Paul Offit's Day Job: Teaching How to Counter Vaccine Safety Concerns
Peer Reviewed Papers Support Findings

Frontline Retreats

Monty-python-run-away By Anne Dachel

Last week’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 although the links may have moved since the show aired.)  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 unless the links have moved.)  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 were right?
 
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism.
 

Comments

Rebecca

If you have a child with autism please complete this 15 minute survey and/or if you know anyone who is a parent of a child with autism please pass the following link along. I am a graduate student doing important research on the views of parents of children with autism and would appreciate your help. It is confidential.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/attributionandhope


Thank you!

brian

To Alan, who spoke of Cubas tyrant and dictator....Batista is long gone....AND now Cuba is a country with elections (unlike US cubans actually get to elect officials) and a free and generous medical system. you amy like to investigate it abit more instead of parroting the official bull.
'Credibility'...whatever does that mean? When so many think that having a medical degree or being in some sort of office confers credibility.

essfox

to Alan re: michael moore and cuba: in sicko he was being absurd when comparing cuba to us, same w/ guantanamo detainee's health care. extreme anecdotes help make his case, but the facts are the facts: people in cuba get (their version) of health care paid for, and 30M here DO NOT

essfox

re a 'fair' documentary, everybody needs to contact michael moore, i think he's the man to do it. i have tried in the past, and had a few friends do the same, but maybe A OF A can start the snowball...

to Alan

There is a very good chance that certian people would hurt the credibility of "vaccines cause autism". Esp. if those certain people have been to Cuba and praised a tyrant and a dictator and their health care system (which they took him to the very best place"

"vaccines cause autism" at this point needs credibility - or it will be another 30 years and 1 out of 10 number.

cmo

A proper commision or documentary could begin to put an end to the disaster. The errors and omissions of the Frontline episode are beyond obscene.

Not sure what side Michael Moore is on, or if he could help out,

but it would not be difficult for him to determine the best side to be on.

I am sure all are welcome at AoA.

Christopher R. Smith

Frontline also interviewed Dr. Rashid Buttar from Huntersville, NC, for 3 hours, met with 3 of his patient families and interviewed them as well - spent 7 hours in his clinic and included not one second of footage from the Dr. or the families that he has helped. How fair or balanced is that?!

bensmyson

I dont know why someone one hasnt done a documentary on autism that the world won't want to see. I actually held an Academy Award in my hand that belonged to the producers of a doc about the fall of Noriega. The film makers were from Chapel Hill. NC. Im sure it was done for less than $100,000. Think about how Food Inc changed the way America looks at what we have on the shelves in our grocery stores.

Oh wait, now I know why it hasnt been done before, lack of distribution. Im sure HBO has a big rubber stamp on the head of development's desk, that says NO! to any submissions regarding autism and vaccines.

Nick'sMom

Hey PBS why didn't you ask these questions to Paul Offitt:
1. If vaccines are so safe, then why did the rotovirus vaccine that you created kill some children?
2. So you think vaccines are safe, even when they kill some children? Explain that.
3. You state that babies can receive up to 10,000 vaccines at one time. Alright, Paul, roll up your sleeve and take this vaccine cocktail equal to 10,000 shots at one time. Prove it!
4. Is it true that you have never treated anyone who has autism? How, then, can you claim to be an expert on autism?
5. Please explain how making millions of dollars on vaccine patents makes you an ideal, unbiased commentator on vaccine safety?

Elizabeth Rawnsley

Re: Frontline: Vaccine War
From: rawnsleyb@aol.com
rawnsleyb@aol.com To: frontline@pbs.org; info@judicialwatch.org
Date: Sun, May 2, 2010 1:48 pm

Frontline,PBS: Decision to cut out interviews of Dr. Gordon: Dr. Sears


I am forwarding you this email correspondence because I am interested in the decision making process,relating to the news coverage on Frontline:( Vaccine War) I am very concerned with the health care of our children and the control of the news media coverage. It is becoming somewhat of a war. Way too many battles for our children to fight when we have so much money,power and control of the news media involved in the process.

Who was responsible for cutting out any interview coverage of Dr. Sears and Dr. Gordon?

I didn't see any coverage of the Gardisil vaccine or coverage on the sudden death of an infant. (SIDS) No mention of the Vaccination Injury Program. This program is in the hands of our own government and it has been overseen by our own governing officials. Our children have experienced personal injuries,brain injuries and deaths have occurred and this news media outlet decided to
edit out information that must have covered some of these concerns. Maybe the interviews offered some reasonable solutions and some accountability in this process. We don't know because the interviews were not aired by this station.

Why are we relying on a non profit organization such as Judicial Watch to gather data on the serious side affects of the Gardisil vaccine? Young girls are being vaccinated at a very young age for something that is not at epidemic stages of development. The vaccine may protect someone for five to seven years. The personal injuries that have been reported to the government should place this vaccine and the manufacturers of this vaccine in some medical and judicial review process. Is this government control of our
healthcare? Advertisement ads continue to support the need to vaccinate our teen age girls and now our boys will become vaccinated,as well. No mention of any deaths,related to this vaccine.

We have some problems and it is unfortunate to continue to bear witness to the injustices of the news media in the New England Region and throughout the country. This administration has not implemented any changes and this administration has not addressed
any concerns with all the data that has been forwarded on to the Vaccination Injury Program. The U.S.D.O.J. is not supposed to be representing the manufacturers of vaccines. The U.S. D.O.J. is supposed to work for our children. Why are we at war with our own government?


Sincerely,
Elizabeth A. Rawnsley

Autism Grandma

Re Post by Zed: "The only way our views will ever be fairly stated is to make our own production on whatever venue will accept it without pharmaceutically-biased intervention. Perhaps a documentary that airs on Free Speech TV would be a possibility. They have no sponsors to interfere, and the creative minds of AoA, NAA and Generation Rescue could tell a story that America would never forget."

YES YES YES!!! This is exactly what I was thinking the entire time I was watching this PBS program online. The autism community has to produce it's own documentary with one expert after the other testifying to the same fact: Vaccines Cause Autism.

Where to get the funding for production and promotion---Michael Moore of the controversial "Sicko"??? He did a great job on that documentary. If not him there has to be someone out there who will take this on and has the money to not only produce this, but to market it so that the public really gets exposed to this information.

As for the rest of us who are limited in our capacity to contribute to the cause, we need T-shirts, posters, and signs for our front yard that all say the same thing: "Vaccines Cause Autism". We need well designed flyers so that when people ask us "Why are you wearing that shirt?" or when they knock on our front door because they really want to know why "Vaccines Cause Autism" we will have information that will send them looking in the right direction to Generation Rescue, TACA, NVIC, etc.

This is absolutely a way that we all can contribute to getting this urgent message out there. This way it is obviously a grass roots movement that can involve millions of parents if promoted well, and can't be written off as simply the "ravings of a Playboy Bunny". (Sorry Jenny, we all know the truth but the idiots who say this are influencing alot of people who don't know any better)

Let's all unite with the same message that Jenny started with Warrior Moms. Warrior Moms can wear these Tshirts when they go out shopping etc., put the signs in their yards and posters in their businesses...hand out flyers everywhere.

Speaking of Warrior Moms---why would so many thousands of WOMEN be so impressed with a "former playboy bunny"??? Now some Dads might be tempted to go hear Jenny speak because yes that woman is definitely gorgeous and sexy. But all these Warrior MOMS? Obviously "Sexy" has nothing to do with it.

PBS made a big mistake when they associated Jenny's influence to her previous life. That was THEN and this is NOW. According to PBS, we all fell for Jenny because she is just so damn sexy. HAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!

michael framson

Kathy, Anything that alerts the masses as to the many ways in which we are getting royally screwed by the collusion between government, corporations, and the media is national security issue.

The national security issue is that the people are waking up. What I don't know: what will happen when it reaches critical mass?

Media Scholar


The long-standing problem is the unwillingness to let go of secular dogma. A vaccine is an act of alternative faith.


The public isn't having any parent who lacks the self-respect to state they will never support the vaccine theory especially after having eye-witnessed their own child's regression. You may think you are scoring points by maintaining perception of secular piety, but to the public...

If you read comments coming from the general public they overwhelmingly rejected Swine Flu vaccines. 138,000,000 rejected vaccines just here in America. Times that times millions and millions more worldwide.

As a pro-vaccine parent you just need to shut up and accept that your child is an ultimate sacrifice on the secular alter. Your child's life is nothing more than the price humans must pay for the cost of keeping the world safe from killer Measles and Mumps.

Until there's a change of heart about vaccines you can forget ever approaching public acceptance.

Vaccines are not rooted in science, but rather developed as an act of faith. You fear becoming an infidel or a heretic in a secular world ruled by academia.

Perhaps this will lift the scales from some eyes?

PBS Frontline and the vaccine manufacturing drug companies followed the well-established framework of radicalism.

The rules of radicalism from wikipedia:

Rule 1: Power is not only what you have, but what an opponent thinks you have. If your organization is small, hide your numbers in the dark and raise a din that will make everyone think you have many more people than you do.

Rule 2: Never go outside the experience of your people. The result is confusion, fear, and retreat.

Rule 3: Whenever possible, go outside the experience of an opponent. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.

Rule 4: Make opponents live up to their own book of rules. “You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.”

Rule 5: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It’s hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.

Rule 6: A good tactic is one your people enjoy. “If your people aren’t having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic.”

Rule 7: A tactic that drags on for too long becomes a drag. Commitment may become ritualistic as people turn to other issues.

Rule 8: Keep the pressure on. Use different tactics and actions and use all events of the period for your purpose. “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this that will cause the opposition to react to your advantage.”

Rule 9: The threat is more terrifying than the thing itself. When Alinsky leaked word that large numbers of poor people were going to tie up the washrooms of O’Hare Airport, Chicago city authorities quickly agreed to act on a longstanding commitment to a ghetto organization. They imagined the mayhem as thousands of passengers poured off airplanes to discover every washroom occupied. Then they imagined the international embarrassment and the damage to the city’s reputation.

Rule 10: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. Avoid being trapped by an opponent or an interviewer who says, “Okay, what would you do?”

Rule 11: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it. Don’t try to attack abstract corporations or bureaucracies. Identify a responsible individual. Ignore attempts to shift or spread the blame.

The main job of the organizer is to bait an opponent into reacting. “The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength.

Mom23boys

I'll bet you a nickel that "this show has been brought to you by Wyeth, Merck, Lilly or some other big pharma"

Say it isn't so....

I attach below the comment I tried to post over at NPR before the show. It did not appear, perhaps simply because it exceeded their 400 word limit.

I will add here that I was initially very skeptical of any potential vaccine link to health problems, but was led to investigate further in part due to the infamous NYT article by Gardiner Harris pitting parents vs science. It was the very clear spin/bias of that article that made me start looking a lot more carefully at all sides of this issue. So, it seems likely to me that this very biased Frontline show may motivate a lot of other people to start looking more carefully at the whole issue of vaccine safety.

I have said before that Jenny McCarthy is like the little boy in the story The Emperor's New Clothes. Unlike folks with science backgrounds, she is not fettered by a need to completely understand the whole topic, or fears of looking foolish by stating her view without strong scientific evidence to back up her position. She is just calling it like she sees it.

The "skepticos" and unfortunately NPR are trying to keep folks believing in the whole vaccine mirage by repeatedly chanting words similar to those of the charlatan tailors: "only intelligent, trained scientists are capable of observing, gathering data, understanding, interpreting, evaluating, or perceiving" the "truth." and those who question vaccines are heretics, uneducated, crazy, unintelligent, etc., just "don't know that "correlation doesn't equal causation," that "ethylmercury is different from methylmercury;" they don't know that "the dose makes the poison;" they don't understand that complex-sounding science, "epidemiology;" they don't know the difference between "peer-reviewed science and anecdotal evidence."

Apparently there are folks in places of power that think that if they repeat these talking points enough times then they will convince everyone that anyone who "is really knowledgeable" about the issue can "see the truth of vaccine safety" and the "dangers of 'ignorant' questioning" (i.e. the emperor's clothes).

I almost suspect that Jenny was "allowed" to speak up on this issue so prominently, just so they would have a figurehead for the controversy that fit their desired "picture" of a vaccine infidel, all the better to cast doubt on all questioners of vaccine safety or efficacy.

Problem is (for them), the more they try to suppress the questions, instead of actually answering them, and the more they paint all questioners as ignorant (when that is very clearly not the case), the more people are going to start doubting their dogma, and instead start believing their own eyes, brains, knowledge, and common sense. The "experts" doth protest too much, methinks.

Anyway, here is my slightly edited comment which I sent to NPR prior to the show, but which as far as I can tell was never posted, fwiw:

I have listened to several PBS broadcasts about the "vaccine war" over the past several years. I have NEVER once heard an honest, investigative report on both sides of the controversy aired on PBS. So I will be shocked if this show doesn't follow the already established pattern.

There is no existing scientific study comparing the health and development of fully vaccinated versus never vaccinated children--so quite frankly there is NO scientific answer to the question of whether vaccinated children are better off, in the short or long term, than never vaccinated children--in the U.S. or anywhere else.

Anyone who is halfway knowledgeable about scientific methods, and who takes time to read and evaluate the "science" put forward to show that certain vaccines are not associated with increases in autism, or that thimerosal is "safe" will eventually discover that good science is totally lacking, and much of that referred to by doctors, the CDC, and various vaccine defenders as their primary "evidence" of safety varies from, at best, weak and extremely poorly done, to, at worst, fraudulently done or fraudulently interpreted.

Sadly, the problems potentially caused by vaccines are not limited to autism. I greatly worry that NO ONE really has any idea of the full effects, short-term or long-term, of our massive vaccination programs.

Vaccines were invented when we understood far less than we know today about microbes, or our immune system. Scientists have come a long way from the day when all microbes were considered "germs" that we had to fight against. We now know that many microbes are beneficial, even vital, to our health. In addition, no honest immunologist can claim that anyone fully understands how our immune systems work, even today.

Use of vaccines may be lessening our species' natural methods of fighting disease; for example, it is already known that (in contrast to women who had measles disease), women who were vaccinated for measles do not pass on any measles immunity to their children. Hence, succeeding generations are actually more vulnerable to this disease than historically, due to our use of vaccines.

Similarly, the "immunity" conferred by vaccines is not "life-long" as was once presumed; instead we are learning that most, if not all, vaccinations must be repeated at intervals throughout life to maintain the desired immune response to the targeted microbe. Adults can suffer much more severely from contracting diseases that they "missed" as children due to vaccinations that made them (only temporarily) resistant to that disease.

Then there is the problem of certain vaccines (eg the pneumococcal vaccine) possibly causing changes in microbe populations, so that once rare microbe strains become more abundant/dominant and these once rare strains are sometimes more virulent/or problematic than the microbes originally targeted by the vaccine. Thus widespread vaccine use can sometimes lead to more serious problems than were initially faced, (and if one continues to subscribe to the same approach to disease--the need for more vaccines, or newer vaccines with more antigens). (See http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=human-microbiome-change and http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/healthday/638238.html
for more information on this.)

This might be all great if your business is developing and selling vaccines (the market just keeps expanding), but not so great if your primary goal is just staying healthy (or keeping your kids healthy) and/or minimizing health costs.

I think that when it comes to the use of vaccines, no one truly understands, or knows, what all we are really doing to ourselves and our future. This is not a conclusion I have come to lightly, or without great sadness and disillusionment.

And for those (commenting on the NPR site) who say if you can't trust the doctors' or CDC's word on vaccines, then how can you trust them in regards to anything else--the agonizing conclusion I have reached is that you very likely can't--and sadly, I don't!

Henderson

New Yorker weekly caption contest of interest (back page of the New Yorker) is over TONIGHT (through Sunday, May 2nd). THERE IS ONE RIGHT UP OUR ALLEY

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/humor/caption/#ixzz0miUCvPoK

Pick your favorite caption through Sunday, May 2nd.
GO TO CONTEST #236

I can't tell you how to vote by I voted for this one...

“Dr. Ogden just called to say your mercury levels are on the high side.”

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/humor/caption/#ixzz0mobEzgNu

nhokkanen

Each Frontline episode is only as good as its producer(s). I wonder whether the vaccine segment producer was specifically chosen because he supposedly "debunked" facilitated communication in a previous piece.

What a slap in the face for those parents who believe they've reached their children through FC, to have a handful of critics held up as the last word on the subject.

And what a sense of deja vu as that sonorous announcer intoned at that segment's end: "One day, the mysterious condition of autism will be understood and researchers may find a cure. Until then, as the evidence against facilitated communication accumulates, a painful question remains, whether parents and those who care deeply about autistic individuals are choosing to see them as they would like them to be, rather than respecting them for who they are."

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/programs/transcripts/1202.html

Julie

The question I would ask Kate McMahon is after conducting all of your research for the show would you still vaccinate your child or would you advise your sibling/best friend, etc. to vaccinate her child according to the current CDC schedule - including several at one time? I am guessing there would be a different consideration than "best interest of the show." As my mother-in-law says nuff said.

rileysmom

Ok, so what's this then???
http://www.paul-offit.com/?gclid=CJbD3rfBtKECFV195Qod9hR-_A
www.paul-offit.com
Gee, I don't have a www.rileys-mom.com...yet.

GH

A few questions spring to mind that the program failed to ask:

What would be the personal and professional consequences for Offit and Fombonne if it were found that vaccines did in fact cause autism?

What would be the financial consequences for the large pharmaceutical corporations if it were found that vaccines caused autism?

What would be the consequences for government medical authorities if it were found that vaccines caused autism?

Which senior officials and corporate executives would be facing charges of criminal negligence?

Which bodies exist to fund research, the leadership of which have not staked everything on the safety of the vaccination programs?

Why has no study ever been performed into a potential link between the current vaccination program and illnesses of the immune system, the rates of which have increased broadly in line with the numbers of vaccines given?

If autism is, in fact, purely genetic, why is the US not doing more to help the European countries who must be failing to find and diagnose 80 - 90% of their autistic children?

Would State governments that have mandated vaccines for school entry be found liable for the cost of treating the children injured as a result?

Would the Federal government be held liable for covering vaccine court expenses beyond the funds available? If so, how would they find the trillions of dollars required?

How would the structure of medicine have to be reformed to prevent such a failure happening again? How would unbiased research need to be funded?

How would the practice of medicine be affected by an admission that millions of children had been inadvertently brain damaged? How would trust in doctors be reestablished? What could be done for adults of childbearing age with no natural immunity to mumps and rubella?

Who exactly is watching out for the welfare of children with undistorted vision?

JenB

Appreciate the photo--my favorite part might be the minstrel song "Sir Robin bravely turned tail and fled," or words to that effect.

I don't know if the program's investigators began with the idea of getting a broad-based, put-up-all-sides-for-viewers-to-make-up-their-own-minds documentary (probably not), but if they did, they probably felt certain that any doctor promoting the position of the "anti-vaccine movement" would be easily discreditable.

It is probably to the credit of Dr. Gordon, Dr. Sears, and Dr. Buttar (and to where the truth actually lies on this issue) that they couldn't find 30 seconds of material they wanted put on screen.

They put most of Dr. Sears' interview online for those who felt concerned or interested enough to look further, and they can point to that as evidence of thoroughly investigating, but I think they are counting on the vast majority of viewers to not look into the issue with that much depth.

Benedetta

I finally got to see "Vaccine Wars" on "Frontline today (Sunday).

Very interesting and I am just going to have to accept their bottom line since it was so reasonable and all.

The whole thing comes down to utilitarism, the greater good, herd immunity.

However: I disagree which ones should be sacrficed for the greater good.

What the government health officials do not understand is they are culling out the ones in the herd with the strongest immune systems, all the while protecting those that will not build an immunity quickly (requiring boosters); or those that are not normal and do not have an inborn immunity the first few months after birth--- like the little girl running and hopping down the street that had whooping cough as a baby.

There will be new diseaes that will replace the ones that go extinct. That is just evoulution.

So to protect the human race in the future we need to cull out the weak.

I suggest that we do like the Aztecs - pretend that the sun will not come up in the morning untill we shed enough blood.

If any one else can think of other - better ideas to cull the herd please bring them to the attention of the evil internet. Maybe we can list some ideas used in the past of elimanating people for the greater good.

I know that right now the government is just taking the easy way out and killing a few or maiming a few (1 or more + % of the population) by just giving the vaccine shot in the arm, but in the end the greater good would be served to save that percent and get rid of the other end of this issue.

cmo

It would have been nice if Frontline had done three minutes on Simpsonwood, explained that the vaccine industry is totally liability free, and showed a simple chart with the 10 vaccines in 1986, compared to the 36 vaccines now.

I think in a few weeks, Frontline will be telling everyone that everything is fine on Wall Street, and to please start sending more money to New York City.

Angela Warner

I did not watch FRONTLINE when it aired on PBS, and I have seen enough of the clips and interviews on the website to make an educated statement, and I've seen enough to last me a lifetime quite frankly.

One of the remarks that stood out for me as it always does was the continued mantra: "coincidence does not equal causation". With thousands and thousands of parents around the globe reporting the same thing; 'my child was developing normally and meeting milestones on schedule, and then we went for a well baby or child visit, vaccines were administered, and the normal development stopped and then skills were lost. AKA - 'regression'. I agree that coincidence does not always equal causation, but when you have a coincidence that is repeating at an astronomical rate, you damn well better examine the coincidence as a possible causation.

Their favorite line, "We don't know what's causing it [the autism epidemic], but we know that it is not the vaccines". How can you not know what's causing something, yet be certain it is not one thing? I have never understood that logic.

So, back to coincidence and causation; an analogy for you... does this sound familiar?

"Despite public perceptions that [Pharmacuetical companies] always maintain a "...safe" approach, [FDA, CDC, AAP and other] management [has been] influenced by demands from [Pharmacuetical] managers that they show it was not safe to [vaccinate] rather than prove [vaccinations are] safe."

Is this how it will eventually play out?

"It later emerged in the aftermath of the [autism epidemic] that [Pharmacuetical] managers frequently evaded safety regulations to maintain the [vaccine] (schedule)."

I'm amazed at the parallel of two completely unrelated situations that happened or are happening over 20 years apart. The above quote in it's original content regarded the Rogers Commission findings of the 1986 Challenger catastrophe. All I did was replace words such as NASA etc. from the original quote with words relevant to autism and Pharma.

The Rogers Commission of the autism epidemic is the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), which was "founded" and implemented under the Bush administration. Where have we gotten since 2005? Since the first strategic planning meeting in 2007? No where, yet vaccines continue to be administered in a manner which has never been tested for safety or efficacy.

The space program was shut down for nearly 3 years, until answers were found as to the definite cause of the Challenger catastrophe.

We, the autism community, comprised of parents who witnessed our children's descent into autism after a round of vaccines, researchers, and doctors, are not asking for the vaccine schedule to be shut down. We are asking for a schedule that is a bit more reasonable (circa 1983) until adequate testing of multiple vaccines given in combo with each other can be conducted with no conflicts of interests and sound methodology.

The Rogers Commission was commissioned to find answers, and they found those answers in less than three years. The IACC will never find honest answers. They've had over three years, and all we've seen the IACC do is hold meeting after meeting to come up with more strategic planning, which of course, only leads to more meetings.

Maybe some of us should request a meeting with those who were part of the Rogers Commission and see what they think of the current situation with the IACC, and what they would think if information they had come up with, suddenly disappeared after being published, as was the case back in late 2008 regarding a known side effect of a vaccine.

http://www.ageofautism.com/2008/12/dtap-side-effec.html

We know that the timeline is not exact as pointed out in some of the comments. It seemed to disappear at different times for different folks. Nonetheless, autism listed as a side effect of the DTaP vaccine on the Vaccine Healthcare Center's Network webite, ceased to exist within 24 to 48 hours of the publication of David Kirby's column which ran on December 4, 2008.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/the-pentagon---a-voice-of_b_148490.html

I hereby motion for the IACC to be disbanded, and in its place motion for the Rimland Commission to be implemented (in honor of Bernie who dedicated hs life to finding the truth for our children with autism). The Rimland Commission appointee's will be nominated and appointed with equal balance of those nominations provided to Mr. Obama, and the parents of children with autism. Any adult with autism who believes an answer to the cause of autism does not need to be found, and who believes on any level that autism is a gift, shall be excluded from nomination.

Nora

Frontline reduces the concerns of parents regarding their children with autism to a bunch of crazed misinformed youtube junkies using facebook to wield a smashing blow to the vaccine good guys!

Why didn't they do the real journalism and expose the scientific work being done at Kennedy Krieger Institute, nothing like electroconvulsive therapy to tune up the mind of an autistic. Do you ever feel like you’re in the Twilight Zone?
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20298732

Not fooled

Vaccine Wars was promoted fraudulently. There was never any intention on PBS' part of letting doctors speak about vaccinating more safely, as is revealed by Frontline's own producer in the PBS Ombudsman's column:

"Clearly, the film would have been richer if we’d been able to fully engage Dr. Sears’ views, but we felt it also opened up a number of important journalistic questions about what’s known (and not known) about the potential harms of the various vaccine schedules — and this, unfortunately, fell outside the scope of this film."

Before interviewing him, the producers knew full well that Dr. Sears has an alternate vaccine schedule. So why did PBS waste his time? The Gordon, Sears and Buttar interviews were probably conducted to give Jenny McCarthy the false impression that PBS was coming through on its written promise to her to represent doctors from both sides.

Doubtful that any producer or crew member who was present during those interviews would put a newborn baby on the CDC vaccine schedule. Too bad the rest of America was denied those interviews.

Continue circulating the word: don't support PBS.

Twyla

Dear Mr. Michael Getler,

I was imagining how it would be if Frontline produced a similar story on the uncontrolled accelerations problem in some cars today. This is what I came up with:

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.]

Twyla

Dear Mr. Michael Getler,
Frontline’s story “The Vaccine War” presented only two options: follow the current vaccine schedule because it is (according to Offit et al) totally safe and the ultimate in every respect, or get no vaccines at all. Why spend so much time interviewing mothers who don’t vaccinate? It’s very frustrating that when parents report, “I vaccinated my child and look what happened,” they are told, “It’s dangerous to not vaccinate.” That response DOES NOT ADDRESS THE PROBLEM!! The issue is whether our current schedule is causing harm. Yes, some diseases are dangerous. That does not address the issues of:
- how our vaccine program could be made safer,
- whether every single one of these vaccines is necessary at such an early age (e.g. Hep B!),
- whether our medical and governmental agencies are doing anything to address the problems (instead of cavalierly dismissing them with no study/investigation),
- how can susceptibility to vaccine injury be better understood,
- how can vaccine injuries be treated.

Currently parents who report vaccine injuries are simply left hanging in the wind, with no help from our government and very very little help from mainstream medicine. If it were really best for their children to take one for the herd, at the very least their children’s injuries should be studied, instead of these children just being abandoned by our health authorities.

Twyla

I wrote three emails to the PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler. At the risk of boring everyone to tears I will post them all here too.

Dear Mr. Michael Getler,
In response to some of the points you raised regarding “The Vaccine War”.

“Clearly, the film would have been richer if we’d been able to fully engage Dr. Sears’ views, but we felt it also opened up a number of important journalistic questions about what’s known (and not known) about the potential harms of the various vaccine schedules — and this, unfortunately, fell outside the scope of this film.”
Mr. Getler, Frontline already did open up these important journalistic questions, when Offit et al declared that there is no link between vaccines & autism and that the CDC’s vaccine schedule should be followed. This is the big question – vaccine injuries. How could this possibly “fall outside of the scope” of a story on “The Vaccine War”?!?

“In short, we believe we repeatedly raised — and allowed others to raise — concerns about the bloated vaccine schedule (up to 35 inoculations) on a tiny infant.” Yes, these questions were raised by parents such as JB Handley, Jenny McCarthy, and Barbara Loe Fisher. And you also listed links to web sites such as Generation Rescue. Thank you for that. This is actually a step forward, compared with the days when these subjects were completely taboo on the news. However, you (Frontline) did NOT show any of the science on the side of those with vaccine concerns. You did NOT show interviews with any of the doctors or scientists who have vaccine safety concerns and/or believe that vaccines do sometimes cause autism. You gave the impression that ALL science and medicine are on one side and there are only parents on the other side. This is false!!!

“And we did this despite the fact that established science has found that the number of antigens is negligible compared to the germs that a baby is naturally exposed to.”
Dr. Paul Offit did a mathematical calculation which he says shows that baby’s can safely receive either 10,000 or 100,000 vaccines at once. This is not science. This is absolutely absurd, insane, and irresponsible, and flies in the face of the thousands of reports of adverse reactions after multiple vaccines. For example, there were high rates of adverse reactions to the vaccine ProQuad (a vaccine against measles, mumps, rubella, & varicela) including seizures and autism – higher than to either MMR or varicela vaccine by itself. My own daughter had a febrile seizure after receiving the MMR and varicella vaccines at one time.

And, natural exposures to antigens via skin, air, and food are much different than injection. As this 1913 Nobel prize winner said, “We are so constituted that we can never receive other proteins into the blood than those that have been modified by digestive juices. Every time alien protein penetrates by effraction, the organism suffers and becomes resistant. This resistance lies in increased sensitivity, a sort of revolt against the second parenteral injection...”
http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1913/richet-lecture.html

And vaccines include many substances besides antigens, including aluminum as an adjuvant to increase the reaction from the immune system, and formaldehyde which is known to cause inflammation. Is it any wonder that this generation of children, who have received a number of vaccines unprecedented in human history, have a much higher rate of immune system disorders including severe allergies, asthma, type 1 diabetes - and autism which a growing body of peer reviewed published scientific studies link with neuroinflammation and immune system dysfunction?

As far as Jenny McCarthy, to refer to her only as a former playboy playmate, and not even mention that she is an actress and an author of multiple best-selling books, is simply slanted spin. And if the N.Y. Times and NPR did the same that does not make it any better; they have been equally dismissive and prejudiced against the vaccine-autism link as well as biomedical treatments for autism.

kathy blanco

Bottom line, vaccines are actually a national security issue...imagine soldiers questioning being "experimented on"...I rest my case...this is far bigger than we dreamed. Even people in foundations supporting this program are with the CIA?

Nora

Yes I wrote to the PBS ombudsman a second time when I realized that Dr. Buttar was also left on the cutting room floor. This makes it very clear that there was a concerted effort to provide no counter argument from doctors. I think the fact that Dr. Buttar has a son who recovered from autism, who spoke in front of congress would have been hard to dismiss. So it was determined to not let his opinion be heard at all.
http://www.drbuttar.com/blog/?p=1110

Angie

Another great article here at AoA!
I posted a long rant in my comments to the post about the tradgedy in Maine with the father/son with Autism....

BUT, I have one more tidbit of fury to share here because you bring it up in this article: Frontline wrote it's intro online and also verbalized it on it's show that this was basically "Doctors and Scientists and the Government VS parents, advocates, and ????" ----um what about Doctors and Scientists and members of our same Government who "side" with the fight that there needs to be more stuff studied? The answer is THERE IS NO ANSWER!!! I don't care if there are 12 or 12,000 studies that can't link a vaccine, A vaccine to Autism....it's not even te beginning of asking the right questions to begin with, hmmm, I wonder how anyone with a brain (oh that's right, I mean anyone with internet or you tube access) could possibly think to ASK those questions on their own, I guess we need a "playboy bunny" to lay it out for us!
That's another thing, what does jenny's previous employment matter here, that she (and seems to be more and more recently which is great proof they know we know and that they are grasping at more and more straws to negate anything from our side, the side of honest science and reasoning)....I cringe when I hear "and playboy model Jenny McCarthy who happens to have a son with autism has been the spokesperson for this "anti vaccine movement".....argh! Everytime I hear that I want to puke because I know they aren't going to introduce Paul offit as "the inventor of the first rotavirus vaccine that killed and harmed so many innocent babies that it was pulled, too late for too many, from the market, and e happens to also be the inventor of the new rotavirus vaccine for which he has made millions of dollars from it!"

...hey that might make a great tshirt! Lol!

Angie
Mom to Ethan, Alex, and Megan

Bonnie

I was so angry with the show. I usually like Frontline but the bias was incredible it was such a turn off.

I wish they would have focused on alternative vaccine schedules as well. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. Drs are damaging the well being of communities by refusing to hold intelligent converesations about parental concerns and finding solutions that respect a parental concerns

Tim Kasemodel

From 2004:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/10/20/60II/main650368.shtml

"The most prominent organization claiming vaccines are unsafe is the National Vaccine Information Center, or the NVIC. Barbara Loe Fisher, who referred 60 Minutes to the parents mentioned in this story, heads the group.

"The mass use of multiple vaccines in early childhood to prevent all infections is the biggest medical experiment that has ever been conducted on the human race. And I think the jury is still out as to whether or not it will be medical science’s greatest achievement, or its most tragic failure," says Fisher."

From 2006:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,199649,00.html

Rather stepped down in March 2005 after 24 years as CBS' anchorman. He took much of the public blame for a discredited 2004 story that questioned President Bush's military service, an episode that clouded his final months on the job.

Adding to my earlier post, I think the reason I am linking Rathers Departure to the vaccine issue was due to blog comments by parents more than anything, (that damned internet again) that indicated he was disturbed by the way our side was dismissed. What I do not believe for one minute, is that he was pushed out simply for questioning Bush's military service.

Tim Kasemodel

AnaB,

Yes, the threat of being publicly blamed for the rise in any disease would disuade any producer.

Add to that the threat to their job security and the fact it might piss off the major funders of the show and you have accomplished complete control over even the best intended producer.

If my memory serves me, I believe Dan Rather interivewed someone on the vaccine issue (Probably Barbara Loe Fischer) shortly before he was "let go".

He gave the guest an honest interview but behind the scenes he was very upset about what actually got aired, and he let his producers know about it. Shortly after that he was gone, but the reason was officially tied to, I believe, the outing of the CIA agent (by Rove and Cheney it turned out). I may have to track down more info on this to be most accurate, but that is the way I remebered it.

The official reasoning did not add up to me. I have always believed it was his open mind on the vaccine issue.

Bad soldiers will not be tolerated.
Gutless producers will be rewarded.

That is the take away from the Fronline show.

jen

what a joke that a vaccine patent holder (PrOffit) and a guy (Fombonne) so inept with his studies (Cochrane reviews are poor and U. McGill investigating him) are both featured in that idiotic show on "vaccine wars." Who do they think they are kidding??

Harry H.

The biggest fallacy presented by the pro vaccine forces is the idea that the "science is in", "the science is settled, there is no link". That is a lie.

Science is evolving. It is anything but settled. As long as there are researchers looking into the actions and reactions of the human body when confronted with an assault on the immune system such as a disease, or a pseudo disease in the form of a vaccine, the science will continue to evolve.

Just as Offit often claims, "vaccine science has gotten better (read evolved)", so has our understanding of the human body and our understanding of the assaults we are perpetrating on it in the form of vaccines. We still have a very long way to go in this journey.

By their very nature, vaccines cannot be exonerated in finding an explanation for the explosion in neurological disorders including autism in recent generations.

To ignore, disavow, and deny the damages done by vaccines is no longer a matter of science it is about money and politics.

Sarah

good point.. when Sebellius asked for media censorship awhile back she may have told them it was a matter of homeland security she clearly underestimated the power of social networking...

IMO homeland security is a guise.. there's too many hidden agendas

Zed

It is naive to think that PBS's intention was ever to honestly "inform" their public supporters about either the danger of today's vaccine schedule or its connection to autism. As a member of a profession whose mission is antithetical to mainstream medicine's, I have watched the intentional and malevolent smear of all things non-medical for almost 60 years. If any healthcare solution promotes practices other than drugs and surgery, it is portrayed as "an unscientific cult", which the public is strongly encouraged to ignore in favor of their specious interventions.
Make no mistake. PBS, despite our efforts to "inform" them of their oversight, is fully aware of what they've done. Their singular intent is to extend support to those "health experts" who are now responsible for promoting practices that may account for the largest number of preventable deaths in our country today--drug intervention and subsequent, often-fatal error. Vaccines are only ONE area they attempt to defend.
The only way our views will ever be fairly stated is to make our own production on whatever venue will accept it without pharmaceutically-biased intervention. Perhaps a documentary that airs on Free Speech TV would be a possibility. They have no sponsors to interfere, and the creative minds of AoA, NAA and Generation Rescue could tell a story that America would never forget.

AnaB

You know what this whole thing reminds me of: the raw deal those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome got for decades. They were told it was all psychosomatic, in their heads, imagined..they were mentally ill..and on and on. Media outlets helped carry this unfortunate narrative along. Then, whoa...imagine that, they find a retrovirus, XMRV, at the heart of that condition. Are the doctors and the media outlet apologizing today to those millions of women (and some men)who they accused of being lazy and dellusional? Of course not. They just carry on either unaware or not caring about the injustice they did these women.

AnneS

"The answer is yes, they found them two of them." Three actually - Dr Buttar got cut too.

AnaB

I wonder if whomever put this Frontline story together had INTENDED to truly tell both sides of the story, or why else would he have bothered to interview Drs. Sears and Gordon at all. Yes, I wonder if he had intended, but got the talking too....you know, the..."you can't put anything in there where anyone in a white coat suggest there might be a problem with the vaccine schedule. People might believe them and diseases might come back." That's what I think happens when people like Kathleen Sebellius give the media the talking to...they scare them with the scenario of "diseases coming back." Meanwhile the vaccine companies continue to make billions off a growing mandatory vaccine schedule, when many shots are for non-life threatening diseases.

Robin Nemeth

Yes, the media has fallen comfortably right back into their 'there isn't a sane, respected doctor or scientist on the planet who thinks there could be a link between autism and vaccines' pretense. The same old chit btw that I think most of the public is smart enough to have stopped buying into ages ago. At least I hope and pray..

The program was roughly seventy percent propaganda, and thirty percent blatant lies. Like for instance the lie that the symptoms of mercury poisoning are nothing like the symptoms of autism. I believe that one was Frombonne's. And didn't somebody try to make the claim that the Special Vaccine Court was Barbara Loe Fisher's idea? Wtf. I had no idea..

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