Press Complaints Commission Orders Sunday Times to Remove Deer's Stories on Dr. Wakefield
Press Complaints Commission Orders Sunday Times to Remove MMR Journalist’s Stories on Dr. Wakefield from Paper’s Web Site
Work by Reporter Brian Deer is at Center of Investigation Being Conducted by Medical Regulators
(Austin, Texas) – The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) of London, an independent body that oversees journalism fairness in the UK, has issued an interim order calling for the Sunday Times to remove stories written by Brian Deer about Dr. Andrew Wakefield from its web site. Dr. Wakefield had filed an extensive complaint with the PCC regarding errors of fact in Deer’s reportage on the MMR vaccine and its possible relationship to autism. The General Medical Council (GMC) in the UK is presently hearing evidence involving Dr. Wakefield and two of his colleagues following a complaint to the GMC by Deer himself. The PCC decision today appears to indicate there are questions about the accuracy of the Deer stories.
The PCC complaint by Dr. Wakefield provides clear evidence that Deer’s allegations of “data fixing” by him are false. The complaint also accused Deer of an undisclosed conflict of interest since Deer also failed to reveal in his articles that he was the person who made the original complaint to the GMC, misleading the newspaper’s readers over the accuracy of his reporting.
“Given the ongoing nature of the dispute,” Stephen Abell of the PCC wrote, “the articles should be removed from the newspaper’s website until this matter has been concluded. This would not be an admission of any liability on the part of the newspaper.”
Although media are expected to respond promptly to complaints through an informal process, the Sunday Times took more than three months to answer detailed issues raised by Dr. Wakefield, and called upon legal representation to write the paper’s response. Despite this the paper’s management have failed to produce any evidence of “data fixing” by Dr. Wakefield. In its letter to Dr. Wakefield regarding his complaint against Deer, the PCC “expressed concern at the initial slowness of the newspaper’s response.” The PCC said it delayed a complete ruling until it has a fuller accounting of all information submitted to the GMC, but that the outcome of the GMC hearing is not relevant to a final decision by the PCC.
“My contention has always been,” Dr. Wakefield explained, “And it always will be that journalism, before it is published, must stand on its merits with good documentation, sources, and corroboration. Deer’s stories fail on every count. I see no connection between the GMC’s hearing and a decision by the PCC. If the Sunday Times cannot defend the information today, which it can’t, then it was unable to do so at the time of publication.”
Wakefield has been one of the subjects of the longest GMC hearing in history. Although the hearing was expected to be concluded in August 2009, information from attorneys involved in presenting evidence indicate the case is not likely to be decided upon by the panel until December and may not conclude until early 2010.
About Thoughtful House: Thoughtful House advocates a multi-disciplinary treatment approach to treating autism and supports a 'safety-first' vaccination policy. The research program at Thoughtful House is dedicated to understanding the biological origins of childhood developmental disorders and establishing best practices in treating children affected by these disorders. www.thoughtfulhouse.org
Strange. The articles are back up. I wonder if Dr. Wakefield knows about this?
Posted by: Sarah | July 07, 2009 at 03:51 PM
Ok so my question is...
When the Vaccine Omnibus hearings and our own government used parts of Deers reports to rule against the 3 test cases...does this null and void their decision now? So if they're investigating Deer for the accuracy of his reporting, what does this say for our government? That they used false evidence against children without doing further research on the source?
Posted by: rileysmom | July 02, 2009 at 09:18 PM
this is truely good news for Dr. Wakefield. when we have nationalized healthcare, the DAN group with likely be subject to witch hunts of this nature as well. i'm glad we still have of maverick's in Texas and no public health system.
Posted by: Deer in the Headlights | July 02, 2009 at 02:47 AM
A tiny bit of justice for Dr. Wakefield... I hope it's a sign of brighter days ahead for him.
Posted by: Pamela | July 01, 2009 at 09:02 PM
The most recent articles by Brian Deer alleging Andrew Wakefield of data-fixing appear to have been taken off, but all the previous stories by Deer that bash Wakefield still seem to be on the TimesOnline.
Posted by: Jake Crosby | July 01, 2009 at 07:42 PM
lets hope the Times get deer to remove the screen shots of the offending articles from his website.
Posted by: mark h | July 01, 2009 at 06:16 PM
Brian Deer is a nasty piece of work and it's about time he got his comeuppance.
Posted by: Joan Campbell | July 01, 2009 at 02:56 PM
I'm delighted that Witchfinder General Deer's activities have finally been curtailed. It is scandalous that Dr Wakefield was given no right of reply in The Times or any other newspaper in the UK.
Posted by: Mary | July 01, 2009 at 01:33 PM
This is great news. It's not a total resolution but it's the first time an institution hasn't caved in under pressure from the pharmaceutical industry from the start of this horror show.
It's interesting that Brian Deer has almost exactly personified what Dr. Wakefield's theory warns of. Deer was injected into the mix in order to stop the truth from "infecting" medical policy and industry profits. What happened instead is that Deer ran amok through the entrails of flawed UK medical, press and government systems like an unstoppable virus, meeting no "immunity" to corruption along the way until the entire system began spewing shit. It seems like Deer finally ran into the few remaining functional immune factors.
What's Murdoch going to do now to protect his vaccine investments-- try to buy or bully the Press Complaints Commission in order to bend it to his will?
Posted by: Venison Stew | July 01, 2009 at 11:31 AM
Is this going to be all over the Internet like all those "MMR doc fixed data" stories that were repeated so uncritically a few months ago? Will HuffPo, CNN and Olbermann cover this?
Posted by: Julie | July 01, 2009 at 11:04 AM
It kind of reminds me of the part in the Harry Potter series "Order of the Phoenix" where the ministry of magic holds a full sized trial for the innocent Harry Potter for a simple under-age violation of magic use. All this to hide the fact that he who should not be named was back! I can see the similairities.
Posted by: Benedetta Stilwell | July 01, 2009 at 09:53 AM
Don't be sorry. In recent years I feel like we have gone back to the dark ages.
Posted by: Benedetta Stilwell | July 01, 2009 at 09:44 AM
Deer is a parasite. He will fall for lack of merit.
Posted by: Erik Nanstiel | July 01, 2009 at 09:43 AM
Andrew Wakefield's PCC complaints
'Selective Hearing' Alan Golding's Documentary
Dan Olmsted & Mark Blaxill, 'A character Assissin caught in the act':
ChildHealthSafety 'Sunday Times Stories Collapse in the GMC Wakefield Prosecution'
Melanie Phillips, 'A Deer Caught in the Headlights'
John Stone, 'Andrew Wakefield’s Complaint Against the Sunday Times – The Times of London Retreats'
John Stone, 'Brian Deer and the Davis Brothers'
Posted by: Deer Stalker | July 01, 2009 at 08:39 AM
This whole thing is ridiculous - putting a doctor on trial when so many journals are made up by the pharma's themselves. It pisses me off (sorry).
Posted by: Kevin D | July 01, 2009 at 07:30 AM