Katie Wright: Confessions of an Obese Autism Mom
Autism and Nutrition

Minnesota Book Award Goes To Error Laden Entry: With Committee Knowledge

Medication-Errors-DefinitionManaging Editor's Note: You know when an author writes about Thimerosal and MMR in the same sentence that he or she has no grasp whatsoever on the autism/vaccine issue and is merely spouting from other uneducated sources. 

By Patti Carroll

Group Gives Award to Author They Knew Had Lied in his Book

The results of the 24th Annual Minnesota Book Awards were announced last night at a gala celebration in downtown St. Paul.  The Minnesota Book Awards have been coordinated by a group called The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library for the past few years, and are intended “to showcase the tremendous literary talent and output of our state”.

However, a stain has been cast on The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library after a book called “Fool Me Twice – Fighting the Assault on Science in America” was given an award in the General Nonfiction category.  The award is tainted by the fact that not only did the author blatantly lie in this supposed “nonfiction” work, but the coordinators of the event were aware of this fact well in advance of the awards ceremony.

I first heard of this book when my local community newspaper published a glowing, half page review of it back in December.  It caught my eye because the review claimed that this local author had identified potentially harmful myths, including vaccines cause autism.  I checked the book out of the library a few weeks later, and was outraged when I read the small section on vaccine refusal.   Even though this topic was listed in the review and on the book jacket itself as one of the main “myths” the author covered, there were only a few pages in the book that even touched on the subject.  And the coverage was downright insulting to one who had actually lived through most of what the author was writing about.

I called Ann Nelson, the coordinator of the book awards, in mid-February to notify her that there were several factual errors in this book.  During a rather strange conversation, she told me that there are many different opinions on this topic – to which I calmly replied “Yes, but this is not a book that was nominated in an “opinion” category, this is supposed to be factual”.  She then said that they do not really concern themselves with content in the books they consider for awards, but rather writing style and general appeal.  “What?” I said, “How can you not consider content in a NON-FICTION book?”  She then went on to say that she had never heard of a nominated book that was pulled from consideration for an award, and that there was no process in place to do this.  But I continued to appeal to her, listing some of the blatant errors.  She seemed concerned, and asked me to put something in writing for her and Alayne Hopkins, the director of the book awards.

Here is what I sent to them two weeks later:

February 29, 2012

To:         Ann Nelson

               Friends of the St. Paul Library Book Awards

               325 Cedar Street

               St. Paul, MN 55101


From:    Patti Carroll

               Consumer Safety Advocate

               Vaccine Safety Council of Minnesota

               6031 Culligan Way

               Minnetonka, MN 55345

Dear Ms. Nelson -

I am following up on our recent phone conversation during which we discussed the fact that a book titled “Fool Me Twice” - by Shawn Lawrence Otto is being considered for a Minnesota Book Award under the general nonfiction category.

The sub-title of the book is “Fighting the Assault on Science in America” - and among the topics the book claims to cover is vaccine refusal.  As a parent of a child with vaccine-induced autism, and knowing dozens of others, I have been studying this issue and reading the science pertaining to it for nearly a decade.  When I read the portion of the book concerning vaccines, it was evident that Mr. Otto has attempted to re-write the recent history of vaccine refusal into a few tidy paragraphs to support what appears to be a strong bias.

The book contains several bizarre and blatantly untrue statements, and the author makes many broad generalizations on this topic – but includes little “science” to back up his inaccurate and defamatory claims.


There are far too many fallacies to list them all in this memo, but I would like to bring your Dunce girl attention to just a few. 

Page 152 – “The MMR vaccine contained thimerosal”

This is a stunning statement to read in a book that purports to be about “Fighting the Assault on Science” - as anyone with even a cursory knowledge of science would know that a mercury-based compound could never be used in a vaccine that contains live viruses, such as the MMR vaccine.  The mercury would immediately kill the viruses.  The MMR vaccine has NEVER contained thimerosal.

Page 152 - Dr. Andrew Wakefield “doctored his evidence to fit his a priori conclusion” in his paper published in the Lancet in 1998, and the paper has been discredited as “fraudulent”

I was shocked to read a published book that contains such pure hearsay.  Not only has Dr. Wakefield never been convicted of doctoring evidence or committing fraud, he has never even been charged with these things.  Mr. Otto appears to have taken his “facts” straight from tabloid headlines.  Dr. Wakefield has filed a defamation lawsuit against the British Medical Journal for printing the false allegations that Mr. Otto is parroting in his book.  If you follow the link in Otto’s footnote, you will see it leads to an article that accuses Wakefield of fraud – with absolutely no proof, and certainly no such charges or convictions.

General theme throughout this section - Vaccines do not cause autism

Four years ago, former CDC head Julie Gerberding admitted that vaccines can indeed cause autism, and last year it was revealed that the U.S. government has been aware of this fact for some time.  There are many cases of vaccine-induced autism that have been successful in proving their cases in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, including Poling, Banks, Freeman, and others.  Interestingly, Otto bemoans the “Crisis in American Journalism”- where he claims “serious journalism is being forced into small outlets on the web, many of them non-profit.”  But on the topic of vaccine-induced autism, Otto appears to have violated his own standards by merely copying mainstream media headlines or someone else’s work.  Had he done some firsthand investigating on this topic, he would have discovered that among confirmed NVICP cases (those being compensated by the U.S. government for their vaccine-induced brain damage), the rate of autism is one in about every two cases.  And since the NVICP’s inception in 1986, there have been over 1300 such cases settled.


Page 153 – Regarding mercury in the form of thimerosal, Mr. Otto states “despite there being no scientific evidence of negative health effects…”

It is absolutely absurd that anyone would make such a ridiculous statement, especially one who claims to be a supporter of “science”.  There are hundreds of peer-reviewed studies demonstrating the toxicity of mercury, and the serious issues it can cause – including death.  Surprisingly, the link at footnote 17 takes the reader to the FDA website, where the following statement is found:

“Several cases of acute mercury poisoning from thimerosal-containing products were found in the medical literature with total doses of thimerosal ranging from approximately 3 mg/kg to several hundred mg/kg. These reports included the administration of immune globulin (gamma globulin) (Matheson et al. 1980) and hepatitis B immune globulin (Lowell et al. 1996), choramphenicol formulated with 1000 times the proper dose of thimerosal as a preservative (Axton 1972), thimerosal ear irrigation in a child with tympanostomy tubes (Rohyans et al. 1994), thimerosal treatment of omphaloceles in infants (Fagan et al. 1977), and a suicide attempt with thimerosal (Pfab et al. 1996). These studies reported local necrosis, acute hemolysis, disseminated intravascular coagulation, acute renal tubular necrosis, and central nervous system injury including obtundation, coma, and death. (IOM)”


In his haste to make his point, Mr. Otto apparently did not read through his references in their entirety.


Page 153 – “Thimerosal had been removed from vaccines in 2001”

A quick check of the current vaccine schedule will show that thimerosal is still in several vaccines at what is called a “trace” level (and it should be noted that there is no safe level of thimerosal established by the FDA).  It is also in the majority of influenza vaccines routinely administered to pregnant women and infants as young as six months old.  Vaccine manufacturers were never required to remove thimerosal from vaccines. 


Page 154 – In reference to Dr. Wakefield coming to Minnesota to meet with Somali autism parents, Otto quotes a gentleman named Dr. Abdirahman Mohamed as saying (regarding Wakefield), “ He’s using a vulnerable population here, mothers looking for answers.  He’s providing a fake hope.”

Interestingly, Dr. Mohamed was not at any of the meetings between Somali parents and Dr. Wakefield.  As one of the organizers of these events, I can attest that it was the Somali parents who implored Dr. Wakefield to come and meet with them.  Dr. Mohamed infers that Dr. Wakefield sought out and “used” the Somali parents, when in fact – it was quite the opposite.  When you follow the link in Otto’s footnotes, again you will find that he has merely referenced someone else’s article – an article also written by someone who was not even present at the meetings.  If Mr. Otto truly wanted to get to the crux of the matter, he would have interviewed Dr. Wakefield, some of the Somali parents who were present at these meetings, or one of the meeting hosts. 


These are only a few of the false claims I discovered in this book – and I only read the few pages devoted to vaccines.  When people begin to read this recently-published work and realize the poor quality of the coverage on vaccines, it will no doubt reflect poorly on the judges of the Minnesota Book Awards if they have rewarded this author with a prize.  I have included several links and two documents to support my arguments, and will gladly provide further backup for you, if needed.  It is unfortunate that the author of this “nonfiction” book was unable to provide such meticulous corroboration for what he published.


Otto’s book jacket states – “Whenever the people are well- informed,” Thomas Jefferson wrote, “they can be trusted with their own government.”  But what happens if the people aren’t well informed?


Sadly, the author of “Fool Me Twice” has either been “fooled” himself or is deliberately trying to keep people from being well-informed on the extremely important topic of vaccine safety.  Either way, I respectfully request that this book be removed from contention for the Minnesota Book Awards.






Patti Carroll – Board Member

Vaccine Safety Council of Minnesota




cc.          Alayne Hopkins

               Book Awards Director






Banks vs. HHS

Freeman vs. HHS





FDA: Thimerosal in Vaccines



Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s recently filed defamation lawsuit against UK reporter and the BMJ



"CDC Chief Admits that Vaccines Trigger Autism"

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviews former CDC director Dr. Julie Gerberding, now working for Merck Vaccines.



Vaccine Autism Case Gets US Government Compensation 07 Mar 2008

"Hannah's father, neurologist Dr Jon Poling who practised in Athens, Georgia, told the press on Thursday that he and his wife, Terry, a registered nurse and former trial attorney, were 'very pleased' with the decision, reported CNN."



SafeMinds Research Database: Vaccine Mercury Toxicity Studies




Vaccine Mercury Toxicity Studies

Compiled by mercury researcher Boyd E. Haley, PhD

Former chair, Chemistry Department, University of Kentucky

Toxicity of Thimerosal: An Organic Mercurial Added To Vaccines


Thimerosal Toxicity Slide Show


Selected Studies on the Toxicity of Thimerosal Published in Peer Reviewed Scientific and Medical Journals

A. Toxic Effects of Thimerosal on Vital Mammalian Enzymes

B. Chromosomal Aberrations Induced by Thimerosal Exposure

C. Disruption of Calcium Homeostasis by Thimerosal

D. Allergic Responses to Thimerosal in Vaccines and Opthalmics

E. Thimerosal Exposure from Vaccines



SafeMinds Launches Mercury-Free Pregnancy Campaign

December 2011

"For the 2011-2012 flu season, approximately 53% of the flu vaccine supply still contains mercury in the form of thimerosal."



Unanswered Questions from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program: A Review of Compensated Cases of Vaccine-Induced Brain Injury

Mary Holland Esq., NYU School of Law; Louis Conte; Robert Krakow, Esq.; Lisa Colin

Pace Environmental Law Review

Volume 28, Issue 2 Winter 2011, Article 6: 5-10-2011



Measles, Minneapolis and Somali Kids

By Abdulkadir Khalif

March 28, 2011

"We, the Somali parents of Minnesota have taken upon ourselves to invite caring scientists to help us unravel the mysteries of autism. The CDC woke up from the deep slumber afterwards and is now scrambling to scuttle that process by initiating yet another research to confirm prevalence. Their aim is to put a stop to this perennial Somali story by 'scientifically' disproving prevalence."




















After giving the awards group an opportunity to review the references I provided and compare them to the footnotes provided in the book, I called and spoke to Alayne Hopkins, the book awards director.   She had received the letter and backup. (I actually printed out the case decision summaries for Banks and Freeman, and sent those along with the memo)  In what turned out to be another strange conversation, I listened to this woman say that the judges look only at the book, not the facts – even in a nonfiction category.  When I asked what the judges thought after reading my memo, she told me that they did not pass this information on to the judges, and stated that their rules dictate that they take the publisher’s information as factual.  I wondered why they had even asked me to document my objections.   Like Ms. Nelson, she hemmed and hawed quite a bit, talked about differing “opinions”, and eventually confirmed that they would not remove the book from contention.  She said this was really an issue between me and the author and the publisher, and that I should take it up with them, to which I replied that I had planned to, but wanted first to save her organization some embarrassment. 

She tried to pacify me by saying that publishers often make corrections on subsequent printings, and that she had passed my memo and contact information on to the author and publisher.  She then said that “Shawn” (I guess they’re on a first-name basis) would love to talk to me.  But when I asked for his contact information, she would only give me a generic website for him.  I decided to wait and see – if he would really “love” to talk to me, he has my number.  I’m still waiting for that call.

I know I shouldn’t be surprised anymore by the amount of ignorance and misinformation that is spread every day on the topic of vaccine-induced autism.  But I can’t help but be amazed at the blazing speed in which:

  • A pharma-funded medical journal prints an opinion piece that alleges fraud
  • Some guy writes a book repeating that opinion  but claims it’s a fact
  • A publisher prints and distributes the “nonfiction” book without fact-checking the claim
  • A group supposedly dedicated to excellence in writing gives this book an award knowing it contains false information

All in the course of 15 months.  Wow.

I would like to think that the judges and sponsors of this event will be shocked to learn that they were never given an opportunity to review important information before they gave this book an award.  But after over a decade in the trenches I am losing faith in humanity.  Regardless of whether these people just didn’t want to “make waves”, they have done more damage than any of us will ever know.  Each person who knowingly gives a pass to dishonest reporting on the dangers of vaccines is an equal partner in harming more of our innocent children. 

Shame on them all.




When I worked in publishing in Minnesota, authors had to sign off on every final galley correction marked by copy editors or proofreaders before their book went to press.

Red ink was used most. Hard to miss. That, and Post-it notes.

Otto's one-sided vaccine reporting exemplifies the shallow copy-and-paste media mentality that perpetuates the autism epidemic.


Buzzzzz saw, Ha- great description!

I can imagine poor Shawn sitting stone still at his computer in shock. - I do understand his surprise - if I am fair. - I probably thought the same thing sitting through my college classes, after all this information is in all the health, nursing, science text books-- in easy reach-- written by supposely very knowlegable people. Then when school was out, the world was my oyster - darn -- dogma was out the door and the real life school began.

Jeannette Bishop

I seemed to be experiencing deja vu with this book, and I remembered another book I won't pay money to read:


The use of the laboratory flask must communicate that the book contains scientific content:


Lord Moloch

The bottom line with Otto is that he only concedes the MMR-thimerosal solecism and then charmingly blames it on someone else (does he want to run for office, since he seems like a man of political ambitions?) Meanwhile he has blanked all the other material issues raised by Patti.

Christine Thompson

Dear Patti:

Thank you for the additional links, especially the "(Former) CDC Chief Admits That Vaccines Trigger Autism."

I'm thrilled that she is now with her very like-minded associates over at Merck...

Or as my husband refers to them, "Merck-ury."

John Stone

So, Mr Otto, what do we have here but a sweeping ad hominem attack and a lot of emoting? One might have thought this was about science but it is all rhetoric and grandstanding. I must point you apart from anything else to my comment below which gives citations for the US government's acknowledgement that there are known mechanisms by which vaccines can cause autism, contrary to your incredibly important opinion expressed on your previous visit. You may detect hostility but actually there are also lots of substantive points below to be met.

People have reasons for their anger when their evidence is ruthlessly sidelined and ignored, and powerful interests claim a monopoly on truth. I suspect Thomas Jefferson might have something to say about that too.

Managing Editor

Once Shawn pulled out "Ad hominem attacks" line in a comment (deleted) we knew he had the Skeptic handbook open to page 3. No further comments necessary. The info is wrong. Copy editors do NOT add facts to a book, that's the author's job. Shame Minnesota feels this book propels an agenda forward that has proven to be catastrophic for families from coast to coast.



hot off the press and chock full of errors..first sentence lead in..to the description of Wakefield's (crimes)..can we fix this!!


I'm sure Ms. Carroll didn't have to "cherry pick" those statements, and I can't see how she took them "out of context" unless the context was that vaccines DO cause autism, because they are similar to statements we see everyday in mainstream outlets. They are just as incorrect in this book as they are everywhere else they are published. I for one applaud anyone who steps forward and points that out. I would find it very funny that so many people who claim to be supporting "science" say such incredibly unscientific things, IF it didn't offend the heck out of my logical scientific mind.

information not ignorance

I'm wondering what the other books were that were nominated in the category. Those authors should be fully informed about what went down for this event.


Well, apparently, when you aren't not well informed you write a book about "science" with incorrect and imprecise information then get it published and get an award in Minnesota.


From my own experiences of working with six editors as I wrote a book I can tell you the ownership falls fully on the author to disseminate every word that is the content of their book. I've had editors who presumed to know my audience and topic better than me and would submit entire paragraphs of prose, which was promptly taken out by me.

If a copy writer wrote something that was out of context and not factual during the publishing process then it was up to the publishing editor to correct it. Personally I don't think a copy writer goes to the length of submitting this level of writing as a supposition that the author intended it to be in there, especially without checking with the author.

The writing process is extremely humbling, if not humiliating. The worst part of the process is to be challenged on a portion of your book that may be inaccurate. I don't think Mr. Otto was challenged enough, or if he was, he didn't heed the necessity to correct his errors. And for that Patty's expose letter was warranted.



I understand your point, but Mr Otto says that the copy editor "inexplicably added" the comment about MMR containing thimerosal. Is it a copy editor's job to add content to an author's work? And in stealth? I mean, who's writing the book?

I'm really asking.

dan olmsted

Carol, it's a humbling experience to write a book because there is so much information flowing through it that a handful of mistakes are almost inevitable. so i would accept that the author knows the distinction between thimerosal and the mmr and wishes he were more vigilant in catching that mistake. still, it's his book, and it's wrong.
the big problem here it seems to me -- and it's a problem we see all the time -- is mediocrity and festering nastiness masquerading as scientific rigor and good journalism. there is a whole genre of books that purport to stand up for science and devote a poorly researched, derivative chapter to the autism-vaccine issue (suggesting, alas, that the whole book suffers the same failings).
the problem for them is they run into something they never expected -- a buzz saw of angry parents (and others, like moi) who are sick of being degraded and dismissed as anti-science, emotional, marginal, and looking for someone to blame.
the author of this book wants to fall back on the idea everyone should be minnesota nice about his work and if you aren't, you're hurting your own cause, he's confusing civility with being a patsy.


Cia Parker:
A few weeks ago I found within one of the bigger pharm sponsored journals the "canned response" pediatricians are to offer those "stubborn" parents who are so mislead by "junk science". (arggh..just saying that makes my head hurt)Given our doc, deviated little from what was in print, I'm thinking "yes" he is just jumping on a bandwagon , following the "junk" rules that are to be applied to rogue parents. Next step I believe will be the firing of us ( unmanageables) before stepping into the pharm disguised lobbying for healthier children with vaccine mandates in place. We can't be too disturbed by a book, when the journals are chock full of lies. If three "studies" prove thimerosal was the major contributor, the fix is to pay for four to "prove" the opposite. At this point science screams the weight of the evidence suggests no vaccines are causal in the development of autism..lalala...we can't stop the destruction with this acceptable devious practice.At some point, we will have to stop allowing those such as Offit to make predictions of safety without the science and research to back them. To change the rules to fit their square pegs should be criminal, smoke and mirrors should not be entertained by science, using adjuvants in the controls should qualify as an action of criminality. We can't be certain that the product studied and the product "served" are similar yet they should be identical. It's a messy brew of profit and alliances .


A lie is a lie,does not matter what the writting style and
the general appeal is.We DEMAND that the book is pulled from
the library and the award needs to be taken away from the
author,due to the many factual errors in this book.
Thank you Patti Carroll for your hard work,research and exploring their dirty marketing propaganda.


Apparently in Minnisota you can judge a book by its cover since they don't judge them for content... Hello????

Corrupted Science

A snip from our "friends" at The New York Times:

"In the fall of 2010, Dr. Ferric C. Fang made an unsettling discovery. Dr. Fang, who is editor in chief of the journal Infection and Immunity, found that one of his authors had doctored several papers. ...

"[R]etractions were just a manifestation of a much more profound problem — 'a symptom of a dysfunctional scientific climate,' as Dr. Fang put it."



Mr. Otto,
Your statement "I would counsel that it is better to approach people with an open hand, and not a closed fist. Not only will you get more done, but you might find out the truth more quickly." could not be more true. The problem is that this community has done nothing but approach everyone with an open hand and we are consistently met with a closed fist.
The one study we have requested for the past 20 years - the prevalence of autism in the vaccinated vs un-vaccinated population is consistently met with a closed fist. First it was unethical to withhold vaccines so the study could not be done - with so many forgoing vaccines we now have the population to study without the ethical concerns involved(how ironic)- and we still see the closed fist. The biggest medical disaster in our history could have ended 20 years ago if someone actually approached this crisis with your "open hand!" Do not preach your open hand sermon to a population that has consistently opened their hands to be met with the perpetual closed fist which includes yours as well.


Dan Olmsted,

I'm surprised that a copy editor added something to Mr. Otto's book without telling him. Is it typical for copy editors to slip random information into books?

Jeannette Bishop

Thanks Patti. This is very well written.

No time was wasted adding mention of this award to the info at Amazon, either.

I've read that for some time news media outlets have employed medical editors to make sure anything medically related is accurate prior to press and, I suspect, often subjected to "mainstream" consensus, and the lack of accuracy in some articles make me wonder if consensus is the true objective. Then we also have ghost written "science" and even "scientific journals." Do book publishers follow the same sorts of practices?

Lord Moloch


Frankly, I think that Shaun is a bit of an adept at getting the patronage of powerful people.


So... Shawn Lawrence Otto allows that scientific knowledge of vaccine injuries is not complete. Yet rather than call for clinical investigation of vaccine adverse event reports and promote humane treatment of victims, Otto merely repeats the "greater good" philosophy. That indicates his contentment with the intellectual mediocrity and ethical deficits of government and industry that allow the epidemic of vaccine-induced autism to skyrocket.

What kind of mind believes that vaccine injuries are acceptable -- that developers aren't responsible for correcting flaws in vaccines, or providing warranty protection? How long must society wait before socially influential people like Otto advocate prioritizing the study, treatment and prevention of vaccine adverse events?

Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura's daughter Jade suffered an adverse reaction to a vaccine; it's documented at the Jade Foundation website.

The Minnesota Book Award situation is a microcosm of the social dynamics nationally and internationally. The award committee put pricey 8-page glossy inserts into local publications. No one wants to stop the juggernaut and say they made a mistake, and that they intend to make it right.


Shawn Lawrence Otto is a classical ignoramus maximus. He knows nothing about the science and how corrupted it became under the rule of corporate mafias. Such individuals like Otto are often used by politicians and corpo-cartels to spread their lies and propaganda. Nobody normal would trust (and read) what this arrogant, corrupted ignorant says.

Birgit Calhoun

The unfortunate thing is that it's not just science that is being lied about and used as propaganda tool. It's krept into every phase of the presidential election. The media are lapping it up as if it were there purely for the entertaiment of the masses. Science used to be the last bastion of incontrovertible truth. Now, falsifying studies and padding academic papers with self-serving results is done for financial gain. Presumably the truth will eventually out. But only those of us who are hurt by false information can fix it by keeping up the good work. Great and necessary article!!!

cia parker

Mr. Lawrence,
My daughter reacted to the hep-B vaccine at birth with four days and nights of inconsolable screaming, vaccine-induced encephalitis, and was later diagnosed with autism. Which part of this scenario do you reject? Do you think vaccines never cause autism, or only that they "rarely" do? Michael Belkin's baby died four hours after the hep-B vaccine, and the autopsy showed she had encephalitis. Do you not believe this? Have you read the sequence of events for the Lancet Nine, the nine of the twelve who developed autism as well as bowel disease within days or weeks of the MMR? You can no longer say that that evidence was invented or fraudulent after Judge Mitting's exoneration last month of Dr. Walker-Smith. Have you not read the testimony of innumerable parents as to their children's fatal or permanently disabling reactions to vaccines? Read Dr. Eisenstein? Vaccine Epidemic? Age of Autism? I believe your repetition of the same tired old party line is irresponsible, since its intent is to lull parents into believing that vaccines are not dangerous, and the chances of the child's having a severe case of a vaccine-preventable disease are much greater than his chances of a severe vaccine reaction.

Tim Kasemodel

Mr. Otto, in your haste to critize someone who dares to call you to the table on mistakes in your book, you wrote "Neither of those approaches are helpful to the advancement of knowledge,..."

That is rich. Going after Patti, who merely points out to an organization that wants to reward an author that his work is clearly and provably in error? One who even admits to "a few other generally embarrassing errors"????

Seems to me she was much more "helpful to the advancement of knowledge" than you were! You getting this award is right up there with Brian Deer getting an award that was humorously called "Britain's equivelent of the Pulitzer Prize"!

As for approaching people with an open hand, I am absolutely sure that you could arrange for a public debate between you and Ms. Carroll on the subject of vaccine myths. I know her well and am quite sure you would have your hands full.

cia parker

Could you send the doctor the Guardian article about the complete exoneration of Dr. Walker-Smith? No fraud, just culpable behavior on the part of the GMC? Was he happy just to jump on the lynching bandwagon without any interest in the facts of the dangers of the MMR?

Christine Thompson

Geez, Patti... so much room for hurt feelings over this post. Emotional response? How lucky he is to understand emotions and hurt feelings... wish all of our children did. I could just "cry me a river" full of genetic insults over his hurt feelings. Please, autism community - we need to put the sense into sensitivity.

Can't we all just wear a ribbon or tee-shirt and just suck-it-up? After all, doesn't the wider community acknowledge ASD at least once a month every year? We should be entirely grateful that Mr. Otto has deigned to address the mass hysteria this kind of forum engenders in our genetically challenged sphere. I mean, c'mon! Don't go funda- mental!!

He just wants his book award. With a book so "fact-laden and heavily researched"... how can he expect anything else?

Mr. Otto kindly requests that Patti not cherry pick certain facts/figures from his tome. Unlike the cherry-picked info. he is so eager to collect his accolades for.

He just wants to help us all find out the truth more quickly. Don't be haters. It's his copy editors fault, after all.

Tools of the Trade

The L.A. Times Festival of Books is this weekend, a huge annual event. Mnookin's book is up for an award in the "Current Interest" category. I'm sure he'll win, too. The game is rigged. Neither the authors nor their arguments have scientific legitimacy, so legitimacy must be conferred externally in order to maintain their viability as professors of science writing or a "go-to source" for interviews. These people think Orwell's 1984 was a training manual, not a cautionary tale.


Patti Carroll what a writer!!!!!
Wonderful stuff.
Looks like you finally got Shawn's attention.

Shawn, I will give you credit - to post on a website you feel is just full of unjust loons!

Shawn --- What is looney-- in this mad, mad world is that everybody associated with vaccines has immunity but nobody except the receivers/and care takers has any responsibility.

Oh, and I must say that I am very excited! I think I will write a book too; now that I know that judges just assume it is all factual - even when someone brings forth information that it is not. With microsoft works now spell checkers, and grammer stuff is a breeze. Why ---shoot, even making a typing error doesn't even call for white out paint and backing the typewriter to re-a-line the type.
The only thing that was in my way was getting those facts down in foot notes.


The pediatricians believe what they read in the media, they are far less informed than we are, we do NEED for any information to be free from deliberate lies and/or errors. If they are not corrected they are deliberate lies. "THIMEROSAL COULD NOT HAVE BEEN THE CULPRIT BECAUSE THE INCREASE OF AUTISM IS WORSE NOW THAN EVER" yep..this is what I was told by a Hopkins educated pediatrician!!!!!!!!! I said, "the kids are TWELVE"..no need to argue I know I'm on his chopping block, first to go when his Hopkins group decides to fire us. I so wish I could have had a debate, asked what the count is on birth year 2010..2011..but he wins just because he can. Last visit, he seemed mute when I tried to discuss the "why" behind my son's four month battle with gastro illness following his 4 yr mmr booster. I told him I just wanted to understand it, before considering it for my youngest two. He had no explanation except that if I was "going there" the "man" behind the mmr nonsense was fired for his fraudulent study. Ya can't get anywhere ,it's a faith stronger than that in their God.


Mr. Otto -
I did not "demand" the book be removed from contention, I respectfully requested it, based on numerous factual errors - not just the one major gaffe you admitted to here of stating that the MMR vaccine contained thimerosal. As I told the book awards staff, I was trying to save them some embarrassment.

I find it laughable that you would accuse me of "cherry picking" (having read your cherry-picked timeline of the history of vaccine refusal) and would love to hear your explanation as to how I took any of the items I objected to out of context. What other context was there?

You have been aware for over six weeks that I pointed out your errors to the book awards staff, and were given a copy of my memo and phone number. Had you been interested in approaching me "with an open hand" to discuss these issues, you would have done so. I suspect you are only responding to me now because you didn't realize I was not going to let this drop.

There will always be uninformed people willing to say whatever they think will sell more books. When I said "Shame on them all", I was referring to those who knowingly distribute, publish and reward the writing of people they know full well are lying.

John Stone

Mr Otto

The US Government told both Sharyl Attkisson and David Kirby at different times:

"We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease. Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures.”

Julie Gerberding, head of Merck's division, and at the time head of the CDC told CNN after the Poling case:

"….. if you’re predisposed with the mitochondrial disorder, it can certainly set off some damage. Some of the symptoms can be symptoms that have characteristics of autism.“

Has she done anything about it? Of course not, she is too busy raking it in. However, the main point is that there are known mechanisms. Maybe we can't verify all the mechanisms by which vaccines may cause damage but we certainly know some of them. So, you have no business with your patronising rhetoric, which is not substitute for real journalistic investigation and research.



"including the false statement that MMR vaccine once contained thimerosal, which is something the copy editor inexplicably added and I didn't catch."

This is so revealing. Well, It looks like you've been fooled, in exchange for money and your 15 minutes of fame.


@shaun lawrence otto:

"Patti never attempted to speak to me directly, and yet she published this emotion-laden post attacking me "

"I would counsel that it is better to approach people with an open hand, and not a closed fist."

On the one hand, you say Patti "attacked you" (though I see no attack on you in her post, only a detailed summary of errors in your book and her belief that you might be fooling yourself), and then you turn around and counsel her to "approach people with an open hand and not a closed fist?"

Where is your open hand, and indeed, your open mind concerning Patti? She asked for your contact info, but was only given a general website. Did you try to contact her before you wrote your post here?

You talk about censoring opinions you don't agree with, but what about this kind of censorship:

FDA: "Doubts about vaccine safety cannot be allowed to exist."

Department Of Health And Human services, Food and Drug Administration, 21 CFR Part 630 [Docket No. 84N-0178] Page 23607:
“...any possible doubts, whether or not well founded, about the safety of the vaccine cannot be allowed to exist in view of the need to assure that the vaccine will continue to be used to the maximum extent consistent with the nation's public health objectives.”

Do you really not understand what those of us whose children reacted to vaccines with seizures and worse have had to go through to get the medical community to admit that yes, vaccines did that to our children, and yes, it happens a lot more than anyone realizes???

Are you really unaware of the 2000 cases of admitted and compensated vaccine-induced brain damage that went through vaccine court--only to be immediately silenced with gag orders?

Do you really not understand that most of us here, who actually have a little time to read and post, aren't looking for compensation for our children's injuries, but are trying to prevent this from happening to anyone else's child?

Do you really not understand what a sucker-punch your book is to us and our children?



It makes absolutely no sense to make this a censorship issue. Ms. Carroll has not suggested burning your book or pulling it from the library shelves.

As I read it, plain and simply her complaint and the issue at hand is:

the Friends of St. Paul Library chose to give your NONFICTION book an award when they knew beforehand that your book contained so many factual errors.

Pharmaceutical companies are well known for their creative marketing tactics which include spending money on guys like you write books to support their agenda and in giving money to groups like Friends of St. Paul Library to have them give awards to books like yours to further drive their agenda.

The net result is positive press for them (indirectly) and their causes that drives their financial interests.

People can try to hide their relationships with these large corporate entities. And the corporations can try to conceal their involvement with layers of middlemen who dilute the perception of conflicted interests.

But people are wising up to this.

Shawn's hypocrisy is showing

Hey Shawn,

Frankly, I could care less about what you write or publish, and even less so about what you think, especially seeing your smarmy know-it-all attitude displayed here. Ms. Carroll's trying to cenor you? Oh, that's rich. And laughably ironic.

You have nothing genuine or honest to add to this discussion until you or one of your vaccine-worshiping buddies injects yourself with the entirety of the childhood vaccine schedule, every dose pushed by CDC "recommendations," and documents your participation in herd immunity by filming the injections and posting it to youtube. If you're too much of a coward to do this, I'll settle for "a catch-up" load--let's say the same rounds Hannah Poling received which the government conceded caused her "autism-like symptoms."


Mr Otto,

Censorship would be to ask your book to be removed from the library.
Pointing out why your book does not deserve a prize is not.

Donna L.

I think it's pretty clear from reading this account that at least one person in The Friends of St. Paul Public Library is actually good friends with Shawn. Hence the award, regardless of his spewing utter BS.

I do think your sharp critique of his book would make an excellent review on amazon, if you haven't already considered this.

cia parker

I just wrote this e-mail to Ms. Nelson:

Dear Ms. Nelson:

I was very surprised to read that your group had given your award to the book Fool Me Twice. I'm sure you're aware at this point that the book contained a large number of factual errors, so I must assume that your purpose in recognizing and recommending it so highly was to support the current recommended vaccine program.

My baby was given the hepatitis-B vaccine at Capital Region Medical Center in Jefferson City, Missouri, when she was born in 2000. I had told her doctor I didn't want her to get it, as I had read it often caused autism. He agreed, but forgot to tell the staff at the hospital, who gave it to her her first day of life without asking permission. She reacted with four days and nights of endless, inconsolable screaming, vaccine-induced encephalitis, and was later diagnosed with autism.

Dr. Wakefield's fellow researcher in the Lancet study, Dr. Walker-Smith, was completely exonerated last month of any wrongdoing. The judge, Sir John Mitting, found that they had treated the sick children appropriately, there was no fraud, and the GMC had acted culpably in reaching wrong conclusions and revoking Dr. Walker-Smith's license, which the judge restored. So we are left with these doctors' observation that a lot of children develop bowel disease and autism within days or weeks of getting the MMR, an observation bolstered by the experience of tens of thousands of American families who have seen their babies regress into permanent disability shortly after getting the MMR (or other vaccines, of course, but the hep-B and MMR are responsible for most of the increase in autism that we have seen in the past twenty years).

Vaccines make the immune system react with inflammation. They are supposed to, that's why it makes antibodies. But it often reacts more than it was hoped that it would, causing encephalitis (see Merck Manual for explanation of vaccines causing encephalitis), followed by autism, ADHD, seizure disorders, paralysis, or a chronic autoimmune disorder, asthma, allergies, eczema, bowel disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and, in adults, Alzheimer's. It is beyond question that this is the case, proven by hundreds of scientific studies, tens of thousands of VAERS reports, and the experience of millions of families.

Awarding this book seems like a last-ditch effort to reassure people that this cannot really be happening. It would be much more responsible to give this award to a book like Age of Autism, which traces the history of the administration of mercury to millions of people for two hundred years to treat syphilis, as an antiseptic, and as a teething powder a hundred years ago. The medical establishment promoted this "gold-standard" treatment, while pointedly ignoring the hundreds of thousands of cases of insanity, paralysis, and death caused by their treatment. Mercury was in the vaccine my daughter was given in 2000, although mercury in vaccines had already been recognized as dangerous for over a decade at that time. Mercury is still in most flu vaccines, which are now recommended to be given yearly to everyone over the age of six months. Aluminum is routinely used in all killed microbe vaccines as an adjuvant, with devastating effects on the health of the people who get them. Live virus vaccines like the MMR and the varicella vaccines have never had aluminum or mercury, but have wreaked havoc on those who get them for other reasons.

In the face of the current epidemic of autism and chronic disease in our population, especially the children and older people, I would point out that your book choice is an extremely poor one. You should instead choose books that would inform people of the causes of this epidemic, so that we can start to think about the responsible options for a post-vaccine era.


Cynthia Parker, J.D., Ph.D.


I love ironic titles.

Shawn Lawrence Otto

Sadly, instead of reaching out to me or to my publisher with her concerns, Patti Carroll attempted censorship by demanding the book awards remove my book from consideration because of the page or two she disagreed with. Had she taken the time to visit my web site she might have seen the errata page, which lists the errors in the book, including the false statement that MMR vaccine once contained thimerosal, which is something the copy editor inexplicably added and I didn't catch. The book also says that fission happens in the sun, and a few other generally embarrassing errors. Such things can happen in a book as fact-laden and heavily researched as this one, which is why I have an errata page, so that corrections may be published as quickly as possible. However, her broader arguments that vaccines cause autism are in my view not supported by the preponderance of the evidence of mainstream science. That is not to say that it is impossible that some relationship we do not understand could exist, but that our best knowledge derived from science does not currently support that conclusion, and that discouraging vaccination is a danger to childrens' health. What I object to is her approach above of spinning cherry picked sections of the book out of context and reinterpreting them to suit the ends of making her argument, and of seeking to censor views she does not agree with. Neither of those approaches are helpful to the advancement of knowledge, and they are not consistent with what I was taught to value as citizenship in America, where we look down on censorship. Patti never attempted to speak to me directly, and yet she published this emotion-laden post attacking me and calling for "shame on them all." I view that as authoritarian antiscience, not dissimilar to what one would expect of a fundamentalist censor. I would counsel that it is better to approach people with an open hand, and not a closed fist. Not only will you get more done, but you might find out the truth more quickly.


The Friends of St. Paul PUBLIC Library should be ashamed of themselves. So much for the designation of 'non-fiction." That goes against everything a library would stand for- they actually made a mockery of the library and editorial system. Good for you to care about righting this wrong. Maybe the goons at the library got bought by a pharma donation. Sickening.

Lord Moloch

The vaccine programme has been such a wonderful benefit to humanity to that it is imperative to lie on its behalf at every possible opportunity.

Launching Tomatoes & Cabbage

Ann Nelson & Alayne Hopkins, please come forward and attest that you and/or your organization received no incentive from any 3rd party to give this book an award.

My guess is we'll hear the sound of crickets.

What a shame indeed.

Ladies, come on now, there is an epidemic of autism. 1-in every 50 boys now has it. When will you finally decide it's time to listen to the parents of those children?

10's of thousands of them say their child was normal on Tues. got shots on Wed. and was never the same. The descent into autism for so many began with a round of vaccines. These parents are from all walks of life - doctors, lawyers, ministers, teachers, business people - and most have at the top of their agenda making sure that no more children and families suffer the same tragic outcome as their own.

I sure hope whatever the incentive was that it was worth being on the receiving end of the tomatoes and cabbage heads that are being thrown virtually at you and your Friends of the St. Paul Library.

dan olmsted

well, the book author is right about one thing -- there is a "Crisis in American Journalism”- and “serious journalism is being forced into small outlets on the web." ;) Efforts like Patti's to call out shoddy and careless reporting are invaluable. History will remember what these poseurs and lightweights got wrong, when getting it right really mattered to the health and welfare of our country.


I would not be surprised if they got a sizable donation from pharma for this award.

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