Brian Deer’s Second Award - As Meaningless As The First
The UK’s “Press Awards” are not nicknamed the “Hackademy Awards” for nothing, especially in the case of Brian Deer. He has been given not one, but two such awards. The claim, made by Brian Deer, that the UK Press Awards are like the Pulitzer Prize is laughable and absurd.
The UK’s Society of Editors runs the Press Awards. Sitting on the Editors’ advisory council is Les Hinton, who recently resigned as CEO of Dow Jones in the wake of the Murdoch phone hacking scandal. Also on that committee is Rebekah Brooks, who resigned as senior executive of News International - which publishes The Sunday Times - and was then arrested.
For over a decade, Brian Deer's only award was based on a faulty premise. It was called “Specialist Reporter of the year.” The judges said Deer was “the only journalist in Britain that polices the drug companies.” However, during the year for which he won his award, 1998, Brian Deer wrote an article alleging that patients who suffered neurological injury from the DTP vaccine were not really injured and should therefore not have received legal compensation for their injuries. That is the exact opposite of “policing” the drug companies, but is instead harrassing the victims of defective drug company products. In 2004, Glenn Frankel reported in the Washington Post that one of Brian Deer’s specialties “was tracking down false claims of damage from vaccines.”
Weeks after the bogus premise behind his first award was reported on Age of Autism, Brian Deer was nominated for “News Reporter of the Year” and also for “Specialist Reporter of the year,” the latter of which he won at the ceremony in London’s Savoy Hotel on April 5th, 2011. That award was given to Deer for his smear campaign against Dr. Andrew Wakefield.
The measure of any great or even good journalist must be his independence. Journalism awards are supposed to be based on independent assessments of reporters’ work, otherwise they are meaningless. Furthermore, it seems too perfect that Brian Deer was nominated for a Press Award (that he would later win) mere weeks after Age of Autism revealed he had only won one award.
How surprising can this really be given that the Academy of Judges for this year’s awards ceremony included Richard Caseby, managing editor of The Sunday Times? Caseby became notorious for his exchange with Rosemary Kessick – one of the few parents of the Lancet 12 children that Brian Deer actually interviewed.
Following a 6-hour interrogation of Kessick by Deer in 2003, during which he falsely gave his name as “Brian Lawrence,” she complained to The Sunday Times executive editor John Witherow. The exchange is detailed by Dan Olmsted in his article, An Elaborate Fraud, Part 2: In Which a Murdoch Newspaper’s Deceptive Tactics Infect the British Medical Journal.
Unfortunately, Kessick might as well have been complaining to GlaxoSmithKline, the board of which has retained News International boss, James Murdoch, since 2009. John Witherow recently wrote in a self-congratulatory piece about The Sunday Times’ investigative journalism on July 17th:
There have, of course, been many other investigations, including Brian Deer's outstanding work on exposing the doctor behind the false MMR scare.
This sentence exposes a clear desire to try and shift the arguments off the ground of the Sunday Times and GSK and into a more general arena so showing that what happened to Wakefield was a result of universal investigating and popular will. In fact one of the most staggering things about the Wakefield case was that Deer carried sole responsibility for it prior to lodging it with the GMC; no other investigative journalist in the world uncovered or wrote anything original critical of Wakefield besides Deer.
Instead of Witherow responding to Kessick’s complaint, Richard Caseby wrote back:
Dear Ms Kessick,
Your email to the editor has been passed to me as managing editor so that I may investigate it. Once I have spoken to those involved I will be in contact next week.
Richard Caseby, managing editor, The Sunday Times
This promise, however, was never met. Fed up after writing Caseby multiple reminders, she wrote The Sunday Times lawyer, Alistair Brett, who would not comment on any of Kessick’s letters. He did, however, make the following assurance:
“…there is no intention to include you in anything we decide to publish on MMR.”
Yet another promise was not met. In Brian Deer’s 2009 Sunday Times article, he wrote he had cooperation from parents and mentioned his interview with Kessick. Exact quotes from Deer’s interview for The Sunday Times with Kessick would later be published in the British Medical Journal in January of 2011.
Richard Caseby’s embroilment in controversy does not stop with Brian Deer but also involves Paul Nuki, the conflicted Sunday Times “Focus” editor who assigned Deer to “find something big” on MMR. Nuki’s father Professor George Nuki sat on the Committee on Safety of Medicines while it was considering approval for the MMR vaccine that would later be banned for causing meningitis. Also on that committee was Professor Sir David Hull, who along with other committee members would ultimately approve the vaccine knowing it was dangerous as it had already been withdrawn in Canada. A decade later in 1998, as chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, Hull would be the first to accuse Dr. Wakefield of the “ethical” charges Brian Deer complained to the GMC about in 2004.
Richard Caseby and Paul Nuki were previously under fire in 2000 for publishing the confidential financial information of an English Lord, allegedly obtained by The Sunday Times through impersonators. Brian Deer is now facing parliamentary scrutiny for the acquisition of confidential medical records he obtained while working on the MMR project he was assigned by Nuki.
On the January 6, 2011 BMJ blog written by Brian Deer concerning his charges of fraud against Dr. Andrew Wakefield, Paul Nuki commented shortly before Deer’s award nominations:
Brilliant, Brian.... proof positive that investigative journalism of the highest standards lives on. Well done.
On his own personal online shrine, Brian Deer lauds his alter ego in the third person:
“…on 5 April 2011, Deer's personal journey found closure when he was named specialist journalist of the year in the British newspaper industry's annual Pulitzer-style Press Awards. Judges for the Society of Editors praised what they called his ‘outstanding perseverance, stamina and revelation on a story of major importance’. They said of his investigation: ‘It was a tremendous righting of a wrong’.”
What “wrong” was that, you might ask? Certainly not the vaccine damage to children that Brian Deer has energetically, with considerable stamina and perseverance, swept under the wall-to-wall carpet of corruption in British media.
Let’s hope the tremendous righting of Brian Deer’s wrong happens soon.
Jake Crosby has Asperger Syndrome and is a contributing editor to Age of Autism. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a BA in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy. In August, he will attend The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services where he will study for an MPH in epidemiology.
Mr Deer has still to collect the 2nd part of the award, his jail sentence ...The Press Awads(as in cash wads) are becoming somewhat a poisoned chalice as Mr Desbourough is finding out..larf larf larf
Posted by: Angus Files | August 18, 2011 at 09:19 AM
"So when will Brian Lawrence receive his award?"
Posted by: AussieMum | August 16, 2011 at 11:03 PM
@ Media Analysis
Also check out this website about Merck and Vioxx
Posted by: AussieMum | August 16, 2011 at 11:02 PM
Deer won`t be publishing his ill-gotten toxic lies in The Times anymore….great pdf`s to read stark similarities can be seen with the Deer agenda
Posted by: Angus Files | August 16, 2011 at 04:06 PM
"Let’s hope the tremendous righting of Brian Deer’s wrong happens soon." HERE! HERE!
Posted by: LARA | August 16, 2011 at 08:21 AM
Vioxx Investigation ???
"In this Sunday Times investigation, Brian Deer asks: who knew what... and when?" August 2005
Well apparently a lot of other people knew what and when and were reporting this long before Deer's
Even as far away as the Antipodes Vioxx was investigated and bought to the attention of the general public in Australia by ABC flagship current affairs programme "Four Corners".
ABC Radio National
Jeremy Laurence Health Editor at the Independent was reporting on Vioxx in January 2005
Investigation or Regurgitation ?
Posted by: Media Analysis | August 16, 2011 at 03:45 AM
Wouldn`t it be nice if a Newspaper from the dis-united UK, could write a FOI to the Met requesting the same on behalf of the Autism families as below sent by the New York Times
Jenny Allan the 2010 BPA Sponsors can be seen below nothing for 2011..
Posted by: Angus Files | August 16, 2011 at 03:07 AM
I would love to send a dustpan, a broom and some old carpet
for mr.brian lawrance deer.He did the job he was hired for
and now gets an award.He needs to tell us how he could sit at the hearing without getting paid?Who brought this man in?
He is a non-medical journalist, how does he know how chronic entero-colitis look like?How can he make diagnosis when he is not a dctor? How did he know the name of the patients? How did he know the patient's parents address?
How did he access confidential and private protected information?Who is paying him if Sunday Times and Channel 4 are not paying?What is he doing at a Pharma conference in
Baltimore in November,2010?You can mislead some,but we know
who you are mr.lawrence brian deer...
Posted by: oneVoice | August 16, 2011 at 01:26 AM
Thanks, Jake! I somehow completely failed to develop anything like the following perspectives on the writings of Brian Deer: 1) that Deer is "the only journalist in Britain that polices the drug companies,” and 2) that Deer is "a journalist who writes primarily about science" (from the link posted by Jenny Allen).
Posted by: Jeannette Bishop | August 16, 2011 at 01:19 AM
Yes I did notice the reference to 'Sense about Science', stated to be "an organisation which campaigns for honest, transparent and responsible scientific practice". That's a laugh!!
I have just read and reviewed Martin Walker's excellent new book Dirty Medicine The Handbook which has quite a lot to say about 'Health Corporationists' groups including 'Sense about Science' and the 'Royal Society' mentioned in the ABSW report on Deer's press award. Mr Taverne as a 'Health Corporationist' individual, features prominently in all sections.
As the name 'corporationists' suggests, these groups are all about promoting the interests of powerful corporations, including the pharmaceutical industries. Anything which might compromise those profitable interests, including public concerns about the safety of vaccines or medications has to be publicly 'rubbished' 'debunked' 'denigrated'...call it what you will. This inevitably involves the public vilification of the any 'whistleblowing' scientists and, as you correctly pointed out, the parents of those apparently vaccine damaged children. Dick Taverne's spurious assertion claiming these parents were 'opposed to immunisation (and who were strong believers in homoeopathy)' is both completely unfounded and quite disgraceful. Of course, these defenders of those immensely profitable conventional medicines and therapies, also have strongly vested interests in destroying credibility and access to alternative medicines and therapies.
'Honest, transparent and responsible?' Not a prayer!!
'Scientific?' Well-let's just say I would like to test Paul Offit's hypothesis about the human immune system easily tolerating 10,000 vaccines at once on some of these persons!!
Martin Walker's book Dirty Medicine The Handbook is available from Amazon or his own website www.slingshotpublications.com
Posted by: Jenny Allan | August 15, 2011 at 06:45 PM
PS Ms Davis's blog can be read here:
The first entry, written on 29 March 2011 reads:
"Welcome to ‘The Scientific Oxonian’ a blog about all things scientific. Here you’ll find articles about research, news and views on recent events and musings on much more. Enjoy!"
However, reading it you might feel it is a lot more about social networking.
Posted by: John Stone | August 15, 2011 at 06:29 PM
Interesting find. I note that the two people the ABSW article cites are Mark Henderson from the Times of London (News International stable-mate of the Sunday Times) and Sile Lane of the industry lobby group Sense About Science. It was the chairman of Sense About Science, Lord (Dick) Taverne, who in 2004 wrote an article in BMJ alleging:
"As long ago as 1994 legal aid was granted to a group of parents who were opposed to immunisation (and who were strong believers in homoeopathy), for an action claiming that MMR causes brain damage, epilepsy, arthritis, and autoimmune disease."
1) The identities and beliefs of the group had been revealed to him
2) The said believers in homeopathy had had their children vaccinated with MMR in order to be able to sue the manufacturers on spurious grounds
All of which is very odd, to say the least.
Anyhow, the ABSW article is written by Nicola Davis of the Oxford science magazine "Bang".
According to TheNakedScientists.com Ms Davis:
"...began studying chemistry because she liked 'the pretty colours' and is now, aptly, researching porphyrin dyes for her DPhil in Organic Chemistry at Oxford University. Apart from synthesising a rainbow in the lab, Nicola has enjoyed writing science articles for a variety of magazines as well as taking up the position of chief editor for 'Bang!', Oxford's science magazine. When not scribbling down ideas for her next article, Nicola enjoys archery, martinis and riding."
So, obviously a really tip-top person!
Posted by: John Stone | August 15, 2011 at 05:40 PM
Thanks again, Jake, for another comprehensive explication of fact. I need another corruption flowchart to keep up with the trails of influence and payoffs.
Posted by: nhokkanen | August 15, 2011 at 04:42 PM
From the report from the Association of British Science Writers (above):-
"The specialist of the year award has gone to a journalist who writes primarily about science. It's about time a science writer was recognised, especially as the Press Awards offers business, politics and even showbiz prizes but has no separate category for science and health reporting.
Awards do not have a 'science journalism' section, but Deer's award is effectively for just that – great science journalism. The ABSW runs science writers' awards for professional journalists, with the aim of rewarding excellence in science journalism. The awards ran continuously from 1966 to 2007, with the support of a variety of sponsors. Over the years the awards became the 'Oscars' of science writing, and served as a model for similar schemes all over the world... with support from Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development.
The Wellcome Trust started a new Science Writing Prize for non-professional writers last week."
Wonderful isn't it!! all these pharmaceutical industries supporting journalists with their science writing. Interesting that they DON'T seem to sponsor REAL scientists, just persons like Deer with no scientific or medical qualifications whatsoever!! The next stage is to get the articles published in some 'respected' newspaper or journal. What better than Murdoch's Sunday Times, with James Murdoch's useful directorship links to GlaxoSmithKline, MMR manufacturers.
Fascinating to see who the judges were!! Rebecca Brooks of all persons and Richard Caseby, managing editor of The Sunday Times. Thanks Jake. I would love to know who or what 'sponsored' that ritzy Press Association 'do' at the London Savoy!!
Posted by: Jenny Allan | August 15, 2011 at 11:52 AM
Well done, Jake!
Mr. Deer and his co-conspirators look like rats steering the ship now -- but -- history shows that time will take back that ship. The storm has been brewing for awhile that eventually will have those rats crawling over each other to escape their fate - exposure and collapse!
Wherever the fates lead us let us follow
Posted by: Deer's festering DSM Diagnoses | August 15, 2011 at 10:37 AM
This is his professionalism don’t watch the whole film it will make you puke, but go to 6.02 at the very end of the video he writes “F**K em!”.. The juxtaposition he adopts here it seems is that his venom is, directed at the award winner who exposés a paedophilia ring. How insensitive is it to write a sexual comment like that at the end of such an award ceremony where children were being sexually abused ..it is as if he hates children and the whole of the human race, to boot....
Posted by: Angus Files | August 15, 2011 at 09:58 AM
I've been both a judge and a recipient of state and national awards in the U.S., so I know how these things work. And what I can tell you is that, if Brian Deer were truly the quality, award-winning journalist he wants people to think he is, he would have many other honors to boast about, besides these two isolated -- and questionable -- ones.
I've been following his "work" for quite some time, and have wondered the entire time why no one else has followed in his footsteps and "uncovered" the same story he claims as his own. In REAL journalism, as soon as someone gets an award on a topic, there are tons of copycatters working on similar stories in their own hometowns. But this hasn't happened with his stories, which have kind of just sunk to the bottom and stayed there with only the other guilty parties to pile laud on them.
In my opinion, Deer is not a professional journalist because he has no ethics -- and no real talent, either.
Posted by: Cindy | August 15, 2011 at 09:04 AM