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Columbia Journalism Review Casts Eye on Vaccine Safety Writers

Finger-pointing-timeBy Anne Dachel

May 1, 2013, the Columbia Journalism Review published the story, Sticking with the truth--How 'balanced' coverage helped sustain the bogus claim that childhood vaccines can cause autism by Curtis Brainard
From the title of the article, it was clear that Brainard was on the attack against those who would give equal coverage to the idea that vaccines can cause autism.  He criticized the 1998 Lancet article by Andrew Wakefield because it added to parents' fears about vaccines and autism.  Brainard also said that the increase in the number of vaccines in the childhood schedule and the stunning increase in autism was "only coincidental."
According to Brainard, media sources covering the controversy were "squandering journalistic resources on a bogus story."  And not only that, "there is evidence that fear of a link between vaccines and autism, stoked by press coverage, caused some parents to either delay vaccinations for their children or decline them altogether."  
What seemed most disturbing to Brainard was the fact that this subject just won't go away. "Those who never bought the vaccine-autism link-in the press and elsewhere-have been waiting for the proverbial nail in the coffin on this story for years, and it never seems to come."  It's clear to him that the reason this nagging theory is still around has to got be because the media continues to cover it. 
"'Concern about adverse events, particularly related to media reports of a putative association between vaccinations and autism and of the dangers of thimerosal, appeared to play a major role in the decision of these families to decline vaccination,' according to a 2006 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine."
Brainard seemed baffled that the public continues to doubt the safety claims. "Major reports from the Institute of 2001 and 2004, rejected the link and drew a lot of coverage, but the level of concern among the public remained on the rise."
The reason why the controversy lingers on must be because the press keeps bringing it up.  Brainard cited Robert Kennedy Jr's Deadly Immunity along with other examples.  He was especially upset by what David Kirby and Dan Olmsted have written.
"But it was the work of two veteran journalists, not Kennedy's shameful piece, that really kept the story simmering. In February 2005, St. Martin's Press published Evidence of Harm by journalist David Kirby, in which Kirby didn't reach any specific conclusions about a link but presented a litany of parental suspicions that suggested one. And that winter, Dan Olmsted, a senior editor at United Press International, turned out a series called 'Age of Autism,' for which he conducted an admittedly unscientific survey that found lower autism rates among ostensibly unvaccinated Amish communities."

Members of Congress have been convinced to look into the link and notables like Jenny McCarthy have hopped on the anti-vaccine bandwagon, according to Brainard. 
Brainard believes that the time has come to end balanced coverage on the question of vaccines and autism.  In his view, objectivity has no place in stories where "the preponderance of evidence is on one side of a 'debate.'"
Brainard continued, "In such cases, 'balanced' coverage can be irresponsible, because it suggests a controversy where none really exists."
Next he made what to me was a stunning comment: "A follow-up study by Clarke and Graham Dixon, published in November 2012, makes this point. The two scholars assigned 320 undergrads to read either a 'balanced' article or one that was one-sided for or against a link between vaccines and autism. Those students who read the 'balanced' articles were far more likely to believe that a link existed than those who read articles that said no link exits."
Brainard also brought up the 2011 PBS series produced by veteran newsman, Robert MacNeil, called simply, "Autism Now," and he chastised MacNeil for allowing his daughter, Alison, to make the claim that vaccines caused her son's autism while at the same time, MacNeil reminded viewers that the scientific community didn't agree.
The story ended with Brainard citing the latest official study on vaccine safety which didn't receive a lot of media coverage. He said he fears that the press may be growing wary of this topic.  They shouldn't be because according to Brainard, there may be rare but real safety concerns involving vaccines---just not a link to autism.
After reading this, I looked at the mission statement for his publication:

"Columbia Journalism Review's mission is to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society. Founded in 1961 under the auspices of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, CJR monitors and supports the press as it works across all platforms, and also tracks the ongoing evolution of the media business. The magazine, offering a mix of reporting, analysis, and commentary, is published six times a year; weighs in daily, hosting a conversation that is open to all who share a commitment to high journalistic standards in the US and around the world."

Do those high journalistic standards include blindly trusting health officials and medical journals?  Did Brainard ever once consider that citing studies and claims from the agency that runs the vaccine program isn't real proof of anything?  Was Brainard aware that hundreds of individuals at the CDC have conflict of interest waivers because they have financial ties to the vaccine makers?  Did he know that the last head of the CDC, Dr. Julie Gerberding, a longtime denier of any link, is now the head of the vaccine division at Merck? 

Didn't it tell Brainard something that when undergrads heard arguments on both sides of the vaccine-autism debate, they were more likely to believe there is a link?

Brainard needs to ask himself why study after official study showing no association between vaccines and autism have not been able to settle the question.

Brainard attacked David Kirby and Dan Olmsted and cited their writing but didn't say he'd actually read either Evidence of Harm or The Age of Autism.  And I wondered if he's ever looked at Wakefield's book, Callous Disregard. 

Brainard talked about the MMR vaccine and thimerosal-containing ones but made no mention of the fact that there were never adequate trials of the combined MMR vaccine and no studies were ever done on thimerosal before it was allowed in vaccines.

He didn't bring up the fact that the British government indemnified the manufacturer of the MMR vaccine and therefore it's the government that would be liable for damage resulting from this vaccine if a link were clearly recognized.

In his selective coverage, nothing was said about Hannah Poling, the Georgia girl whose vaccine-autism injury case was conceded by medical experts from NIH nor did we hear about the dozens of other vaccine injury cases involving autism that were compensated by the federal Vaccine Court and covered in "Mixed Signals" on HDNet TV.

Brainard must not have heard that the late Dr. Bernadine Healy, former head of the National Institutes of Health, was on CBS News in 2008 where she announced that the vaccine-autism question was still open. She said we need to look at the children who got sick, the ones who were thriving and happy but who suddenly and inexplicably regressed into autism following routine vaccination.  Five years later, that still hasn't been done.

Brainard was critical of the fact that Robert MacNeil allowed his daughter to claim vaccines cause autism.  (He might be interested in the fact that Bob Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks, testified at a U.S. House hearing in November, 2012 and stated his daughter Katie believes vaccines had caused her son's autism too.)  Brainard didn't tell readers that MacNeil also interviewed Dr. David Amaral from the MIND Institute at UC-Davis during the "Autism Now" series. 

When asked about vaccines and autism, Amaral said, "If the child had a precondition, like a mitochondrial defect, vaccinations for those children actually may be the environmental factor that tipped them over the edge of autism. And I think it is incredibly important, still, to try and figure out what, if any, vulnerabilities, in a small subset of children, might make them at risk for having certain vaccinations. . . . And I frankly don't think that there's going to be a large group of children that  their autism is caused by their standard immunizations. But you know, it could be a small subset."
I guess it's easier to dismiss something said by Alison MacNeil than by a nationally recognized autism expert like David Amaral.

Brainard told us all about the government's studies on their vaccine program without noting that there's never been one done on the cumulative effect of the ever-expanding number of vaccines in the childhood schedule.

At the beginning of the article, Brainard cited an autism rate of one in 88 children, not the recent updated rate of one in every 50 children.  No matter, there was no concern over the stunning statistic nor any acknowledgement that officially there's no known cause or cure for autism and that there's nothing a mainstream doctor can tell a new mother so that her child that was born healthy and is developing normally won't also end up on the autism spectrum by age two.

I've monitored how the press covers autism for over ten years and almost nothing has changed.  No matter how bad the numbers get, how clueless officials are or how much science disproves it, THERE IS NO LINK. 

Brainard thinks that the coverage has been too balanced?  In truth, we've never had real fair and balanced coverage of this issue. We never hear about the independent researchers raising serious concerns over vaccine safety or about the more than 200 studies that they've produced. I've personally seen hundreds of times where the press failed to cover this issue honestly and thoroughly from both sides  Because reporters are gullible, ignorant, conflicted, frightened, or just plain lazy, we've not been told the truth about what vaccines are doing to our children.

What's really missing in articles like Brainard's is anything about autism.  I wonder if he's ever talked to a parent with an autistic child, and I mean a severely affected child.  They're everywhere.  It wouldn't be hard to find some.  Talk to parents who personally witnessed their beautiful, perfect babies turn into sick sick children.  Talk to parents who took their kids in for routine vaccinations and watched in horror as they stopped talking, starting seizing, head banging, and screaming endlessly.  He should listen to stories about toddlers who developed none-stop diarrhea after being vaccinated.  Talk to parents who have locks on every door and window because their children might escape and be killed in traffic.  Talk to parents who've been forced to put their teenage children in group homes because they simply can't handle them at home any longer.  Talk to the parents who are scared to death about what will happen when they're no longer here to care for their autistic children.
If he needs names, I have plenty of them from all over the country.

And if Brainard thinks this issue is hot now, he should know that a bill has been introduced in Congress calling for a comparison of fully vaccinated and never vaccinated children to see if they have the same autism rate. 

"United States Congressman Bill Posey of Florida is taking the step of introducing a bill requiring the study of vaccinated versus unvaccinated children. Along with his colleague Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Congressman Posey introduced H.R. 1757, The Vaccine Safety Study Act which would direct the National Institutes of Health to conduct a retrospective study of health outcomes, including autism, of vaccinated versus unvaccinated children."

This is the same Congressman Posey who during the congressional hearing last Nov. tried to find out from Dr. Coleen Boyle of the Centers for Disease Control why they'd never done such a study.

With so many parents now too frightened to vaccinate, the study group is out there.  IF one in every 50 never vaccinated children also has autism, the debate is over.  Clearly it would show there is no link.

Health officials have refused to call for this research.  We should all be asking why.  Curtis Brainard should ask why it's never been done. 

(MIT also cited Brainard's article in the piece, How the Media Fed the Anti-Vaccine Movement, by Deborah Blum  on May 8, 2013.  She praised Brainard's work and warned about "the problem of false balance in science reporting."  False balance?  What's that?  It sounds like a code phrase for not covering both sides if it would mean that lots of people would be held responsible for complete oversight failure.)

 It seems our institutions of higher learning are teaching journalism students that they're never to think for themselves, never to question official claims and never to honestly investigate controversial topics because what they might discover could shake the nation.

Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism.


Christina Waldman

Columbia Journalism Review strikes again.


"With so many parents now too frightened to vaccinate, the study group is out there. IF one in every 50 never vaccinated children also has autism, the debate is over."

I for one do not believe you can make this statement.

We have seen what happened at Simpsonwood. The most extensive study of the VAERS database showed in UNMISTAKEABLE terms.

"the number of dose related relationships [between mercury and autism] are linear and statistically significant. You can play with this all you want. They are linear. They are statistically significant." - Dr. William Weil, American Academy of Pediatrics. Simpsonwood, GA, June 7, 2000

"the issue is that it is impossible, unethical to leave kids unimmunized, so you will never, ever resolve that issue [regarding the impact of mercury]." - Dr. Robert Chen, Chief of Vaccine Safety and Development, Centers For Disease Control, Simpsonwood, GA, June 7, 2000

"Forgive this personal comment, but I got called out at eight o'clock for an emergency call and my daughter-in-law delivered a son by c-section. Our first male in the line of the next generation and I do not want that grandson to get a Thimerosal containing vaccine until we know better what is going on. It will probably take a long time. In the meantime, and I know there are probably implications for this internationally, but in the meanwhile I think I want that grandson to only be given Thimerosal-free vaccines." - Dr. Robert Johnson, Immunologist, University of Colorado, Simpsonwood, GA, June 7, 2000

"But there is now the point at which the research results have to be handled, and even if this committee decides that there is no association and that information gets out, the work has been done and through the freedom of information that will be taken by others and will be used in other ways beyond the control of this group. And I am very concerned about that as I suspect that it is already too late to do anything regardless of any professional body and what they say…My mandate as I sit here in this group is to make sure at the end of the day that 100,000,000 are immunized with DTP, Hepatitis B and if possible Hib, this year, next year and for many years to come, and that will have to be with thimerosal containing vaccines unless a miracle occurs and an alternative is found quickly and is tried and found to be safe." - Dr. John Clements, World Health Organization, Simpsonwood, GA, June 7, 2000

The coverup was performed; it took years but the numbers were MASSAGED to not show the harm; "vaccination" with mercury ingredients continues in ever increasing numbers; autism, the ASDs and diseases of "vaccination" continue to march ever higher; the US just moved from 44th to 45th in childhood mortality, or is it now 46th, just like autism the numbers are ALWAYS out of date because they CONSTANTLY continue to worsen.

I seriously doubt the CDC can be involved in ANY honest study that shows "vaccination" in a bad light. The people they work for, NOT US, will not allow it. "Vaccination" has too important a role to play in the world depopulation which is to be completed over the next 30 or so years at most.


I think it is important to remember the past mistakes of science. In the recent past, insulin shock therapy and lobotomies--both were lauded by mainstream science. I suppose no one should have written any articles that raised questions about them or if they did, other news articles should have screened out references to them so that the public wouldn't be confused and refuse those treatments. Going back further, what about bloodletting or calomel? I could go on but I guess the message from CJR is just obey, obey, obey. Weird for a journalism review. They just solicited me to subscribe. Are you kidding me?

Jenny Allan

Methinks the ambitious Mr Curtailed Brainlard is well aware of what happens to investigative journalists, who attempt to publish anything which might upset the politicians, or thwart the ruthless advance and profits of huge corporate interests.

I note the link to the UK Science Media Centre, (thanks John Stone,) who seem to have added another tame compliant 'scientist' to their stable. Also in the SMC's stable is Professor Steve Jones, Emeritus Professor of Genetics at University College London.

Prof Jones, via the SMC was 'commissioned' at great expense by the BBC to write a review of their science programmes and reporting. Prof Jones wrote a lengthy report, in which he stressed the harm caused by 'balanced' science reporting. As usual these days, the Wakefield et al 1998, 5 page Lancet paper, was stated as having caused harm by raising public concerns over the MMR vaccine, leading to a drop in vaccination rates. Science reporting, states Prof Jones, should always stress the 'mainstream' science views, (i.e. the views which happen to suit the government of the day and corporate vested interests, and ignore or denigrate any other views). Science programmes and reporting on the BBC, once lauded worldwide, have gone steadily downhill ever since.
From above:-
“I recommend that the BBC takes a less rigid view of “due impartiality” as it applies to science (in practice and not just in its guidelines) and takes into account the non‐contentious nature of some material and the need to avoid giving undue attention to marginal opinion.”

Dr Wakefield was recently 'dug up' like a disinterred corpse, by the BBC, in order to blame him, yet again, for a measles 'epidemic' in Wales. It was stated, falsely, that ‘teenagers’ were becoming infected due to their parents not vaccinating them in infancy. That 'epidemic' now appears to have been invented in order to scare everyone into getting vaccinated with MMR. I was highly amused to read that sensible young persons are apparently shunning the vaccinations

cia parker

Safer is not safe. They can't take out adjuvants like aluminum or they wouldn't work. They can't make the immune system not mount an inflammatory response or they wouldn't work. They can't tell the immune system not to go too far in its inflammatory response or it might cause encephalitis (autism, learning and behavioral disorders, seizure disorder) or chronic autoimmune disease when the vaccines skew the immune response from largely Th-1 to largely autoimmune Th-2. It would be better just to forget vaccines and learn more about using homeopathy, which has been hugely effective in saving people's lives when they have the VPDs. Wendy Lydall's book Raising a Vaccine-Free Child has a lot of info about this and many more fascinating topics which I hadn't seen discussed anywhere else.


Garbo; You always bring in the best information!
Bono gave a graduation speech at one of these Ivy League Schools and talked about Each AGE had it's moral blind spot.

MIT President Susan Hockfield's words will be one of so many that will snorted at in the future. .

John Stone


I fear the Farmer was joking.



Barry , confused with your story .....did you mean gene's ?

Scientist's keep looking for those Autism Gene's and cant find them , why dont they try looking in your dresser perahps .

Sorry, I didn't mean to be that cryptic.

All I meant was that when someone goes looking for an item, and returns proclaiming that " the item couldn't be found", it doesn't necessarily mean that the item wasn't there. It often just means that they did a really poor job of looking for it.

So when pharma funded studies proclaim they "..can find no link between vaccines and autism", I interpret those results as proof that they really didn't try too hard to find one.

Besides, absence of proof should never be interpreted as proof of absence

Farmer Geddon

Barry , confused with your story .....did you mean gene's ?

Scientist's keep looking for those Autism Gene's and cant find them , why dont they try looking in your dresser perahps .

Paul S

Brainard seemed baffled that the public continues to doubt the safety claims

The Institute of 2001 and 2004, rejected the link and drew a lot of coverage, but the level of concern among the public remained on the rise."
IOM Corrupt to the core!!!!
The reason why the controversy lingers on must be because the press keeps bringing it up. Brainard cited Robert Kennedy Jr's Deadly Immunity along with other examples. He was especially upset by what David Kirby and Dan Olmsted have written.
Brainard is upset??? Too F’in bad. He sure isn’t as upset as the parents of a child that received the full FDA protocol of vaccines for the first 18 months of life, making all developmental benchmarks and at 18months after receiving the MMR runs a high fever and there after recedes into the mystery autistic world never to return to normalcy. The whole family is never the same. Brainard is upset??? What the hell is he upset about. The family affected is really upset because they lost a lifetime of normalcy.
Have a nice day!! Cycle3man


Wouldn't Brainard just love us to crawl under a rock and stay there.

Sorry Brainard, but until my vaccine injured son has been restored, I will continue to fight!

Elizabeth Gillespie


Brainard seems to like Mnookin, who is inexplicably co-director of the science writing grad program at MIT (where Brainard has been a guest speaker to the fellowship program). Clique-tastic!

A quick search of patents online shows that the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York are the assignees of 221 patents and/or patent applications regarding vaccines.

Columbia University Medical Center is part of Pfizer's industry-academe partnership, Centers for Therapeutic Innovation.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology is assignee of 283 vaccine related patents.

MIT and Pfizer have a joint venture wherein Pfizer is leasing almost 200,000 square feet and constructing buildings to house a new center in Cambridge that is due to open at the end of this year. At the time of the groundbreaking ceremony:
" Pfizer has supported MIT research for more than a decade, and we are convinced that establishing their new research facility right next door will accelerate the cycle of discovery and innovation. Connecting MIT’s pioneering research with Pfizer’s commitment to delivering real-world solutions for patients is a potent formula for impact,” said MIT President Susan Hockfield.

Someone's bread is being buttered, but it sure ain't ours...


Complete idiot. This is The Columbia Journalism Review? Really disgraceful journalism. By the way please someone remind no brain Brainard that it didn't work when journalists leading up to the the Iraq war just took dictation from those running the show. They got it all wrong at the New York Times and all the mainstream news media. Thousands of deaths resulted. Oh well. I guess just writing down what people in authority with vested interests say is still the best way to write a story. Really I'm joking but pretty mad as I write this. By the way I have been published myself in the CJR--much better editor years ago, I guess. I'm not that dumb either--higher degrees from Columbia, but I still believe in AoA because I have an open mind and can look at the facts.


Curtis Putz of the year for sure..

Carter's Daddy

What a putz.


"......43 suggest some link may be present, while 13 reports found no link...."


I asked my wife the other day if she had seen my favourite jeans, and she replied " They're in your dresser, cant remember which drawer". I looked and looked, could find no jeans, and eventually gave up convinced that she was wrong. She then went upstairs, and in less than a minute returned holding the jeans that I could not find.

What's the moral of that story??

When someone tells you they can't find something, its often a function of who's doing the looking, and how hard they're really trying to find it.


Kendra Pettengill

We were the same Andy came after. Yet Andy is meant to have influenced us all

Typical spin from government's trying to cover up something


John Stone

Nancy (nhokkanen)

Unfortunately, he is already supposed to be an adult:

Terrifying, isn't it?



Brainard's CJR article represents the worst of his generation's ADHD journalism -- selectively skimming a topic, failing to directly contact key participants and victims, then promoting the status quo with a tone of smug authority.

Anyway, what does a college boy know about infant health? Who in his social and professional network informs his opinions? Like so many of us, his real education about life will begin after he picks up his diploma and starts a family.

Kendra Pettengill

It is hard to find an article these days that does not state as if it is a fact that Andrew Wakefield "sparked", began, introduced, was the first, is to blame, etc. etc. for the debate of a vaccine/autism connection. That stance alone automatically discredits anything they have to say.

I typically comment on these articles that I belonged to online groups for years before we ever heard the name of Dr. Wakefield and those groups were groups for the simple fact that we all believed vaccines had caused our children's autism. Many of these people are the ones referred to in Kirby's book as "Mercury Moms". In fact for those of us involved prior to Wakefield you will remember the sheer confusion and wtf? conversations going on in the U.S. We actually thought the entire Wakefield situation was going to derail our surging movement that thimerisol was to blame for Autism. It took a long time for the two ideas to merge and a sense of understanding that the vaccine schedule in its totality is to blame but for different kids the tipping point is different and the results or symptoms different as well.
If this writer had actually read Kirby's book he would know that the connection of vaccines and autism was on the radar long before Wakefield identified a group of kids for whom the MMR was the toxic tipping point and the connected novel form of bowel disease that accompanied that reaction. Bernard Rimland, Baker, and many other prominent autism experts were making the connection long before Wakefield.
This piece is another "garbage in, garbage out" journalism!

John Stone


He is a pathetic example of what journalism has become.

Jeannette Bishop

Thanks, Anne. I'll be "donating" my Mother's Day present to AoA. Wish it was more.

Brainard's vision for vaccine "journalism?"

Or someone's vision anyway.

Melissa Christopher

The very fact that this man has written this article incites people to question vaccines.. he doth protest too much


Thanks for the link to
"Sorting out the spinning of autism: heavy metals and the question of incidence,
DeSoto and Hitlan, 2010"

Wanted to point out this quote (note the psychologists attribute Offit's stance to a worldview, which implies a belief system based on religion rather than science):

"This is the sort of bias, whether conscious or
unconscious, that occurs. Because some of the authors
of the Thompson study have publicly aligned with
opposing a mercury-autism link (by taking consulting fees), they may be unconsciously more prone to
review studies that support their view, less likely to
review opposing viewpoints, and may eventually
become unaware of relevant research (e.g., Newland
et al. 2008). By using 42 measures and finding only a
small handful of effects, it is easy to say the obtained
relations are chance occurrences. Then, another
scholar summarizes the study and slightly changes
the results based on a world view that there is no
effect of thimerosal, “found no evidence of neurological problems in children exposed to mercurycontaining vaccines” (Offit 2007, p. 1279). Then this
assessment gets quoted by those who do not bother to
look carefully at the original study, and scientific
advancement becomes stifled."

Zoey O'Toole

I love how he thinks that Robert MacNeil should have done a special on autism -- that was of course inspired by his own grandson's autism -- but should not have let his daughter discuss the CAUSE of the autism. This man doesn't have a clue what journalism actually is.

Maurine Meleck

Terrific, Anne. Both got a copy with my heading "Thanks"
Funny his name is Brainard-be even funnier if his first name were Noah


OK- so when there is a legitimate, mainstream story regarding vaccine induced brain injury on a large scale, what does CJR propose is the proper course of action?

The recent Pandemerix debacle comes to mind. NBC, Reuters, etc- reported that children who received Pandemerix are 14 times more likely to develop narcolepsy-

In the view of CJR, is this little nugget of data relevant to a parent attempting to make an informed medical decision on behalf of a minor child? Apparently not. Per CJR, negative data regarding vaccines should be suppressed for the public good, so as not to stoke the furor of the "anti-vaccine" crowd- never mind the kids who are permanently injured. Or the kids who could avoid injury if the truth is actually reported. QED- the CJR endorses propaganda over facts. On that point, I would to offer CJF a hearty, "Up yours, you pathetic lying scum."

The scientists who discovered the narcolepsy problem were reluctant to report the data because in their words they were afraid of being "Wakefielded." So the scientists get it- even though they knew their data is accurate, they realized that the accuracy and truth of their data is irrelevant. Challenging the vaccine orthodoxy is a ticket to career suicide.

CJR contributes to a climate where accurate data that may prevent child injury from vaccines is suppressed due to the environment of fear they help to foster.


"To summarize, of the 58 empirical reports on autism and heavy metal toxins [including mercury compounds], 43 suggest some link may be present, while 13 reports found no link. Even with the tendency for null results not to be reported, it cannot be said there is no evidence for a link between heavy metal toxins and autism: although the question may still be open--in sum, the evidence favors a link."

Sorting out the spinning of autism: heavy metals and the question of incidence,
DeSoto and Hitlan, 2010


Haha, people like Curtis Brainard will continue to try and flog this angle, as if they have something new or insightful to say. The funny/sad thing is, the topic is still out there *in spite* of media attempts to more or less deny it (though some brave souls do try), not because of much media shining a light on it. Many more children/adults continue to have adverse effects after a vaccine and people talk about it. I mean, can you even imagine how much awareness is passed around when a young girl becomes debilitated after her Gardasil series and can't complete high school, needs to be on tons of meds and may even die? That's the kind of information hiway people like Brainard just don't want to acknowledge.

Ed Yazbak

Re Farmer Geddon's recent note

Two years ago, I published a review of Autism and vaccinations among immigrants with the following conclusions:

There has been a continuing barrage of attacks on Dr. Andrew Wakefield and on anyone who dares to say that a vaccine–autism connection has not as yet been properly ruled out.

It is evident that the CDC and its supporters have not done, and will never propose to do, a vaccinated v unvaccinated study, the only way to rule out such a connection.

A thorough discussion of the subject requires attention to the child’s and his or her mother’s vaccination profiles.

In this review, I have shown that Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders seem to be more prevalent among children of immigrants in some western countries.

The fact that such disorders have not been reported among Israeli children born in Ethiopia, and in all likelihood differently vaccinated, speaks for itself.

Similarly, the fact that children born in Israel to women of Ethiopian origin (who may have had different vaccination profiles) are relatively less likely to carry a diagnosis of PDD than children born to non-Ethiopian and Israeli mothers is also worth noting.

This review is as close as anyone can get to an unvaccinated v vaccinated study without undertaking such a study and a Zero PDD count among Ethiopian-born children in Israel should be convincing enough that the issue is by no means settled, as some would like us to believe.

Farmer Geddon

I'm quite pleased & chuffed the way our opposition is monitoring this AoA site so closely (it really means we have them rattled). They know their prosperity & liberty depends on perpetuating this vaccine lie .

They are clearly worried about our levels of confidence and knowledge . They understand each child they "take out" with their vaccines has a 50% (guessing here but I bet they know the true figure) chance of creating a militant angry parent who no longer trusts their devious rotten lies . When there are enough of us calling them (b)liars its game over for them .And our number doesnt have to be all that big either , but when we are strong enough political parties and groups who campaign on behalf of the people will start listening and will champion our cause . So we need to set out our demands in advance of this time . For me , criminal prosecutions have to be the first and foremost demand .


Ohh, I forgot -- science studies are no longer in dusty basements but are now published on the internet.

Where does that put Curtis? People can do their own research and find their own balanced articles.


Anne; Excellent story! Let us see how many of those students believe there is a link after reading this article.

Alison McNeil has this " milk of humanity" man ever asked you personally what you saw, or witnessed in your own house, with your own child, that you; and you alone are responsible for? Of course not!

He knows about balanced papers because he gave some to his students. So he knows the truth.

And if they had allowed the law to work - like it was supposed to - set up 200 years ago; it would have solved this problem in 1987 - A year after no one was allowed to sue vaccine manufacturers in 1986..

They would have gotten their sorry asses in gear and actually did some research to make a safer product --like EVERY LAST Manufacturer in the United State has been forced to do.

We would have known back in 1987 what we slowly are finding out in 2013. It is the hypothalamus they are damaging - just like all those rat studies that the science journals were talking about way back in 1986; those science journals that are stashed unread down in the basements of University libraries.

Louis Conte

The advocates of censorship just don't get it.

Parents take their kids to the pediatrician. The doctor comes in and asks 3 questions and says the kid "looks great." The nurse then administers 9 vaccines.

Katie Weisman said something once along the lines of "Would you take 9 drugs at once and not think something bad could happen?" But call the drug a "vaccine" and suddenly you can take hundreds of them and it will all be fine - just like Paul Offit suggested.

But some kids gets sick from these drugs - even if you call the drugs vaccines. Sometimes they get really sick - seizures, rashes, fevers.

Some are never the same.

Familes will then find themselves subjected to conflict at every turn as they try to get services and help for their child. They will encounter a system that is stacked against them.

And if they talk about what happened they get criticized and abused. A couple of doctors and journalist do something amazing: They listen, respect what they hear and do their jobs. They speak out and call for change.

Then some nit-wit in an ivory tower like this Columbia guy decides to wander into the fray with some line of nonsense about how the small amount of balanced reporting is a bad thing.

But guess what Columbia?

You can't censor the truth.


Articles like this don't bother me so much anymore. The secret is out about vaccines causing brain damage. The vaccine apologists are just trying to put toothpaste back in the tube.

John Stone

Curtis Brainard may be a first class toad, but an enquiring journalist he isn't.

Perhaps he also should be critical of the HRSA:

"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."

Or Merck's President of vaccines, Julie Gerberding, who when she was boss at the CDC admitted to CNN:

"….. 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."

If Brainard wants to stick with the truth he might like to report that Brian Deer's allegations were substantially disproved in the British High Court in which the GMC findings against Wakefield's senior colleague, Prof John Walker-Smith were completely quashed:

Goldacre - extolled by Brainard - is, of course, a complete stinker and bully

but of course a fundamental problem with his attack on the vaccine autism hypothesis is that it is based on epidemiology and not individual observation, so of course it is a circular argument - if you lead a hate campaign against the people raising the issues it is the most unprincipled piece of social manipulation, not science. Bad Science indeed - the establishment fixer par excellence.

Perhaps the most despicable and vile suggestion in this poisonous and incompetent article is that Robert MacNeil should not have given TV space to his daughter - there you have it, social control - not a hint of science - in a nutshell.


The right has its global warming and evolution denialists and the elite media, gov't, academic and scientific left has its vaccine injury denialists. Both sides ignore the science and the physical manifestations in front of their faces. Both sides are adamant that they are correct and refuse to have any rational dialog.

Of course they mock the Christians and call them "anti-science" while remaining pro science and pro observational hypothesis on EVERY topic except vaccination, where the evidence of poor health outcomes is as plain and concrete as a dinosaur bone in their hands. And they control the studies and the media portrayal to boot. An inconvenient truth indeed.

Farmer Geddon

I've a suggestion for the scientific community , clearly one they will ignore , or pretend they didnt hear .

Lets do a vaccinated versus unvaccinated study over the Somalian & Ugandan immigrant populations of Minneapolis , Sweden & North Germany . These groups are recording the highest rate of autism rummoured to be 1 in 8 (& greater).

I bet the blood of a few choices names out there who monitor our comments just ran a deathly cold .
Offit , Salisbury , and the rest of the vaccine underworld , you are running out of rocks to hide under .

Bob Moffitt

Brainard wrote:

"A follow-up study by Clarke and Graham Dixon, published in November 2012, makes this point. The two scholars assigned 320 undergrads to read either a 'balanced' article or one that was one-sided for or against a link between vaccines and autism. Those students who read the 'balanced' articles were far more likely to believe that a link existed than those who read articles that said no link exits."

Notice the students who read "BALANCED" articles were far more likely to believe that a link existed than those who read "one sided for (PRO) or against (ANTI) .. a link between vaccines and autism".

And .. so .. in complete denial of what this stunning observation means .. Brainard is left with no option but to imply the "undergrads" who read and independently interpreted the "balanced" article represent the general public .. and therefore .. must be denied "balanced" articles going forward.

The definition of "propaganda" is:

1) The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause

Brainard's recommendation that "balance" on a "cause" of great personal interest to him .. such as .. vaccines .. be eliminated is a prime example of propaganda .. and .. has absolutely nothing to do with "journalism".

Shame on him and shame on the Columbian Journalism Review for having him replace their reputation for journalism with one indistinguishable from propaganda.

Farmer Geddon

Too right .....we wont go away !
We are here to stay .

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