By Ginger Taylor
Three weeks ago Age of Autism ran a letter that I had written to Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum, authors of "Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future", and to Lori Kozlowski freelance writer, in response to a Los Angeles Times piece penned by Kizlowski called "Bringing science back into America's sphere". The article, a trite interview with Mooney about his book during which he disparaged AoA and treated the vaccine/autism connection as a closed case, reported that Americans were rejecting science because they just were, well... pathetic I guess, and needed to be listening to "super smart" scientists.
My letter to them suggested that America might not be listening to the science industries and to people like Mooney because they are treating America so poorly and with such little regard.
The letter generated a number of responses both privately and publicly in which I (member of the pathetic public in the very same demographic which Mooney suggested that science journalists should be reaching out to) was treated poorly and with little regard.
These included email exchanges between myself and Lori Kozlowski, her editor at the LA Times Rosie Mestel and LA Times science writer Thomas Maugh.
Chris Mooney chose not to respond to the letter.
David H. Gorski, MD, PhD, FACSw, breast cancer surgeon at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and Associate Professor of Surgery at Wayne State University School of Medicine, (known for his cruelty as he blogs under the moniker of "Orac" despite being a senior cancer surgeon who is pushing fifty, and who last week used John Cleese's speech from Monty Python's "Dead Parrot" sketch in a mock eulogy on the death of an alternative medicine practitioner for whom he freely displayed his contempt by calling her "... an EX-QUACK"), did respond to the letter on his own blog, even though the letter was not addressed to him. This generated an email exchange between he and I, one of many we have had over the last five years or so, but decidedly less polite then has been the case in the past.
Sheril Kirshenbaum posted a reply to me on her blog, which actually made no reply to me, but merely pointed to David Gorski's rebuttal. Private appeals to her to respond herself and take responsibility for her own words as a writer, failed to convince her to do so.
Finally Virginia Hughes, another "science writer" in the skeptic community who had written hit pieces on our community (including the initial piece that claimed Paul Offit was in danger from us and tried to slap us with the moniker, "The Mercuries" ) wrote to me this past week posing as an earnest reporter who (again) wanted to hear from our community. This contact generated yet another email exchange between us.
I have written a very lengthy piece entitled, "Chris Mooney, Sheril Kirshenbaum, Lori Kozlowski, Rosie Mestel, Thomas Maugh, David Gorski, Virginia Hughes, Science Journalists, The Dying of the LA Times and an Angry Autism Mom", which publishes all these exchanges on my own blog so that our community can see how my previous AoA post on the matter, which generated a strong response from our community, played out. There is so much there I really should have just taken more time and published a short book.
I also published all this so that everyone who has the patience and interest to read it can see that the "science journalists" that they are trusting to discern the truth of the very important autism/vaccine debate are far from professional, objective and earnest, and are not following the evidence where it leads.
And after five years of this bullshit I am fed up. I am so, so angry.