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Chicago Tribune Buys Award With CDC’s Help

ChicagoTribune-Sign By Jake Crosby
Chicago Tribune journalist Trine Tsouderos recently co-wrote an LA Times blog post that said:
Advocates of a vaccine-autism link immediately seized on the announcement [that a researcher denying a vaccine/autism link stole $2 million] as an indicator that the whole research program was corrupt…Thorsen may be a crook, but there were lots of other scientists involved in the research, and their integrity is not being contested.
Thorsen was the second highest listed co-author from the university that led the Danish study on the MMR. He was also second highest listed co-author from the university department that led the Danish study about thimerosal.

Of course, Tsouderos ignores the fact that the data behind the Danish research on the MMR vaccine indicates that the younger the child is immunized with the vaccine, the more likely that child is to develop autism. What’s more, when the reporting bias is removed from the data behind the Danish research on thimerosal, autism rates fell after removal of the preservative.

What’s most shocking of all is that Trine Tsouderos, along with her partner Patricia Callahan, recently won an award from the Association of Health Care Journalists for their Chicago Tribune “reporting” of alternative autism treatments. Their stories can be summed up as dismissing hundreds of pages of scientific evidence and the doctors and scientists who provided it. Tsouderos and Callahan also favorably quoted drug industry researchers without providing any balance to these views. Another focal point of the articles was an autism father’s lawsuit against ARI doctors. What was omitted was the fact that the prosecuting attorney was a lawyer for “Quackwatch,” a basement-run organization led by a psychiatrist, Stephen Barrett, who did not pass his board certification exams and is a listed advisor to the national industry front group – the American Council on Science and Health.

Tsouderos and Callahan’s stories also showed tacit support for “mainstream,” off-label treatment of children with autism with psychotropic drugs that, unlike the alternative treatments for which the evidence of harm is totally lacking, have been found to cause milk-producing breast growth in boys, obesity, diabetes and death to name just a few side effects. In other words, Tsouderos and Callahan are tobacco journalists.
 And yet, they won an award for drug company propaganda. In fact, they took the top prize from the Association of Health Care Journalists. What is the AHCJ? This is its website description:
The Association of Health Care Journalists is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing public understanding of health care issues. Its mission is to improve the quality, accuracy and visibility of health care reporting, writing and editing. There are more than 1,000 members of AHCJ.
AHCJ calls itself an “independent, nonprofit organization,” but just how independent is it? Its Vice President is Karl Stark, journalist for Paul Offit’s hometown newspaper, the Philadelphia Inquirer. Stark favorably quoted the millionaire vaccine industrialist in one of his articles.
Apparently, the AHCJ is controlled by a think-tank, the Center for “Excellence” in Health Care Journalism (CEHCJ). According to the Center for “Excellence” in Health Care Journalism’s website:
The Center is classified as a supporting 501(c)(3) for AHCJ, Inc. The purpose of the Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism is to ensure that journalists are properly trained to cover news events, trends, and issues in all aspects of health care journalism, including the business of health care, public policy, medical research, medical practice, consumer health issues, public health, health law, and ethics.
On a list of “grantors” of the CEHCJ, we see the CDC Foundation, which has actually been supporting the center for the last two years. Also on that top-tier list of donors is none other than the “Chicago Tribune Foundation,” the only newspaper on the list. Hence, with help from the CDC, the Chicago Tribune bought its own award.

Even more disturbing are the events the Association for Health Care Journalism will host. On its homepage, the AHCJ announces, “Sebelius, Frieden to brief reporters at Health Journalism 2010.” That’s Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, and his boss Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, who just last month said in an interview:
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.
Sebelius denies evidence that shows vaccines are unsafe, expects others to believe the tobacco science that claims they are safe, and is manipulating the media to report this narrative for her. And yet, the AHCJ is encouraging its reporters to get briefed by her, and her CDC underling. The event will be held in Chicago, and is being sponsored by the Chicago Tribune Foundation.

It goes without saying that health journalists should not be rewarded for cranking out drug industry propaganda, but if doing so can win awards, why not? It worked for Trine Tsouderos and Patricia Callahan.
Jake Crosby is a college student at Brandeis University who is double majoring in History and Health: Science, Society and Social Policy, and is a contributing editor to Age of Autism.



The same thing that happened to these ARI doctors also happened to Care Clinic in Austin Texas. Stephen Barrett found a patient then convinced them that his therapy was not appropriate, and then suggested that he sue the Clinic. Even worse Stephen Barrett talked an IRS agent into believing that the treatments provided were fraud. Barrett is basically a shill for Aetna insurance company. He is all over their Clinical Policiy Bulletins. People need to fight back now or all these good therapies will be gone along with their doctors. Stephen Barrett has been relying on anonymous complaints to medical boards to put doctors out of business he doesn't like. He has been doing this for 20 years, and even helped put a doctor in jail in Arkansas his crime doing chelation. In his mind chelation=fraud and fraud=jail.

Tags: Quack, Quack, Stephen Barrett, Stephen Barrett, Quack Quackwatch Stephen Barrett, Quackwatch Aetna, Mary Ann Roser Trine Tsouderos, Chicago Tribune, Lead Toxicity,
Mercury Toxicity, Ronald Stemp Forbes


Trine will probably be the brian deer of the US. People with protected information will "leak" information to her as they should not have had it in the first place. She will then write about it and then they will cite her as "their" source since they cannot do it directly.


I just posted a comment and referred to "the little men behind their big flashy screens". I should have given credit to/included the little women, too. Like Sebelius. Like Geberding. And particularly like the gal from SmithKlineBeecham, mfgrs of the Urabe-strain MMR, who crowed, after they played their little footsy game with the government's 'immunisation' body (the JCVI), that "the government has immunised us."

That was then, babe. This is now.

The party's over.


What excellent investigative journalism, Jake; well done.

This is the answer to all the Pravda-type 'reporting' that we will be getting, when the corporate media honchos succeed in whittling down the last true investigative journalists, in their cost-cutting exercises, and substitute these PR-type jobs. Like Big Pharma producing scientific-looking journals, full of bumf. The Internet, with sites like AoA, will allow good, solid investigators like Jake to have their say, and show the public the little men behind their big flashy screens.

Keep up the fight, Autism community. Obviously the Powers That Be are running scared; so they have to resort to all manner of invective and sleight of hand to try to silence your criticisms. Their day of reckoning is coming. Not soon enough. But better late than never.

And if anybody tries to tell you or your circle of acquaintances, because of the story-slanting of these PR bandits, that Wakefield was a fraud, and so there is nothing to the concern about the MMR, quote the facts Andy shares with Alan Golding, about how the public health authorities in the UK covered up the reports out of North America of the dangers of the Urabe-strain MMR in the late 80s (the mumps component causing meningitis), to keep jabbing UK kids with it, because it was a fourth of the cost of the competition's product - and how those same authorities later fought so hard against Wakefield's initiative on a study about the MMR's link with gut damage because they got the government to indemnify the producers, so the govt would be liable if the cases ever got to court, not the mfgrs, and the public would find out about all this; including the fact that the dangerous vax was not ever 'withdrawn', but shipped to the developing world. Outrageous imperialism.

These criminals need to be brought out from behind their crafty screens and made to pay for their criminality, and for the public to realize who the real Nazis are in this matter, with their mentality of sacrificing individuals 'for the greater good', and trying to hush it all up, so they wouldn't have to take any responsibility for it. As parents of those sacrificed individuals, don't let them get away with it. Ever. You and your children deserve redress, and the world deserves knowledge about all this. Keep making waves. For another metaphor: It's the squeaky wheel that gets the oil. For other imagery: Light. More Light. And drive the rats back into the darkness from whence they came.

Dr. L'Hommedieu

The Iraqi Journalist "Shoes" award would have been more appropriate.


Thanks so much for peeling the lid off of this claptrap and exposing it for what it is.

Hermione Stranger

I'd like to see the medical/vaccincation records for their kids. Isn't Trine preggers? Did she take H1N1 and flu while pregnant. Merlin's beard I do wonder.


My, my. The Association of Health Care Journalists has set up quite a handy reciprocal network to reinforce status quo mainstream medical viewpoints. The AHCJ conferences regularly feature speakers from the CDC presenting one-sided vaccine information favorable to the agency; check out their website.

With newspapers slashing staffs, freelance writers are legion and low-paid. I'm sure the AHCJ greases the skids with prewritten bullet points so attendees can leave the conference ready to parrot editor-pleasing articles that repay those conference costs.


If anyone wants to let the Association of Health Care Journalists know how they feel about Tsouderos and Callahan's award, here's the contact info:

Association of Health Care Journalists
Missouri School of Journalism
10 Neff Hall
Columbia, MO 65211

Phone: 573-884-5606
Fax: 573-884-5609

E-mail: in[email protected]

web site: http://www.healthjournalism.org/

Jake Crosby

Not to fear, we'll just replace the words "award-winning journalist" with "award-buying journalist."


From "across the pond":-

One small problem is that she can now describe herself (or her newspaper describe her) as "award-winning (investigative) journalist".

Some years ago in England there was a newspaper editor called John Junor who used the phrase, "pass the sick bag, Alice", whenever something particularly revolting emerged from the depths of government. I can't better his words.


Jake you are brilliant!

Well, what can we expect from a media who has an arrangement with the CDC not to report on certain new health & research related stories until CDC gives it the green light. This is a big reason why blogs such as Age of Autism and Adventures in Autism out-scoop the mainstream media on stories pertaining to autism. I imagine this happens with other medical conditions as well.


This is just Fantastic. Let's all receive awards for plopping the biggest and stinkiest piece of shit!

I cannot believe this! They are actually being awarded for being anti-recovery. Their pieces that they wrote were like plagerized from other blogs and its not like they did any of the research. I mean had they done any research they would have seen many upon many of papers that have the complete opposite view on vaccines and autism.

Reading their pieces on the Tribune was like reading something that came directly from Pr-Offit's book. I hope for their sake and Carma that one of these Ladies does not wind up with a child with Autism down the line.

Dig below the icing - cupcake.

I wonder if they had cupcakes at the award cermony. :) Imagine. Once a cupcake reporter...always a cupcake reporter - on all things sugar-ey, sweet, light and non-controversial. Just like a child taking what is handed to you by the government.

Cupcakes don't have "meat" in them. That's why they are fun to report on.


There's another term for giving oneself an award along the lines of self-gratification.

But an award is an award and the Trib should be proud. Let them stand up and give themselves a hand(job).


It is worse than removing a bunch of mulch and seeing all the creepers scattering. Too many to even decide which one to try to catch!

Teresa Conrick

Really good investigative reporting, Jake. It's something that the Trib lacks and why they have lost many readers. This informaton now adds the element of collusion with CDC and not just Offit and his crew. It further describes the unethical (illegal) tentacles of the vaccine program and hopefully gives Grassley and any others an invitation to investigate.

Anne McElroy Dachel


You point out the truth about what the public hears concerning the autism controversy: It's all very one-sided and controlled. Tsouderos, Callahan and the rest of their ilk can't tell us anything about autism--the cause, effective treatment, or cure. They don't care. Autism is a mystery. It's nothing to worry about.

They promote the propaganda that autism has always been around. This is the biggest lie of all because the public has no idea what's coming. I can't imagine what it'll be like in 10 or 20 years in the US when we have a significant adult population with autism.

Not only will we hold the medical community/health officials responsible for covering up the reality of the autism epidemic, but also their willing minions in the press.

Anne Dachel

Katie Wright

For Pete's sake what lunacy.

The Tribune reminds me of my years at Boston University. We had an amazing independent newspaper called "The Free Press." They did fantastic pieces on bureaucratic waste and mismanagement. Rather than addressing the problems, BU decided to finance their own newspaper, it was called "The Paper" but was commonly referred to as "Pravda." This was the 80s.

Pravda, like the Tribune was bought and paid for. Their point of view never wavered.They too awarded themselves all kinds of accolades. The whole thing was hysterical.

The Tribune's pieces on autism remind me of "The Onion." It is only too bad something so important is at stake.

Erik Nanstiel

Tsouderos and Callahan are the worst kind of journalists. Are you certain they weren't drug lobbyists or pharmaceutical reps before the Trib gave them a typewriter??


Beat up on autism families and get an award while you're at it . . . only in America.

Jim Thompson

"The purpose of the Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism is to ensure that journalists are properly trained to cover news events, trends, and issues in all aspects of health care journalism…On a list of 'grantors' of the CEHCJ, we see the CDC Foundation, which has actually been supporting the center for the last two years."

Jake, thank you. You expose the CDC Ministry of Truth. Perhaps the words “poison is harmless” are engraved on the CEHCJ award.


Jake Im beginning to become quite fond of you!! :)

Bob Moffitt

Tsouderos and Callahan wining an award from the CEHCJ reminds me of former president Bush standing shoulder to shoulder with Michael Brown .. his then appointed head of FEMA .. amid the devastation of flooded New Orleans .. saying "You're doing a hell of a job Brownie".

John Stone

I don't know Jake, it sounds like just the sort of award they deserve.


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