While CNN’s Anderson Cooper was shouting down Dr. Andrew Wakefield when he was responding to Brian Deer’s first charges against him that were published in the British Medical Journal on January 5, 2011, Cooper claimed Deer was an “award-winning journalist.” Such a title has become a sine qua non for any journalist that the establishment wants to promote, but the judges who gave Deer this one award could not have read his reporting, either that, or they were hallucinating.
In 1999, Brian Deer won “Specialist Reporter of the Year” award from the UK’s Press Association for his 1998 articles in The Sunday Times Magazine. News of the award, originally published in the newspaper and which Deer proudly displays on his online shrine briandeer.com, reads:
"Brian Deer, of The Sunday Times, was named Specialist Reporter of the Year in the British Press Awards last week. The judges were impressed by his investigations in the field of medicine, saying he was probably ‘the only journalist in Britain that polices the drug companies.’ Deer’s award-winning articles, in The Sunday Times Magazine, ranged from vaccine-damaged children to the hidden side effects of Viagra."
Except that the whole point of his most noticed article 'Vanishing Victims,' in which he claimed that there were no children who suffered adverse reactions from whooping-cough vaccine, was written in support of Glaxo Wellcome (later to become GSK) vaccine policy and not questioning it. Deer's argument was then as it is now, that the children were not really damaged by the DPT vaccine and should not have been legally compensated. That is not policing the drug companies but the polar opposite.
The vaccine industry attempted to deny DPT vaccine damage in the form of a study by one of their previously awarded researchers that looked at mutations of a particular gene in children who developed epilepsy following the DPT shot. The study simply confirmed the genetic predisposition to adverse events that occur in response to vaccination. A review published in the same journal one month later concluded:
"Is the SCN1A mutation a predisposing factor waiting to be triggered by fever or other stress? Probably so. In fact, as early as 2000, Nieto-Barrera and colleagues12 noted that more than 50% of patients with SMEI had their first seizure after DPT vaccination."
So despite Deer’s anti-scientific story in favor of a major UK drug company which makes the DPT vaccine, it still causes epilepsy in a vulnerable sub-group. Isn’t that what we’ve been saying all along with MMR and autism?
If the basis for which the judges gave Brian Deer his award is faulty, then Brian Deer is clearly undeserving of the press award he won. Was Deer given the award so he can point to it and make himself look objective in later defenses of the drug industry as he did while interviewed by Anderson Cooper on CNN? One is only left to speculate about the true reasons – or special interests – behind giving Brian Deer his award.
Update: It appears Brian Deer has won a second award after all – one he fully deserves – posted on his own website no less. HERE
Jake Crosby is a college student with Asperger Syndrome at Brandeis University majoring in History and Health: Science, Society and Policy, an intern at Northeastern University and contributing editor to Age of Autism.