AAP: The Internet is Causing the Autism Epidemic?
Barbara Fischkin: A Miracle Group Home for my Son with Autism


You-are-dismissed-749788 By Anne Dachel

Tuesday night’s PBS Frontline show, “The Vaccine War,” is getting a lot of reaction within the autism community today.  Before watching Frontline, I’d heard enough about the show not to expect fair coverage. The very title was misleading.  The word “war” makes one think of a conflict with two sides.  That’s not what PBS presented to the public however, and anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of the vaccine controversy, could recognize the spin. 
On their website, PBS promoted this show saying, “In The Vaccine War, FRONTLINE lays bare the science of vaccine safety and examines the increasingly bitter debate between the public health establishment and a formidable populist coalition of parents, celebrities, politicians and activists who are armed with the latest social media tools -- including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter -- and are determined to resist pressure from the medical and public health establishments to vaccinate, despite established scientific consensus about vaccine safety.”
In truth, what we witnessed on PBS was yet another example of media bias and a distorted reporting of the facts.  Parents have grown weary of the mantra, “vaccines are safe, vaccines save lives.”  How many times has this issue been declared settled?  How many studies have been announced showing vaccines don’t have serious side effects like autism?  This debate shows no signs of stopping, despite the ardent efforts of shows like Frontline.
The claims of parents were noted and dismissed on Frontline.

A growing number of parents say that vaccines can cause autism and that more studies need to be done.  Frontline reported that the science is in.  There’s no need for more research because multiple, large-scale studies from around the world have looked at the question and the answer is no. 
Ten of thousands of parents report that their children were normally developing until they were vaccinated.  They regressed and became autistic.  Paul Offit, MD, Anthony Fauci, MD and Eric Fombonne, MD declared that regression following vaccinations is mere coincidence.
Parents are worried about the number of vaccine in the schedule.  Frontline had Melinda Wharton, MD, MPH in her Public Health Service uniform telling us about all the disease-preventing vaccines that are out there now.
The autism numbers have skyrocketed coincidentally with the dramatic expansion of the vaccine schedule.  Frontline called autism “mysterious” and said it “appears” to have increased.
On their website, PBS included this interview with Montreal psychiatrist, Eric Fombonne.
(HERE)  In it Fombonne explained why autism is not an epidemic.
I think a better name for the show would have been, “The Anti-vaccine Movement: Misguided and Dangerous.” 
PBS portrayed parents as impassioned and determined but totally without any science on their side.  We see Jenny McCarthy, JB Handley, Barbara Loe Fisher, and Robert Kennedy Jr, along with a number of non-vaccinating parents.  To the general public the message was clear:  The medical community is lined up against them.  Their movement is based on fraudulent research (Andrew Wakefield) and celebrity leadership (Jenny McCarthy).
So why do the show? 
Why give more publicity to the phony claim that vaccines have harmful side effects? 
Maybe the answer is that despite the best efforts of health officials and their willing followers in the media, the public isn’t buying it.  Parents are scared.  Autistic children are everywhere in our schools and no one can reasonably explain where they’re all coming from.  A lot of the Frontline show was about the power of the Internet.  Offit declared that people are getting phony information from watching YouTube videos.  The Internet is the dangerous influence, according to all these health experts.  Fisher, McCarthy, and Handley use this forum to influence the public.  Parents are exempting their children and we’re losing herd immunity.  This is becoming a national health threat.
There was nothing new in what the pro-vaccine people had to say.  We were reminded that they’re focused saving lives.  Nothing was new from the other side either.  Parents continue to hang on to the false belief that vaccines can harm children.  It’s hard to imagine what PBS hoped to accomplish with this show.
What we never hear:
Notice that under no circumstance does anyone ever bring up what else motivates the medical community and health officials.  No one mentions that these people have everything at stake in this debate.  If countless parents are right and vaccines have damaged a generation of children, people will be held responsible—the same people who tell us vaccines are safe.  Media sources like PBS like to pretend that this is just about the science, but any clear thinking person knows that’s not the case.
There was another element was missing from the PBS coverage.  Where were the experts on our side?  Why did PBS make it seem that only parents are concerned about vaccine safety?  Did they make any effort to find any of the well-credentialed scientists and doctors who disagree with the main-stream medical community?
The answer is yes, they found them two of them.  PBS interviewed Jay Gordon, MD and Robert Sears, MD.  They discussed the issue with producer Kate McMahon for several hours each. 
Gordon is a nationally renowned pediatrician and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, UCLA Medical School. 
Sears is also well-known and the author of several books, including ones on vaccines and on autism.
So what happened to their interviews?
McMahon said Gordon was cut because it was “best for the show.” I spoke with Dr. Sears and he said that he was told that his interview was cut because “there was too much footage.”  Paul Offit was shown a number of times on the broadcast, but there wasn’t thirty seconds for either Sears or Gordon. 
Sears’s interview is on the PBS website (HERE)  Gordon’s is not.
Sears makes it clear that he’s pro-vaccine.  He hopes that by offering an alternative schedule, reluctant parents will continue to vaccinate their children.

He’s hardly the threat to herd immunity that non-vaccinating parents are, but incredibly, Frontline made no mention of Dr. Sears. 
The only way the story presented by Frontline works is if we just forget about autism.  We have to pretend that there’s been no real increase.  The vaccine schedule may be more than three times what it was in 1983, but it hasn’t caused any problems.  The only epidemics we need to worry about are the ones caused by non-vaccinating parents.
The real problem is, AUTISM ISN’T GOING AWAY.  One percent of children have it.  One in every 70 boys.  We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of disabled children who will live long lives, many severely disabled and totally dependent.  PBS may try to change the subject and ignore the reality of what’s happened to our children but the public hears more and more about autism everyday in the news.  As these affected children age into adulthood, they will cost billion of dollars each year for their support and care and their numbers will be replaced by another generation of children.  This is the scariest scenario I can image.  And no one is talking about it.
Among the questions Bob Sears was asked were these two: “What if vaccines turn out to be a red herring? What if we're so off the mark with vaccines?” 

I think Kate McMahon should have asked him two more questions: What if vaccines turn out to be the cause of the autism epidemic?  What if all those questioning vaccine safety are right?
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism



According to PBS, folks like me are "determined to resist pressure... to vaccinate, despite established scientific consensus..."

No. No, no, no. And in case that wasn't clear enough, NO.

I've begun resisting pressure to vaccinate anymore BECAUSE OF scientific consensus, which is all-too-comfortable writing off an increasing number of kids as collateral damage in the war on disease. And all-too-comfortable writing off adult autoimmune disorders as mysterious coincidences.

Our family has tried it the CDC's way, and we've suffered adverse reactions to vaccinations. The absence of direct CDC monitoring means future attempts to vaccinate are a gamble with our health. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Autism Grandma

Re: "The very title was misleading. The word “war” makes one think of a conflict with two sides."

Actually this was the only part of the show that was accurate, the title. This IS a WAR, and we are going to have to find a way to fight it better.

Re Post by Liz: "Thanks for motivating me to get back out there with my sign today Ann, "Vaccines Cause Autism"..."

Why can't we all post this sign in our front yards??!!! Get this message out everywhere. Can someone design a sign and then just sell it for cost to get it out there for distribution. I am thinking of real estate signs that are very durable yet inexpensive. They go into the ground on a U shaped wire. I have several that I have used for estate sales and garage sales. They work great---people see them driving by. I am going to make one of these myself for my own front yard now but I don't have any money to have these mass produced. Someone does and the money will be recovered through selling for cost. Generation Rescue, can you do this please??!!!

Here is my idea for my own sign:

"Vaccines cause Autism" in Big letters

Followed by "and ADD, ADHD, Allergies, Asthma, Diabetes, Cancer...."

Autism encompasses a minimum of 1 in 100 families, but all these other diseases encompass the majority of other families.

SOMEONE PLEASE GET THESE SIGNS MADE RIGHT AWAY!!! There are too many children's lives at stake. We also need posters like this with websites listed. We can ask our friends, relatives and others who own businesses to post these where many people in the public will see them, as well as the signs in their own front yards. For each child with autism caused by vaccines there is an entire group of other family members and friends who have come to realize the truth about the vaccines.

This is in reality a WAR and it is high time for all of us to stand up for the truth by publicly declaring what we know to be the truth: "Vaccines Cause Autism"


For anyone who's interested, here's what I just posted on PBS's Frontline blog. This was in response to Mr. Palfreman's answer to the criticism he's been receiving. He said he "presented both sides" so that was good enough.


Including a "wide variety of viewpoints" is a spurious cover story, Mr. Palfreman.

In a literal sense, yes, you presented "both sides."

But you clearly adjusted the WEIGHT / CREDIBILITY to be accorded to each side by choosing the faces who would be presented to represent each side.

You put the most credible face possible on the pro-vaccine side,
versus a "former playboy playmate" (shame on you for that sexism!).

Why didn't you interview Dr. Bernadine Healy? Yes, you know who she is - former Director, NIH. And you know what she says about vaccines!
Why didn't you interview her?

What about Dr. Mehmet Oz? He is on PBS all the time -- why wasn't he interviewed?

A: Because those voices, and a number of other highly-respected doctors AGREE WITH PARENTS that there are serious unanswered questions about vaccine safety, and that those questions include the involvement of vaccines in the pathogenesis of autism.

Mr. Palfreman, this is YOUR "Dan Rather moment." Or should I say, your "Mary Mapes moment"?!
[Ref. the Killian documents controversy].


@Twyla: Absolutely Brilliant. Have you considered sending it to Frontline? (I vote yes.)

we shall overcome

Twyla, great post. And, Stagmom, thanks for your balanced reporting (prostate vaccine, Rotarix). You should be running Frontline.

michael framson

Rileysmom was remembering that DNA fragments of a virus similar to simian (monkey) retrovirus was found in RotaTeq vaccine. Offit knew this when he was interviewed.


There are unconfirmed rumors that Frontline’s next show will be about the recently publicized reports of cars accelerating out of control. The exact cause of this remains a Mystery, but apparently all of the well credentialed Experts around the world are united in their opinion that there is nothing wrong with these cars, but that the drivers have a genetic defect affecting their feet, which causes the right foot to press uncontrollably on the accelerator while the left foot becomes paralyzed and unable to push on the brake.

Of course, this genetic condition has always existed, but these days it is noticed more often because of increased awareness. In the past (even just a few years ago) nobody was aware enough to notice cars accelerating out of control and crashing.

Certain car models appear to be involved more often in these accidents, but this is just a coincidence and not statistically significant. There was one study that seemed to show statistical significance, until a whole lot more crashes were added to the stats. Now the original statistics have been lost.

In this hard-hitting piece of investigative journalism, Frontline will interview a group of women who no longer drive their cars because they are worried about sudden acceleration. These women say that their overall health and fitness has improved since they started walking more instead of driving. Then some Experts will explain how dangerous it is to not drive because in the event of an emergency you can’t get anywhere soon enough. They will talk about how hard life used to be 200 years ago before cars were invented, and how people in some parts of Africa suffer greatly because they don’t have cars. They will interview some people who were stranded in the middle of a desert and almost died of thirst because they did not have a car. Yes indeed cars are important, so how can anyone be against them?

(At some point a little boy asked, “But what does all this have to do with the acceleration problem and figuring out what is causing it and how to fix it?” But that part of the videotape has been cut and is lying on the floor, soon to be swept up and discarded, along with the interviews of several auto mechanics who actually examined some of the cars in question, and doctors who examined some of the drivers who survived.)

Then some more Experts will explain that most people don’t understand how cars work, and don’t understand genetic foot disorders, and shouldn’t even try to understand, and shouldn’t read anything on the internet, but that the Experts are figuring everything out for us (thank goodness!!) and even though it is still a Mystery with No Cause and No Cure nobody should worry because the reports of acceleration are anecdotal and probably didn’t even happen. The consensus of all those who Really Know (the Experts) is that there is nothing wrong with any cars, so move along and go watch some mindless TV shows or go for a drive - and stay OFF that computer!!

All the viewers will breathe a sigh of relief after watching this very reassuring program, which confirms that there is absolutely nothing to worry about.

Hard-hitting investigative journalism – courageous, brilliant, leaving no stone unturned. Brought to you by PublicBS TV, with funding from the generous car manufacturers themselves.

[Lest there be any confusion -- this is imaginary - satire - not a real show.]


Anne, I have one small quibble with what you wrote.

The PBS show was not an example of media bias. It was an all-out marketing ploy, funded by the pharmaceutical industry, whose representatives fund PBS.

It wasn't reporting. It was just a very long commercial for vaccines.


A tetanus shot reaction for a grown man of 34 years old has some of those same side effects that you mentioned.


OH yea, Kim, I know it wasn't HIS vaccine but I didn't hear him breath a word of it and I find it amazing if he wasn't aware of this contamination before this was taped.


I read that article and it didn't bother me so much. When men hav radiation and chemo and surgery the side effects can be devastation. No more sex life, incontinence - imagine how dreadful. If the vaccination is the "delivery" method and it avoids these real side effects, I'm interested in learning more - even though I'm lacking a prostate!


Any questions on Frontline about Autism soon turned to talk about the measles.

I see tonight they are working on some vaccines for prostate cancer.

Three shots for only $90,000.

Of course they will be liability free, & covered by insurance I assume....


If Frontline was trying to discredit our movement by only showing the "crazy moms & dads" and no scientists or doctors on our side, can we please encourage all DAN doctors to get together, write a book as a united front and then go on a publicity tour as a group on (Larry King, Oprah, CNN, morning shows, etc).

These doctors like Gordon, Sears, Bradstreet, Cave, Buttar, etc all need to come out and let people see that yes, they are MDs a nd they believe their is a connection. I think Moms will defintely pay attention and ask more questions.


"Propaganda is neutrally defined as a systematic form of purposeful persuasion that attempts to influence the emotions, attitudes, opinions, and actions of specified target audiences for ideological, political or commercial purposes through the controlled transmission of one-sided messages (which may or may not be factual) via mass and direct media channels." — Richard Alan Nelson, A Chronology and Glossary of Propaganda in the United States


Frontline - not sure if you can hear this - it's the sound of one hand clapping.

A friend of mine once joked (when talking about a 'discussion" he had with his wife) "there are 3 sides to every argument we have - mine, hers, and the truth"

It was a sort of a take on a very old (Joseph Addison) quote - and it struck a chord here.

"Vaccine wars" is spawned by the "war on disease". It's all WAR, because you can't win a debate or have a civil discussion based on fear and propaganda. But you can win a war, and even justify the casualties. 2 of the three sides play out in this war. The 3rd (the truth) gets lost because it's not black or white. Two established medical proponents of what I consider to be a pretty sane and reasonable point of view were left on the editing room floor.

Even those who agree with the Frontline's opinion should take issue with the approach. Unless of course you believe that information should be filtered in some way to support an agenda, if it's supposedly in the "public's best interest", and that we can call that investigative reporting. Some do, and frankly, I find that to be far scarier than chickenpox.

Theresa O

I've been puzzling over the omission of Dr. Sears' interview on the show. As Anne rightly points out, he is pro-vaccine, and he offers an alternative schedule that still includes all of the CDC-recommended vaccines. So why would he be treated like an enemy by Frontline? Possibly because he talked about general vaccine risks, beyond autism. He mentioned specific cases in which children he knew sustained neurological injuries, not specifically labeled autism. Therefore, his interview couldn't be "neutralized" with the standard "but it's been proven that vaccines don't cause autism" line of BS that we usually hear from the media. So Anne is right: PBS wants us to forget about autism--and to forget about every other vaccine injury, even if they have to muzzle Dr. Sears to get us to forget it.


It wasn't Dr. Offit's RotaTeq that was contaminated with the pig virus, it was Rotarix, the competing vaccine.

Tim Kasemodel

I am wondering about the way Desiree Jennings' vaccine reaction was portrayed as a hoax.

Does anyone know if she will be writing a response to the show?

Will Generation Rescue be addressing that?

It was utterly disgusting to me to see her treated that way - they show a reporter coming up to her and questioning her on it but never showed what her response was (quick kick between the legs I hope).

It seems there would be a case here for at least a public apology if she were to bring her medical records to a lawyer.


Being I am unable to post this to PBS Frontline, I hope I can post it here because I just need to say it. I'll continue to try and post on the Frontline. What needs to be done...find out how many of those "foundations" and "viewers like you" contribute with pharma money.
Paul Offit sat through his entire interview knowing that the rota virus vaccine was contaminated by monkey virus. The "news" of this didn't break until AFTER this was filmed but he already knew. A person that is afraid of his own facts, who hides the details...this is what PBS went to for their "information"? He knew this before it was ever reported. I didn't see this information on my local news, PBS, or CNN...I caught it on the Internet. Another tid bit of information I caught on the Internet, April 22, 2010 A study released suggesting a link between Human Diploid Cells (aborted human fetus tissue) used in vaccines and autism. I never heard mention of the monkey virus on Frontline...something else that was missing, Dr's Jay Gordan and Bob Sears' interviews. Balanced reporting? Hardly. Not even close. This is strike 3 for PUBLIC (not so much) Broadcasting Station for our family. First Elmo promoting vaccines, the Sid the Science kid, now this. You're out. You will never get a dime of support from me or ANY of my family again. I will spread the msg far and wide...maybe if the PUBLIC speaks and it hits you in your wallet...you'll figure out what balanced reporting really is. You were supposed to represent the PUBLIC or is your next goal get the big pharma bucks to support the station? Bet you got all sorts of offers from Merck and Co. on Weds morning.


continue to make your complaints to the ombudsman at OPB. He is mentioing all the heat.


Robin, as if genocide weren't bad enough, how about infanticide? Now worldwide.

we shall overcome

To PBS, AAP, CDC et al from Ralph Waldo Emerson and all concerned parents:

"I cannot hear what you are saying because what you are doing is speaking so loudly."


Thanks for motivating me to get back out there with my sign today Ann, "Vaccines Cause Autism"...they do. My children were both injured, from my vaccines and theirs. They mess up our minerals; cause imbalances that allow our bodies to be taken over by bacterial, fungal, viral, and parasitic infections. This mess is going to take more than a generation to fix and we haven't even started yet - what a shame. So I'm gonna go try to save some babies today, so they don't have to live in torment like my kids...


I took a short walk last week with the kids and ran into no less than three people who told me that vaccines cause autism and that the media was all spin. A bookstore owner, a teacher and a waitress in a cafe home from college, age range between 20s and 60s.

One conversation started over the rise in peanut allergies, the other about lead in toys. I never said the "A" word-- the comments on vaccines and autism were unprompted. Since my kids are still so little and recovering, no one was acutely aware of their disabilities.

What the media is mostly doing is training skeptics at this point.


Here's a good article from Boston.com:


To "Let's Fight Back". I sent the "Sexism and bias at PBS - please stop donating" letter to all my contacts. A reporter from a newspaper contacted me and said they would publish the letter in their paper if it is sent by the original author. If this is you and you're interested, please contact me soon and I will put you in touch with the paper. Send e-mail to mwagnit@gmail.com

Dr. Strangelove

I suspect that the new book, Watching YouTube: Extraordinary Videos by Ordinary People (University of Toronto Press, 2010), will be of interest to your readers.

Dr. Strangelove
University of Ottawa


Vaccinations can be followed by medical events like fever, convulsions, diarrhea, bowel impaction. When this is succeeded by loss of speech, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out what happened.

Let's Fight Back


They're terrified of the power of the internet. Let's use it:

First, file a complaint with the FCC describing PBS' extreme bias and omission of interviews with scientists and physicians critical of the vaccine program and the studies that defend it.


Second, copy and send the e-mail below or create your own.

Subject line:
Sexism and bias at PBS - please stop donating

On April 27th, PBS introduced Jenny McCarthy not as an advocate for safer vaccines, not as a best-selling author of seven books, not as a film and television actress, but as a Playboy playmate - in a transparent and sexist attempt to discredit her.

PBS, heavily funded by the pharmaceutical industry, launched an all-out war on Ms. McCarthy and on all Americans who do not subject their children to every single one of the 36 vaccines in the CDC's current vaccine schedule. (Our former CDC Director is now president of Merck's vaccine division.) In the show titled "The Vaccine War," not a single doctor or scientist critical of the current vaccine schedule was heard from. The interviews of at least two such doctors ended up on the cutting-room floor.

Here's what one of those doctors had to say to PBS after being informed his entire two-hour interview was cut:


Before agreeing to her interview, Ms. McCarthy was promised by PBS, in writing, that voices of physicians and scientists from BOTH sides would be aired. But a PBS spokesperson later said it was "best for the show" to cut those interviews.


The U.S. mandates the most vaccines in the world for children under 5, has the highest autism rate in the world, and its infant mortality rate is 34th.

Thank you for taking the time to examine this important issue. Please forward this e-mail.

For more information:

Maurine Meleck

good synopsis, Anne. It would be hard for me to ever watch Frontline again and believe anything on it. Thanks.

Robin Nemeth

The people responsible for funding and producing Vaccine Wars, as well as all of the people who appeared in it making excuses for the current vaccine program, are complicit in genocide. But then, I think we all knew that four or five years ago. Nothing has changed except that there are more lives that have been destroyed.

Bob Moffitt

You are right Anne .. FRONTLINE offered "nothing new in what the pro-vaccine people had to say. We were reminded that they’re focused saving lives".

The reason .. FRONTLINE producers and writers .. after all these years of controversey, do not know the difference between "science" from "talking points".

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)