Andrew Wakefield’s Complaint Against the Sunday Times – The Times of London Retreats
By John Stone
Following Andrew Wakefield’s powerful rebuttal of allegations by the Sunday Times and its journalist Brian Deer (HERE), its sister newspaper, The Times of London has been moved to retaliate with a defensive non-story by David Rose, ‘Case against Dr Andrew Wakefield, who linked MMR and autism, to cost over £1m’ (HERE.) The story does not mention Wakefield’s complaint.
After five years in which Times Newspapers have made all the running in trying to destroy Wakefield’s reputation they have suddenly become exercised that the cost of prosecuting Wakefield may have risen to more than £1m. It looks to me like this story was put together in a hurry – they cannot quote any real figures, and £1m is likely to be a fraction of the real cost. And what after all – in the great scheme of things - is £1m these days (when compared to a banker’s salary)? Indeed, how much have Times Newspapers themselves laid out trying to bring Wakefield down?
What conclusions can we draw from this? The Times of London has become disillusioned with the prosecution. The Times of London does not have any real information about how much the prosecution has cost but considers it to be too much. The Times of London does not really have any expectation of the GMC finding a serious malpractice case against Andrew Wakefield, and is trying to kick over the traces. Having strung the operation out for five years – because of thinness of the allegations - the British Establishment and its traditional organ, The Times, having finally uncovered the unpalatable answers it was trying to hide, is reduced to wondering whether justice is worth paying for at all.
As we know, early last month the proprietor of the two London newspapers, James Murdoch, was appointed to the board of MMR defendants GlaxoSmithKline with a brief “to help review "external issues that might have the potential for serious impact upon the group's business and reputation"”. Of course, we cannot say that the latest non-story reflects the important commercial thinking of Mr Murdoch, but it does surely represent the latest down-beat phase in the careful stage-management of the Wakefield affair for public consumption.
For Martin Walker,
Paper people can spot guest badges entering the room in the blink of an eye, and it is true that the staff appears to have hoisted up new signals which usually indicates the spooks are gone.
Crap runs downhill and the stinky trial it leaves runs uphill right back to the source.
Sparks fly upward. Oh, t'is true. T'is true.
Posted by: Media Scholar | March 18, 2009 at 01:52 AM
FUBAR--the estimated lifetime cost for one person with autism is 3.2 million U.S.
Thank you for the update. Go Andrew!
Posted by: sdtech | March 18, 2009 at 01:17 AM
I am not a lawyer,so this isn't legal advice, but I have heard that if a foreign newspaper can be obtained/purchased in the U.S., it can be sued in the U.S. under U.S. libel/defamatory law.
If there are any lawyers that could confirm, this might be something for Dr Wakefield to look into.
I bet the paper can be obtained in the U.S.
Have wondered how the board prosecuting Dr Wakefield was going to deal with the recent study that shows that bowel disease and autism are linked in some children.Hard to say the tests were inappropriate when there is a proven genetic link for some children with autism.
I wonder if the board is starting to realize that facts that support Dr Wakefield, which I assume he is entitled to present, may not be facts that the board wants publicized.
Posted by: hera | March 17, 2009 at 09:02 PM
'It is without doubt a turning of the tide but whether that tide will go right out before returning we will have to see. Last Friday, just as he was sitting down to work on his presentation at the second Treating Autism Conference in Bournemouth, Dr Wakefield received an email from Brian Deer telling him about yet another article that was to appear in the Sunday Times. Dr Wakefield confirmed the news with his lawyers and was told that the article would be yet another distrorted regurgitation of evidence turned over by the ongoing GMC hearing.
But when Sunday came, the Sunday Times was bereft of distorted and malicious stories about Dr Wakefield and a day later on Monday, the article faintly critical of the GMC appeared. It clearly has to be the case that the yellow streak suddenly discovered by the Sunday Times is
linked to the handing in of a major complaint to the Press Complaints Commission which deals with the way that Dr Wakefield has been treated by Brian Deer and the Sunday Times.
Inevitably, the step onto the back foot might also have to do with the fact that it is now public knowledge, reported by John Stone, that James Murdoch, the senior executive at News International, owners of the Sunday Times has accepted an executive position on the Board of GlaxoSmithKline.
Perhaps a certain modesty entered into the discussion about strategy!
As far as the GMC hearing goes, the farce is continuing as it began. After a two week lay-off, following a month's ajournment because the Senior prosecutor had been unable to finish her closing speech. The Panel sat on
Monday, before declaring two non-sitting days later in the week. While Rose in his London Times article seems to intimate that the massively underestimated cost of the hearing is somehow the fault of Dr Wakefield
anyone who has attended knows beyond doubt that the GMC and their hired prosecutors are entirely responsible for the longest running para-legal procedure in British history.'
Posted by: Martin Walker | March 17, 2009 at 05:18 PM
"As we know, early last month the proprietor of the two London newspapers, James Murdoch, was appointed to the board of MMR defendants GlaxoSmithKline with a brief “to help review "external issues that might have the potential for serious impact upon the group's business and reputation"
Eh!! are we the "external issues" here? The parents of vaccine damaged children
We are no way near as powerful as the pharmaceutical companies but we must be a thorn in their side. I know the GSK shares have gone right down and have been going down since the beginning of the 21st centuary
Posted by: Joan Campbell | March 17, 2009 at 03:40 PM
Just last week a couple of the vaccine injury scoffers parroted from the same perch, including Offit's Disease founding father himself.
Bodack said she hopes the issue will "die down and we can spend our money on something that will help."
Q: Not what you hope, but what do you think will happen to this controversy in coming years?
A: I think it will fade. The fact of the matter is vaccines don’t cause autism.
A million pounds is just a tinkle in the Thames to the old baron.
Posted by: Media Scholar | March 17, 2009 at 12:45 PM
See also CHS:-
'Sunday Times' MMR Lies Nailed At Last - Editor Witherow Should Resign'
'Times Group Journalist Costs GMC £1m - But Blames GMC!'
Posted by: CHS | March 17, 2009 at 11:16 AM
Great articl John the case against Wakefield is much to do about nothing ,and its just coming home to roost ...shame on the Times and everyone who stood and did nothing...while the vaccines continue to ruin thehealt of generations to come..
Posted by: Angus Files | March 17, 2009 at 10:42 AM
It demonstrates the extremes to which those vested in MMR, and other dangerous medical interventions, will go to discredit anyone who stands for the truth. The GMC debacle appears to have foundered on very expensive (in financial and intergrity terms) rocks and I think it can only extricate its reputation by coming clean on the whole MMR-Wakefield issue; can any professional body subjugate its ethical and moral standards to vested interests and not expect it to drown in the inevitable detritus?
The absorbing of Deer and Murdoch by GSK must cause reasonable persons to question the timing and tactics; and how does that affect the GMC decision-making process when its major witness finally displays true colours?
Posted by: Jack Hep | March 17, 2009 at 10:38 AM
A new phase in the battle, perhaps?
Posted by: John Stone | March 17, 2009 at 09:50 AM
Interesting. Maybe this is a turning of the tide???
Posted by: Kevin D | March 17, 2009 at 09:24 AM