By John Stone
Suddenly they do not know where to look. For five years some of us have been trying to warn about the style of reporting: now it looks to have come finally unstuck. Disgracefully, Brian Deer ambushed Andrew Wakefield with complex allegations on Friday, not allowing him time to make a proper reply (HERE) .
The story featured yesterday in the Sunday Times has not spread like wildfire across the media. Has a little wisdom finally set in? The article required readers to accept Brian Deer’s uncorroborated reading of documents which he should not have had and could not be published . Moreover, after five and half years of pouring over this material and the 1998 study ‘Ileal-lymphoid-hyperplasia, non-specific colitis and pervasive development disorder in children’ (HERE) he patently did not understand any of it. He, himself, let on about his difficulties in an response to British Medical Journal in 2005 when he confessed his lack of scientific competence. He wrote: “My best qualification is a BA in philosophy, which is no use to anybody”. (HERE)
In the interim he would have had time to gain, with a little intellectual application, a plethora of qualifications. Unfortunately, he is still operating on gut instinct, and it is making fools of everyone. What was the Sunday Times doing? Only on Inspector Clouseau principles would you appoint a journalist to investigate scientific fraud who did not have a basic grasp of the data. But that is exactly what has happened.
He has not understood that the statement that the twelve children were normal before vaccination does not mean that they had no prior medical history, but that they did not have the symptoms that they subsequently acquired. Nor does he understand that you would not go to their basic medical records (which he should not have) to find out whether the children had had adverse reactions to vaccine, because routinely GPs do not write these things down. Or that Asperger Syndrome is an Autistic Spectrum disorder, and can be regressive. And, incidentally, it should be noted that according to the 1998 study in 11 out of 12 cases the medical histories were compiled not by Wakefield, but by John Walker-Smith.
And yet the medical and political establishment has been constructing its case against Wakefield on Deer’s reporting for the last five years. It was on the back of his first report that Wakefield was held to be “discredited” and the world was brow-beaten into believing it was so. UK National Health Service websites link up to Deer’s website, and the longest medical disciplinary hearing in British history was launched on the basis of his complaint. It is a game in which everybody hides behind everybody else, pretending they can’t be seen – but actually they are all standing there, and their trousers are down.
It is time, finally, to call a halt to this nonsense.
John Stone is a member of Cry Shame, has an autistic son and lives in London.