Did Kathleen Sebelius Pressure Media to Deny Vaccine Safety Voices?
By Jake Crosby
"There are groups out there that insist that vaccines are responsible for a variety of problems despite all scientific evidence to the contrary. We have reached out to media outlets to try to get them to not give the views of these people equal weight in their reporting to what science has shown and continues to show about the safety of vaccines,” (HERE) according to HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, in her interview with Arthur Allen for The Reader’s Digest, on February 5th of this year. Sebelius basically admitted to pressuring media outlets to report disinformation to the public in place of information that does not support the safety of the government’s most heavily promoted drug. As shocking as this statement was the first time I read it, I honestly could have predicted such a scenario.
One year ago, I wrote a short post for Age of Autism entitled “History Suggests HHS Candidate Not Unbiased on Thimerosal-Vaccine Issue,” amidst the Brian Deer-concocted hysteria and the flurry over autism cases in vaccine court. It was written in response to a number of disturbing things I read at the time about members of her staff dismissing concerns about thimerosal when she was Governor of Kansas. I was disappointed with the lack of mobilization in response to my post, though the timing of her nomination was very unfortunate. What was especially disappointing was that she replaced Senator Tom Daschle, who helped kill the Homeland Security Rider that would have protected thimerosal manufacturers such as Eli Lilly from litigation.
Worst of all, I was right. When I first saw her interviewed for CBS by Katie Couric last year, Sebelius confirmed that she was biased when she insisted thimerosal was safe. I was disappointed, but not shocked. Now as it turns out, she not only believes thimerosal is safe, but is getting the media outlets to say so for her. The New York Times, The LA Times, The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, The Washington Post, TIME, Wired…I can only guess!
It goes without saying that the government is no more entitled to its share of media coverage than consumer groups are. That news reporters are even following through on the government’s demands is unacceptable and in violation of journalism ethics.
Government officials like Sebelius have also launched a very successful two-pronged campaign so far. The first is one of positive publicity and self-promotion, selling themselves as the “experts” in autism. In reality, public health officials are not experts in autism at all, and Sebelius’ specialty is in insurance, which means her background does not even give her the most vague knowledge about autism. Meanwhile, Paul Offit feigns authority in a favorite argumentative technique claiming, “Science is best left to scientists.” Yet the real scope of his knowledge is made clear on posts he had written for “Science”Blogs, in which he said he learned about autism primarily through newspapers and lay people with personal connections to the disorder.
Looks like he’s not much of a scientist after all. So we are the real experts on autism, the ones who actually take the time to educate ourselves about this disorder and actively pursue relevant information about the condition. That’s not to say having an MD cannot be a huge plus, though it can also be a huge minus, simply that actively pursuing information about autism, be it in books or on the internet, not passively reading about it in the news, is what really counts. As the consumer voice on this issue we should have every bit as much of a say as does government. The second PR game of the government’s is a negative publicity campaign against the consumer advocates. It basically builds on its previous tactic of feigning credibility and expertise where it has none, and from that they develop their claim that by daring to disagree with them, we are unreceptive to criticism. This is exactly the kind of argument officials like Sebelius have been making. What more can one expect from a government official whose pet healthcare plan has received an $80 billion pledge from the drug industry? In reality, it is nothing more than a bizarre brand of newspeak the government and industry has been engaging in for some time: being unreceptive to all criticism of the blatant tobacco science defending vaccines, and then proceeding to stifle that criticism by projecting their lack of reception onto their critics. Needless to say, if Sebelius and the rest of the government really had science on their side they would not have to go to great lengths of telling media outlets to stifle evidence unfavorable to them. In fact, nothing would serve their viewpoint better than an article that stacks up their arguments next to our arguments and allow readers to draw their own conclusions, if they had the facts on their side that is. Perhaps that is why they despised David Kirby’s book, “Evidence of Harm,” so much.
On the bright side, at least Sebelius’ quote explains why the past year has been a particularly terrible one in terms of media coverage. We need to send our own message out to the media, to not listen to this conflicted government that shields drug companies from vaccine litigation, and promotes vaccines in a way unlike any other drugs. They need to be pressured to do their jobs as the media watchdogs of public health, not lapdogs as even The New York Times’ Nicolas Kristof admits, who then proves his own point by saying the vaccine-autism link has been “discredited.” The government’s easily debunk-able myth that all scientific evidence points to vaccines being safe must be dispelled with scientific evidence that some vaccines are not safe, especially the government’s own court concessions that vaccines cause autism to show it is doing one thing, while saying another.
In the meantime, lessons must be learned so another Sebelius-type does not get assigned to a position in the Presidential Administration. The Senate confirmation of Ari Ne’eman to the National Council on Disability is still pending. We have to do all we can to resist this and pressure our senators to reject his nomination outright.
Jake Crosby is a history student with Asperger Syndrome at Brandeis University, and Contributing Editor to Age of Autism
And here we are.
all these years later.
Social media censorship, Facebook eliminating vaccine injury groups.
Drs theatened with loss of license for viewpoints and treatments.
social credit scores trialed in Italy.
What a sad course direction was chosen back then!!!
We need better leadership and representation.
A more transparent Process.
(a rant and a prayer)
Posted by: greyone | May 10, 2022 at 04:01 PM
Hey, Jake, the link to the Reader's Digest article quoting Ms. Sibelius no longer works.
I am assuming that they are trying to cover up all traces of what she really said, now that they realize that it's been made public....
I hope you can write more about this specific occurrence.
Posted by: Taximom | May 29, 2011 at 06:32 PM
This is what medical fascism is.Poison the kids neurons with mercury,destroy the connections between the neurons.Closing the eyes on the rising autism (also auto-immune disorders and alzheimers too)numbers and
ordering the press not to report the story of the other side.Democracy?You must be joking.They clearly know that they are
damaging 2-8% of the population,some will have delayed effects,some will break under the toxic load as the mercury,formaldehyde,
aluminum adjuvants etc. bio-accumulate in their body.Now they have added detergents to
the the mixture (polysorbates),they are sitting in their lab and screaming "it is safe",never looking at the patients (to get a feedback)whose lives are completely destroyed.Wake up parents and protect your children.Start reading labels,investigate everything you eat,put on your skin,your meds,your grocery.They have even put anti-freeze into the salad dressing.Polysorbates into the icecreams.
poisoned by these corporations.I wonder if this gets through.
Posted by: Just a mother | March 15, 2010 at 06:49 AM
I am an autistic person, and Ari Ne'eman does not speak for me.
Posted by: Jake Crosby | March 13, 2010 at 12:52 PM
She was the Governor of Kansas. Prior to being Governor she was the state's Insurance Commissioner. If I remember correctly, this is unusal because she is a Democrat and Kansas is typically a Republican state. Her husband was (maybe still is?) a Judge I believe and I believe her father was in politics in Ohio.
Posted by: For Maggie | March 12, 2010 at 08:43 PM
What is wrong with Ari Ne'eman. Why do you want to stop autistic people speaking for themselves.
Posted by: RethinkingAutism | March 12, 2010 at 07:57 PM
The only surprising thing here is that Sebelius' urging the press to "not give equal weight to these people" is that it became public. The media are paid by pharmaceutical, insurance, and other companies. That's how they survive. There is no independent press. I am not sure there ever was one.
Mercury in all medicines as well as amalgams has been treated as if it were unimportant, as if the dose makes the poison, and that mercury is not all that dangerous. There even have been studies showing that mercury is good for the developing brain (True!). Pharmaceutical companies do it with any substance that hurts their bottom line.
In the same vein one might think the recent surge of interest in Vitamin D would be left alone. But as you might see in a recent Chicago Tribune article, doubt is cast on the validity of all the recent discoveries implicating Vitamin D deficiency. Pharmaceutical companies are afraid of losing a niche market that as of now has been unregulated.
The connection of mercury and Vitamin D is not farfetched. Mercury causes kidney failure which in turn causes Vitamin D hormone (calcitriol) deficiency and with that glutathione deficiency. The foreign press is not quite as cowed.
Thanks for the article!
Posted by: Birgit Calhoun | March 11, 2010 at 05:05 PM
Posted by: Jake Crosby | March 11, 2010 at 12:59 PM
Oh Kathleen, Kathleen, how transparent can you be?
Working for the government, vaccines, your own interests, what a trilogy?
Says you, we are cooks and loony cranks
Deservant of no voice or wide appeal, gee thanks
Stifle the little children, forbid them.. gee how nice
Suffer them, let them be a living sacrifice
They have no voice,
they have no choice
they are acceptible losses to most
And will continue to haunt your your business plan like a scary midnight ghost
Can you silent the angry outcry?
Can you just let these children suffer and die?
Censorship is what you want to make it alright?
I must ask? How can you sleep at night?
Stifle the free speech, what a free world I live in today?
Where children are less deserved of attention, than an acceloratored car on a highway?
Where animals and pets get more attention of health affects
Than a child who is a pin cushion and immune damaged wrecks
Oh Kathleen, Kathleen, your way too deep now to turn back
Can you remember your last lie, or do you always have to think fast?
You yield some power, your on a power mind trip
frankly my darling, you make me and others sick
Corruption is entrenched from the vaccine makers to you
All are complicit, and in danger of the bold and revealing truths
If they come in my lifetime, a miracle that would be
But I won't hold my breathe as long as you are standing watching over the vaccine zealotry
If you are afraid of these very truths on the verge
Perhaps a quick kick in the pants would give you that bold courage
To stand up to your bosses that sit in yonder leather chairs
As they sit and laugh at little moms and dads who have no power to change these sad affairs
Ah yes, Kathleen, we may share a name it's true
But, you are the most indecent human being I know, and I am glad I am not YOU!
Health, and Human Services, oh is that right you say?
Your whole agency is a farce, a whacky beholden to pharmalot ways
My taxes are paying your salary, oh how I disgust at the thought
It's not the world of freedom that I was taught
Where people have a voice, decide on what laws govern right
Oh Kathleen, Kathleen, HOW DO you sleep at night?
Posted by: Kathy Blanco | March 11, 2010 at 11:28 AM
It's amazing that KS feels perfectly fine about saying, "We have reached out to media outlets to try to get them to not give the views of these people equal weight in their reporting..." We are called paranoid conspiracy theorists, but there it is in black & white, our HHS secretary saying that she is attempting to censor this story. And apparently her (and others') attempts have been quite successful.
Reminds me of the 2005 article "Drug Test" from the Columbia Journalism Review - a quote:
"A reporter for a major media outlet, who did not want to be identified for fear of retribution, told me that covering the thimerosal controversy had been nearly 'career-ending'... 'For some reason giving any sort of credence to the side that says there's a legitimate question here - I don't know how it becomes this untouchable story, I mean that's what we do, so I don't understand why this story is more touchy than any story I've ever done.'"
Thanks, Jake, well said!
Posted by: Twyla | March 11, 2010 at 02:57 AM
Katie: "Sebellius should be ashamed of herself".....but she is not. Shame is not in her genes or the genes of authoritarian arrogant vaccination bastards. What they want is the 11th commandment. Obey,vaccinate,obey.
Julie, how long before the internet sites are shut down after multinational corporations/governments fabricate some malevolent decree, which shuts down web sites. Just look at all the decrees which were issued directed at Jews after Kristallnacht.
And to add this to Jake's article: . http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/02/health/02flu.html?hp
About 40 members of the national press took part in the Washington, DC, event, which included some online flu blogs and news services..............Discussions during the three exercise modules "were off the record" so that federal officials could freely discuss their responses to potential communications problems.
Who from the press besides Forest Sawyer attended these events? Eight were held around the country. Was Sheryl Atkinson invited?
Posted by: michael framson | March 11, 2010 at 01:56 AM
Vaccine Inc. is sinking like a stone in a deep pond, and big government big media and big pharma know it.
NOT becuase of websites like this or my own but, because there is both enough SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE and PHYSICAL EVIDENCE in the ‘real world’ that very much proves that vaccines are 1.) a danger to the public at large and 2.) make huge sums of money for the medical industrial complex on ALL fronts.
…but they don’t need government pressure from Kathleen Sebelius. Big media IS big Pharma. They both own stock in each other. This is just a dog and pony show for the masses.
Posted by: John H | March 10, 2010 at 11:42 PM
The comparisons to Nazi Germany are all too valid.
We, like the European Jews of the 1930's, are all too naive. We assume that just because we have truth and morality on our side, and because we are a civilized nation, that these evils can't continue, that all we have to do is point out that the emperor has no clothes and others will realize that we speak the truth.
It's going to take much, much, much more than just pointing out the obvious truth.
The pharm companies are more powerfully entrenched WITHIN the government and media than we'd ever imagined. They mix a shred of truth to their lies to make their lies stronger and more believable, and they've managed to convince even the most well-meaning and intelligent doctors that vaccines are safe.
Posted by: Taximom5 | March 10, 2010 at 11:12 PM
Jake - very nicely done. That is a brilliant analysis, and it explains a lot of what we have been seeing over the past year.
Look, the real science is pointing in our direction. Anyone who has read (or tried to read) the Zimmerman book will come away (1) very encouraged that tangible progress is being made, and (2) that the real science - the non-tobacco-science - is pointing toward environmental pathogenesis and away from genetic causation.
Time is on our side in the sense that the truth is coming out. But time also working against our kids, as more and more fall victim each day to what appears to be a preventable disorder.
Posted by: Bob | March 10, 2010 at 11:03 PM
As we are now supposed to brace ourselves for a "third wave" of H1N1,
does anyone have a number on the total number of shots given in the US, and what the "cost per shot" of the "free, two billion dollar" pandemic response ???
News here today was that hospitals are still closed to visitors under 12 years of age due the th H1N1 scare. EVEN IF they have had their H1N1 and Seasonal FLU shots !!!
A child cannot visit a sick grampa or grandma....
Posted by: cmo | March 10, 2010 at 10:56 PM
Why does anyone ever wonder why the Media supports and broadcasts the pharmaceutical propaganda? The pharmaceutical industry played it smart when they bribed their way into getting permission from Congress to advertise in the media. Their financial influence over the media gets them whatever they want. They own the media and they own congress, so why is anyone wondering what is going on.
What is going on is Nazi Germany all over again and the internet is "Radio Free Europe".
Posted by: Autism Grandma | March 10, 2010 at 10:28 PM
here's my idea: every chance we get, when somebody says vaccines have been proven to be safe, refer to it as "tobacco science"
great term, Jake!
Posted by: Steve, autism dad | March 10, 2010 at 08:50 PM
May I suggest doing an end-run around this strategy? If everyone in this community walked into their local public library and requested a book on biomed, or on vaccine problems, the librarians would become aware of this community and their needs. Once the request has been made, come back and ask for the next book and the next. Order medical journal articles via interlibrary loan and explain to the librarian why you are researching the topic. Offer to do a community presentation featuring books in the library collection and telling your own story.
If Sibelius or the AAP or Offit start trying to tell librarians that only one side of the story should be aired...it will only encourage librarians to buy more books and recommend them to more people. We librarians hate censorship!
Posted by: MinorityView | March 10, 2010 at 03:35 PM
I've wondered what kind of missives have gone out from DHHS and CDC warning media away from covering vaccine injury reports and safety concerns.
I suspect some of the faux consumer groups are getting to state and local media, as well. From what I've heard, newspaper and TV rationalize their inaction by stating with pride that they're not alarming the public. Instead their inaction gives implicit consent to the ongoing damage.
Posted by: nhokkanen | March 10, 2010 at 03:31 PM
I think Justice Potter said it best.
"Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself."
Posted by: Harry H. | March 10, 2010 at 02:50 PM
Thou shall not steal.
Yet billions of taxpayer dollars have been stolen from the Treasury for SARS, Bird Flu and now H1N1.
Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Yet HHS officials falsely compare present day to 1918 to assist this theft, knowing that penicillin had not been discovered in 1918.
Posted by: Where are the Churches? | March 10, 2010 at 02:10 PM
Excellent report. Sigh. I wish it wasn't true. I remember when Sebelius said the governement had "no idea" what could be causing the rise in autism.
Here's a hint: in you're own way, you are, Kathleen.
Posted by: Gatogorra | March 10, 2010 at 02:05 PM
She stepped into the tangled web created by those who went before her. Clearly, though, she's a tool who has decided to embrace the lie. It reminds me of John Malkovich in "Dangerous Liaisons"...repeating over and over again the pitiful refrain, "It's beyond my control" as he destroyed the lives around him, and his own soul.
Message to Secretary Sebelius: Regardless of your censorship efforts, the lie will be exposed, and if you are on the wrong side of it you will be FOREVER unelectable. Sleep tight.
Posted by: Garbo | March 10, 2010 at 01:22 PM
The HHS would not want the public to lose confidence in their 36 shot, we have "no clue what causes Autism," / liability free... vaccine program.
They also would not want the public to lose confidence with various "shit on the children" secret vaccine meetings, and their world class safety studies of vaccines, supported be the pathetic epidemiology of some fine data from bankrupt HMO's.
Posted by: cmo | March 10, 2010 at 01:18 PM
The government is equally if not more culpable for this disaster. Naturally they want to control the message.
Their egregious mistake of partnering with the medical community and the pharmaceutical industry in what they believed was an effort to protect the people has actually been perhaps the most unfortunate example of how that partnership has harmed the people instead.
Their lack of foresight to predict the potential danger, corruption, and bias of such an alliance is directly responsible for the damage of a generation. They have no more right to decide their culpability or role in this mess than the medical or pharmaceutical industry.
We the victims have lost the support of our medical community and our government in the pursuit of truth and justice, and now it appears (as it has for a long time), our media. What a tragic day when all of the checks and balances that are supposed to be in place to remain a country of the people, for the people, and by the people prove to be non-existent.
Thank God for the internet.
Posted by: Julie Obradovic | March 10, 2010 at 01:11 PM
Censorship is fundamental to the vaccine issue - journalists are perpetually menaced over moral responsibility for disrupting the vaccine programme - and latterly they have largely put up the white flag. They have been persuaded that it is somehow unlike other issues of public safety, and they now seem dead to possibility that such institutional bullying must ultimately warp the conduct of science and medicine, or that the danger of not reporting is that it may also put the public at hazard.
In the UK last year a radio broadcaster, Jeni Barnett, was censured by a group of Members of Parliament, predominantly so-called Liberal-Democrats, after she questioned MMR on the air, and the radio station brow-beaten into removing her broadcast from their website. Journalist don't dare speak, partly because the editors won't back them, and they will be hauled over the coals if they make the most microscopic error. People are simply being harrased into silence.
Posted by: John Stone | March 10, 2010 at 12:28 PM
Why is the media caving to her requests, instead of laughing in her face? What sort of power does she hold over them?
Posted by: Kristina | March 10, 2010 at 12:08 PM
Who did she work for before?
Posted by: maggie | March 10, 2010 at 12:03 PM
Amazing story Jake.
What is wrong with Kathleen Sebelius? Since when is censorship the answer to medical problems and concerns? Did she want to ban all media discussion of how the hormone replacement drug caused breast cancer as well. It is astonishing that our public officials are using their powers to stifle free speech in ANY WAY.
Sebelius should be ashamed of herself.
Posted by: Katie Wright | March 10, 2010 at 10:56 AM
Thanks Jake for excellent writing. Clearly the huge marketing campaign launched by Sebelius and team (NVAC, IACC, etc) to restore public trust in vaccines is not working. In fact, as autism numbers continue to rise without swift action by our government and lack of research funding for epigenetic triggers to autism (vaccines included), the public has become more wary. Often parents outside of our community ask me "what don't they want us to know?" Also, 1 in 4 parents surveyed believe that there is an autism-vaccine link. This does not mean that they believe that 'all' vaccines cause autism in 'all' kids. It means in a subset of children with compromised immune systems, they cannot tolerate the current CDC schedule. You don't have to look far to find a story about parents who witnessed regression in their typically developing infants and toddlers.
Posted by: we know the real story | March 10, 2010 at 09:52 AM
"they need to be media watch dogs not lap dogs." Love that, it's so true. They (the major news media) are really letting the children and parents down.
Posted by: jen | March 10, 2010 at 09:33 AM
Even with all her "reaching out" to the media, she still couldn't get anyone to take her rotten vaccine. She is a complete joke at this point.
Posted by: mary | March 10, 2010 at 09:12 AM
The "news" has been relentless this year (starting with Alison Singer December 2008).
Posted by: Henderson | March 10, 2010 at 09:00 AM
Unfortunately, I can't say I'm surprised at this. But, of course, it just brings back my original question from the very beginning after finding out both of my boys were on the "spectrum". If every ingredient in vaccines is so safe and effective, why the push to cover up negative feedback and legitimiate questions or concerns?
Posted by: Debra | March 10, 2010 at 07:33 AM
I always enjoy your posts, Jake. Is it a certain committee or the senators at large that we need to contact about Ari Ne’eman?
Posted by: Judy Brasher | March 10, 2010 at 07:31 AM
Wow, I hadn't heard about her having said this. Thanks Jake. Just confirms what we have been seeing in the media in the past year. Several years ago when the Hannah Poling ruling came out reporters came out to a local autism school to interview parents of vaccine injured children and they wrote a lovely, two sided article. That would NEVER happen these days. The media has an agenda on this issue, no question about it....and that agenda includes ignoring the eye witness testimony of tens of thousands of parents and counting the discredited Vaerstratten study as proof!
Posted by: AnaB | March 10, 2010 at 07:25 AM