact autism is having on parents and schools. The numbers are staggering and we’re just beginning to see what autism will cost us. As more and more of these kids turn 18, headlines will appear saying things like, “Huge increase in disability claims threatens Social Security fund.” Americans will wake up to what autism has done to a generation of children. That will be only the beginning. In the coming years, as parents become elderly, the taxpayers will have to take over total support for all the adults with autism.

When that happens, there’ll be plenty of us around to remind everyone about those experts who lied to us about autism. They denied vaccines were dangerous and they pretended autism has always plagued children, we just didn’t call it autism.

We’ll also remember the members of the press, both on TV and in newspapers who failed to do their job. Reporters like Donald McNeil who took the word of Paul Offit, someone making a personal fortune from the mandated vaccine schedule, will also be held responsible for turning their backs on the suffering of a generation of children.

Anne Dachel
Media editor

Kristin

Katie,
I agree---Send this piece to the times. I always look forward to your next piece. Thank you!

Randy

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=birdcage%20liner

I recall an engineering prof who used to say (oh my God, it just hit me - engineering - my kid has autism because I'm a geek..!) - sorry - I digress - what he said was, he would never judge anyone in his class by the answers they gave, but by the questions they'd ask. Anyway, I think I've mentioned this before, but just to tie together a couple of the threads here (the comments about Jon Stewart, and the "sphere of deviance" and the lack of journalistic neutrality), the editor of Newsweek (Jon Meacham) recently made a rather sad but telling comment while being interviewed by Stewart - something to the effect that the media has resigned itself to being spoon fed a bit of filtered information, as opposed to getting nothing at all. Not asking the tough questions - a resignation to mediocrity at best.

Is the NTY tanking because of the Internet, and/or delcining ad revenues, and/or the current economic state....?

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2009/01/08/new-york-times-about-go-bankrupt

Or is it at least partially a result of the recent trend towards really crappy gutless unbalanced reporting?

Tracy McDermott

Can I just say that I BURST out laughing louder than I have in ages when I put a visual in my mind of my husband and I as Elephant parents stampeding into the school of our Elephant child for his IEP - Thank you for that moment of release in an all too stressful life!!!!!

AutismFther

Great Katie,
Call them out on this nonsense everytime. The Offit mantra is getting crusty.

IAndrea

Excellent Katie. Thanks.

Rachel

Katie,

Maybe McNeil's article could be used in a textbook as an example of sloppy journalism. Of course, sloppy is an understatement here.

Excellent article!

nhokkanen

Thanks, Katie, for the much-needed laughs, although I'm sorry that your mind had to be plagued by those images thanks to such lousy reporting.

As newspapers find themselves increasingly obsolete, their content looks more and more like public relations for their remaining advertisers. It's become almost counterintuitive to expect a balanced, fair and objective investigation of topics by mainstream media.

By now readers have to be tired of seeing the same short list of vaccine injury defenders in print articles. The silence of so many colleagues is telling.

David Taylor

Major league home run with your nailing him on the unsupported claim about "galvanization." You wonder if these folks even went to college. But so often it's the "this side of the Jersey River" syndrome:

If the journalist works in Manhattan for the NYT and thinks it, therefore it must be true.

Ray Gallup


I have written to the NY Times many times and never once was published. I wrote to The Lancet and was published in July 2000. I also had a section in two books (one a textbook on Language concerning ASD).

No big deal because I could see they would never publish my views or information on vaccines/autism. The reason why I have not bothered these last few years when I could better use my time to get information published on our son (as I have done in the past and will do now). It is better I spend my time getting information published in a book than wasting time on a newspaper who prints "All the news that's UNFIT to print."

Ray Gallup

meg

There's another obvious problem with the article. The premise of the article, stated in both the title of the article and the first paragraph, is not only utterly false, it is unsupported by McNeil:

"Book Is Rallying Resistance to the Antivaccine Crusade

By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.

A new book defending vaccines, written by a doctor infuriated at the claim that they cause autism, **is galvanizing a backlash against the antivaccine movement in the United States**."

The article then provides the same tired opinions from the same corrupted individuals who were saying comparable things before the book was published. I'm sure they were more than happy to provide a quote for the article when McNeil contacted them. There is absolutely no evidence provided that Offit's book has "galvanized" anything, other than those (one-sided) responses to McNeil's inquiries.

Has the book changed government health policy? Did it inspire the creation of ECBT? Did reading the book motivate Amanda Peet to speak up? Are pro-vaccine rallies being held somewhere? McNeil himself says of the response to the organized efforts of the "opponents of vaccines" (Jenny McCarthy et.al): "the response from public health officials has been muted and couched in dull scientific jargon." This is a backlash?

McNeil is not only lazy, he's dishonest. He apparently can't be bothered to provide support for his own premise, much less seek opposing viewpoints from people like Dr. Bernadine Healy, Dr. Jon Pohling, or Dr. Boyd Haley. Of course, any casual reader who only scanned the title or read the first few paragraphs would walk away with an entirely false impression. Shame on McNeil and his editors.

Stagmom

Welcome to the festival of inertia! (Insert sound of crickets chirping in large, empty field.)

I love this piece, Katie!

Amber

Excellent work, Katie.

If Offit SOLD his rotavirus vaccine patent for *104 MILLION* I can just imagine what the profits are from it! And that's just ONE vaccine from the(too)many on the schedule!

Wake up parents! This is not about public health, ITS ABOUT MONEY!

WE SHALL OVERCOME


Send the letter to NY Times, Katie, and good luck to all of us. As hard as it seems at times, we need to keep up the pressure.

As you point out vaccine induced autism, that inconvenient truth, is generally out of the realm of most mass media. And, as you say, whenever it's reported by the NY Times, NPR and the Washington Post the alternative view to Offit's is severely distorted. It only enters the debate on pure negative terms.

But to fight the fight we need to understand how the journalism machine works. And just this morning I found a very interesting article at the Huffington Post that explains it (see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jay-rosen/audience-atomization-over_b_157807.html).

There is nothing new there but it is always good to get the big picture. This article describes "the most useful diagram I've found for understanding the practice of journalism in the United States, and the hidden politics of that practice."

If you keep reading through it you can see where we lie on the diagram, the vaccine-induced-autism camp: outside the legitimate debate area, out there in the "sphere of deviance". Quoting from the article: "views that lie within the sphere of deviance--as defined by journalists--will experience the press as an opponent in the struggle for recognition. In the sphere of deviance we find 'political actors and views which journalists and the political mainstream of society reject as unworthy of being heard.' (...) neutrality isn't the watchword here; journalists maintain order by either keeping the deviant out of the news entirely or identifying it within the news frame as unacceptable, radical, or just plain impossible. Anyone whose views lie within the sphere of deviance--as defined by journalists--will experience the press as an opponent in the struggle for recognition."


Thanks to you Katie, JB, Olmstead, Kirby, etc., I think there has been an increasing shift moving our views into the "sphere of legitimate controversy". Last year was the tipping point with US News and CBS showing our views with the respect truth deserves. The NY Times is just late to this shift, just as they were late to point out clearly the falsehood behind the claim of WMDs in Irak.

I can't wait to see many of these staples of journalism fall down like Banks in the financial turmoil. Just like those overleveraged banks, they have it coming to them for their biased, false and self serving reporting. And like a Bank in trouble, once you lose the trust of your clients it's difficult to get it back.

ginnie

what a treat. thank you! your piece made me realize that i could never have coped with reading the original article but somehow when the same irritating and depressing content is presented by you, i can almost enjoy it. this is probably why at certain times and with certain political leaders involved, i can only tolerate getting my news from john stewart. this comparison is my way of paying you the highest form of compliment.

Maurine Meleck

Katie,
This is terrific. I certainly hope you sent a letter to the New York Times.
Maurine

Holly M.

Your best piece.

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