"McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. It also means "the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism." The term has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting roughly from 1950 to 1956 and characterized by heightened fears of communist influence on American institutions and espionage by Soviet agents."
By JB Handley
What do Dr. Bernadine Healy, Don Imus, Donald Trump, Doug Flutie, Gary
Cole, Ed Asner, Charlie Sheen, Holly Robinson Peet, Deirdre Imus, Bob
Wright, Aidan Quinn, Andrew Wakefield, and Jenny McCarthy all have in
Of course, we all know the answer: they have publicly expressed concerns about the relationship between vaccines and autism.
If you just started reading newspapers this week, you may not realize
all the company Jenny has in a controversy that's far from over. Wasn't
it just a few short months ago that a congressional panel was hammering
CDC employees in a hearing about this very same link? Where are all the
articles calling for all these powerful elected officials to step down?
Pharma's PR play book is an impressive piece of work, and it was rolled out for all of us to see this week. Here's how it works:
- Every Child By Two
, a Pharma front group, leads the charge. ECBT's
funding comes from 2 sources: Wyeth and Sanofi (any reporter could
easily confirm this by reading their 990
, but they don't.) They appear
to be a responsible advocate for vaccinating because they were founded
by Rosalyn Carter thirty years ago, so the group is a great way for
Pharma to hide behind something credible-sounding. ECBT takes charge of
press briefings, etc.
- Behind the scenes, ECBT and Paul Offit--who has had his career funded
and his millions made by Merck--call every reporter on the planet to
arrange a well-coordinated barrage of negative articles. See:
- The writers and quote-makers are called in on all fronts:
1. Pharma-whore writers who are literally on Pharma's payroll
2. Pharma-benefitting writers (think Seth Mnookin) who have benefitted greatly from Pharma's largesse (speaking fees, etc)
3. Orac-types who work in medical facilities that rely on Pharma's funding
4. And, finally, publications that receive a majority of their ad dollars from Pharma
- Then, Pharma's army of paid trolls start dominating the comment boards to make it appear like the public is equally outraged
In general, the Pharma-derived articles share certain qualities:
- They claim the case against vaccines is over, the verdict is in, there
is no proof (someone failed to convince Congress or Bob Wright of this
- They go after Jenny mercilessly, I've seen the "homicidal maniac" quote in several articles
- They call on ABC to remove Jenny
I have seen some much more moderate articles about Jenny, too, that offer a much more balanced take.
We should all be pleased with the violent reaction from Pharma. It shows
how deeply the concerns about the vaccine-autism link have spread.
Parents are doing their own research! I sincerely hope ABC has done
their own independent research to discover what's actually true:
- The majority (certainly not all) of parents of children with autism
believe vaccines played a role in their child developing autism
- Nearly half of new parents are concerned about giving their babies vaccines
- Millions of moms trust Jenny to be honest, courageous, and fearless
about her feelings and beliefs, no matter how much pressure there may be
to hide or change
I hope readers of AoA will take some (but not too much!) time to correct
some of these writers and trolls about the reality of our community,
our kids, and the still very much alive debate about the CDC's vaccine
schedule's role in an autism disaster now impacting 1 in 50 American
children. Use this easy form from Autism Action Network
to tell ABC "Thank you" as well.
JB Handley is Co-Founder of Generation Rescue