How did Seth Mnookin go from writing about baseball and rock n’ roll to defending the vaccine industry? He has become pharma’s media darling, parroting all the standard corporate fringe talking points in his widely publicized but error-laden (see HERE) book “Panic Virus” as well as to mainstream media outlets – telling them outright not to report the other side. Not surprisingly, Seth Mnookin – a former drug dealer and burglar who bit a police officer –has undisclosed ties to the fake autism charity and vaccine industry front group, “Autism Science Foundation,” through his own uncle no less.
Robert Mnookin is a professor at Harvard Law School where he chairs the Program on Negotiation. Teaching under him is attorney Linda Singer – mother-in-law of Alison Singer – founder of the “Autism Science Foundation” whose stated purpose is to avoid and discourage vaccine-autism research. Co-teaching with Linda Singer during her 25 years at the law school is attorney Michael Lewis, who happens to be a board member of the Autism Science Foundation along with Singer's daughter-in-law and Paul Offit.
But Linda Singer, Robert Mnookin and Michael Lewis have more than teaching negotiation at Harvard in common – Singer and Mnookin served on the board of directors of the think tank called the “Consensus Building Institute.” Furthermore, Robert Mnookin is a member of the board of directors for the think tank, CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution (alongside the Senior Vice President of Global Litigation for GlaxoSmithKline). Linda Singer is a member of the “CPR Panel of Distinguished Neutrals,” and her law firm, JAMS, is prominently represented on CPR’s board of directors. Michael Lewis is also consultant at JAMS, as well as a member of the Consensus Building Institute’s board of directors.
So here you have Michael Lewis who is on the board of directors for the Autism Science Foundation, Linda Singer who is the mother-in-law of the founder, Robert Mnookin, uncle of a bestselling author, and the prospect of a new book project from someone other than Paul Offit that can appeal to new parents. Although speculative, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see Seth Mnookin’s name coming up between these three close colleagues. Who else might be a strong candidate to write a book promoting the views of Alison Singer and Paul Offit?
As previously revealed HERE, Alison Singer’s husband and Linda Singer’s son, Dan Singer, has been an employee at McKinsey for more than 20 years and a director for more than 15. The firm has very strong consultation ties to the pharmaceutical industry and vaccine industry in particular.
From 2003 until 2009, McKinsey has been under the leadership of worldwide managing director, Ian Davis. Davis’ older brother Crispin sits on GlaxoSmithKline’s board of directors – a position he has held since 2003 - and was CEO of Lancet publisher Reed Elsevier, while Horton made his first allegations against Dr. Wakefield to the BBC back in 2004. Days later, appeals for a judicial investigation into the sudden cease of legal aid to claimants of MMR vaccine damage was killed by Ian Davis’ twin brother, Nigel – a UK High Court judge.
Shortly before Davis’ McKinsey leadership ended, Alison Singer resigned from Autism Speaks for the charity’s condemnation of the IACC’s backhanded plan to pull vaccine research from its agenda and started her own fake charity. Last January, McKinsey lent out its New York City office to Singer’s group to host a book-signing party for millionaire vaccine industrialist and ASF board member, Dr. Paul Offit.
This entirely undisclosed connection between Alison Singer’s mother-in-law and Seth Mnookin’s uncle would tie Seth Mnookin squarely to the pharmaceutical industry, including to some very powerful individuals with major stakes – financial and otherwise - in the outcome of this controversy.
The behavior of both Alison Singer and Seth Mnookin suggests that these connections go beyond a mere failure to disclose, but were actually concealed, which directly challenge a claim of Singer’s regarding Mnookin’s independence while reviewing his book:
“An accomplished journalist, Seth Mnookin takes an objective look at both sides of the vaccine/autism controversy and lands squarely on the side of science.”
They also challenge what Seth Mnookin said himself in a recent interview with Alison Singer’s “Autism Science Foundation” about his book, when asked the following question:
What drew your interest to this project?
SM: It started a couple of years ago when I started seeing the issue come up in the news. I started to hear and read about it for two reasons: It was around the time Jenny McCarthy was appearing in the media to discuss her books and her claims about what had happened to her son. And also this was a period in which a lot of my friends were having children, so there was a fair amount of thought going into decisions over child rearing.
As well as his response to this question:
How far into your research did you go before you made this determination for yourself, that there is no evidence to suggest that vaccines can cause developmental delays?
Where he answered:
SM: I tried to get through as much of the research phase as possible without making any decisions, and leave determinations for the writing phase. I didn’t want to close myself off to hearing what people were saying. I wanted to talk to people on every side of the issue, and I didn’t want to decide that vaccines were safe and close myself off to the issue to those who thought they weren’t. I kept the reporting phase just as ‘information intake’ and then the synthesis and writing phase I tried to do my own analysis. That sounds sort of silly at this point, but separating the two wasn’t as hard as it might seem.”
Perhaps it sounds sort of silly because Seth Mnookin had made up his mind all along. He rambles on:
Paul [Offit] knows and understands things about science and medicine and the culture of medicine that I never will. I think he has a standing and a level of respect in the pediatric and medical communities that I don’t. They don’t know me. By the same token, people who are coming into this, who are skeptical might look at me as someone who is basically like them.
Perhaps they would until they find out that Seth Mnookin’s uncle and Alison Singer’s mother-in-law are colleagues.
This Mnookin quote is just funny:
“No one I know works for Pfizer”
Maybe not, Seth, but you do know someone who works with the mother-in-law of an industry front group founder and pharma-funded wife. His name is Bob.
And Bob’s your uncle!
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.