Gardiner Harris writes about medical news for The New York Times. He has called out pharma on numerous occasions, most recently this weekend regarding the diabetes drug Avandia. Lisa Goes, an AoA contributor, sent Mr. Harris an email regarding his treatment of The Lancet retraction. The response she received from him is below in red. Her email follows as well.
How is it that Mr. Harris can ride a white horse regarding pharmaceutical drug safety and yet don a black hat when it comes to vaccine safety? In fairness, Mr. Harris did report last year, NYT Reports CDC Failed to Properly Screen Vaccine Advisors for Conflicts of Interest.
Read his article, Research Ties Diabetes Drug to Heart Woes and pay attention to this paragraph, “Instead, G.S.K. executives attempted to intimidate independent physicians, focused on strategies to minimize or misrepresent findings that Avandia may increase cardiovascular risk, and sought ways to downplay findings that a competing drug might reduce cardiovascular risk,” concludes the report, which was overseen by Senator Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, and Senator Charles E. Grassley, an Iowa Republican."
Why should we believe vaccines, the new profit center for pharma, are exempt from strong arm tactics and outright fraud? Also from the article:
Hundreds of people taking Avandia, a controversial diabetes medicine, needlessly suffer heart attacks and heart failure each month, according to confidential government reports that recommend the drug be removed from the market.
The reports, obtained by The New York Times, say that if every diabetic now taking Avandia were instead given a similar pill named Actos, about 500 heart attacks and 300 cases of heart failure would be averted every month because Avandia can hurt the heart. Avandia, intended to treat Type 2 diabetes, is known as rosiglitazone and was linked to 304 deaths during the third quarter of 2009.
----- Forwarded Message ----
From: "Harris, Gardiner" <email@example.com>
To: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
Sent: Fri, February 19, 2010 8:00:42 AM
Subject: Re: READER MAIL: Gardiner Harris
Thanks for your note. I'm sorry for your children's difficulties, your anger and your willingness to believe wild conspiracy theories about the roots of autism.
----- Original Message -----
From: NYTimes.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Harris, Gardiner
Sent: Thu Feb 18 22:09:35 2010
Subject: READER MAIL: Gardiner Harris
To: GARDINER HARRIS
You have received reader mail via nytimes.com. To respond to this reader, simply 'reply' to this message.
Dear Mr. Harris, I was recently forwarded your New York Times article regarding the Lancet retraction, found here http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/03/health/research/03lancet.html. I am the busy mom of three small children with little free time to correct feeble reporting. Conversely, I'm certain given your impressive tenure in the journalism community you are not accustomed to admonitions from the public. I can assure you I do not routinely begin correspondence to someone I've never met with such direct aggression. It's just that given the needs of those around me I really don't have the time or patience for political correctness.
Remember, doing the work yourself is fun! You move on to spokesman for the CDC, Tom Skinner's quote, ''It builds on the overwhelming body of research by the world's leading scientists that concludes there is no link between M.M.R. vaccine and autism," and you explain that this information came from an email. Can you tell me Mr. Harris, is Mr. Skinner a doctor? A scientist? Or is he the guy who sends out the press releases and gets coffee for everyone? Who did he send this email to? What was the context of the email? Was it sent to you for the purpose of writing this article or did you get it as a third party? Sloppy, Mr. Harris. Very sloppy. Mr. Skinner seems to have mastered the art of speaking without meaning as he too references the same conclusive-beyond-all-shadow-of-a-doubt "body of research" that the autism community and the America public have yet to see. Which is odd, considering it was authored by "the world's leading scientists." Do you know any of these scientists by chance? It's a good rule of thumb to know the names of the people you are writing about. Maybe you could ask your brother Crane if he knows them, given his history with Jolla Pharamceuticals? I know it's sort of cheating to let your brother do the work for you, but since I've assigned so much homework I'm willing to throw you a bone. It just gets better when you explain, "With each new theory, parents� groups have called for research to explore possible links between vaccination and autism. Study after study has failed to show any link, and prominent scientific agencies have concluded that scarce research dollars should be spent investigating other possible causes of autism." Mr. Harris, I know it's embarrassing to hear this from a nobody like me, but--science is actually the process of discovery. Clearly in your many years as a journalist no one has pointed that out to you so for this infraction you will not be penalized. Going forward just keep in mind that real science asks all the questions. It doesn't originate with the int!
ent to d
ismiss, disprove, or disassociate, it simply observes and reports. Ergo our "theories" which evolve over time, may be better understood as the logical progression of knowledge that accompanies true scientific investigation. Coincidentally, criticizing us for "each new theory" is absurd. Do you discredit research physicians who are developing radical chemotherapy treatments to help patients with rare forms of cancer? I suppose not. They make drug$. No criticism or investigation necessary. In this age of point and click technology couldn't you at least link the conclusive evidence Mr. Skinner believes "study after study" demonstrates, to your article? Or maybe include a list of the "prominent scientific organizations" that affirm these vast amounts of proof for us? Since the CDC is the only organization you bother naming I assume you consider it among these hailed bastions of public health and safety. I visited the CDC website, found here, http://www.cdc.gov/ and was shocked to see they've not published a graph charting the drastic rise in autism rates since 2006. That's four years and many thousands of ASD cases ago. You might want to talk to your pal Tom about that. Let him know that even with the blindfold on the freight train heading toward him has the same obliterating effect upon impact. 3.2 million dollars per boxcar, and escalating. For this next and last transgression, Mr. Harris, you and your contemporaries should pay, as Amy Wallace, Paul Offit and Conde Naste may soon be forced to do for accusing Barbara Loe Fisher of lying, and as Paul Offit has already done for his inaccurate comments about JB Handley chronicled in his book, Autism's False Prophets, according to Ginger Taylor, author of the blog, Adventures in Autism. You must stop falsely referring to us as anti-vaccine. We are anti-toxin, anti-mercury (the second deadliest neurotoxin know to man), anti-formaldehyde, anti-aluminum hydroxide, anti-aluminum phosphate, anti-ammonium sulfate, anti-antifreeze, and anti-cellular matter from aborte!
fetal tissue. We are anti-ALL preservatives that have been grandfathered into FDA approval without proper investigation that poison our children and are administered on an aggressive vaccine schedule that literally banks on latent symptomology. We are anti-immunization schedules that do not take our children's individual medical histories into consideration. We are anti-infectious diseases. We are against an autism pandemic. We know BOTH can be avoided with green vaccines. Do you understand, Mr. Harris? Do you get it? All the adjuvants (and many more) listed above are still in our children's vaccines. We have witnessed no decrease in childhood autism, despite the questionable removal of Thimerosol (which still exists in our children's flu shots), because the same cost-effective, inferior, autism promoting preservatives are still in them. Right now, at this very moment. We are experiencing skyrocketing reports of ASD diagnoses and we have ADDED more shots to the schedule! Add shots, get autism. Add more shots, get more autism. Golly it's just so complex. Sadly, lots of parents really do believe the science is beyond them. They leave the truthful reporting and scientific interpretation to you. You know you can skate by with generalizations and half truths because your readers won't know the difference. They trust you. I've never said this to anyone in my life, Mr. Harris. You should be ashamed. Your writing is less about information and more about deflection. Which, come to think of it, vaguely resembles propaganda. Right here on American soil, in one of our most respected daily journals, no less. What you have attempted to pass off as journalism is nothing more than regurgitated hand-outs from government agencies trying to stave off awareness of the biggest conspiracy in american history. Perhaps world history. Think about it. A little back story. In college I had a professor who talked to me in much the same manner that I have spoken to you today. I hated him. Years later I realized he made me think and !
my work obsessively. I was always asking questions and refining my papers until I was certain I'd done the best I possibly could. I hope you will allow my tutelage to improve the quality of your work. It's not personal, I just know you can do better. Your readership deserves it. I look forward to your enthusiastic response and improved future publications. Best, LJ Goes
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