As predicted on Age of Autism Lord Justice Leveson has used the inquiry initiated to investigate press abuse of ordinary citizens to authorise a power grab for government bureaucrats and industry lobbyists over science reporting – a piece of misdirection if ever there was one. Notably, in his 2000 page report, he has endorsed the concerns of pharmaceutical public relations expert Fiona Fox of Science Media Centre, who was hired by the UK Department of Business to chair a committee to direct the future of science journalism in the UK. SMC is funded by vaccine manufacturers. Present on the Department of Business committee were both Paul Nuki who was the editor at the Sunday Times that hired journalist Brian Deer to investigate Andrew Wakefield and Martin Moore chair of Hacked Off , the self-appointed public watchdog to the Leveson Inquiry who blocked vaccine damage families’ concerns about Deer’s investigation, and refused to answer questions about Hacked Off’s advisor, politician Dr Evan Harris, who collaborated in the Deer’s initial investigation – a matter of public record which Harris preposterously later denied in a public statement through Hacked Off .
Meanwhile, Leveson himself blocked heavily documented complaints from families about the Deer-Sunday Times investigation not disclosing that both he, Leveson, and the inquiry’s lead attorney, Robert Jay, had taken part in closed hearings to withdraw public funding from the MMR litigation. Leveson had endorsed the decision of Mr Justice Davis (now Lord Justice Davis) who at the time failed to disclose that his brother Crispin was both proprietor of the Lancet and a recently appointed director of defendant MMR manufacturer GSK. Jay had taken part in the Davis hearing (which was also closed) as the representative of the Legal Services Commission, which had withdrawn the funding. Another issue of complaint which Leveson refused to hear was that the Sunday Times re-launched Deer’s attack on Wakefield’s integrity within days of the paper’s boss, James Murdoch, being appointed to the board of GSK with a brief to defend the group’s reputation.
Yesterday Leveson once again branded Wakefield a “rogue scientist” despite the fact that many of the Sunday Times’s key allegations have already been shown to be false in the English High Court where Wakefield’s senior co-author on the Lancet paper, Prof John Walker-Smith was fully exonerated earlier this year. Mr Justice Mitting’s finding showed that there had not been misreporting in the paper, there had been no inappropriate or unauthorised investigations of patients, and the paper was not funded by the Legal Services Commission, all of which had been falsely claimed in Sunday Times reports . (As Martin Hewitt makes clear below the inquiry had Mitting's findings brought to their attention.)
Mitting told the UK’s General Medical Council in regard to Walker-Smith that “this must not happen again” but what happened happened purely as a result of the Sunday Times’s scurrilous investigation in which Walker-Smith and his junior colleague Simon Murch were the collateral damage in the British establishment’s witch-hunt against Wakefield. What has been done to these three good men over the last nine years is unspeakable but the real victims are the children who cannot get proper medical attention, and the public who do not have transparent or accountable science (most particularly in relation vaccines).
The reality is that free comment in the mainstream media has already been completely stifled on such matters, but the prospect of it being formalised is truly repulsive and horrifying. This is a dark day.