Major Production
Hysteria, Autism, and the Durability of Sheer Nonsense

ABC News flunks ABC's of Autism in Reporting

By Anne Dachel

I was amazed at an investigative series that ABC News just aired.  It was all about how the U.S. government allows psych drugs to be used on children in the foster care system.  It’s stunning to watch the segments ABC News has produced.  The most vulnerable among us have been horribly abused by very people the government has empowered to care for them and ABC News exposed this scandal to the public.  Diane Sawyer and a number of others at ABC News worked on this investigation for over a year.  Here’s what ABC News had to say:

ABC News – November 30, 2011 -- U.S. Government Fails to Oversee Treatment of Foster Children with Mind-Altering Drugs

“Across America, doctors are putting foster children on powerful, mind-altering drugs at rates up to 13 times that of children in the general population. What’s more, doctors are prescribing foster children drugs at doses beyond what the Food and Drug Administration has approved, sometimes in potentially dangerous combinations, according to a new report by the federal Government Accountability Office.

“’It’s just almost beyond comprehension,’ said Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del., who asked for the GAO investigation. ‘We want the doctors and nurses that are prescribing these medicines to look at their behavior and think and ask this question. Are we doing something wrong here?’

“Four drug makers have paid a total of more than $2 billion to settle claims they illegally marketed antipsychotics to children. All deny wrongdoing.

On the video--Diane Sawyer: “An indictment of what the U.S. government does to some of the most vulnerable children in this country. We have spent a year investigating a horrible secret, tens of thousands of foster care children, even infants, given powerful mind-altering drugs and at times in doses and combinations considered too risky for adults.”

Sawyer: “There is no idea what the long term effects of these drugs could be on a child’s developing brain.”

“Medicaid pays for these drugs.”

ABC News – December 1, 2011 – Psychiatrists Put Kids at Risk With Mind-Altering Drugs

Diane Sawyer: “Foster care children…so many of them over-medicated with powerful mind-altering drugs. An unholy convergence: our tax payer Medicaid dollars pay for the drugs, the pharmaceutical companies see a market, and a lot of times doctors can move through many patients, fast.”

ABC: “We spent a year searching for answers.”

Sawyer: “We tried to take our questions to the U.S. government only to find agencies referring us to each other. The Secretary of the Dept of Health and Human Services declined our request for an interview. But we did sit down with Robert Nelson of the Federal Drug Administration which regulates drugs in this country and asked him who is going to lead this charge. …Is it time to issue a wake up call?”

Nelson said, “People should look into it.”

He added that the FDA was well aware of it and he asked Sawyer what she thought they should do.

Sawyer asked Nelson which agency should be blamed and he chuckled and said, “Well, um, I think we all have to take responsibility. We all need to work together to solve the problem.”

At the end, Sawyer added that the FDA had gotten back to ABC News and said that they think their current black box warnings on anti-psychotic drugs are enough and “they have no plans to add any further warning.”

ABC NEWS – December 2, 2011 – Mind-Altering Psych Drugs for a 7-Year-Old - Psych News

ABC News again presented the children who were victims of the foster care system.

I was amazed by this ABC News exclusive report.  Diane Sawyer and others were holding the government responsible for failing to protect our children.  Sawyer didn’t blindly accept the denials of those who were interviewed.  The pharmaceutical industry was cited for their corrupt practice of marketing these dangerous antipsychotic drugs to children.  It was an example of what the media’s job is supposed to be.  They’re supposed to hold people accountable for their actions. 

I couldn’t help but compare this coverage to the years of cover-up that ABC News has allowed when the issue is the controversy over vaccines and autism.  When vaccine safety is the subject, there is no year long investigation by a team from ABC News.  No one sits down with the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and demands answers. 

Imagine what it would be like if ABC News covered the autism-vaccine controversy like they did foster children and psychotropic drugs.

Diane Sawyer wouldn’t be taking the word of officials—no questions asked.  She’d want to know why hundreds of employees at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have waivers because they’re financially tied to the vaccine makers.  She’d note that the last head of the CDC, Dr. Julie Gerberding, is now head of the vaccine division at Merck.  She’d be asking if this was her reward for her years of denying any link between vaccines and autism when she ran the CDC.

ABC News wouldn’t be using Dr. Paul Offit to defend vaccine safety without mentioning that he personally made millions of dollars from a rota virus vaccine himself. 

Sawyer would want to know why there’s never been safety testing and FDA approval for the mercury and aluminum used in vaccines.  She’d expose the fact that vaccines are tested by themselves but they’re given in combination with other vaccines and that the vaccine makers often do the safety testing and the FDA just accepts the results.  She’d be in Atlanta asking why the CDC refuses to update the autism rate from the children who were born back in 1998.  She’d bring up the secret CDC sponsored meeting in Norcross, GA back in June 2000, now referred to as the Simpsonwood Meeting.  She’d expose the fact that CDC, FDA, WHO, and pharma reps were there to discuss the dramatic increase in neurological disorders in our children coincidental with the increased mercury exposure in the vaccine schedule.  She’d point out the CDC researcher Thomas Verstraeten redid the numbers three more times until any associations with mercury disappeared.  This was done at the same time Verstraeten went to work for Glaxo Smith-Kline and the original data in his study was lost. 

Sawyer would want to know why a disorder now affecting one percent of children and almost two percent of boys alone has not been declared a crisis by either the American Academy of Pediatrics or the CDC.  She’d be telling the public that no one has ever been able to find a comparable rate of autism among adults and that this generation of disabled children will soon be overwhelming social services in America.  She’d list the millions of dollars spent on worthless, dead-end research when it comes to finding autism’s cause and she’d point out the fact that the government has refused to do a comparison study of fully-vaccinated and never-vaccinated children to see if one percent of never-vaccinated children also have autism.

Sawyer would be showing us children who were born healthy and were developing normally until they received certain routine vaccinations.  We’d see how they are today and hear about the financial and emotional toll they take on a family.  Sawyer would note that the government has refused to study the children who regressed after vaccination and they call it all just a coincidence. 

ABC News has never put this kind of time and energy into vaccine safety.  Instead they’ve given us literally years of official and industry-sponsored denials.  Here are several recent examples:

 January 5, 2011

In a report titled, Vaccines for Children Proven Not to Cause Autism, Diane Sawyer was happy to accept that there’s absolutely no link between vaccines and autism.  The report on Andrew Wakefield never once mentioned the horrible bowel disease these children developed, even though that was the whole reason Wakefield was involved in this issue in the first place.   ABC couldn’t manage to talk to a single parent of the children who were the subject of the Lancet paper.  Instead they gave the floor to Brian Deer and Dr. Offit.

January 6, 2011

Dr. Besser's Notebook: The Fallout of Fraud trashed the very idea that vaccines could be causing autism.  There’s no point in looking at this anymore.  There is no link.  All this was done without ever presenting a single expert to challenge the official denials. 

January 17, 2011

George Stephanopoulos attacked Dr. Andrew Wakefield, accusing him of fraud, while never saying that he’d actually bothered to read Wakefield’s book, Callous Disregard, in which he outlined every detail of his involvement with children who developed bowel disease following their MMR vaccination.  ABC News dismissed the issue and reported that “numerous studies have proven there was no link” between vaccines and autism.

No one at ABC News seems concerned that there are lots of people with everything at stake in this debate.    If a link is clearly recognized someone is going to be held responsible.   There are lots of people who will do everything to prevent that from happening.

I wonder if Diane Sawyer or anyone else at ABC News is at least a little curious as to why the “studies prove no link” claim repeated endlessly by ABC and others hasn’t convinced parents.  Is ABC News ever going to ethically report on a controversy potentially involving every child in this country?  How long can we all just sit back losing hundreds of thousands of children to autism? 

Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism. Visit her site and subscribe to her daily feed of autism news.


Julie Matthews

This abuse of government power needs to stop. The constitution does not grant these authorities to the Federal government. We need to elect a leader that protects parents' rights to make the right decision for their children and not have these decisions mandated by gov't policies, and protect foster children from abuses of the system. Listen to Ron Paul's comments on this situation out today.


I was amazed enough, at least 6 or 7 years ago, when "health" agencies in the USA announced that 1 out of 6 American children have neurological/behavioral disorders. The numbers in Canada were similar, with 1 out of 5 children found with "diagnosable" mental disorders (whatever that meant). Aside from "members of the choir" asking questions and wondering why this was so, I was truly surprised that there wasn't a bigger public outcry or outrage about these numbers. How can we be letting so many of our children go down the drain, without trying to put a stop to this? Losing circa 20% of children to mental/neurological/behavioral problems, is a good chunk of a generation, and should not be considered acceptable in any way.

Michael B Schachter MD, CNS

I saw this Dateline report on ABC also and was astounded as to what a good job they did in exposing the quackery of overmedicating children and especially foster children. Sadly and tragically, as Anne Dachel points out in this excellent article, they miss half the story. ABC misses the fact that the administration of vaccines, along with poor nutrition to these children contributes to the very behavior that is then mistreated by the psychotropic drugs. Congratulations to Anne on her excellent analysis.
Michael B Schachter MD, CNS
Board Certified Psychiatrist

Just a mom

Re: foster kids and drugs--while Anne writes as if this whole problem is separate from the "autism" epidemic, I think it is part and parcel of the same problem. I think that the reporters' halfway serious effort to investigate this is a strong step in the direction of truth.

Think about it:

How many of these foster kids are double-vaccinated because the state is unable to locate their vaccine records when they take them into custody, so they just decide to "be safe" and get them up to date on all vaccines before placing them with foster parents?

How many of these foster kids were possibly poorly nourished due to being in poor families, or with bio-parents who didn't care or didn't have the knowledge or resources to properly nourish them? Mal-nourished kids are very likely more vulnerable to the toxins in vaccines.

How many of these foster kids were bottle-fed rather than breast-fed--resulting in poorer nutrition, poorer immunity, and different gut flora--as well as increased levels of manganese and aluminum from baby formula?

How many of these foster kids had exposures to lead or other heavy metals in the neighborhoods and home environments they were removed from? Previous exposures to heavy metals would make these kids more likely to reach a toxic tipping point following injections of mercury or aluminum laden vaccines.

I know of some adopted kids, including some with FAS, who had very difficult behavior problems which disappeared following changes in diet, addition of vitamin/mineral supplements, detox via Cutler's detox approach, and/or other alternative approaches that did NOT include antipsychotic drugs. Some of these children had been prescribed drugs by a doctor or psychiatrist, but the adoptive parents chose to seek out other ways to help their children.

Unfortunately, it takes a certain kind of person, a certain amount of knowledge, a certain attitude, and/or enough resources to make the choice to try all possible alternative solutions before resorting to drugs. Too many people are too willing to just do whatever a doctor tells them to do--especially when the alternatives might be more difficult in the short-term, and when society accepts drugging children but frowns on or scoffs at those who try alternative methods.

I do not know, but I suspect foster parenting presents special challenges that make choosing alternative treatments more difficult. Foster parents may have limited ability to make alternative medical choices for foster children for whom they do not have full custody. Sadly, the foster kids pay the price with their health, and society pays the price when these kids grow up and have even more serious behavior and mental health problems due not only to the drug use, but also due to the complete failure of their carers to address the true underlying medical and emotional causes of their undesirable behaviors.


I agree this would be funny if it was not so sad concerning ABC and what "investigating" they truely do concerning vaccines and autism. Could you get together a writing campaign personally to Diane Sawyer - letters could actaully make a bigger impact since they are much more worth the trouble then an email - what you wrote about what they have not done would be great to send to her in hundreds of thousands of actually letters and emails also!

Jeannette Bishop

A recent positive ruling in the Maryanne Godboldo case, though I'm not sure this is the end of the ordeal for this family:


In no way did I mean to imply that it was the foster parents' fault.

I was sloppy.

After I posted and re-read it I saw I mis- wrote this statement and it was very confusing as to what I truly meant. Very sorry about that!

"Why are foster kids giving foster parents trouble?
Because they know that the foster parents really don't love them, and they are throw away kids???----throw away and abused kids needs drugs."

I meant that to be the flippet reason that society, psych, social workers and the whole system probably think--- that and refrigerated Moms cause austim. Society is not seeing what I am seeing, and there is something wrong out here in my neck of the woods.

I have niecies and nephrews that are adopted and two do have severe personality problems. When we get any information about their parents I have to wonder if their parents have the same issues that stem from vaccines, immune problems- causing personality problems.

Also; it is becoming more common day by day to have kids raised by grandparents because the parents had them taken away from them and placed in these grandparents' custody. Every last one of these grandparents were decent people and are bewildered as to why their own children are not stable enough to raise their own kids.

The best of families, the well to do families in this area have kids that have been on drugs, got caught with drugs, in jail for drugs, dealing in drugs,died of a drug overdose, is permanently crippled from a brian injury from drug usage, was a room mate to the one that died of drugs, Has had to leave the entire state to go to a drug rehab and has decided to never return once they are fixed,so they can stay fixed, or are stealing for drugs.

This past week in my community, a man was killed by his friends for his prescription drugs.

We can't even go in the store and buy a decongestant without having to be veted by the FBI, in this area.

My house has been robbed for money for drugs, they took about 7000 dollars worth of stuff, including tools, jewlry, and two civil war swords belonging to Jermeiah six times graat grand father--- been in the family that lone.
My parents's home has actually broken into twice nowin the last three years. They cut the telephone lines the first time, they broke out a glass door the second time, and I worry about the third time
My neighbors down the road was broken into and tied up!

What is disturbing is why 52 percent of the foster kids on psych drugs to begin with? What is disturbing is the other stuff that goes along with it too.

Anna Vullien

Benedetta, why don't you become a foster parent and see what it is really like?

I am a foster parent, and I am proud to say NONE of my kids have ever been put on drugs. But I did have to put up a few fights over it. It is not the foster parents faults. Foster parents are the most caring people out there that DO LOVE the children, and that is why they do it.

Many foster children have seen abuse far worse then you can ever imagine. If they behave psychotic, it is NOT because of the foster parents, but the years and years of abuse.

They do vaccinate foster children like crazy, and as foster parents, there is nothing we can do about this. Most foster parents are not going to be familiar with autism and vaccine connection. I do have an autistic child of my own, so I am aware. But I was not aware of it BEFORE I vaccinated him 12 years ago.

I think THIS news story is GREAT and thank you for doing it ~ exactly what we need ~ more awareness and to educate everyone about the issues.

Rae N.

Those of us who follow the best of the alternative media have been aware of the scandalous drugging of foster children for years. Instead of waiting for ABC or the other major networks to "expose" any issue of importance, we should all be looking to these alternate sources. Because they have been marginalized, they have to resort to the smaller radio channels, access TV, shortwave and the Internet, but their message gets out all the same. Check out such powerful broadcasters as nurse Joyce Riley ("The Power Hour"), physician Dr. Stanley Monteith ("Radio Liberty"), and Alex Jones ("Info Wars."). And there are many others. Though they differ greatly in their emphasis and style of delivery, their mission is the same: getting the truth out. Pick one you like and set aside time. You'll hear many important stories that only emerge in the mainstream media years later.


Why are so many foster parents complaining to anyone, including psychs about these kids behavior?
Because the foster kids are giving foster parents trouble

Why do foster kids need psych drugs?
Because they are giving foster parents trouble.

Why are foster kids giving foster parents trouble?
Because they know that the foster parents really don't love them, and they are throw away kids???----throw away and abused kids needs drugs.

What are these kids doing in foster homes to begin with?
Because many may have been born to vaccinated injured parents that are unable to care for them, and even worse these parents past this now inflammed immune system on to foster kids --- and the government further vaccinates them compounding the problem.

What can be done to help these disturbed foster kids and worn out foster parents?
Easy fast answer is Psych drugs

My daughter works in a psych hospital in the psych unit. Many are foster kids. What do you do when they reach the point that they are deeply depressed and I mean really depressed?
Psych drugs and counselling -- and it is better than nothing.

What do you do when they are hitting, biting, kicking, hysterically --- hysteria - as coined by Dr. Freud.
Again psych drugs and counseling.

Tough world to get those in charge to turn 180 degrees around and take a new prospective on an old problem.

My daughter is doing very poorly the last two weeks herself. She came down with strep and it really threw her back into depression and picking at her hand. She can't fight off anything.


Foster and adopted children are also among the most pummeled with vaccines, too, I'm sure. Sadly the vulnerable populations are controlled in this way to be a stable market share for harma.

Bob Moffitt

"Sawyer: .. but we did sit down with Robert Nelson of the Federal Drug Administration which regulates drugs in this country..."

In the year that ABC "studied this problem" .. what evidence do they have that the FDA "regulates drugs in this country"? Common sense dictates that simply "rubber stamping" approval of pharma industry products is not the same as "regulating them".

"Sawyer asked Nelson which agency should be blamed and he chuckled and said, “Well, um, I think we all have to take responsibility. We all need to work together to solve the problem.”

I don't blame the FDA guy for giggling when asked by Sawyer "which agency should be blamed" .. after all .. Sawyer asked this stupid question after she just told ABC viewers the "FDA regulates drugs in this country"?

It would be funny were it not so sad.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

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

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

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

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

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

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

Your Information

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