Part II Seed Media's "Science"Blogs: A 180 Degree Shift in Reporting
Part I, "Science"Blogs: Seed Media's Aggressive Weed is HERE.
By Jake Crosby
In spite of Seed Media Group and subsequently “Science”Blogs’ obvious ties to the drug industry and its stance on the autism-vaccine controversy as a result, many questions remain unanswered. Such as, are there any posts that are actually critical of the drug industry? If so, what is the penalty for blogging unfavorably about drugs such as vaccines? What is the Blog’s connection to other online sources tied to pharma? What are the connections of the top people at Seed Media Group, including Adam Bly? And last but not least, has Seed Media ever represented this controversy even-handedly?
SEED: A Fair Magazine Once Upon A Time?
The short answer to that question is yes. Though Seed Media Group is clearly not without conflicts of interest; SEED Magazine to its credit did publish a 12-page cover story critical of thimerosal in vaccines called “The Rise Against Mercury,” by psychologist Dr. Sarah Bridges in 2004, the year before SMG was created. (HERE) The story included photos of Mark and David Geier, the only two outside researchers ever allowed any kind of access to the CDC’s Vaccine Safety Datalink. The article was written by the mother of a son who suffers from seizures, mental retardation, and autism as a result of his DPT vaccine, and who is one of 1800 recognized by vaccine court as vaccine-damaged. In an email exchange with me, she suggested Robert F. Kennedy Jr. had some involvement with the magazine publishing the article. Ironically, RFK Jr. is now regularly bashed on “Science”Blogs as an “anti-vaccine crank.” But I was curious. So I sent a letter in the mail to Adam Bly because he does not post his own email address online. I asked what the reason was for Seed’s 180-degree shift in its coverage of the controversy, especially with the launching of “Science”Blogs. I referred him to the story his magazine ran five years ago, but Adam Bly did not reply.
Censorship at Work
That was the first and last article to run in a Seed publication, be it online or in print, that suggested a vaccine-autism connection even-handedly. What gained front-page coverage then, would be met with censorship by Seed today. On the German-speaking “Science”Blogs, co-managed by Seed Media Group and Hubert Burda Media, censorship is exactly what happened to Austrian journalist, author and documentary filmmaker Bert Ehgartner. He had been blogging for the German “Science”Blogs from August until December of 2008 when an entry by him stirred up a firestorm. The thread title was “"Aluminium muss raus aus Impfstoffen!"” which translates to “Aluminum must be eliminated from vaccines!” It featured an interview between Ehgartner and a vaccine safety researcher, Dr. Klaus Hartmann, who criticized the presence of aluminum salts in the HPV vaccine, and its inadequate safety trials. This quickly prompted a full-flung attack from the bloggers and readers of the US “Science”Blogs, calling Ehgartner an “anti-vaccinationist.”
Some, however, did defend Ehgartner, and were quick to call on the bashing as a smear campaign. Jessica Roccò, an editor of the German “Science”Blogs, said, “Ehgartner and our other medical bloggers are not Steiner freaks, Jenny McCarthies, anthroposophists, homeopaths or AIDS deniers, seriously!”
So anyone who shares an opinion even remotely similar to Jenny McCarthy on “Science”Blogs is quickly lumped in with freaks and AIDS deniers (ironic, since AIDS was probably caused by vaccines), despite never mentioning autism and only implicating one adjuvant, not vaccines in general. He would also be on the receiving end of the “anti-vax” gambit.
But that is not all. If the person himself posts for “Science”Blogs and voices criticism of a deadly neurotoxin present in vaccines without even mentioning autism, he gets the boot. That is exactly what happened to Bert Ehgartner. According to German “Science”Blogger, Christian Reinboth, the day after Ehgartner’s last post, “Aluminum – Die Evidenz” – “Ehrgartner has been fired from ScienceBlogs already due to the outrage over his aluminum article.” Ehgartner responded sarcastically, “It must be pretty exciting to work on controversial scientific issues like the vaccine or the hiv/aids field in such an open-minded academic atmosphere,” but then hit the nail on the head, “Seems to me that you saved some good portion McCarthy spirit from last century.” Critical of government? Communist. Critical of the vaccine industry? Anti-Vaccinationist. That is the extent of a typical “Science”Blogger’s argumentative skills.
How to Look Critical of the Drug Industry, Without Being Critical
“Science”Blogs’ pathetic attempt to pose as a scientific source however does not end with undisclosed conflicts and inclusion of the word “Science” in its name. Even though its magazine counterpart will no longer publish articles such as the one by Sarah Bridges and “Science”Blogs itself will banish bloggers like Bert Ehgartner for writing threads critical of a dangerous drug adjuvant, it still tries to make itself look neutral. As a result, it will on rare occasion publish a few critical-looking token threads of the drug companies that it is tied in with.
For example, a number of “Science”Bloggers wrote critical entries on drug company Merck in early May. The topic was the recent update of a scandal dating back a few years ago when Merck published its own fake journal through Elsevier, but the “Science”Bloggers were in friendly territory. These threads came days after Merck issued a statement basically admitting its role in the publication of the fake journal. In the statement, Merck denied that the articles published in its journal were ghost written. The bloggers did rightly say that since the journal contained articles reprinted from other journals while peppered with Merck ads, it was therefore advertising deceptively posing as a throw away journal. However, they did not challenge anything the company had written in its official statement or question whether or not any of it was even true. They also acknowledged that the incident was from 6 years ago, far from current news.
There are no controversial topics on “Science”Blogs (that I have seen), which take a critical position of the pharmaceutical giant, or any other pharmaceutical company for that matter.
There was also a “Science”Blogs entry covering the recent issue of Sanofi-Aventis cheating Medicaid by unnecessarily raising the prices of its nasal-sprays to the poor, which led to the company having to pay $100 million in compensation. Initially, the “Science”Blogger, who wrote anonymously, merely copied and pasted sections of the story from another news source, but then gave his own interpretation, which was a little more controversial. In spite of this thread having been written entirely written about a resolved controversy, as was the case with the fake journal published by Merck, the blogger then questioned the wisdom of the U.S. government in his own analysis of the situation for also ordering a vaccine from that very same company for stealing by the overcharging of its nasal-sprays, even though they were not vaccines. Despite this being based purely on speculation, this was apparently pushing the limit for “Science”Blogs. Another “Science”Blogger wrote in response to this, “Jumpin' Jesus on a pogo stick. The antivaccine nuts will have a field day with this,” as if the reputation of a pharmaceutical company that manufactures vaccines is more important than the fact that it cheated the poor on a national scale.
More recently, another thread on “Science”Blogs was written about the recent ghostwriting of review papers supporting the effectiveness of Hormone Replacement Therapy. Wyeth, HRT manufacturer, hired a communications group called “DesignWrite” to write dozens of review papers endorsing their hormonal drugs while gaining signatures from doctors. In an attempt to isolate the vaccine controversy from this issue, the “Science”Blogger wrote, “Not surprisingly, the anti-vaccine quack apologists over at Age of Autism have already jumped all over this as being somehow "vindication" and evidence that the studies failing to find a link behind vaccines and autism are similarly tainted. Never mind that the HRT papers were review articles and not primary studies.” Apparently, he feels that drug companies should disclose their involvement in review articles, but not actual studies. He also seems to take no issue with Wyeth’s current position that the review articles were “scientifically sound.”
For “Science”Blogs, being critical of the drug industry ends with criticizing it on past controversies for which it already admitted fault. Hence, it is difficult to understand the point of such pseudo-controversial threads other than pretending to be even-handed, even though “Science”Blogs is anything but.
The Fish Rots From the Head
A Russian proverb says, “The fish rots from the head” (or perhaps in this case, the weed sprouts from the seed). In more concrete terms, if the heads of an organization are corrupt, the entire organization is corrupt. Perhaps this could explain “Science”Blogs universal stance on vaccines and autism, and the dramatic shift in SEED Magazine’s reporting of the controversy since Seed Media Group’s founding. Every member of SMG’s Board of Directors has ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Dennis Hersch, for example, had a history of pharma experience according to his Businessweek bio, saying, “Mr. Hersch served as outside counsel to Pharmaceutical Partners for Better Healthcare, a non-profit organization whose Members are the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical companies.”
Two others on Seed’s board of directors, James Gould and Frederic Mayerson, also have pharmaceutical ties through a mutual fund. Among their investments are Nelson Communications, for which Merck serves as a major client. Another is MedSite, which describes itself as “The leader in e-pharma marketing, providing online marketing solutions to pharmaceutical companies for reaching MedSite's customer base of nearly 450,000 physicians.”
Other board members include Neil Raymond and Jamie Macintosh, leaders of Innovium Capital, another mutual fund that invests in a company heavily involved with the pharmaceutical industry. One of their investments, RxRite, in 2005 partnered with a subsidiary of the Ramp Corporation called “HealthRamp,” whose “products enable communication of value-added healthcare information among physician offices, pharmacies, hospitals, pharmacy benefit managers, health management organizations, pharmaceutical companies and health insurance companies,” according to a memo authored by Raymond and Macintosh. (HERE)
Seed Media Group’s most recent addition to the board, David Peterson, previously worked for NM Rothschild, an investment-banking firm. It’s not clear how long he worked there, but in 2004, Rothschild served as financial advisory company to Aventis when was it was bought out for 54.5 billion euros by Sanofi-Synthelabo, creating French pharmaceutical giant, Sanofi-Aventis.
As for the Chairman and CEO himself, Adam Bly is a member of the Communications Committee for the National Academy of Sciences, the parent organization for the IOM. The IOM was responsible for the report paid for by the CDC that rejects a causal association between thimerosal and the MMR vaccine and autism. The transcript and notes of closed meetings suggest that the panelists came to a predetermined conclusion well before they received any evidence for review.
Bly also has direct associations with the drug industry. In Toronto in 2006, Bly attended the “Global Connect Conference” hosted by obscure non-profits CONNECT and MaRS, where his “Science”Blogs won the award of “Best Science to Speak.” The affiliations of the other panelists were quite telling. (HERE)
Accompanying Bly were Mary Walshok, co-founder of CONNECT, Peter Brenders, President and CEO of BIOTECanada and Natalie Dakers, CEO of the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD). BIOTECanada is the Industrial Biotechnology Association of Canada. Its members include Merck Frosst, Canadian research division of Merck, and Eli Lilly Canada. In other words, BIOTECanada is the lobby group for the Canadian biotechnology industry, including the pharmaceutical industry, much like the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). Adam Bly, himself a Canadian by birth, sat on a panel with the head of a corporate lobby, most of its member companies representing the pharmaceutical industry..
Then there are the groups that hosted this event where Adam Bly’s “Science”Blogs won the award; the groups were CONNECT and MaRS. CONNECT’s co-founder sat on the panel with Bly. Among the list of “industry/capital providers” for CONNECT, a non-profit group promoting entrepreneurship, are representatives from Merck, Pfizer, and Amylin Pharmaceutical Companies. Amylin is in a partnership with Eli Lilly, and among former members of Amylin’s board of directors is former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. MaRS, another such organization, credits some of its founding contributions to Eli Lilly Canada. And yet, Adam Bly sat on a panel with pharmaceutical industry reps, at a pharmaceutical industry-sponsored conference where his pharmaceutical industry-sponsored “Science”Blogs that spews pharmaceutical-industry propaganda won an award. However, this all took place in 2006, only a few months after “Science”Blogs had even been launched.
Intricate Roots of Connections
The outcome of SEED’s 180-degree shift in the reporting of this controversy was its ties to other sources sympathetic to the pharmaceutical industry. An interesting connection I found was the link between Adam Bly’s “Science”Blogs and another collection of blogs, “Science”BasedMedicine. Both blogs share some bloggers and views on the vaccine-autism controversy. Some bloggers who typically use pseudonyms on “Science”Blogs go by their real names on “Science”BasedMedicine, as if to give the impression that there are more bloggers posting with this position than there actually are. The person who founded “Science”BasedMedicine, Steven Novella, an assistant professor of neurology at Yale who specializes in injecting Botox, is also a Scientific Advisor to the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH).
The ACSH is noted for its connections to the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, and was an outgrowth of a project assigned to its founder, Elizabeth Whelan, from Pfizer. Nicolas Martin, a former ACSH employee, recounts, “ACSH has no credibility since it is primarily, as critics charge, a front for industry. I have seen it directly.” While the Obama Administration takes a stance against pesticides, the ACSH takes a strong stance against organic foods, jokes Samantha Bee of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. (HERE)
Even more suspicious than the ties between “Science”Blogs and its apparent duplicate “Science”BasedMedicine is the positive press the former has been getting from the mainstream media, especially since Adam Bly is at best a fallen prodigy making a name for himself in a different line of work. Doing so, however, involves reaching out for sponsorship from pharmaceutical corporations such as Schering-Plough, to increase readership of his magazine, launch his blog and expand his media horizons. So far, it seems to be working. A March review of “Science”Blogs by “The Times of London” shortly after its senior executive, James Murdoch, joined the board of GlaxoSmithKline, named it among the 100 best blogs, lauding, "This feisty portal hosts a 75-strong army of witty and qualified practitioners fighting at the front line of idiocy, bigotry and ignorance to achieve a science-savvy citizenry.” That ideal citizenry would only be savvy to the “science” fronting for corporate interests. This can be seen as GSK indirectly complementing Merck on its lobbying efforts, which are also in line with GSK’s interests.
Another magazine known for its bias, Discover, also has connections to Seed Media. Discover is owned by TIME Magazine, often filled with pharmaceutical ads. A typical TIME issue contains ads for a variety of pharmaceutical companies such as Merck, Wyeth, Eli Lilly, Sanofi-Aventis, and GlaxoSmithKline. Recently, Chris Mooney wrote a major article for Discover Magazine portraying the vaccine-autism controversy as dead. Numerous experts including those in public health see it as anything but. These experts were referred to Chris Mooney by David Kirby to help him with his investigation, but Mooney ignored him.
Mooney is also contributing editor for the “Skeptical Inquirer,” the magazine of the “Committee for Skeptical Inquiry,” a non-profit group that includes psychiatrist and pharma-front group ACSH advisor Stephen Barrett among its senior fellows. Barrett is also founder “Quackwatch” an organization that started out as the Lehigh Valley Committee Against Health Fraud, an offshoot of the AMA’s committee on quackery, originally set up in an attempt to discredit chiropractors. Steven Novella is also a contributor to the Skeptical Inquirer. On CSI’s website, it states that Mooney is also Washington correspondent for SEED Magazine, his Discover article on the vaccine-autism controversy being linked from “Science”Blogs. Since March, Chris Mooney has been blogging for Discover Blogs, but before that, he had been a “Science”Blogger himself since the launching of “Science”Blogs in 2006. So much for David Kirby trying to help him lead an even-handed investigation into the vaccine-autism controversy.
“Science”Blogs’ Loyal NDs
Industry influence aside, Seed Media’s bias has also come in line with the interests of Neurodiversity proponents (NDs) - people who oppose a search for an autism cure and deny the epidemic – and who frequent “Science”Blogs. In fact, they seem to leave the majority of comments on most topics related to autism, vaccines, and mercury poisoning. They love the blog so much they will link to it from their own blogs and vice versa, and their favors to the blog do not go unacknowledged. “Science”Blogs is as grateful to the NDs as the NDs are to “Science”Blogs.
Some “Science”Blogs entries even pander directly to NDs’ interests, with the NDs writing threads themselves. After Kristina Chew launched a blog on a website easily confused with President Obama’s transition website, ND breast cancer surgeon and “Science”Blogger “Orac” said, “Personally, I'd be overjoyed if the Obama Transition Team hired Kristina to do a "National Autism Blog."” “Orac,” also known as David Gorski, was a member of a group of “Quack”busters led by Stephen Barrett who called themselves “The Rag Tag Posse of Snake-Oil Vigilantes,” defending silicone breast implants, before “Science”Blogging. Just recently, he was given a “seat at the table” by none other than the ACSH for criticizing the policies of Senator Harkin on “Science”Blogs because they are unfavorable to the drug industry. Gorski now uses a picture of what looks like a child’s play toy to represent himself, and still uses the same fake name from science fiction. Go figure.
More prominent NDs, including Kristina Chew, have written multiple glowing reviews of Paul Offit’s book, “Autism’s False Prophets” for “Science”Blogs as guest bloggers. In fact, multi-million-dollar vaccine profiteer Paul Offit blogged with them on “Science”Blogs in early October, promoting the release of his book. This is hardly surprising, given the fact that Paul Offit labeled some of the NDs autism’s “true prophets,” to whom he dedicated his book. For eight days at the beginning of that month, he authored threads in which he would answer questions posed to him in the comment section of his blogs instead of going on a book tour which he said he would not do because of all the supposed death threats he was getting. However, in 2008 alone he has traveled to cities such as Memphis, Orlando, Atlanta, Boston, New York City, Washington DC and even Honolulu where he was invited to give lectures. Curiously, just ten months later, he told Asperger Women’s Association radio that he no longer receives any death threats, but instead letters from parents thanking him. This was only nine months after he dramatically complained about death threats on MSNBC to sympathetic interviewer and former Johnson & Johnson VP Dr. Nancy Snyderman. Just recently, he went onto Dateline NBC with Matt Lauer, and again hashed out the tired old mention of receiving death threats. Apparently, Paul Offit can never keep his story straight.
Perhaps most absurd was the publicity “Science”Blogs gave to a collection of ridiculous online Public Service Announcements. The “Science”Blogs entry linked to an ND website called “rethinking autism,” where the PSAs were displayed. They featured an attractive, semi-nude model, with words appearing alongside her that pandered to the NDs. The words appearing around the model read like a personal ad in one video ending with “When I’m alone, I slip on something comfortable and read the many reputable studies that show no link between vaccines and autism.”
“Science”Blogs: Another Pharma Weed Posing as a Legit Source
While “Science”Blogs may be a goldmine of new online allies for the NDs as well as pharma, the man benefiting from this the most is probably Adam Bly, whose drug (including vaccine) industry ties have helped him expand his media network. In return, Bly has made it possible for public health agencies and pharmaceutical corporations at the center of this controversy to launch a smear campaign without getting their own hands dirty. His hunger for publicity apparently feeds this, judging by the trite and pretentious statements desperately trying to sound scientific to describe SMG’s “premise” on its own website. Bly is often described as “ambitious,” so ambitious he will present his blogs as a scientific source instead of what they truly are: one of many outlets of the pharmaceutical industry. Never mind that it is at the expense of a whole generation of children developing autism and other disorders at epidemic proportions. And why not? The previous actions of the pharmaceutical companies themselves have shown that all is fair in love and business. It is no wonder the media they sponsor sprouts some weeds, too, like Newsweek’s hatchet job on Oprah Winfrey. Such is the case with Seed Media Group, a seed that sprouted one giant weed: a 69-pod kudzu vine of “Science”Bloggers.
Jake Crosby is a history student with an autism spectrum disorder at Brandeis University, and a Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.
Even though I have had no interest in XMRV and chronic fatigue, the recent suppression of the NIH/FDA paper which supports Mikovits did catch my attention. This led me to a foul-mouthed harpy named erv who blogs, of course, on scienceblogs.com. Erv has complete contempt for Mikovits and calls her a "c**t." Apparently, erv's dark masters don't like Mikovits (but they do like Mountain Dew which erv hawks in another post).
If erv is representative of the new crop of American scientists, we are in deep trouble.
I wouldn't connect directly to scienceblogs. Use the google cache.
Posted by: Carol | July 08, 2010 at 10:44 AM
I was injured by a vaccine. Been sick and disabled over 3 years now and I'm only 27. I've had doctors and nurses, and pharmaceutical sales reps curse to my face and tell me I'm a liar and I forge my lab results and tell stories to put others at risk. It's insane how some people are, here I am crippled by a flu shot and trying to help others learn better, and still people will curse me out. I'm glad this site tries to spread facts the best they can and I'm glad there are people on here that understand the truth. I just feel better reading this.
Posted by: Keith | December 10, 2009 at 06:01 PM
You're not off topic at all with this crowd. A vast majority of us feel the same way you do about the food supply. And we're plenty angry about it too.
But at least no one is shoving a Big Mac down the throat of a one-day old in the NICU, or banning our kids from school for sending a packed healthy lunch, or threatening to fire people from their job for not eating some junk food. But junk vaccines are more or less forced on us. I think that (and the fact that vaccines often represent a clear tipping point for some people) vaccines often get the focus here because at least we feel like we're free to make our food choices without discrimination, whereas with vaccines that's not the case.
Everything you say is right on though and most of us are working on that stuff too.
Posted by: Jack | September 25, 2009 at 10:35 PM
What's up with all the Amish?
Grass fed cows?
We are not Amish, just plain old - sort of like the rest of you!
We sold our bull today for meat! He was five years old, and weighed 2230, over a metric ton!
I will miss him but it was his time to go. He was grassed fed except for his first year of life we hand feed him corn along with his hay and grass (to keep him gentle) he never saw a vaccine,although we were lucky he did not get black leg!
I feel guilty about him, he was for a bull fairly gentle, a huge monster yet scared to death of our little blue heeler dog, and intelligent! But his time on this earth was up. He was too big for the cows!
So a little respect here.
Posted by: Benedetta Stilwell | September 25, 2009 at 10:09 PM
Hi Josh. I've done a bit of reading on HR875 but am not educated enough on it to wager an intelligent opinion beyond the fact that I don't think it's there to destroy the organic farming industry...we have serious food safety issues and there has to be more accountability and oversight.
I'm going to go way off topic here onto the subject of food but it's important because sick kids--immunosuppressed/neurologically altered by environmental insults--need the best food possible.
But the sad fact is a lot of organic farming is corrupted already in many ways. First of all, I don't even trust QAI, or whatever that label is I see on much organic food. I might trust California or NY organic food. But what exactly is a grass-fed "organic" cow? She may be a cow that got a little bit of grass or hay and a lot of soy and corn. That was admitted to me by one of the organic milk companies; they can't make a profit if they don't include soy in the diet. Soy and corn are cheap. That cow still isn't eating a healthy diet. Nor are the chickens. Organic egg yolks are a pale yellow. Amish egg yolks, from chickens that actually live in moveable coops and get to eat bugs and fresh vegetation as well as chicken feed, which chickens prefer for about 30% of their natural diet, are a bright deep orange-yellow. Their shells are stronger.
"Organic" chicken might be better than arsenic-antibiotic chicken, but it's still crap as far as I'm concerned, and it's all processed with sodium phosphate (all commercial chicken) to plump it up, and that adds sodium to your diet, which if you're salt restricted is not good.
Taste some Amish eggs or Amish fresh-slaughtered chicken and a whole new world opens up to you. After that, no other chicken tastes very good.
Not to mention that a more 'natural' way of living is to use the entire animal; and all parts of the animal are healthy. Organ meats offer nutrition that muscle doesn't. We go buy our sliced/diced chicken breasts (and I read somewhere that the chickens are given hormones to grow their breasts as big as possible because chicken breasts are so popular--they're so top heavy they walk a few steps and fall over!!), and ignore the rest of the animal? It turns out that one reason chicken soup was so good for you is that it was made from other parts with cartilage and bones--like feet, heads, etc, and simmered so all the good stuff got into the broth, including all the minerals in an easily absorbable form. The nutrients in the cartilage help prevent arthritis and chronic inflammation. The minerals are necessary for all kinds of enzyme transport in the body. There's something spiritually enlivening about using the whole animal, and an animal that was well raised. It puts us more in harmony with the world around us.
My attitude toward food is to try to follow a "real food" diet as much as possible, but I'm lucky in my access to such food. Much of the world isn't so lucky. If I had a backyard, I'd have a vegetable garden. Maybe even a few chickens!
A healthy "terrain", which begins with a healthy food supply, is less susceptible to the terrible environmental insults of modern life.
Posted by: Jill Neimark | September 25, 2009 at 08:15 PM
Where is your new article being published? In Discover? I'd like to read it.
It's also nice to hear from you and get your take/feedback.
I'm straying off topic, but the premise of your upcoming piece sparked my interest. I'd love to hear your opinion on the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, HR 875 -- the regulation and bureaucracy and vagueness of the proposed law as currently written that's alarmed many in the local foods/ farmer's market community.
Posted by: Josh Day | September 25, 2009 at 01:49 PM
Let me add that Discover republished my April 2007 cover story on autism in their special summer 2009 issue, The New Science of Health, which compiled the best of their recent articles on health--with updates.
I should add that in my humble opinion vaccines are only part of our problem--and probably only for the most vulnerable. I just wrote a short piece on early puberty, which seems to have gone global--not just U.S. and Europe but now China. That is due to environmental estrogens as well as farming practices (cows fattened with estrogen pellets, for instance). On a personal basis we have to try our best to limit our exposure. Support our local farmers, and I belong to a Weston Price collective and get my meat and dairy from Amish farmers with traditional farming practices.
I also recently wrote a feature on plastic--and its hazards.
But the fact is you must, even as painful as it is, have a nuanced view of much of this. Because it is incredibly complex. There are no easy answers.
Posted by: Jill Neimark | September 25, 2009 at 12:22 PM
Jake, thanks for the excellent investigative journalism. Charlie Gibson and entire ABC news team, should just give you their yearly salary and quit. You won't get this out of them if their children's lives depended on it.
Pharma and Pharma/medico/biotech science is killing the world....and will kill their bloggers too.
Posted by: michael framson | September 25, 2009 at 12:22 PM
Hi Jill, that is good to hear. Nice of you to drop by :) However the lack of conspiracy does not explain the disgusting bias the magazine has been showing lately to all things to do with autism. Several autism-related things that appeared in recent months had very little to do with "science" of autism and didn't seem to be written with intelligent audience in mind.
Posted by: Natasa | September 25, 2009 at 11:02 AM
Hi, Julie, I have a Google Blog alert set to my name so was directed to your comment on this blog. Thanks for your compliments on my Discover story. I still write frequently for Discover and have no idea what you're talking about. I see no reason why they wouldn't assign me the same type of story today. Their policy has not changed. Their "policy" is to present cutting edge science in a lively, engaging manner to an intelligent audience. So no conspiracy theories please.
Posted by: Jill Neimark | September 25, 2009 at 09:26 AM
Dr. Offit is connected to Merck, works for big Pharma,makes money at the hospital,collects royalties from his toxic vaccines and rakes in money from his books where he misleads parents about the truth.
He is a "triple face" professional who represents big Pharma and he is also filling up his own pockets at the same time.
Do not believe a word he says or writes.
Posted by: Concerned Professional | September 24, 2009 at 08:42 AM
NEWS: John Travolta admits his son was autistic and that he suffered from a seizure disorder.
Posted by: Jen | September 23, 2009 at 11:28 PM
As the vaccine industry was about to collaspe in the mid 80's with ten shots...
It is hard to believe there would be no problems with their now "liability free industry" with 36 shots by age 5.
Corruption is the inability to investigate fraud, which is what happens when big pharma basicallly owns most of the government right now.
The sparks will be flying when the S1N1 vials arrive in October.
Posted by: dj | September 23, 2009 at 11:00 PM
So well put! Thank you.
Posted by: 4bobby | September 23, 2009 at 10:54 PM
"So seed is only fair when it publishes articles that align with your views?"
It always amazes me when people try to make this argument. Our "views" are not pulled from thin air but are borne of personal experience, watching our children spiral downward following vaccination, seeing their lab tests, knowing the clinical evidence we live with every day. So yes, when there are articles that reinforce and perhaps even help to explain our own personal and common experiences, they seem valid to us. Seed would be fair if its considerable financial and social ties to the industry it purports to be objective about were made apparent instead of hidden. Then their articles could be judged by everyone accordingly, with as jaundiced an eye as is apparently necessary. If Seed are acting as paid consultants to or subsidiaries of Merck or other pharma companies, it's a journalistic doppelganger of the ghostwritten medical journal articles. Kudos to Jake for exposing them.
Posted by: Garbo | September 23, 2009 at 10:17 PM
One of the stranger aspects of the vaccine/autism debate is that there is a debate. Anyone supporting vaccines with toxic levels of heavy metals, genetically modified viruses, carcinogenic substances, and with a 200 year history of tragedy and disaster is either a fool, a fraud, or a criminal. There are no other options. There is no debate. The only question is when will the vaccine madness stop. And how can we save what's left of the next generation.
Posted by: Stephen Becker | September 23, 2009 at 09:16 PM
"deep" ... such a clever name. Not.
Maybe you don't understand how money works. That's the only reason I can imagine for your suggesting that Jake is "paid off" by AoA, or is a ghostwriter. Jake's articles about Seed Media Group, Asperger's Syndrome as a disability, and other topics wouldn't financially benefit him, unless he is shorting pharmaceutical stocks in a major way, and thinks that his articles can influence pharmaceutical sales. What could AoA possibly be a PR front for? Concerned parents? Responsible consumers? Sounds like a corrupt group to me!
Great investigating and writing, Jake. I hope your article gets a lot of hits--more people need to know how much money goes from industry to the supposedly impartial media.
Posted by: Theresa | September 23, 2009 at 08:51 PM
Jack, I like your thinking...that is a good question. Personally, I think there are set ups to autism...and vaccines are the last straw. Some believe concurrent infection, or infections in utero already primed the cyotkine pump...therefore, any new meatbolic crisis tips not only the immune system over the edge, but also the mitochondria. Heavy metals work into tthis only because they act at the ATP level. The two can't be good, or should I say the THREE hits or strikes.
Posted by: Kathy Blanco | September 23, 2009 at 06:46 PM
So seed is only fair when it publishes articles that align with your views? That article was trash and they don't publish such stuff anymore because they probably lost a lot of credibility for it. And science bloggers post independently from SEED. Where is your proof that they are "pharma shills"? I could just as easily claim that you are being paid off by AoA, by one of their vitamin pushers, or that you aren't even a real person but some ghostwriter with an agenda (If I was a nutjob I would say you were Jenny McCarthy herself, but your writing is much better). And what does Bly have to do with any of this? Attacking a high ranking businessman in a company rather than actually pointing out flaws on the blogs (or imagined flaws) seems a bit misplaced. Why would not responding be a problem? He's probably a busy man, I wouldn't fault anyone (evil or not) for not responding to some letter from a college student (or high school at that time?) especially one spinning some weird conspiracy theory for an issue he probably doesn't know about because of some articles he probably doesn't have much to do with.
Posted by: deep | September 23, 2009 at 06:43 PM
Jake, you have a real journalism voice. Authoritative and unapologetic. God knows we need some real investigative journalists these days. Also some dedicated legal minds- thought about law school?
Posted by: Helga | September 23, 2009 at 05:49 PM
Good stuff Jake. Thank you for so thoroughly researching the "science" blogs and their bloggers.
Interesting revelation about Offit's death threats. I never knew he said they had ever stopped. He sure did a lot of traveling for someone who was scared for his life didn't he? He is such a BS'er.
Keep writing Jake- look forward to your next piece.
Posted by: Andrea | September 23, 2009 at 04:00 PM
Well, when I think about Hooper's "The River"....sigh...It's a kick in the gut in the sense that almost 60 years laer and still no accountability. The same will happen to us I'm afraid.
Posted by: kathleen | September 23, 2009 at 03:06 PM
Rebecca Fisher wrote: Could you direct us to the evidence (not conspiracy theories) that suggest that AIDS was caused by vaccines?
I would suggest reading The River by Edward Hooper. It's rather long but goes into extensive detail about the evidence that exists for a link between aids and the polio vaccine.
Posted by: Robin Nemeth | September 23, 2009 at 01:49 PM
Rebecca- Read the book "The River" by Edward Hooper.
It is a shame that there isn't a real science blog where things could really be debated and discussed. I'd love to see a debate about autism. Here's a topic that could be intellectually heated: Does oxidative stress due to mitochondria damage by heavy metals eventually lead to immune dysfunction OR does the immune dysfunction happen FIRST leading to chronic inflammation and subsequent oxidative stress and mito damage. Now there's a debate. Or I guess you could just dismiss the question as crazy anti-vax nonsense. Apparently that's what real "scientists" do.
Posted by: Jack R. | September 23, 2009 at 01:42 PM
are NDs just like SPs (suppressive persons) in scientology?
Posted by: Patron | September 23, 2009 at 12:18 PM
Could you direct us to the evidence (not conspiracy theories) that suggest that AIDS was caused by vaccines?
Posted by: Rebecca Fisher | September 23, 2009 at 11:09 AM
wow, Jake!! That's some important information you've uncovered. Thanks for all your work!
Posted by: jen | September 23, 2009 at 10:24 AM
Thank you for writing the article, Jake.
To Julie, that excellent article in Discover magazine came out in April 2007. The journalist, Jill Neimark, did a fantastic job - researching the issues in great detail, actually TALKING to scientists, doctors and parents etc. It was a 6 page cover story, the best and most comprehensive to appear in mainstream media.
It wasn't long after that magazine's editorial policy suddenly changed. A complete and sudden U turn - an article like Jill's would never make it through nowdays.
Makes one wonder what went on behind the scenes in response to that article, who pulled what strings.
Posted by: Natasa | September 23, 2009 at 10:01 AM
I wonder how it feels for Bly and company to have their asses handed to them by a college kid.
Jake is a college man.
Posted by: Ginger Taylor | September 23, 2009 at 09:55 AM
Jake, you are terrific and I am so thankful that I can come to AoA and read your writing. This is a wonderfully detailed piece that brings so many bias connections together. I, too, am not surprised at your lack of reply from Adam. He has no credibility.
Posted by: kathleen | September 23, 2009 at 08:22 AM
Several years ago Discover magazine ran an excellent article on the gut-brain connection in autism. It may have been 2004. It seems since then the pharma industry has taken over all science and medical- related media.
This is a perversion of science, the opposite of true science. Keep up the good work Jake.
Posted by: julie | September 23, 2009 at 08:20 AM
Jake wrote: I referred him to the story his magazine ran five years ago, but Adam Bly did not reply.
The people who’ve profited from the approval, promotion, marketing, and sale of these vaccines know well enough what they’re complicit in.
Until they are subpoenaed they are not going to reply to a single legitimate question with anything but insults and lies.
Posted by: Robin Nemeth | September 23, 2009 at 07:39 AM