Just recently, TIME Magazine writer Alice Park included Dr. Andrew Wakefield among the “Great Science Frauds” of all time in TIME “HealthLand” on January 12, 2012. But if there is anything one should know about Park, it’s that she is a great media accomplice of pharma in the vaccine injury cover-up.
In 2008, Alice Park penned an article titled “How Safe Are Vaccines?” timetabled to coincide with the Washington DC “Green Our Vaccines” rally. The piece drew public rebuke from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. at the rally, who announced in front of the capital, “I called that woman who wrote that TIME Magazine article!” “That woman” was Alice Park.
It so happens that TIME Magazine was going through a makeover implemented by the corporate global consulting firm, McKinsey, which was still firmly under the leadership of Ian Davis, twin brother to the judge who killed MMR litigation in the UK. Their older brother, Crispin Davis, was the boss of Lancet Editor-in-Chief Richard Horton when Horton lied about not knowing of Dr. Wakefield’s involvement in litigation. McKinsey was also the location for a book party for congressionally reprimanded millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul Offit.
Other examples of TIME’s abhorrent coverage include a profile of Jenny McCarthy that questioned her son’s diagnosis of autism on the basis of speculation by unnamed doctors who never examined her child. The author, Karl Taro Greenfeld, is now a contributor to Alison Singer’s blog.
Editorial influence could have also played a role. TIME’s Senior Science and Technology Editor, Jeffrey Kluger once interviewed Jenny McCarthy with a barrage of loaded questions. Kluger had a history of writing about the vaccine industry even before he began covering this controversy.
In 2005, Kluger authored Splendid Solution, Jonas Salk and the Conquest of Polio. The book aimed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the success of Salk’s polio vaccine. However, the book was full of errors.
Though Kluger received some fanfare for lauding the vaccine industry, particularly as an invited author to speak at the Wistar Institute – a research facility dedicated to vaccine development – others supportive of the vaccine industry were not so impressed. Dr. Michael Katz – Senior Vice President for Research and Global Programs at the March of Dimes – wrote in a scathing review for Neurology Today that Kluger’s book contained “NUMEROUS INACCURACIES” and “ERRORS IN SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION.”
These inaccuracies were not trivial, according to Katz:
Some reflect just ordinary inattention to specific details, but others reveal the author's apparent failure to understand the biology of vaccines.
Katz concluded (boldface mine):
When one reads the book, one inevitably wonders about what other unrecognized errors there are that may mar the text. This is why I cannot recommend this book to any audience.
In December 2011, Time Inc. named Laura Lang – a woman with no journalism experience – as chief executive. She previously worked in strategy for Pfizer and in product management for Bristol-Myers Squibb. Perhaps even more troubling, though is who sits on Time Warner’s board of directors – Fred Hassan – former chairman of PhRMA and CEO of Schering-Plough when it was merging with Merck. He was also president of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations.
Drug ads can be frequently seen in the pages of TIME magazine issues. Pharmaceutical companies supplied about 20% of the magazine’s advertising pages in recent issues, and Time magazine returned the favor. The January 9th issue ran an editorial titled “Drugs Zero In” lauding five new drugs including a flu vaccine by Novartis:
The U.S. is next: the company is building its first facility to manufacture these vaccines in North Carolina.
The January 16th issue included an ad from GlaxoSmithKline that read:
What's your reason for getting up-to-date on adult vaccines?
Like many people, I didn't always think about adult vaccinations as an important part of my health -until I learned that millions of US adults get sick and thousands die from vaccine-preventable diseases, some of which can be spread to others.
I also learned that immunity from certain vaccines fades over time, and new vaccines may have been developed since I was a child. The CDC recommends multiple vaccines for adults, depending on age and risk of infection, to help protect against up to 14 diseases or more. These diseases include whooping cough, flu and hepatitis B.
You could be a risk for getting serious diseases. Talk to a healthcare professional about the vaccines you may need. Everyone has a reason to help protect their health. What's yours?
Visit helpreventdisease.com to learn more
The possible influences behind TIME Magazine’s coverage of this controversy and Park’s reporting in particular can be summed up as follows:
-A consulting agency led by a man whose brothers played instrumental roles in killing litigation against MMR manufacturers and organizing a witch hunt against the plaintiff’s top expert witness – Dr. Andrew Wakefield.
-Change in the company’s corporate leadership that now includes veterans of the pharmaceutical industry
-An editor who has written a book about Joan Salk.
-TIME’s substantial advertising revenues from the pharmaceutical industry.
And despite all this, TIME Magazine should still be regarded as the independent, premier national news magazine it once was?
Time to cancel your subscriptions to TIME, if you haven’t done so already.
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. He currently attends The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services where he is studying for an MPH in epidemiology.