Thirty-seven days after I was thrown out of an NIH lecture by congressionally reprimanded millionaire vaccine industrialist and vaccine injury cover-up spokesman Paul Offit, the newsletter NIH record ran an article repeating Offit’s libel that I was a “stalker.” The story also said I stormed out of the room and slammed the door behind me.
The week before NIH published this libel, the video footage of my physical removal from the lecture was destroyed.
The author of these myths, NIH Newsletter Editor Rich McManus, began his article with a pretentious invocation of Greek Mythology:
In the myth of Sisyphus, our hero is continually frustrated when the boulder he is pushing up the mountainside rolls backward just as he approaches the summit.
And just who does Rich McManus think is the mythological “hero” at NIH? Take a wild guess:
…Dr. Paul Offit, his Sisyphusian effort to place the boulder of vaccine safety and efficacy atop the mountain of evidence is thwarted not by the boulder’s rolling back, but by the mountain gaining a spurious kind of altitude, based largely on guff.
But it’s McManus’ claims that are built on a mountain of guff, and the destruction of damning proof to the contrary. I guess I can’t expect much original thought from yet another person who just repeats Offit’s lies for him:
At a Clinical Center Grand Rounds “Great Teachers” edition on Dec. 14, Offit explained how he made the transition from vaccine crafter to vaccine defender before a packed Lipsett Amphitheater that included—as if to underscore the hazards of his new role—an appearance by a stalker.
Aside from his libeling me that I was a “stalker,” I find it amusing that Rich McManus considers being told you’re wrong a “hazard.” Perhaps that is because the real guff in this story is Paul Offit’s boulder of dishonest talking points, alongside his and McManus’ libel about me.
Rich McManus then concludes his myth by giving a false account of what happened between Offit and myself:
Offit was also challenged by a young man identifying himself as a local graduate student who rose in defense of Dr. Andrew Wakefield.
After fielding the young man’s questions in increasingly measured tones, Offit explained, “One of the consequences of what I do is that sometimes you get hate mail, sometimes you get sued, and now I have a stalker.” This particular student, he said, “often makes disparaging comments about me at national meetings as well as on the Internet.”
Now, I know Paul Offit mentioned the Internet - specifically plugging Age of Autism, but he never brought up national meetings. I made no remarks about him at national meetings, and Offit never said I did at the talk. Then McManus told the biggest whopper of a lie in his closing sentence:
Publicly identified as a nuisance, the man stormed out of Lipsett Amphitheater and slammed the door.
I never stormed out of the room; I was forced out. A man came up from behind me at the microphone after Offit libeled me by calling me a “stalker” and said:
I was then promptly escorted out of the room; I didn’t slam any doors.
The false accounts described in McManus’ fiction prompted me to make a Freedom of Information Act Request to the NIH on February 7, asking for the video footage of my ejection (I was the only questioner not shown on the VideoCast; the footage of Paul Offit listening to me asking the question was used instead.). I then received the following letter from NIH, dated February 29:
The Office Research Services searched its files and no records responsive to your request were located because tapes are recycled thirty days after broadcast and that, therefore, the only tape of the event is the one on the NIH website.
Having read this, I don’t see how FOIA requests for NIH VideoCast footage can be of much use since they take 20 days just to process. How convenient that Rich McManus published his libelous mythology the week after the video footage of my removal was recorded over after it was edited out of the VideoCast.
But thanks to some less careful editing of the VideoCast and the erratic behavior of Paul Offit and Tara Palmore at the talk, some inconvenient facts for Offit, Palmore and McManus still remain. This of course begins with Tara Palmore bolting Keystone Kops-style from her second-row seat to the back of the room right after Offit gave her an angry look when I introduced myself. It also includes Palmore’s return 45 seconds later to join Offit at the podium, literally shadowing him for the rest of the talk. It also involves her trying to shout me down when I responded to Offit’s slander that I was a “stalker” before my suppressed removal. Rich McManus did not include any of the above in his newsletter story, I wonder why.
Then of course there is the talk Palmore had with Paul Offit as soon as she told everyone to leave the room for pizza, beginning with Offit turning to her to say about me:
I saw him earlier; I saw him sitting there earlier.
I was about three-slides into it.
You signaled me; I didn’t realize it. I’m sorry.
No, no, I didn’t signal you. It was really too late.
Though Rich McManus did not include anything from this juicy dialogue either, I’d love to get his take on what Offit said “It was really too late” for.
Was it to welcome me with open arms? I think not.
I wonder what myth Rich McManus might dream up to explain that exchange.
Jake Crosby has Asperger Syndrome and is a contributing editor to Age of Autism. He has been blocked from Brian Deer’s website ever since investigating for the article “Fresh Fraud” and has been removed from talks by Seth Mnookin and Paul Offit. Jake 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.