By Jake Crosby
Considering the abuse I sustained from millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul Offit last spring, I am continually amazed at the contrast between who he really is and the fairy tale humanitarian our pharma-controlled media make him out to be. But in 2009, Wired Magazine ran a piece that promoted him more than any other article that has ever been published by the popular press.
The article was written by freelance entertainment business reporter Amy Wallace. Remember Amy Wallace? I still wish I didn't. To those lucky enough not to, I apologize for ruining your day.
Wallace was hired by Wired Magazine to write a cover story that ran in October of that year: “An Epidemic of Fear: How Panicked Parents Skipping Shots Endangers Us All.” It was nothing more than a puff piece of Paul Offit, entirely composed of his talking points. Wallace essentially supplied the byline. In the article that led to a lawsuit against him, Offit accused the National Vaccine Information Center's Barbara Loe Fisher of lying.
Responding to a barrage of angry letters, Wired Magazine posted a taunting blog mocking readers' accusations that Wallace is a “pharma lobbyist,” and lying that she is not. In an interview with Wired Magazine about how the story was conceived, Wallace credited a now-laid off editor named Mark Horowitz for giving her the idea, but that idea was likely not conceived by Horowitz.
After the article ran, Wired also posted a podcast discussion between senior editor Nancy Miller and executive editor Thomas Goetz, who lauded Wallace's shill story. What Goetz concealed was that he was writing a book and a blog with a Senior Research Associate of a vaccine developer and major pharmaceutical subsidiary.
When this story ran, Wired's executive editor Thomas Goetz did not disclose that he was writing a book called The Decision Tree and a blog of the same name with the assistance of Brian Mossop, an employee of Genentech – a biotechnology firm wholly owned by the Swiss pharmaceutical giant, Roche. Genentech also developed the Hepatitis B vaccine manufactured by SmithKline Beecham (now GlaxoSmithKline). The licensing of that vaccine for routine infant immunization is proudly mentioned in the corporate chronology on Genentech's website. That vaccine was preserved with the mercury-based neurotoxic preservative thimerosal until roughly the early 2000s, but continues to be recommended for all newborns on day of birth.
In June 2009 – four months before Wallace's Wired article appeared – Mossop had already posted a screed on The Decision Tree blog lauding Newsweek for running a hit-piece on Oprah who had recently invited Jenny McCarthy on her show. In the book The Decision Tree authored by Thomas Goetz with Mossop's help, Barbara Loe Fisher and her organization were similarly panned. For this entire period, Mossop was still employed by the vaccine developer and pharmaceutical subsidiary Genentech while partnering with Wired's Executive Editor to write The Decision Tree.
Undoubtedly, Brian Mossop was the architect of Amy Wallace's Wired article; Paul Offit was the ghost-writer who supplied the talking points; Thomas Goetz was the executive editor who supplied the space and cover while Mark Horowitz took the heat. After leaving Genentech in 2010, Mossop would become community manager for the Public Library of Science (PLoS), where vaccine industry media talking head Seth Mnookin now blogs. After Mnookin joined the network, Mossop was then hired at Wired Magazine where he is now community editor, working as an employee for his longtime book/blog partner, Thomas Goetz – still executive editor of Wired magazine.
When it comes to pharma, where there's smoke, there's Wired.
Jake Crosby has Asperger Syndrome and is a contributing editor to Age of Autism. 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.