Why Should Anyone Listen to Dr. Wolynn?
A Character Assassin Caught in the Act

Brian Deer: Conflicted “Journalist", Industry Toady or Modern-Day Madame Defarge??

Deer By Jim Moody, Esq.

On February 25, 2004, self-styled “journalist” Brian Deer initiated the Complaint with the GMC that led to the hearing presently underway against Dr. Wakefield, and Professors Murch and Walker-Smith by “lay[ing] before” the GMC what he, Brian Deer, concluded was evidence of serious professional misconduct.  Documentary evidence produced during discovery and now presented at the hearing demonstrates that the key charges (unethical research, undisclosed participation in MMR litigation, and unauthorized recommendation of the monovalent components of the MMR as a temporary precaution until safety issues could be resolved) are completely without merit.  Key witnesses during the investigation knew the allegations lacked merit.  What, then, propelled the allegations by Deer into a full-blown fitness to practice hearing with possible risk to their medical licenses?  Deere has most recently taken credit for defeating the “test case” claims in the Omnibus Autism Proceeding. 

Who is Brian Deer, and why were his allegations, easily proven either false or irrelevant, taken so seriously?  Who funds his daily vigil at the GMC hearing, now in its 125th day?  

Certainly he’s no “journalist” in the usual sense and its impossible to believe that the Sunday Times is paying to sit there and squirm as the truth comes out, albeit slowly, that it is the British medical profession, not the “Autism Three,” that has so desperately ignored the plight of families with severely ill autistic children.  Perhaps he’s an industry toady or front-man for the secretive industrialized medicine/public health cabal who is desperate to prevent scrutiny of vaccine safety.  Perhaps he’s simply a modern-day Madame Defarge, infected with a remorseless bloodlust as he knits the names of the victims of the autism/vaccine safety revolution?

Last week, Dr. Wakefield filed a Complaint (HERE) with the self-regulatory Press Complaints Commission in the UK against Brian Deer over his most recent specious allegations in the Sunday Times, Deer’s desperate attempt to breathe some life into his dying obsession.  David Kirby wrote it up HERE.  Now, Dr. Wakefield has filed an addendum (HERE) to that Complaint, alleging that Deer has an undisclosed conflict of interest as both “neutral” reporter and behind-the-scenes provocateur.  The label put on his role, whether complainant or informant, is irrelevant.  What is crucial is that Deer played a pivotal and personal role in furthering his personal agenda against Wakefield, i.e. his conclusions, now shown by testimony before the GMC to be false, while, at the same time, continuing to report on the GMC hearing as a “neutral” and “independent” member of the press.  His failure to disclose this dual role, and his direct and personal participation, misled the public who were lead to believe that Deer was simply a reporter of the underlying story.  Once he became a player in making the news, he (and his editors) were obliged to stop reporting and assign that responsibility to someone else.  This undisclosed conflict of interest is extremely harmful to public confidence in independent journalism.  This harm became starkly apparent in Deer’s most recent reporting where he made baseless charges in an effort to save the faltering case that he, himself, initiated.  His continued reporting on the GMC proceeding is contaminated with bias and lack of objectivity. 

He failed to disclose his conflict in material that he has published on this matter. He has sought to mislead the public by: changing previous statements that he made on his website about his role in making the complaint, frankly denying that he laid the initial complaint against Wakefield, calling into question the ruling of a High Court Judge, presumably made based upon his Mr. Deer’s own evidence, and apparently (and most alarmingly), colluding with the GMC and its representatives to change his nominal if not his practical status from ‘complainant’ to ‘informant’ (for stated reasons which are at the very least ambiguous), thereby attempting to create the perception that he is entitled to continue reporting on a case which is, in large part, one of his own instigation.  Deer cannot continue to report on this matter even with a role recast as informant, as his neutrality remains compromised once he became invested in the proceeding. 

In addition to Deer trying to recast his role as mere informant, GMC has a separate motive, which also calls for investigation by a truly independent press, i.e. not Deer.  As a self-regulatory body, it is GMC’s primary role to protect patients from doctors who violate Good Medical Practice guidelines.  In the absence of patient complaints here, even after the revelations by Deer in the Sunday Times, the GMC proceeding was fatally adrift from the outset.  Where is, after all, the victim of the alleged professional misconduct? Who speaks for the patients? Certainly not Brian Deer.  Absent a “true” bona fide complainant, therefore, why did the GMC investigation go forward? Perhaps in pursuit of interests different from, and even contrary to, the best interests of the patients. 

This serious misstep by the GMC, at  a cost of millions to taxpayers, is another example of a matter that requires the investigation by neutral journalism, not Brian Deer.  So long as Deer is allowed to remain at the center of the GMC investigation and hearing, as lead provocateur, the obligation of journalism to serve the public interest will remain unfulfilled.  The unfounded attack on Wakefield and colleagues, launched by Deer and in which GMC has been badly used, is an attack on kids in desperate need of science and medicine.  There are many truths hidden here, ones that must be investigated and uncovered by real journalists.

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Stan

Although the time lag between the '98 Wakefield et al study report and the political action commencing in '03 may well have had something to do with measles cases growing - to beat the public over the head with - I personally think it had much to do with the progression of court cases and the decision to allow legal aid for the class action or not.

Incidentally, speaking of reasons for things, there is a footnote to this story, which involves our (UK) Dear Leader Prof David Salisbury, as reported in an early '90s issue of the UK newsletter What Doctors Don't Tell You. In the late '80s the good professor was centrally involved in a major scare campaign warning the public about an expected epidemic of measles, so as to get them to line up their kids for their (newly introduced) MMR jabs. The editor of the Bulletin of Medical Ethics, a Dr Nicholson, got curious about this purportedly anticipated phenomenon, and in investigating the matter, found that not only was there no evidence for such a pending event, but that one of the components of the MMR jab available at the time was about to reach its use-by date.

And so successful was this measles-vaccine campaign that the good professor was subsequently invited down to Australia, by the federal Minister for Health there, to advise them about how to mount such an event. I know about this latter part of this intriguing story because I was there. I can't recall if they used the same tactic, of announcing an impending epidemic, or not. But the matter certainly captured the public's attention - ie, the media's attention.

It would appear that the good professor has quite a loving relationship with this jab.

As for the media's role in all this sort of thing: I certainly hope that the Murdoch son will enjoy his new status on the board of directors of GSK...

John Stone

A response I made to Stan seems to have got lost. What I meant was not the external narrative, which we know about, not least because I uncovered a lot of it, but what is the Times newspapers' explanation of why they went after Wakefield when they did. Or was it just harassment?

Media Scholar

Stan,

I think I count three times now between you and John where a date in 2003 is mentioned. It suffices as an accurate accounting of the surface events after publication.

That's five years after the Lancet published Wakefield, et al., appropriately, in "early report".

Do they cork up their rapid correspondence to Horton in empty grog bottles then watch as they bob along down the Thames and on out to sea?

Better to closely examine the science, if any, behind the Offit's 'cue the germ warfare' tactic. Varicella cases in Ohio jumped from 2021 to 8859 between 2005 and 2006. Doctors nowadays seem to have the apparent need for rash class.

Stan

John Stone brings up a valuable point about the motive behind the Sunday Times's running of the original story behind this brouhaha. For therein lies a tale. It has been admirably summed up at childhealthsafety.wordpress.com under an article titled 'Secret British MMR Vaccine Files Forced Open by Legal Action'. The salient points:

* The original MMR shot in the UK already had a chequered history of safety in Canada, and subsequently in Japan as well. As early as '91, parents began suing in the UK for the same outcomes. (It was authorized in the UK in 1988.)
* The Wakefield et al study was published (1998) in The Lancet, adding materially to the controversy. Horrors. Time for the Establishment to circle their wagons:
* The CEO of the owners of The Lancet, Crispin Davis, was appointed to the Board of Directors of GSK, in July '03.
* Brian Deer was commissioned in Sept. '03 to write stories digging into/attacking Wakefield, 2 weeks before the Legal Services Commission's final decision was due on withdrawal of legal aid from MMR-damaged kids' litigation (which it subsequently did, and which decision was dutifully appealed).
The commissioning editor, Paul Nuki, was the son of Prof George Nuki, who sat on the committee authorizing the safety of the MMR shot back at the beginning of this story, in '88.
* On 21 February '04 the editor of the Lancet, Dr Richard Horton, preempted by a day the story in The Sunday Times castigating Wakefield, helping to assure major coverage of the issue.
* The story is published, 5 days before the judgment in the High Court appeal whether or not to withdraw funding for the litigation. Which appeal was subsequently denied. And the judge who made that decision (in a secret judgment, with the details never released)? High Court Judge Nigel Davis; who happens to be the brother of Crispin Davis. Now Sir Crispin Davis, since June '04.
* A bit of a stretch, that last insinuation, of services rendered? Not if one realises the mentality of these people. For example, the first choice for chairman of the GMC hearing to stand in judgment of Wakefield et al was Prof Denis McDevitt, who just happened to be on the original committee approving of the bad-historied MMR back in '88. But upon that appointment being challenged in the media, he was replaced by current chair Dr Surendra Kumar; who among other things is a shareholder in...GSK.

These people play hardball.

They are not to be trusted with the safety of our children, who are but a herd to them. Individuals disappear in the blur of 'state health'. (Nice point, Gatogorra.) And when I say 'state', I mean state: there has been collusion from the very first on this whole thing at ministerial level. The authorities knew from the git-go that the MMR was dangerous. But when you have friends in high places...

John Stone

It is, in fact, an interesting question - why was Deer asked by the Sunday Times to investigate Wakefield? Perhaps they might like to clarify?

John Stone

Media Scholar

I think I might see what you getting at, although I am not sure whether it is where the issue lies. I think there was a lot of correspendence following the publication of the paper in 1998.

Deer did not appear on the scene until he was commissioned to investigate Wakefield in October 2003 by a Sunday Times editor, Paul Nuki, whose father had apparently sat on the Committee on Safety Medicines that introduced MMR in 1988. But it is not clear why he was asked to investigate Wakefield, and it looks rather like a speculative venture.

John

Media Scholar

The one Wakefield and the others originally reported in Lancet concerning the twelve ASD children.

Volume 351(9103), 28 February 1998, pp 637-641

Now John, I see that you often write correspondence concerning various publicated matter. You obviously feel a strong conviction about things and appropriately exercise comment.

I haven't read every comment you've made, but I don't recall any time at which you have used any and all of your resources to get any article yanked.

As best as I am able to, all I see is the original Wakefield paper documented as published early in the year 1998. This is followed by zero correspondence and six years of void.

That's queer. Really queer.

If Deer had nothing to hide he would have had no reservations about appropriately entering comments as a private citizen as all are certainly expected to. He kept his fingerprints off and the retraction.

I am sure beyond ethics code that there are clear laws designed to prevent voilations of public trust. The press is not lawfully allowed to stampede the public, but nobody says a thing about Bird Flu.

John Stone

Media Scholar

Which article?

John

Craig Willoughby

"Conflicted “Journalist", Industry Toady or Modern-Day Madame Defarge??"

Tough choice. Do I have to make a single choice? We all know he is a conflicted "journalist." We all know he is an industry toady (I'm curious how much he got paid to make up the lies about Wakefield) and he is definitely out on a crusade to destroy Dr. Wakefield at all costs so that the people will consider him a "hero."

This guy is a slime, the lowest form of life on earth. In fact, the only person I consider lower than him is Paully prOffit. Yes, this guy is that low and slimey.

Media Scholar

For John Stone,

Did Brian Deer ever submit an on-line response to Wakefield's article? If so, when?

Thanks

Becky Estepp

Jim Moody,
You are a true hero for individuals dealing with autism. I have had the pleasure of witnessing the endless work you do for the autism community. I am humbled to have you advocating for my son and for thousands of children like him.
With admiration,
Becky

sdtech

One only can hope that the GMC instills public confidence in the legal process by calling out this smear campaign when this is over.

Theresa Cedillo

I vote for Toady - according to dictionary.com, the definition of toady is: sycophant which is a self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite.

Parasite sounds about right.

Gatogorra

What a great analogy on so many levels.

I knew that minor in French lit would come in handy one day... During the "Great Terror" in post-revolutionary France, Robespierre's and the Jacobin's obsession with "corruption" also extended pretty naturally to an obsession with disease. Two of the first enthusiastic proponents of vaccination in France were Jacobin colleagues and physicians Joseph-Ignace Guillotin (familiar?) and Phillipe Pinel, the father of "psychiatry" in France. Both began the country's first vaccination clinics, not because they knew what they were doing but just in service to the Jacobin cult of "state health".

Jacobin-appointed "health minister" Phillippe Pinel, an ambitious suck-up who'd been a mediocre doctor, was the founder of a state ideological view of mental illness and organic brain disease, called "moral treatment". "Moral treatment" could be seen as the original model of designating doctors not as "servants of their patients" but as "agents de la sante public"-- agents of public health-- which "cleaned up" public health "menaces" and supported primarily the interests of the state.

Considering modern mainstream medical ideology, I guess it's not surprising that Pinel is still weirdly worshipped for his "merciful" views towards mental illness and disease. Pinel was also the founding father of forced institutionalization even for nonviolent mentally ill individuals. He advocated incredibly brutal practices at the time, which would easily be condemned by today's Red Cross as identical to psychological torture methods used by coercive interrogators. I suppose he was viewed as merciful because he replaced leeches, beatings and chains with straight jackets, isolation chambers, psychological terror and restraint chairs. He also attended executions by guillotine, including that of Louis XVI, and declared them "humane".

Deer as Jacobin informant, hunting down the ideological traitors of the cult of state health-- beautiful. Everything old is new again.

Stan

Further to John S' comment at 3:37am:
And what about the info that Horton's boss at the Lancet, subsequent to the publishing of the Wakefield et al study in question in '98, became a member of the board of GSK? When lo and behold, Horton then came out against the study (well, sort of; not the study per se, but if he had only known about Wakefield's prior connections with families looking for scientific evidence about the damage done to their children...but wait a minute: it turns out that he DID know...migod; what a soap opera)? And interestingly enough, in temporal association with Deer's latest, er, offering in The Sunday Times, a Murdoch scion - THE prominent Murdoch scion - becomes a board member of.......

You couldn't make this stuff up.

John Stone

It is evident that in formal terms Deer acted on his own in presenting the complaint, though he had the close involvement at the time of Evan Harris, Liberal-Democrat MP, with whom he visited the Lancet offices to make the allegations, and who later initiated a debate in parliament alleging unethical investigations. Harris also accompanied Deer to the first day of the GMC hearing.

But the day after the fist Sunday Times article Deer's allegations were already being endorsed publicly by the Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson who told BBC news:

"Now a darker side of this work has shown through, with the ethical conduct of the research and this is something that has to be looked at".

And the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who remarked to ITN:

"I hope now that people see the situation is somewhat different from what they were led to believe".

Links were quickly made to Deer's allegations - both to the Sunday Times story and to his website - on the National Health Service information site, MMR the Facts.

By a remarkable coincidence, his commissioning editor at the Sunday Times Paul Nuki, left ahead of the GMC hearing to become editor in chief of new NHS information, NHS Choices.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2007/may/03/newmedia.epublic

Also, by a remarkable coincidence Nuki seems to be the son of George Nuki who sat on the Committtee on Safety in medicine when MMR was introduced.


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