Online Comments Lead to BMJ's Disclosure of "Competing Interests"
David Kirby on HuffPo: CDC to Study Vaccines and Autism

If Autism were an Earthquake or a Tsunami ...

Openyoureyesfront  By Anne Dachel

I've been listening to CNN covering the tragedy in Japan.  Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta are there giving us up-to-the-minute reports on what's going on. Gupta has been talking about the dangers of radiation exposure.  Cooper has been citing personal stories of survival. 

I am impressed that Gupta and Cooper are right there in the midst of a horrific disaster.  They're working hard to uncover the facts. Cooper and Gupta express heartfelt feelings over the unimaginable suffering they're seeing everywhere.  I feel like I'm getting honest, in-depth coverage.

CNN is also very concerned about the safety level of our nuclear plants.  They question the assurances by the government that the same thing that's happening in Japan couldn't also happen here.

As I watched the current news unfold, I couldn't help but think about how CNN and especially Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta covered the news about Andrew Wakefield in January.  (HERE) There, Cooper didn't seem so concerned with getting the facts.  He accused Wakefield of falsifying "a study" on vaccines and autism in 1998.   None of it was true. It wasn't a study; it was paper.  It was about the bowel disease he was finding in children who also had autism. 

Cooper included U.S. Congressman Dan Burton in the report and Burton said, "We've had leading scientists from around the world come and testify before my committee who are certain that one of the major causes of autism is the mercury in vaccines."

Instead of including any of the scientists Burton referred to, Cooper merely said that mercury was removed in 2001 and the autism rate has continued to rise.  He told viewers that he'd "confronted Dr. Wakefield earlier by Skype."  We got to watch the interview as he questioned Dr. Wakefield while repeatedly interrupting him as he tried to answer.



Never once did Cooper acknowledge that Wakefield is a gastroenterologist and his work involved a novel bowel disease he was finding in autistic children--children whose parents reported to him that the onset of their problems came after receiving the MMR vaccine.  In his interview of Wakefield, he seemed amazingly unconcerned about the epidemic of autism happening everywhere, an epidemic no official can explain.  It never comes up.  Dr. Wakefield suggested that Anderson Cooper should read his book.  Cooper doesn't answer, leaving the audience to wonder if he had read any of it before this interview.  Cooper only said that he'd read Brian Deer's book and that he wasn't interested in having Wakefield "pitch" his book on the air.   

Cooper didn't talk to a single parent of any of the children Wakefield had as patients.  Not one.  He simply accepted Brian Deer's allegations.  Cooper called Wakefield’s work "a lie" and referred to his book as "a lie." 

Wakefield said his work has been replicated in five studies around the world. Cooper answered him by saying no it hasn't been.  Incredibly, Cooper wasn't able to say that he'd checked into any of the five duplicated studies that Wakefield said have been done.

Wakefield told Cooper, "I suggest you do your investigation properly before making such allegations."  It was clear that Cooper hadn't bothered to look into Wakefield's work.  He merely read Deer's book and believed every word.   

Sanjay Gupta also interviewed Wakefield.  He said they'd "extensively" look at two of Wakefield's patients mentioned in the Lancet article, but he never mentioned having actually talked to anyone involved.  Dr. Wakefield tried to make it clear that he and his colleagues were looking at these children's bowel problems and that the parents had cited the MMR as a factor.  He said the MMR's role was "irrelevant."  "THEY HAD BOWEL DISEASE.  THEY HAD BOWEL PROBLEMS. THAT IS WHY THEY WERE THERE."  

Wakefield said "an expert pathologist reviewed the biopsies blindly" and he made the diagnosis of bowel disease when Gupta claimed that according to Deer, the hospital had no records of those children having bowel problems.  Wakefield added, "[The diagnosis] was not made by me."   Gupta had no response.  He didn't say he'd talked to the "expert pathologist" Wakefield mentioned.  Instead, he moved on making personal attacks on Wakefield, charging him with fabricating data.  Wakefield urged him to "READ MY BOOK."   Again, Gupta never said he'd read it, leaving us to assume that he hadn't bothered to look into Wakefield's position before he interviewed him.   

I couldn't help but contrast these two examples of CNN coverage. 

I thought of two possible scenarios..............

What if CNN covered had covered the Brian Deer/Andrew Wakefield story back in January like they're doing with the tragedy in Japan?...............

If they had, Cooper and Gupta would have gone to Britain and talked to the Lancet parents.  They'd have shown us videos of the children living with the horrible results of chronic bowel problems.  They'd have had the parents recounting how they saw the damage following the MMR vaccine.  We'd have seen Gupta interviewing the pathologist who did diagnosed those children with bowel disease.  They would have included Dr. Peter Fletcher, former Chief Scientific Officer in the UK, who agrees with the claims of Andrew Wakefield.  They would have brought up the issues covered  in Wakefield's book. 

CNN would also have included information on autism and expressed alarm over the exponential increase.  They'd have speculated on possible motives for covering up a vaccine-autism link.   They'd have been looking into Brian Deer's background too.  They'd also be calling in top toxicologists to find out just how safe it was to ever have mercury used in vaccines.  They'd want to know how thimerosal could ever have been approved by the FDA and they'd express outrage over the fact that it never was.

Finally, what if CNN were currently reporting on the disaster in Japan like they did with the news involving Andrew Wakefield?.......

Lots of things immediately come to mind.  First of all, neither Anderson Cooper nor Sanjay Gupta would have actually gone to Japan.  They'd have taken a lot of people's word for what's happening.  They be saying that radiation isn't really harmful.  They might even refer to it as "safe radiation."  They'd be showing absolutely no concern over the number of people who've been killed, injured and left homeless.  In fact, they might even suggest that this has typically been happening with earthquakes in Japan, it's just getting a lot more publicity.  And of course, no one at CNN would be worried that the Japanese government isn't telling us everything about the damaged nuclear power plants.  We'd also never get to see actual victims and hear their stories.  If CNN used the autism model, the Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and power plant danger would all be explained away.  CNN would happily move on to something more important.

Anne Dachel is Media Editor of Age of Autism. 

Comments

dbcmom

Autism is not the same as a earthquake or an Tsunami, which is a NATURAL disasater....autism is most likely by environmetal factors that are man made. This does not make sense as an anlaogy!

Andrea Lalama

Autism has been to us as a family like Japan's tsunami, with that I can tell you all. The toughest part has been the rebuilding. The most important part was working like them, as a team, where God has been the head and love our strongest weapon. We still feel the scars, but we are healing together as a family that we are.
I hope and wish God to help Japan and to all the families that have an Autism tsunami in their lives.
Andrea Lalama.

Jenny Allan

Thank you Anne. I totally agree with you about the unspeakably hostile and unfair interviewing of Dr Andrew Wakefield by Gupta and Cooper on CNN.

A similar interview in the UK on the Lorraine Kelly ITV Daybreak programme, where Dr Wakefield was interviewed by obnoxious 'TV doctor' Hilary Jones has resulted in a 'backlash' against formerly very well loved Lorraine. She revealed a side of her that can best be described as a rude nasty harridan. On the programme she also extolled parents to 'make sure' they got their children vaccinated with 'safe' MMR.

Along with a large number of persons I complained to media watchdog Ofcom and got a polite 'piss off' from them, even although this style of interviewing broke Ofcom rules in several ways. ITV are attempting to 'repair' the damage done to Lorraine. She is now showing her 'compassionate' site in a childrens' hospital programme and she climbed a mountain for charity, (with a TV camera crew of course). But the people don't forget that easily!! Daybreak is struggling as viewers switch over to BBC in their thousands!!

The REAL sting for ITV is that these programmes rely on advertising revenue, which in turn relies on good public viewing figures!! Pharmaceutical and associated chemical industry advertising make up a large percentage of this revenue.

I hope the US TV viewers take similar actions with CNN. I accept that Gupta and Cooper are told what line(s) to take in their interviewing and reporting, but they MUST first and foremost please their viewers. They seem to have all forgotten that, just as those poor damaged children have been completely forgotten by virtually everyone involved in this so called pro and anti vacciners 'war.

YES! The inherently unsafe nature of the Japanese Nuclear power stations has been known about and covered up for more than 40 years!! This was a disaster waiting to happen!!

At a conference last week in London, I was shown evidence that successive UK governments have been well aware of the problems with MMR ever since it was introduced into the UK in 1988. Instead of withdrawing the vaccine and going back to the system of single jabs (as Dr Wakefield suggested in 1998), they have wasted countless billions of pounds on 'epidemiological studies' to 'prove' that MMR does not cause autism. More billions are spent on 'public relations' exercises to 'reassure' the public, and of course, the vilification of Dr Wakefield goes on with Deer's 'manufactured' BMJ 'fraudulent' articles.

Perhaps Gupta and Cooper might like to take an interest in that REAL fraud involving Danish Epidemiologist Dr Paul Thorson, who has apparently absconded with 2 million dollars of US taxpayer's money which was supposed to finance yet another of those 'fake' epidemiological Danish studies to 'prove' MMR is safe. There has been no attempt by the US authories to track down THorson or prosecute him, but the Danes want him back!! After all, the money was SUPPOSED to finance the study not Thorson. The Danish lab directors and staff will only be worried about THEIR jobs and reputations. Again the children are forgotten!!

Those previous 'much vaunted' Danish epidemiological studies are still being used as 'scientific evidence of MMR vaccine safety'. This is an example of REAL scientific fraud!!

Birgit Calhoun

I hope Gupta and Cooper read this. Cooper has lost his stature as a serious investigative reporter since he had Dr. Wakefield on his show. Can we trust the two to really tell us what is happening in the world? I just read the item below, It's a little older, but it explains a lot.

"The Complainant Brian Deer, the ABPI, Medico Legal Investigations and Dr Andrew Wakefield"

http://www.whale.to/vaccine/walker999.html

Sandy Gottstein

Just like the Japanese couldn't and shouldn't have ignored the fact that "tsunami" was coined in reference to "harbor waves" on the eastern shore of Japan and built their nuclear reactors exactly there, so, too, we can't really ignore what is causing the tidal wave of damage to our children and get away with it.

I like to call it Public Health's "Ostrich Policy - what you don't know can't hurt you."

But, of course, it can and is.

AutismGrandma

Re: "If Autism were an Earthquake or a Tsunami ..."

Autism IS an Earthquake and a Tsunami AND multiple Nuclear Explosions!!!!!!!!

The Autism Earthquake shakes and destroys the foundations of health and brings everything crashing down. The Autism Tsunami floods our lives with devastation and overwhelms our ability to keep our heads above water, and keep swimming so that we can prevent our precious children from drowning. The multiple Nuclear Explosions are vaccines and other environmental exposures that spew toxic waste into our children's bodies, which severely damages their lives and endangers their future.

Autism on the Richter Scale = 9.9........no make that 99.9.

AutismGrandma

Re: "If CNN used the autism model, the Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and power plant danger would all be explained away."

These analogies are excellent comparisons and bring home the fact that news broadcasters are not giving fair and accurate coverage of Dr. Wakefield or the autism issues. Then again, how much money does Japan have invested in television advertising versus the pharmaceutical industry which has their drug ads running continually? Unlike Japan, Big Pharma is running the show when it comes to the news media, so we are never going to get factual reporting when it comes to the vaccines and autism epidemic.

John Stone

Carolyn

I really don't hope that autism touches anyone's family, but the truth is the rich and privileged generally close ranks anyway - it does happen to them too but making a public statement about it is not part of the lifestyle.

John

CarolynC Kylesmom

I just hope that when autism eventually touches the families or loved ones of Gupta or Cooper--and sadly, it surely will, that they have the courage to speak out, loudly apologize, and change their message. However, I think that if they do, they will suddenly lose their job . . that's really what this is all about, isn't it? If they think for themselves about this, they will surely lose their job . . Didn't Keith Olberman apologize for attacking Dr. Wakefield? And where is he now?

Do they think we don't know the price of speaking the truth? They are making Dr. Wakefield pay that price. But if you live by the sword . . .

Our only hope is that the more skeptical Americans become toward the media, the more they will do their own research.

I am quite sure the only reason they are telling the truth about the nuclear plants is that the oil industry is happy that they are. Sadly, we have no billion dollar industry that cares in any way about protecting our children from autism.

Jen

Good points, Joyous. To me Anderson Cooper is coming off all smug about this problem when in reality most governments would be doing the same darned thing.

Seonaid

What a great analogy Anne. The contrast in their approach to two different, but equally devastating problems, is outstanding. Thank you for this comparison. It is so frustrating and totally misleading that the word of a journalist is accepted unquestioningly, and broadcast globally, while the ‘accused’ is given no real public opportunity to defend himself. His evidence is ignored. Deer’s speeches are so full of untruths, and virtually unchallenged by interviewers, no, worse than that, they are applauded, it leaves one astonished that this can happen in an era of so called openness. The general public is being deliberately groomed into accepting them as ‘kosher’. WHY?
Where Dr Wakefield did not categorically say that MMR was causing autism, he was right to raise a red flag and suggest further research into the safety of the triple vaccine.
http://bit.ly/dVEDEB

joyous

also..... remember the faces sanjay made while interviewing wakefield... like he knew he was holding down the truth... watch him from Tokoyo. The same faces are there. I think he is questioning what they are telling him.

joyous

Fukashima's power plant was designed and sold by none other than General Electric. Did you hear Sanjay and Anderson say that on the news? No, you hear them blame the power plant owners for not taking more safety precautions. That power plant design has been in question since it's inception. www.democracynow.org has all the scoop on who designed it and why it was a design that was recommended for shutting down. Sanjay and Anderson are still doing their job very well. Blame others for disasters. Who owns CNN right now? I bet you that pronuclear forces are at work in keeping the fact that GE designed those plants. EVery 5 mintutes they are blaming the Japanese owners with no mention of who designed it. How could you be a reported and not report who designed it. I pray they have a change of heart.

cmo

Just a little more greed and fraud with the CDC and pharma below....

Subject: shot-to-prevent-premature-deliveries

http://www.ky3.com/news/health/ky3-price-shoots-up-for-the-shot-to-prevent-premature-deliveries-20110316,0,1672223.story


Price shoots up for the shot to prevent premature deliveries....

A new drug that prevents premature delivery has the potential to spare ten thousand babies from an early arrival each year. Similar types of injections have been around for several years. Lauren Fleming celebrated her seventh birthday last month, a day her parents worried would never come. Lauren was born three-and-a-half months early.

"She had multiple surgeries, while she was in the NICU, she spent roughly 5 months in the NICU," said Lauren’s mother, Nikki Fleming. She still has some medical problems linked to her premature birth, but is otherwise healthy -- and now a big sister -- thanks to a drug Nikki’s doctor prescribed.

Nikki says, "he informed me that should we get pregnant again we would have to have progesterone injections to prevent a subsequent premature birth." Progesterone injections have been recommended for women at risk of premature delivery since 2004. Until recently the shots were available from compounding pharmacies.

Recently the Food and Drug Administration gave K-V Pharmaceuticals the exclusive rights to produce the drug, called Makena, something the March of Dimes supported.

"It's important that drugs that are used by the public are approved by the FDA," said Dr. Alan Fleischman, medical director for the March of Dimes.


What they don't support is the new price. The shots used to cost TEN DOLLARS each, now k-v pharmaceuticals plans to charge fifteen hundred a dose -- an estimated thirty thousand dollars per pregnancy. "We were surprised, we think it’s too high," said Dr. Fleischman.


The manufacturer says the cost is justified to avoid the mental and physical disabilities linked to prematurity -- and promises that every woman who needs the drug will get it through the company's patient assistance program. Yet some doctors fear even with financial help -- the cost for some women will be insurmountable.

"I have two full term pregnancies as a result of this drug and I just want more women to be able to have this drug available to them," said Nikki.

Moms say a healthy family shouldn't have a price tag. K-V Pharmaceuticals has sent letters to compounding pharmacies threatening potential F-D-A action if they continue making the drug.

Theresa O

I think part of it is that this tragedy can be portrayed by the media as happening "over there" ... in Japan, not in America. Therefore, it's easy for CNN to interview (very respectfully, I might add) a scientist from the Union of Concerned Scientists. It's even possible for CNN to let this man say that Americans should be "angry" with Japan for allowing such a potentially huge disaster to take place, for not taking adequate safety precautions, etc.

The autism epidemic, however, is happening *here.* American companies are making money from the insane vaccine schedule; American utilities are fighting the *first-ever* mercury emissions standards for coal-fired power plants (http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/150045-epa-proposes-first-time-mercury-standards-for-coal-plants); American children are being diagnosed with developmental disabilities and autoimmune diseases at skyrocketing rates. No way we can blame Japan for this one, so CNN has to pretend it's not happening.

Jenny Allan

We don't get Gupta and Cooper in the UK, but instead a succession of assorted nuclear physicists have spoken on TV and radio regarding the Japanese nuclear problems following last Friday's earthquake and tsunami.

The dialogue was something like this:-
Saturday and Sunday. "There's no need to worry; these power stations have built in safeguards which shut them down as soon as there is an emergency. The explosion was 'just' a controlled one to deal with a hydrogen build up. You can tell from the smoke this was NOT a nuclear explosion. The radiation emitted was minimal."

Monday and Tuesday.(More explosions, more public questions, another two generators affected. In Japan all persons living within an 18 Km radius told to stay in their houses and seal up windows and doors etc. Those within 10Km evacuated.)
"Don't worry about a meltdown. The cores are covered with a protective covering which is extremely strong and heat resistant. These power stations are 'state of the art' in Japan and designed to withstand earthquakes. This is NOT like Chernobyl." (A nuclear scientist responding to phone in questions on the radio was very patronising to one person, who inquired about the possiblity of a melt down. The attitude was that members of the public are extremely ignorant about such matters, unlike the scientists.)

Wednesday and Thursday. The UK Government strongly advises UK nationals to get out of Tokyo. The French Government does likewise. The UK Newspapers are now talking about meltdown. It was obvious by now that this was/is a real possibility and that vast amounts of radiation are being emited from these cores. A popular daily paper reported that the design of these Japanese Nuclear power stations dates back to the 1960's and is/was inherently unsafe!! The nuclear physicists have disappeared from our screens and radio programmes!!

Today/Friday Read about it yourselves!! If ANYTHING good comes out of this catastrophe it MIGHT force a rethink about energy policies in the West.


Tony Bateson

This whole subject has become virtually impossible for reasoned debate any longer. Having watched a UK TV report by Brian Deer years before the GMC debacle I felt that Deer's body language was all wrong if he was an impartial observer into Wakefield's work. He looked like a man with an agenda and I recall the discomfited posture of other people like Dr Brent Taylor when he sought to assure people on a UK National Health Service film report of the safety of vaccines. The facts are these are official lies, the people involved have no option but to keep on lying. I rely for my position on the fact that there are in the UK seemingly none (or incredibly few and unverifiable) autistic people who are unvaccinated whilst the numbers of kids who have not received vaccines is large.

Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK.

John Stone

A further thought.

Actually, iatrogenic damage is mostly subliminal: if you don't have active surveillance it can often only be detected - unlike the gross damage in Japan - in epidemiological studies which are easily rigged, and have manifestly been so in the case of vaccination. Even a case like Vioxx where it was detected with probably more than 100,000 deaths it is only a relatively modest news story: Merck remains a respectable company: its scientists and executives pillars of the community. This should not be so: society should have serious consequences for such people. What happens is that they continue to collect their fat salaries, and are embarrassed for a fortnight. It is a great business to be in!

Barry

While I didn't see the interview with Sanjay Gupta, I wouldn't put much stock in anything he says. Real doctors practice medicine, the ones that try and find they can't keep up with their peers, tend to gravitate to other fields.... like the media.

But I did see Anderson Cooper's interviews with Brian Deer and Andrew Wakefield. I was immediately struck by how much latitude Cooper seemed to give to Deer when he was answering his questions. But what I found even more contrived, and quite honestly insulting, was the difference in the background for each interview. While Deer was interviewed in a nice, bright background where his makeup was done and he was somehow made to look presentable, Wakefield was interviewed over some form of media that produced a very poor visual image of Dr Wakefield, one that was quite dark, and IMO was intentianally shady

I have never watched CNN since, nor do I plan to. And I'm not surprised to hear that they're capable of covering events to a much high standard.

The effort to silence Andrew Wakefield is a desperate one, and many people/organizations will be involved. CNN should be added to that list.

John Stone

Anne,

Yes, and there is another point here. Of course, you can't do very much to prevent earthquakes but you see what happens when you trust scientists, politicians and big business: they build nuclear power stations in an earthquake zone which crumble to dust. Meanwhile, we are being told that it is not the job of the public and journalists to question scientists, their competence and their motives. We have to say without any proper public audit, big business, scientists and politicians will build nuclear power stations in earthquake zones which are not built to withstand the shock: it has everything to do with money and nothing to do with science. Why would medicine be any different?

There is no sense in which you can take the motives of scientists on trust. Of course, you can use this against Andy Wakefield or Boyd Haley but frankly that is not where the money and power is, and that is where the public and journalists need to be most vigilant. You realise when the science journalists go on about the evils of pharma, and the home in on Andy that they are really sending out (deliberately?) confused signals. If they want to be good journalists they have got to stop feeding from the hands of the powerful and start asking them the awkward questions, rather than shouting down dissenters.

John

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

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

Working...
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.

Working...

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.)