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Best of A of A: Gardiner Harris: Vaccine Patriot

Benedict_arnoldThis piece originally ran last March. But Gardiner Harris is at it again, blaming "fear of autism" on decreased MMR uptake and increasing measles cases. Click HERE to read his piece in today's NY Times. Come on over to my house, Gardiner, see what autism is all about, then tell me if fears are unfounded.  KS

By J.B. Handley

“but scaring parents away from life-saving medicines is no way to improve this terrible situation. i have met parents who lost their children to vaccine-preventable diseases, and they are haunted. if you had your way, there would be far more of these haunted souls. i hope to prevent that from happening.”

- Gardiner Harris, NY Times reporter, in an email to me, March 9, 2008

The above quote comes from an exchange of emails that I initiated with Gardiner Harris, a New York Times medical reporter, on the eve of the Poling’s historic press conference.

ot frontWhile I think many members of the press should be given a free pass for any poor reporting in their past on the vaccine-autism debate, Gardiner Harris isn’t one of them. As the chief architect of the New York Times’ coverage of this topic, he has been an unabashed flag-waver for the Vaccine Lobby.

Is it OK to have made up your mind on whether or not vaccines cause autism? Heck, it’s a free country, so anyone can think whatever they want.

Is it OK to bring your extreme bias into every article published in one of the country’s largest papers when you are the lead reporter on a complex, unresolved, evolving issue? I don’t know -- read for yourself and decide.

Please note the email chain reads from top to bottom.

----- Original Message -----
From: J.B. Handley
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2008 8:40 PM
To: Gardiner Harris
Subject: Thinking of you


On an historic evening, before the world hears the tale of a beautiful little girl felled by 5 vaccines in one visit, I just want you to know that I will never forget what an injustice you did to our kids.

J.B. Handley

----- Original Message -----
From: Gardiner Harris
To: J.B. Handley
Sent: Thu Mar 06 07:42:38 2008
Subject: RE: Thinking of you

when will it end? when will it become obvious even to you that thimerosal had no effect on autism? if autism rates have not changed substantially by the end of this year? end of next year? 2010? whenever it is, i'll expect your apologies then.

-----Original Message-----
From: J.B. Handley
Sent: Thursday, March 06, 2008 10:52 AM
To: Gardiner Harris
Subject: Re: Thinking of you

As a reporter, I hope you deal honestly with 2 issues:

- the growth in total vaccines from 10 to 36 for kids in the last 20 years.
This "simultaneity" makes it very hard to ascertain if it's only Hg, aluminum as well, multiple antigens, etc. What we know is that with certain kids, something BAD is happening.

- flu shot being added to the recommended schedule in 2003, now being given to pregnant women and 6 mos old, with most flu shots still containing Hg. Why this reported as an after thought is beyond me. As Boyd Haley mentioned over recent CA study - it was based on a false premise that kids aren't being injected with mercury. Why don't you see that?

To say "the rates are growing and the mercury is out" is a fallacy, nothing more. I hope your heart and mind watch the Poling case closely. We know what happened to our kids: they got a bunch of shots and went upside-down. To date, your reporting has shown a bias to parrot what the CDC and IOM tell you. I hope you start to question their "facts" and motivations for the sake of our kids.

J.B. Handley

----- Original Message -----
From: Gardiner Harris
To: J.B. Handley
Sent: Thu Mar 06 09:18:56 2008
Subject: RE: Thinking of you

are you actually claiming that the thimerosal burden in American children has remained unchanged over the past 10 years? or have you simply switched to some other vaccines-cause-autism hypothesis?

-----Original Message-----
From: J.B. Handley
Sent: Thursday, March 06, 2008 9:00 AM
To: Gardiner Harris
Subject: Re: Thinking of you

Here's what I know:

We hear reports every day that kids go upside-down and end up with ASD after a visit where they get multiple vaccines.

We also know: The load children receive today of vaccines is 3.6x what it was in '83, which means they are getting more of everything.

We also know: Mercury is a nerotoxin and kids got way more mercury with this larger vaccine schedule. Are kids getting less thimerosal today? Yes, but the press often reports they are getting none, which is false. Also, because of the very recent push of the flu shot, the mercury kids are getting is earlier in their lives, oftentimes now in the womb. And, flu shot is annual, so cumulative dose for a kid can approach 50-60% of the late 90s peak for Hg.

If Ford Explorers are flipping over and killing people, you study the tires and see if they are a problem. If "science" says it's not the tires, and people are still flipping over and dying, you don't stop looking to figure out what is going on with the rest of the car - it's not a one-shot deal.

Same goes for vaccines. No doubt mercury has been bad for the kids - are other aspects playing a role? Very likely. It's dishonest as a reporter to only consider thimerosal, or make a leap that if there's "less" thimerosal (very different from ZERO) , there should be less autism. We're talking about this subset of kids who are the most sensitive! Maybe LESS is still TOO MUCH to bear.

Your issue is you have been so public in dismissing us that you will probably be the last reporter to open your mind - you have too much personally at stake. And that's unfortunate, because our kids need reporters to help resolve the mess our government created.

J.B. Handley


I didn’t hear back from Gardiner after my final email to him. The next day, the NY Times published a story on the Poling case, written by Gardiner Harris.

I chose to email him once again and give him a hard time for something I labeled as “B.S.” within his story in terms of how he characterized the amount of thimerosal in the current vaccine schedule. Read on:

-----Original Message-----
From: J.B. Handley
Sent: Saturday, March 08, 2008 10:06 AM
To: Gardiner Harris
Subject: B.S.

You write:

"Five major studies have found no link, and since thimerosal's removal from all routinely administered childhood vaccines in 2001, there has been no apparent effect on autism rates."

Why isn't flu shot a routinely administered vaccine? You are lying! Nothing more! Flu is on the recommended schedule - how much more ROUTINE CAN IT GET?

J.B. Handley

-----Original Message-----
From: Gardiner Harris
Sent: Sunday, March 09, 2008 9:18 AM
To: J.B. Handley
Subject: RE: B.S.

what's the production of pediatric thimerosal-free vaccines this year?
something like 19 million doses? and of those, if the past is any guide, some 4 or 5 million will be discarded because they went unused, right?
further, the CDC estimates that flu vaccine coverage in young children is on the order of 20 or 25 percent or so, right? so who are all these children who are getting adult thimerosal-containing flu vaccines?

the thimerosal hypothesis was mildly plausible five years ago, JB. now it's just sad.

-----Original Message-----
From: J.B. Handley
Sent: Sunday, March 09, 2008 1:22 PM
To: Gardiner Harris
Subject: RE: B.S.


Are you saying kids and pregnant women aren't getting mercury-based flu shots? You may want to prove that one because they most certainly are!! The reason shots are thrown away isn't because all the children's shots that want to be used are used, but rather because of the level of misinformation propagated by guys like you and poor logistics on the part of flu vaccine companies. You NEVER report that the flu shot still has mercury in it, so many parents don't ask!!! You are part of the problem of misinformation!!

You need to face the expanded vaccine schedule. In the Poling case, multiple vaccines in one day turned Hannah upside down. Was it the mercury? Aluminum? Antigens? Something else? The interaction of all? Is the burden on parents to explain exactly what happened? Or, can we say "they were normal, they got the shots, they changed" and hope someone actually looks into that?

Truth comes out of being honest about what is happening to the kids. Your reporting seems focused on reassuring parents that they should vaccinate.

Don't you ever wonder if moving from 10 to 36 vaccines is a problem for certain kids?

If it is proven that the LOAD of vaccines, not SOLELY the Hg, is behind the autism epidemic, do you think that exonerates you? You've been little more than a stenographer for the CDC, seemingly devoid of separate thought.

J.B. Handley

----- Original Message -----
From: Gardiner Harris
To: J.B. Handley
Sent: Sun Mar 09 11:24:39 2008
Subject: RE: B.S.

well, this is more honest, at least. you've moved from blaming thimerosal to simply being against vaccination. i'll be interested to see what scientific rationale you come up with now. at least the mercury hypothesis had a hint of scientific plausibility. and the "they were normal, they got shots, they changed" explanation will always encompass children who have conditions that lead them to regress simultaneously with vaccination but not as a result of vaccination.

no, it's not the responsibility of parents to come up with explanations.
it's the responsibility of scientists, including government ones. and the ones i know are working as hard as they can to figure out why some seemingly normal children -- including their own, in some cases -- suddenly go to some unreachable place.

it's heart-breaking. but scaring parents away from life-saving medicines is no way to improve this terrible situation. i have met parents who lost their children to vaccine-preventable diseases, and they are haunted. if you had your way, there would be far more of these haunted souls. i hope to prevent that from happening.

-----Original Message-----
From: J.B. Handley
Sent: Sunday, March 09, 2008 2:34 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: B.S.

You are one hell of a vaccine patriot. I'm going to recommend the CDC get you an honorary sailor suit.

J.B. Handley

J.B. Handley is Co-found of Generation Rescue and Editor-at-Large for Age of Autism.


beth jones

Gardiner's current NYT article is yet another work of BS and misdirection. Obviously he has no shame, but with this level of work he has NO credibility left as a journalist and the NYT should be censored for keeping him on staff. Here are two obvious unfair comparisons, and one outright LIE:

"More people had measles infections in the first seven months of this year than during any comparable period since 1996, and public health officials blamed growing numbers of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.

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Many of these parents say they believe vaccines cause autism, even though multiple studies have found no reputable evidence to support such a claim. In Britain, Switzerland, Israel and Italy, measles outbreaks have soared, sickening thousands and causing at least two deaths.

From January through July, 131 measles cases were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 15 states and the District of Columbia. Fifteen people, including four infants, were hospitalized. There were no deaths. Nearly all the cases resulted when people traveling abroad or visiting from a foreign country spread the illness to others. In Illinois, 30 people were sickened in one outbreak.

Most of those who were sickened were unvaccinated or had an unknown vaccination status. Sixteen were younger than a year old, too young to have been vaccinated. But two-thirds of the rest — or 63 people — were unvaccinated because of their or their parents’ philosophical or religious beliefs."

Bad Comparison #1 - the info given clearly states more PEOPLE, not solely children, had cases of measles this year. Obviously some of these were adults, but Gardnier didn't feel it was worth telling us how many were adults. Instead he jumps right on the Public Health bandwagon in playing blame-the-parents game. People=apples, children= oranges

Bad comparison #2 - Gardiner goes on to tell us how many were not vaccinated because of religious or philosophical beliefs - THEIRS or their parents. Again, the wording in this sentence is PEOPLE - and as far as I know, no child can get an exemption for him or herself, their parents must get one for them. But the tone of Gardiner's article would have you think that he is only talking about children, because of his frequent references to parents, and his refusal to discuss these evidently over-18 measles patients. Parents' beliefs=child; THEIR beliefs = adult

3. LIE - Don't ask me to help you with algebra, but my basic math is pretty good. Gardiner says 63 unvaccinated people is 2/3 of 115 people. (131 reported cases, minus the 16 under one year old.) I could be off, but I come up with 76 2/3 would be 2/3 of 115. 63 unvaccinated cases out of 115 people is 55% by my math, or slightly over 1/2. Please re-check my figures, as I'd like them to be correct - and I'm not even writing for the NYT. Seems like Gardiner could run his math by a fact-checker before it goes to print, wouldn't you think?

This is NOT a well-written or objective article, I did a quick read-through and these things jumped out at me. Don't know how this man passed any writing courses if this is a sample, but NYT should be highly embarrased!!

beth jones


I feel for new parents who have no idea about the dangers of vaccines and listen to their uniformed Pediatricians. However, parents today have a much greater opportunity of reading about the harmful effects of vaccines than parents had even 5 years ago so there is less of an excuse to be so clueless.

I DO NOT feel for the parents who believe vaccines had nothing to do with their child's autism and who choose to believe that doctors "know best" and follow their advice of continuing to vaccinate. The stupidity of this is amazing.

Make wise choices

"ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) -- Measles cases in the U.S. are at the highest level in more than a decade, with nearly half of those involving children whose parents rejected vaccination, health officials reported Thursday."

Rewriting this -

"ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) -- Measles cases in the U.S. are at the highest level in more than a decade, with nearly half of those involving children whose parents vaccinated them, health officials reported Thursday.

Imagine that. Who would have thought that the vaccine was that useless. Evidently, it does not matter whether you vaccinate or not, so you may as well not bother. You don't want to put your child at risk for autism now, do you?"


CNN is now running the same story. So clearly a coordinated press release bandwagon kind of thing. And if you check out the "blogosphere" links down below, you can see a delightful array of people kvetching over we "anti-vax" parents who are going to be the end of civilization. They are so foaming at the mouth I think they may need a rabies shot. Seriously.



This isn't the worst thing that GH says, but it's one thing that gets me every time I hear it. Who decreed that we have to call these things "vaccine-preventable diseases," as if that were their chief characteristic? They're infectious diseases, to be sure, but rotavirus is a handwashing-preventable disease, and HepB and HPV are condom-preventable diseases.

K Fuller Yuba City

Every time Mr. Harris writes about the fear of the MMR and Autism,or vaccines and Autism, he sparks curiosity in hundreds of people who may not know about this controversy. I can hear the google searching from here.


GH puts the "riot" in patriot. Come to think of it, he puts the "pat" in there too.

We all know that people within the movement have sent this so-called journalist skeens of documents and links explaining the science of vaccine injury, yet Harris contingues to print the same simplistic arguments and outright lies supporting shoddy, exculpatory vaccine science.

I've come to believe that he knows he's lying and that he's somehow convinced himself that he's doing it for the greater good. Or what he thinks is his own. I've got him pegged for a hypochondriac.


Gee, what a coincidence that they pick up this story at almost the EXACT same time as the one that ran in the UK. I mean, it's almost like they're psychic, right? Or Pharma shills with a coordinated press release plan...

Angela Warner

"Sixteen were younger than a year old, too young to have been vaccinated. But two-thirds of the rest — or 63 people — were unvaccinated because of their or their parents’ philosophical or religious beliefs."

This is what kills me... There were 131 cases right? 16 of the cases were too young to be vaccinated. 63 were unvaccinated. What about the other 52 cases??? With the focus being on those who were unvaccinated, and absolutely no mention of the other 52 cases, I think those other 52 cases were most likely vaccinated. If this is the case, then the numbers are pretty even. 63 unvaccinated get the measels. 52 vaccinated get the measels.

Again the spin is on those who were not vaccinated with no mention that the vaccine was not effective for 52 who were vaccinated. Yeh... they would be stupid to mention that... ineffective vaccine caused 52 people to get the measels.

Hopefully parents reading this sloppy attempt at journalism will question why there is no mention of the vaccination status of roughly half of the 131 cases...

Big deal

"From January through July, 131 measles cases were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 15 states and the District of Columbia. Fifteen people, including four infants, were hospitalized. There were no deaths."

I don't get the crises? Or the panic. Nobody died. All that happened was that some people got sick. Don't people get sick? Last time I checked people were getting sick all the time, its a fairly common phenomenon. NYT had to write a piece about it???


Shame doesn't begin to cover this turd. He makes it sound like there isn't a shred of evidence pointing to vaccines. Bull. ESPECIALLY the MMR. I wrote something about that a week or so ago, pointing to where the CDC is STILL investigating measles as a cause for autism, and has a link to back it up that points to a doc ON the CDC site.


Thanks JB, great post.....and shame on the NY Times for publishing that tripe.

Dana Read

Really? Who are these scientists who are working soooo hard to figure out what happened to our kids?! I'd love to read a story about how they are up nights discussing all of their "theories" including: genetics (not sure how you can attribute genetics to an epidemic but they continue to try), television, or one of the most recent media reports I've read, that pet food is the culprit! Why look where it makes the most sense - environmental causes including but not limited to vaccines - when the gov't can blame genetics, NBC and the family dog?


For Dawn Richardson -

"Many of our members have a family member or have suffered themselves from vaccine reactions,"

Hi Dawn, very nice to meet you. Welcome to AoA. I did see your post yesterday and saw your name, only I did not know who you were :). A very big thank you to you and your members for your support. There are so many unsavory people out there, we need ALL the support we can get. Many times over, to change public opinion.

I was wondering what vaccine reactions your members have sustained. We just know about autism spectrum disorders. Are there any folks with life-threatening food allergies at PROVE? I had Trace Adkins in mind. He has a daughter with life-threatening food allergies, and he is always out there raising money in an attempt to find a cure for her.

Thank you again for all your help.

Dawn Richardson

Thank you so much for posting this.

It looks like Mr. Harris is at it again with another article in the New York Times today bashing parents who don't want to vaccinate because they are concerned for the safety of their children. He is listed as a contributor in the article "Public Health Risk Seen as Parents Reject Vaccines" posted at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/21/us/21vaccine.html?hp. The article was so biased and full of misrepresentations that I became suspicious of his ethics as a journalist and did a google search for his name and the word "vaccine" and lo and behold your posting came up. The man cares nothing for the suffering caused by vaccine reactions and is abusing his position in the media to further his own biased and ignorant agenda of "one-sized-fits-all vaccine mandates regardless of the causalties.

I run Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education, or PROVE, and sent a note to our members today asking them to send in letters to the New York Times for this piece. I will post my comments below. Many of our members have a family member or have suffered themselves from vaccine reactions, and articles like this one trying to paint these families as irresposnible for wanting to stop the carnage are mean spirited and rooted in ignorance.

Thanks for creating a permanent record of this reporter's lack of jornalistic ethics to help me make sense of this horrible piece.

Dawn Richardon

Dear Prove Members,
The New York Times has published an article entitled “Public Health Risk Seen as Parents Reject Vaccines” (posted below and online at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/21/us/21vaccine.html?hp ) that deserves a strong response from our members. Please read this article and send letters to the editor and post comments on the website letting the New York Times know what you think. Please point out some of the numerous mistakes and glaring bias. You may even want to post your responses on the various blogs and email lists you are on encouraging others to do the same.

In this article, the New York Times’ has demonstrated callous disregard for the families devastated by vaccine reactions, and their willingness to act as accomplices to propagate the ignorant and inhumane agenda of vaccine zealots who REFUSE to acknowledge the countless studies demonstrating vaccine risks is unacceptable in this country. Employees at New York Times not involved in the writing and editing should be embarrassed and ashamed of their colleagues for this article.

Intelligent and highly educated parents across the country are questioning vaccines in increasing numbers because they have observed for themselves the FLAWS and the HOLES in the science used to hold up unreasonable and sometimes dangerous one-size-fits-all vaccine mandates and they have seen for themselves previously healthy children destroyed by vaccine reactions while top public health officials categorically deny any association. The public health infrastructure is built on the flawed premise that parents who are educated consumers and question vaccines are somehow responsible for the failure of a drug to perform as promised or advertised. Vaccines are drugs that have the ability to cause injury and death in some people period. NO amount of glorification will change that fact.

When you click on the link to the article http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/21/us/21vaccine.html?hp you can post comments responding to the article online. Additionally, information on sending letters to the editor can be found at http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/lettertoeditor.html and letters can be sent to [email protected]
Some of you may want to refer to their self-proclaimed ethical policies namely in section A1 - Our Duty to Our Audience, item number 17 which states “As journalists we treat our readers, viewers, listeners and online users as fairly and openly as possible. Whatever the medium, we tell our audiences the complete, unvarnished truth as best we can learn it.” More on their ethical policies can be found at http://www.nytco.com/press/ethics.html#A1. The media has an ethical obligation to tell people the truth. Parents aren’t wrong to question vaccines just because some people don’t like it.
Sincerely, Dawn Richardson


Kim -
In my car on the way to work I suddenly had the same thought -- this guy's writing contains too much "spin" to be independent.

Then it came to me in a flash -- I imagined the pharma executives saying to each other, "What can we do to reward this fine man for his excellent work on our behalf? I know! We'll name our newest, most expensive vaccine after him! We'll call it GARDinerhArriSil!" "Nah," said the one of the execs, or maybe it was the marketing guy -- "That's too obvious! And too long!" So they shortened the name to: Gardasil.

And nobody outside of their little group knew that this vaccine's name was a tribute to one of the the most loyal journalists, who helped enable the pharma companies to foist harmful vaccines on an unsuspecting public and make astronomical profits, with their way paved by the rationalizations of the prestigious New York Times...

But somehow the legend continues to be whispered... (cue eerie music...)


Yes, Sandy, I remember that the CDC turned down the offer of mercury-free vaccines, enough to keep us going until the other vaccine makers could get on-line, and have been trying to find it on my computer (ha! good luck, there is so much), but I finally found mention of it here: http://www.putchildrenfirst.org/media/2.14.pdf which is an article by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on the Huffington Post. Here also, are links to the letters from the vaccine manufacturers:


Since when did journalism become a trade that means "bought and paid for?"
What happened to truth?

Sandy Gottstein

What I meant to say was "one reason they don't have only thimerosal-free flu vaccines on the market".....

How I got the other sentence, I'll never know.


You know what amazes me? That "scientists" are claiming there could be hundreds of roads which lead to autism. (Per the current Time magazine article on the Poling case). Do you agree with me that there are only 36?

Sandy Gottstein

Well, one reason there is a version of the flu vaccine on the market can be read about in the following: "Introducing the American Academy of Pediatrics’ new 'Two Wrongs Make a Right' policy!" (http://www.vaccinationnews.com/Scandals/2006/Apr_10/Scandal78.htm )

By the way, I believe the CDC was told at one point by the vaccine manufacturers that they could produce enough thimerosal free flu vaccine to go around, but the CDC turned them down. But I need to verify that.


Gardiner: "if the past is any guide, some 4 or 5 million (Thimerosal-free flu doses)will be discarded because they went unused, right?"

That's am easy one. People who would know enough about vaccine safety to request a Thimerosal-free flu shot ALSO KNOW THAT THE FLU SHOT DOES NOT WORK!

A better question is, Why is a version of flu shot with Thimerosal available on the market?

Jim Moody

What's truly "sad" is that Harris has betrayed the journalistic ideal expressed by I.F. Stone that his calling should be to "aflict the comfortable and comfort the aflicted." He uncritically parrots CDC's talking points about the "five studies prove . . ." bue he refused to report on the repeated rounds of data manipulation to hide any autism "signal" thoroughly reported in Evidence of Harm and in detailed analyses at Safeminds.org. He claims to be sympathetic to parents "haunted" by their unvaccineated children contracting infectious diseases, but where's the sympathy for the countless more parents "haunted" by autism possibly caused by vaccines. If Harris is so committed to vax as public policy, then where's his investigative reporting on why the government hasn't insisted on safer vaccines, why all Hg (an undisputed neuro and immune toxin with no safe level) hasn't been replaced by a safer preservative or single-dose jabs, and why CDC is so willing to tolerate so many cases of autism as collateral damage in its war against infectious disease. Why isn't Harris, since he supposedly "cares" so much, obcessed with figuring out why CDC can't have both safer vaccines and reasonable immunization policy. He has sold his soul, utterly lost his objectivity, and is more a propagandist than a reporter for a once-great paper that has sunk to a house organ for the pharma-industrial-government complex that should just change its name to Pravda and its sacred motto to: "War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength."

John Stone

For people of this mentality no proof of vaccine damage will ever be good enough, and no evidence for safety and effectiveness will ever be two weak. Utter unreason.


It's funny about Gardiner Harris. Here's this guy who's pitched in a few squeaks towards the idea that massively drugging children with multiple neurotoxic psychotropes might not be healthy and that, furthermore, he seems to get that pharma is profiting from the iatrogenic brain damage. But his journalistic umbilical cord-- a leash which has probably been shortened all the more because of his sacrilege against psych drugs-- is still firmly attached to a publication which takes the big bucks off pharma. I think the grotesque Omnibus parent-bashing he did on "All Things Considered" last year and these really vitriolic defenses of vaccines are his concession to the mother ship, a way to grovel for amnesty, consciously or un. He just can't for the life of him (and for the sake of his career) apply the same model to vaccines, despite the studies showing that both the drugs and vaccine toxins have some very curious overlaps regarding effects on the brain.

I always imagine him as an hysterical personality because of having to talk out of both sides of his mouth to such extremes. He might even have two heads. That mother ship ingests (and spews back) a lot of toxic bullshit, after all.


what we learned here is

a) Gardiner is not a scientist, doesn't have any scientific curiosity, and doesn't bother to read any of the new research. Is he an MD or just a medical reporter that just regurgitates AP press releases?

b) He has no idea what he is talking about and resorts to bullshit. "conditions that lead them to regress simultaneously with vaccination but not as a result of vaccination"...

I guess he means the Polling case, or else he means any vaccine reaction. Either way it is the same BS every parent gets from the doctors when their kids have a vaccine reaction.


Gardiner Harris's selective worldview is chillingly evident, showing that media's power is intoxicating -- and corrupting. It's creepy to read his evasive responses, his deliberate rephrasing of issues, and the final tipping of his biased hand.

Like the Mayo Clinic's Dr. Gregory Poling, Harris perceives himself as a warrior against disease. Somehow he's convinced himself that disease can be eradicated by typing the right words into a computer. Meanwhile he's helped increase the number of children with autism by misinforming the public about vaccine safety.

Harris's job as a news reporter is not to SPIN news, but to report it accurately, objecively, without bias or outside influence.

Sadly he still can't get past regurgitating the bullet point lists replicated by the CDC and others with vested interests. A responsible reporter could get his/her mind around the paradox that a product intended to improve health may have an adverse effect on some, and fashion the information appropriately.

Here is a FAQ from the watchdog group Accuracy In Media (AIM):
"Why is it necessary for the media to have a watchdog?
"Quite frankly, the news media don't always get their stories right. What's worse, many of them don't even seem to care. By advising them of their responsibility to the public, whom they claim to serve, AIM helps to nudge the members of the news media into greater accountability for their actions."

Vaccine safety and vaccine protection are not mutually exclusive issues, and should not be reported as such.


One can only come to the conclusion that this person has a "reason" for their point of view on this. A journalist can find the same science I have and EASILY come to the conclusion that vaccines might cause autism. He's probably even been led by the nose to it. Makes you wonder who's buying his latest toys.


Gardiner Harris says that "scientists, including government ones. and the ones i know are working as hard as they can to figure out why" children become autistic. But are they investigating what so many parents have witnessed -- the impact of vaccines? And I don't mean with epidemiology, I mean investigating the impact of vaccines on the immune system, the nervous system, the intestines? Or if they want to do epidemiology, how about a study of health outcomes among vaccinated and unvaccinated children?

Regarding thimerosal-free vaccines being discarded, Mr. Harris should read Tim Kasemodel's 1/17/08 AOA article "MERCURY FREE? OR FREE MERCURY?" regarding the bizarre manipulation of demand for mercury-free vaccines in Minnesota. I believe there was a similar acccount of circumstances in Illinois a while back -- I haven't been able to find it.

Mr. Harris says that J.B. has "moved from blaming thimerosal to simply being against vaccination." This is the way that propagandists frequently try to shape this debate: as if it is between pro-vaccine and anti-vaccine forces. We are not anti-vaccine. We are for making vaccines as safe as possible. We are for studying vaccine adverse events and learning from them. Why do these events occur? How can they be prevented? How can they be treated? How can vulnerable kids be identified before being vaccinated? Can we slow down the schedule and give vaccines individually? Do we really need this many vaccines, and at such a young age? Instead, these tragic, life changing events are being denied as coincidental and therefore ignored.

At the very least, shouldn't Hannah Poling's story prompt the agencies and doctors to stop saying it's o.k. to give multiple vaccines together at the same time?

There are too many events like Hannah Poling's to be coincidental. Some occur with older kids (age 3-4) who receive multiple vaccines to "catch up"; this is not just a matter of autism striking at a certain age. These events overlap with events acknowledged by the CDC, such as the study on the CDC's web site from the New England Journal of Medicine saying that febrile seizures may occur after the MMR or DPT vaccines, or the study on Proquad showing that even more febrile seizures occur if the varicela virus is added to the mix.

Regarding what causes vaccine adverse events, a very interesting study was mentioned in a comment a month or so ago, which can be found at http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1913/richet-lecture.html. In this article, written in 1913, a nobel prize winning scientist discusses how injecting minute amounts of toxins or "any protein" can sensitize the immune system so that subsequent injections provoke an over-reaction from the immune system.

We are not just talking about thimerosal. But Gardiner Harris's close mindedness is shown in the fact that he continues to insist that thimerosal was removed from vaccines in 2001, which is false. He also ignores the studies that say there is a synergistic effect when aluminum and mercury are combined. And he ignores the increase of mercury in the environment, which is another factor complicating any epidemiology studies.

The fact that vaccines have saved us from small pox does not prove that it is safe for all babies to receive over 25 injections of anything. Gardiner Harris, wake up. Your logic is simply very stupid and narrow-minded. For the sake of our children, open your mind and listen with intelligence.

New York Times, do not leave this story solely in the hands of Gardiner Harris. Put some other reporters with intelligent fresh minds on this story to learn about these issues in depth, from an unbiased perspective.

The impact of so many vaccines on the immune systems of our children has not been adequately studied -- not only in relation to autism, but also in relation to a host of other conditions, including allergies, asthma, and auto-immune disorders.

Katie Wright

Gardiner step into my world. I am haunted, truly haunted everyday by the disappearance of my son at age 2 and a half. My son was a happy, smiling baby. Christian was healthy, almost totally potty trained, fully engaged in life and with those around him. After receiving 28 vaccines in 5 visits, he became a ghost of his former self. He could no longer speak, run, recognize people in his life or even realize when he was soiling himself. Gardiner, your bias is as horrifying as it is unprofessional. It is I, just one of thousands of parents of sick autistic children whom you have disparaged over the years, who are waiting for YOUR apology.

Sandy Gottstein

I recently wrote a column called "The Power of Fear" (http://www.vaccinationnews.com/Scandals/2008/Feb_11_08/Scandal85.htm )

Until and unless we educate ourselves about the long-term consequences of diseases (as opposed to the mere incidence of them) and the long-term consequences of vaccines (as much as they are known), we all will be vulnerable to it.

Please consider using Vaccination News for that intent and forwarding the link to everyone you know. (http://www.vaccinationnews.org ) The entire purpose of the site is to make it easier to navigate the massive web so that people can make as informed decisions as possible, including deciding to get "politically" involved so that we actually have a choice.



From Gardiner -

"what's the production of pediatric thimerosal-free vaccines this year?
something like 19 million doses? and of those, if the past is any guide, some 4 or 5 million will be discarded because they went unused, right?
further, the CDC estimates that flu vaccine coverage in young children is on the order of 20 or 25 percent or so, right? so who are all these children who are getting adult thimerosal-containing flu vaccines?"

Please note that it took Gardiner close to 23 hours to respond to JB Handley's email on Sunday morning. Apparently it takes 23 hours to rouse a CDC employee to impart relevant information to make an effective comeback to JB's question. Gardiner, your sources are asleep at the switch. You need to let them know when to respond appropriately, time is of the essence here. Let it not be said that you missed a deadline, after all your career depends on it. Not to mention your credibility.

Did I happen to mention credibility? Oh yes I did. REMEMBER credibility is very important for a journalist, without it he is LOST. You don't want to be lost now, do you?

John Best

We keep hearing the argument about less thimerosal. Does anyone know how much thimerosal was injected into babies in 1931 when autism began? If we have that answer, we know the minimum dose of thimerosal that it took to start this. Of course, that doesn't mean that a smaller ammount than that wouldn't also be hazardous but we would know what the standard dose was that caused the first cases of autism. Or, maybe those first few cases were caused by overloads from lazy nurses who didn't shake the vials.


From Gardiner -

"it's heart-breaking. but scaring parents away from life-saving medicines is no way to improve this terrible situation. i have met parents who lost their children to vaccine-preventable diseases, and they are haunted. if you had your way, there would be far more of these haunted souls. i hope to prevent that from happening."

It seems as though Gardiner only fears/ issues seem to be:

1. Loss of credibility (geez, where did these Polings come from, I am going to look very stupid)

2. Gosh Big Pharma is paying me big bucks for this false propaganda (and I had better make them look as good as I possibly can)

3. These vaccine-autism guys are giving me a very hard time (I wish they would get off my case)

4. How in the world did these guys get a hold of the Bolen report (are they &$%($# CIA agents?)

5. Please go away. Dear God, please make them go away (I really need this job to pay my bills)


JB, great job! Teresa, I agree. I was googling this morning and stumbled upon this site (http://autism.about.com/b/2008/03/10/jenny-mccarthy-calls-for-the-resignation-of-the-director-of-the-cdc-will-you-answer-her-call-to-action.htm). Most disturbing, besides the author being unsure as to why Jenny McCarthy would be calling for the removal of Gerberding, is the comment string.

When people such as Gardiner and some of the commenters on this other site, make their propaganda based statements - as if the government or mainstream media's opinion is the end-all-be-all of fact (excuse me while I make a gagging noise) - they do harm. They put false information out there that could potentially turn a parent away from educating themselves on what is best and safe for their child, and in the case of the other autism blog, they risk turning a parent of a newly diagnosed child away from biomedical interventions.

While I was reading Gardiner's emails to JB, I kept praying to the universe that he not be stricken with a child with autism. He is tempting the fates by being so judgmental and closed minded. If he had a child that was developing normally, received shots and then went "to some unreachable place," I promise you, he'd be changing his tune so fast it would make your head spin.

The problem is when people with no personal experience report on something they know nothing about - so for info they go to whom they perceive as "the experts." Little do they know, the parents are the experts in this case.... oh... in my opinion, of course.

Michelle McNally


You are absolutely right. For some kids it is the thimeorosal, for some the vaccine contents themselves in their entirety. For some it has been a physical trauma like a fall in early life. As there are kids that do have a diagnosis of autism that have never been vaccinated. There can be many "suspects," in the childs life that can and does cause the descent. I highly recommend "Autism The Journey Back," by Rudi and Patty Verspoor.

Thank you for all that you do and the fight to right the wrong that has been done to our children.



Diane Farrr

We all know it's not "all about " the mercury BUT how do we let the subject go and move on to other things like yeast and the immune system when we hear idiotic news reports that the type of mercury in vaccines is actually good for you and the two studies that showed mercury helped memory and behavior. Answer me; why does the gov't tell pregnant women not to eat fish but within the same news program encourages them and their babies a flu shot? Find me a mother who will say; "yeah, give my child some mercury because I can't miss work".

Let's challenge Jon. Have him show us every family that lost a child to a "supposed" vaccine preventable disease. I bet we can show him two deaths and at least a hundred damaged for every death he talks about. We've got to question if we are saving a few lives to kill and hurt more?

Teresa Conrick


Your emails are so on target and he keeps dodging the issue. It was a bit spooky as I read his rebuttals and almost thought I was reading one of those anonymous/bizarre named bloggers' entries. You know, the kind that never is based on reality but has more of a twisted incentive-based flavor. Not sure what that incentive may mean but it surely does not include my daughter's well being or any other child out there.

It seems Gardiner has made conclusions and is sharing them with his readers not based on fact but his fiction. Those two words, integrity and humanity, have somehow alluded many proponents who cheerlead for vaccines. Shame on him, again and again.

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