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Best of AofA: Brian Deer's Second Award - As Meaningless As The First

Dumb deerAuthor's Note: This post originally ran in 2011, after the vaccine lobby's hired gun Brian Deer received his second "Press Award," to explain why his second such award is as meaningless as his first. Later that same year, Deer won another "award" from the UK pharma front group "HealthWatch." Then just a few days ago, another front group in the UK run by pharma-backed "science" writer Simon Singh gave Dr. Andrew Wakefield - whose Lancet paper was vindicted by colleague Prof. John Walker-Smith's successful appeal earlier this year - a mock award for "quackery." In response, we are re-running this piece to remind readers that Brian Deer's "awards" are just as farcical. 

By Jake Crosby

The UK’s “Press Awards” are not nicknamed the “Hackademy Awards” for nothing, especially in the case of Brian Deer. He has been given not one, but two such awards. The claim, made by Brian Deer, that the UK Press Awards are like the Pulitzer Prize is laughable and absurd.

The UK’s Society of Editors runs the Press Awards. Sitting on the Editors’ advisory council is Les Hinton, who recently resigned as CEO of Dow Jones in the wake of the Murdoch phone hacking scandal. Also on that committee is Rebekah Brooks, who resigned as senior executive of News International - which publishes The Sunday Times - and was then arrested.

For over a decade,  Brian Deer's only award was based on a faulty premise. It was called “Specialist Reporter of the year.” The judges said Deer was “the only journalist in Britain that polices the drug companies.” However, during the year for which he won his award, 1998, Brian Deer wrote an article alleging that patients who suffered neurological injury from the DTP vaccine were not really injured and should therefore not have received legal compensation for their injuries. That is the exact opposite of “policing” the drug companies, but is instead harrassing the victims of defective drug company products. In 2004, Glenn Frankel reported in the Washington Post that one of Brian Deer’s specialties “was tracking down false claims of damage from vaccines.

Weeks after the bogus premise behind his first award was reported on Age of Autism, Brian Deer was nominated for “News Reporter of the Year” and also for “Specialist Reporter of the year,” the latter of which he won at the ceremony in London’s Savoy Hotel on April 5th, 2011. That award was given to Deer for his smear campaign against Dr. Andrew Wakefield.

The measure of any great or even good journalist must be his independence. Journalism awards are supposed to be based on independent assessments of reporters’ work, otherwise they are meaningless. Furthermore, it seems too perfect that Brian Deer was nominated for a Press Award (that he would later win) mere weeks after Age of Autism revealed he had only won one award.

How surprising can this really be given that the Academy of Judges for this year’s awards ceremony included Richard Caseby, managing editor of The Sunday Times? Caseby became notorious for his exchange with Rosemary Kessick – one of the few parents of the Lancet 12 children that Brian Deer actually interviewed.

Following a 6-hour interrogation of Kessick by Deer in 2003, during which he falsely gave his name as “Brian Lawrence,” she complained to The Sunday Times executive editor John Witherow. The exchange is detailed by Dan Olmsted in his article,  An Elaborate Fraud, Part 2: In Which a Murdoch Newspaper’s Deceptive Tactics Infect the British Medical Journal.

Unfortunately, Kessick might as well have been complaining to GlaxoSmithKline, the board of which has retained News International boss, James Murdoch, since 2009. John Witherow recently wrote in a self-congratulatory piece about The Sunday Times’ investigative journalism on July 17th:

There have, of course, been many other investigations, including Brian Deer's outstanding work on exposing the doctor behind the false MMR scare.

This sentence exposes a clear desire to try and shift the arguments off the ground of the Sunday Times and GSK and into a more general arena so showing that what happened to Wakefield was a result of universal investigating and popular will. In fact one of the most staggering things about the Wakefield case was that Deer carried sole responsibility for it prior to lodging it with the GMC; no other investigative journalist in the world uncovered or wrote anything original critical of Wakefield besides Deer. 

Instead of Witherow responding to Kessick’s complaint, Richard Caseby wrote back:

Dear Ms Kessick,

Your email to the editor has been passed to me as managing editor so that I may investigate it. Once I have spoken to those involved I will be in contact next week.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Caseby, managing editor, The Sunday Times

This promise, however, was never met. Fed up after writing Caseby multiple reminders, she wrote The Sunday Times lawyer, Alistair Brett, who would not comment on any of Kessick’s letters. He did, however, make the following assurance:

“…there is no intention to include you in anything we decide to publish on MMR.” 

Yet another promise was not met. In Brian Deer’s 2009 Sunday Times article, he wrote he had cooperation from parents and mentioned his interview with Kessick. Exact quotes from Deer’s interview for The Sunday Times with Kessick would later be published in the British Medical Journal in January of 2011.

Richard Caseby’s embroilment in controversy does not stop with Brian Deer but also involves Paul Nuki, the conflicted Sunday Times “Focus” editor who assigned Deer to “find something big” on MMR. Nuki’s father Professor George Nuki sat on the Committee on Safety of Medicines while it was considering approval for the MMR vaccine that would later be banned for causing meningitis. Also on that committee was Professor Sir David Hull, who along with other committee members would ultimately approve the vaccine knowing it was dangerous as it had already been withdrawn in Canada. A decade later in 1998, as chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, Hull would be the first to accuse Dr. Wakefield of the “ethical” charges Brian Deer complained to the GMC about in 2004.

Richard Caseby and Paul Nuki were previously under fire in 2000 for publishing the confidential financial information of an English Lord, allegedly obtained by The Sunday Times through impersonators. Brian Deer is now facing parliamentary scrutiny for the acquisition of confidential medical records he obtained while working on the MMR project he was assigned by Nuki.

On the January 6, 2011 BMJ blog written by Brian Deer concerning his charges of fraud against Dr. Andrew Wakefield, Paul Nuki commented shortly before Deer’s award nominations:

Brilliant, Brian.... proof positive that investigative journalism of the highest standards lives on. Well done.

On his own personal online shrine, Brian Deer lauds his alter ego in the third person:

“…on 5 April 2011, Deer's personal journey found closure when he was named specialist journalist of the year in the British newspaper industry's annual Pulitzer-style Press Awards. Judges for the Society of Editors praised what they called his ‘outstanding perseverance, stamina and revelation on a story of major importance’. They said of his investigation: ‘It was a tremendous righting of a wrong’.”

What “wrong” was that, you might ask? Certainly not the vaccine damage to children that Brian Deer has energetically, with considerable stamina and perseverance, swept under the wall-to-wall carpet of corruption in British media.

Let’s hope the tremendous righting of Brian Deer’s wrong happens soon.

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.


angus files

And when the puppet Deer is required to perform for Pharma out he will come like the Muppet he is...shame on Deer..



A good article, Thanks for keeping us informed of the lunacy of this whole situation.

And love the picture of the deer caught in the headlights, which pretty much describes just what Deer has gotten himself caught up in.


Specialist reporter my foot.Expert s#$! mixer,pHarma paid corrupted reporter.What qualifications does he have.Does he have a medical degree or expertise in bowel pathophysiology? We the parents know that most autistic kids have abnormal GI function.
There is an evidence that most kids have impaired intestinal permeability or leaky gut syndrome.There are many possible ways an impaired gastrointestinal function can influence brain function.Based on research data 75 of the 91 patients with developmental disorders were reported positive for measles virus in their INTESTINAL TISSUES compared to 5 of 70 control patients. Could that be that the immune system/gut system had become damaged after the
MMR immunization?
But vaccination"must go on,immunization must be maintained",
regardless that the children are suffering and autism is skyrocketing???!!!I say Dr Wakefield was destroyed in order to maintain vaccinations and to "maintain public health"
or should I say public sickness.The immune system is in the
gut system,that is where the maternal antibodies transfer over to the newborn during breastfeeding.The newborn gut system is the newborn immune system that becomes inflammed or activated during an infection by pHarma made viruses.
I hope you get your punishment one day, mr.deer.


Dr. Andrew Wakefield of the UK Speaks to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. The first 5 minutes covers quite a bit... Dr. Wakefield has written over 140 scientific papers.

The Chinese director of pediatrics has an Autistic son, following a MMR vaccine....

However, "Vaccine safety and wisdom" in the United States is based on UK Murdoch news reporter Brian Deer

(Brian Deer proudly shows his first award here)

Brian Deer has spent 7 years trying to discredit a five page 1998 Andrew Wakefield paper on 12 children.

200 children with similar symptoms met with Dr. Wakefield at the Royal Free hospital in London.

The MMR vaccine is sometimes called the... "M ore M oney for R upert's son vaccine" who is/ was on the board of GSK, who manufacture the MMR vaccine in the UK.


The Today show, January 2011... Dr. Nancy thinks Brian Deer is a medical genius.

Dr. Nancy Snyderman, Matt Lauer & Brian Deer on the MMR vaccine

Mark Struthers

For crimes against humanity, and civilised behaviour, both Rebekah Brooks and Brian Deer deserve to be jailed. And Dr Evan Harris.


John, I liked what you said- "after all, that would be like treating your readers like adults." It seems to me that all of those "science"blog people are very much held as to what to think. No outside the box thinking is allowed. Their talking points all boil down to 'risk VS benefit' as if that is even something that is understood at the cellular level as far as vaccine ingredients are concerned. Another thing that really seems obvious is their staunch denial of any adverse effect - too soon and it couldn't be the vaccine, too far from the vaccine and it couldn't be the result of the vaccine- again there is no known biological rationale for this, just a complete disregard, even denial for victims of vaccine side effects and the great exaggeration of disease complications, which of course do exist.
Brian Deer, although I don't know about the legal ramifications of lying about your name and misrepresenting your intentions for an interview but the guy is dodgy in the extreme.
The fact that they are celebrating some stupid and yes, Jenny stollen, award, is rather pathetic- as if it is surprising that they are trying to milk more from what has wrongly happened to Dr. Wakefield. I'd say they should be ashamed of themselves but they obviously have no shame.

Jenny Allan
Good Thinking and the Golden Duck Awards
Simon Singh recently set up a new charity, Good Thinking:
"Our goal is “to encourage curiosity and promote rational thinking”, hence the positive title of the organisation. At the same time, this inevitably means battling against irrationality and pseudoscience."
Good Thinking is a Registered Charity No.1147404

I can't believe the UK Charity Commission allowed this ghastly group charitable status. Their so called 'Good Thinking' title definitely assumes THEIR opinions are always RIGHT and any dissenter's opinions are always WRONG. This is anti-free speech and even anti-democracy, since in a democratic society everyone has the right to express an opinion peacefully.

Furthermore, this group has stolen their 'Golden Duck' award from another group which promotes childrens' science fiction literature.

John Stone


I suppose the reference is to the catch-phrase of Batman's hero-worshipping assistant Robin's "Good thinking, Batman" but it could equally be to the pathetic chant of "Four legs good, two legs bad" in George Orwell's Animal Farm. Half the time you can't tell whether these people are the manipulators or the manipulated.


Jenny Allan

Struck off MMR doctor handed award for 'lifetime achievement in quackery'

Yes indeed. Brian Deer's close association with the 'Skeptics in the pub' is well known. These 'lectures' are amongst those Deer most enjoyed delivering:-
The Monk Exchange, London. Westminster Skeptics. 10 May 2010.
Square Bar, Leicester. Leicester Skeptics. 15 June 2010.
Caroline of Brunswick, Brighton. Brighton Skeptics in the Pub. 11 January 2011
Elephant & Castle, Lewes. Lewes Skeptics. 27 April 2011.
Glasgow Skeptics. The Admiral, Waterloo Street, Glasgow. 10 May 2011.

The 'Skeptics' are notoriously anti monarchy, anti religion, anti alternative and complementary medicine, and of course anti ANYONE daring to question the safety of vaccines. I note the Guardian, to date, is the ONLY mainstream newspaper to mention this award. Simon Singh founded the 'Good Thinking Society' which is closely affiliated to the 'Skeptics'.

Runners up to Dr Wakefield for the 'Golden Duck award' were Prince Charles and a UK MP member of a health select committee, who dared to consider homeopathy on the NHS. This is my letter to the Guardian, but there isn't a snowball's chance in hell of it or John Stone's letter being published. The Guardian has been very stupid targeting Royalty. The UK Royal Family has proven far more enduring than any newspaper, politician or political pressure group:-

Dear Sir,
Guardian Science Correspondent Alok Jha's article entitled :-

'Struck off MMR doctor handed award for 'lifetime achievement in quackery', published 23-12-12,gave undue prominence to an organised network of anti freedom of scientific expression subversives, calling themselves the 'Skeptics'. Science writer Simon Singh set up the inaugural Golden Duck award, via his 'Good Thinking Society' which is closely affiliated with the 'Skeptic' movement. The Guardian article states:-

'The Golden Duck award was voted on by attendees of the many Skeptics in the Pub groups.'

Why pick on Andrew Wakefield? He merely advocated a return to single vaccines, in use for more than 20 years, following the furore over the 1998 Wakefield et al Lancet early case study which reported gastrointestinal problems in a small group of mostly autistic children. Their parents blamed regression after the MMR vaccine, but the paper made it plain there was no proven autism -MMR vaccine link.

Adam Finn, Professor of Paediatrics at Bristol University, is blaming Dr Wakefield for recent outbreaks of measles, claiming the temporary 'dip' in MMR vaccination more than 10 years ago is to blame, but a recent measles outbreak in SW Scotland occurred in school children, 94% of whom had received at least one MMR dose. Fourteen years after THAT Lancet paper there are now REAL concerns about the efficacy of some child vaccines, including Mumps and Whooping Cough.

The 'Skeptic' movement, in addition to 'rubbishing' anyone who dares to express concerns about vaccines, is rabidly opposed to any form of alternative or complementary medicine. I note they are also 'targeting' Health Minister Jeremy Hunt and David Tredinnick, Tory MP for Bosworth, and member of the Commons Health Select Committee. These gentlemen committed the 'crimes', of daring to consider offering homeopathy on the NHS. Prince Charles, well known for enthusiastic promotion organic farming and alternative medicine, was joint runner up with Mr Tredinnick.

I must say the Royal Family is looking good on homeopathy and other alternative therapies. Prince Charles recently pleaded publicly for more empathy and compassion from doctors and nurses in our NHS. Advances in medical science and technology, appear to have fostered a certain callousness in our health professionals. The heir to the throne holds views which are popular with the general public, and long may he continue to speak out against the likes of the 'Skeptics' who would like to 'gag' anyone and everyone who disagrees with them.

Yours faithfully,

Jennifer Helen Allan

John Stone

Hi Jake,

Simon Singh is, of course, another 'voice of science' stooge and bully closely associated with Evan Harris and Ben Goldacre (with whom he appeared in vaudeville). Harris and Goldacre, having been shown up on this, are probably unwilling to stick their necks out again, so Singh is next in line. It is, of course, typical of the Guardian that they did not open this item for comment - hit and run is all they are good for.

This is the message I sent to their hard copy letters page:

"It does no credit to Simon Singh or your newspaper to attack Andrew Wakefield in this way ('Struck off MMR doctor handed award for 'lifetime achievement in quackery'', Alok Jha December 24). If he is so discredited why are you so afraid of him? As a result of his colleague Prof John Walker-Smith's exoneration in the High Court earlier this year it is apparent that many of the claims against Wakefield also cannot be true. Judge Mitting established what some of us had known for years: that there was no misreporting of data in the Wakefield Lancet study, that it was not funded by the Legal Aid Board, and that there were no inappropriate or unauthorised medical investigations. None of this, of course, was reported in your newspaper. After all, that would be treating your readers like adults."

But despite everything, Lord Leveson, Fiona Fox, Uncle Tom Cobbly and all, there is no doubt now that it will all unravel.


PS Of course, Goldacre is now posing as the enemy of the pharmaceutical industry but he only exposes what has already been exposed. The Tamiflu scam, which he is focussing on currently, has been in the public domain for seven years. How courageous can you get?

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