By Dan Olmsted
The death of my treasured colleague Helen Thomas last week reminded me of her very useful comment that if you want to be loved, don’t go into journalism.
Not that I needed much reminding. Recently I’ve read that “lying is in Dan’s nature” (I read that on Age of Autism, because I published it), that I’m “a pimp,” that my correspondent “never would have thought a ‘Buddhist’ capable of such vile bullying tactics,” and that AOA’s “articles never embrace the real issues. Ever.”
And these are my friends! From the other camp, I’ve learned that AOA is a “wretched hive of scum, anti-vaccinationism, and autism ‘biomed’ quackery.” And that I am Number 306 in the Encyclopedia of American Loons, because “Although real experts think autism is a genetic disorder and that reported increases are due to changes in diagnostic practices, Olmsted thinks (well, because he thinks so) the (probably non-existent) increases are due to environmental factors and that the genetics is mostly secondary. He has been described as a serious case of confirmation bias.”
And that I am a “Moonie blogger.” And that Mark Blaxill “can tell Dan Olmstead [sic] how many breaths he can take per minute” because he is shoveling money at me at an astounding rate. And that I made my name, such as it is, when I “wrote a series about a discredited hypothesis linking vaccination to autism.”
And that my Amish reporting is a “fraud,” and my work “a steaming, stinking pile of rotting feces.”
Earlier this year, a supposed “friendly” named Barry Segal added a minor note to this symphony of opprobrium, telling me and several others, “You guys are out for personal gain, devious and won’t accomplish anything.”
At least I was in distinguished company. Among those whom Barry labeled as “out for personal gain,” devious, and unable to accomplish anything: Mary Holland, Lou Conte, Kim Mack Rosenberg, Kim Stagliano, John Gilmore. “P.S.,” he added as he pulled back funding he had promised in writing, “I had a great dinner with Jake Crosby after the hearings.”
You really know how to hurt a guy, Barry.
Now, Barry is one of those people who thinks the autism advocacy community is a bunch of bumblers that either can’t or won’t make the fact that vaccines cause autism the core belief of every politician and public health official and journalist in the land. Today. The person who called me a Buddhist bully is one of his best buds and attacks relentlessly if anyone forgets to say “vaccines cause autism” once per every three words.
He already had excommunicated Katie Wright for not being tough enough, showing an exquisite lack of comprehension by copying his and her e-mails without authorization to, among other stray addressees, The New York Times – yes, The New York Times.
Barry thinks raising money for Andy Wakefield’s defamation suit is throwing good money after bad. And he says he doesn’t know which side Robert Kennedy Jr. is on.
Bobby Kennedy might really be on the other side -- now that is rad, dude! It takes some fresh out-of-the-box thinking to come up with that one, the kind of new idea we've all needed for a long time now.
Barry elaborated on his Kennedy critique in a comment on Age of Autism: “He’s worse than his uncles; one took advantage of an 18 years old (virgin) intern and the other got drunk and drove his car into the river. His grandfather was no angel.” (What is it with the sexography?)
All this because Bobby Kennedy is not … not what? Not fighting as hard as he can to show that mercury in vaccines causes autism? Now, a reasonable person could disagree with Kennedy’s tactics, but you don’t disagree reasonably with Barry, you dissolve like the Wicked Witch of the West in front of his watery onslaught. (When I told him I thought his comments about well-respected advocates, all parents of autistic children, being in it for personal gain were “despicable,” he responded: "Good to hear from you. Fortunately, we live in a country with a great legal system. Go for it." He has said many times that he loves to sue people.)
Say again? Vaccines do not cause the autism epidemic? We in the rebel alliance, at Age of Autism and elsewhere, have been saying they do every day for years and years, and taking considerable grief -- “stinking pile of rotting feces” that we are -- for saying it. We agree with Bernie Rimland, who along with Helen Thomas is one of my heroes: “The autism epidemic is real, and excessive vaccinations are the cause.”
Barry doesn’t believe that, apparently. His site says vaccines aren't causing the autism epidemic.
Now, the site goes on to say vaccines “do contribute,” and they need to be safe. I think the CDC’s Julie Gerberding said that, too. (Oh, and psssttt, Julie had an affair with Bernie Marcus of Autism Speaks, according to multiple posts by Barry that offer no evidence. Really positions him as a serious player in the junior-high lunchroom, doesn’t it!)
Folks, if you want to hop on board the latest holier-than-thou bandwagon and bash everybody for not doing better, while you do nothing but sow discord and division, and, when it gets right down to it, mumble more mush, please to be my guest, dear ladies and gentlemen. Here at good ol’ stumbling bumbling AOA we are not interested in building an empire or, it should be obvious by now, in personal gain.
Or in being loved. If we wanted to be loved, we wouldn’t be journalists.
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.