Science As Social Control
The Continued Weirdness of Emily Willingham

Contact CBS: Support its Strong Reporting on Alex Spourdalakis

SharylBy Dan Olmsted

CBS feedback line 212-975-3247 to support Sharyl.  Click CBS Feedback HERE to send message.  Tweet @cbsnews and @cbsthismorning.

The death of Alex Spourdalakis is really freaking out the pharma-phunded shills, vaccine injury apologists and self-appointed advocates for themselves, who have mounted what seems like a coordinated effort to discredit Sharyl Attkisson's strong reporting on the tragedy.

What to do? Let CBS know they shouldn't listen to a half a dozen hacks who turn up like worms after a thunderstorm to try to deflect attention from the real issue -- the lack of proper medical care for children suffering -- yes, suffering -- from autism. That suffering surely includes, in many cases as in Alex's, the kind of acute GI damage that Sharyl's report showed last Friday.

You don't hear any of the shills worrying about that. Rather, they trot out the usual key words -- quack, crank, discredited, etc. -- to shut down conversation.

Maybe these geniuses could show us what a healthy gut looks like and we can compare it to Alex's.

Unlikely. Instead, these guys make it sound like the report excused Alex's death -- "his murder," as Sharyl labeled it several times -- by his mother and caregiver ("his killers," Sharyl said).

Say what?

As more vaccine court cases linked to autism emerge, the CDC starts talking about vague "environmental" causes (yes, your vaccines!) and parents (wisely) pick and choose their kids' vaccine schedule, this sad, desperate effort to shut down good reporting that veers too close to the truth gets louder.

Here's how Sharyl's straightforward reporting gets twisted. During the segment, Sharyl introduces an interview with Ari Ne'eman: "He says lack of help is no excuse for murder."

Pretty clear, eh?

But over at Left Brain Right Brain, Matt Carey chose to ignore Sharyl's words and quote the accompanying CBS Web site report: "The written article states,  'But some in the autism advocacy community take issue with the idea that lack of help is an excuse for murder.'”

Not idea wording -- all, not some, in the autism advocacy community, and every decent person everywhere, takes issue with anything as an "excuse" for murder. (Probably written by an intern after watching Sharyl's segment.) But hey, it's fodder for making Sharyl look insensitive. Carey writes: "Really? Only some? And is this somehow limited to the autism community? Ms. Attkisson, what is your position? Is a lack of support an excuse for murder?"

Hey Matt, murder is illegal. Hey Ari, this comment you made to Sharyl is the definition of a straw-man argument: "I think an ideology, a dangerous ideology that preaches that people are better off dead than disabled is what led to Alex Spourdalakis' murder."

What ideology, preached by whom?

Sharyl is up for three Emmy Awards this year, including ground-breaking work on the Benghazi attack. This after her reporting on Fast and Furious that shook things up in the Justice Department. But now, on this issue alone, she's gone completely off the rails?

I don't buy it.

So call CBS at 212-975-3247 and support Sharyl.  Click CBS Feedback HERE to use their message form.

Tweet @cbsnews and @cbsthismorning, and thank the Tiffany network for not bowing to pharma's special interest errand boys, and for taking not just the death, but the life of Alex Spourdalakis seriously.


Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.




In the past 6 months three mothers of children with autism have tried to take their own lives and the lives of their children. Coping with a severely autistic child is emotionall exhausting. Autism parents are human and need emotional support that they are not getting. With all the focus on the children, sometimes people forget about the needs of the caregivers.

cia parker

John O'Neill,
No one is excusing Alex's murder. But I think it is a case in which one must hate the sin but love the sinner. The mother endured her son's regression after the MMR into autism and bowel disease, caring for him every day for more than ten years. He often screamed in pain, and lashed out violently. The mother begged Loyola to help her, but they failed to do so. Of course it would have been better (probably, nothing is certain) had she given up his custody to the state and had him institutionalized. She may have feared that he would suffer even more in that case, I don't know. In a world in which high-profile murder cases often end with the murderer being freed (insert the names here), I cannot imagine that a woman whose sanity was weakened by having to deal with this horrendous situation would be convicted of first-degree murder. No one supports her murder of her son, but many of us could not swear that we might not be capable of doing the same if we had had to endure that same situation for over a decade. Not rational, not ethical, but such a situation would have killed all rationality and ethics long ago.

John Stone

Hi Carol,

Indeed, and just to add to the comedy Dorit Reiss has been back in action on the web for the last week citing Orac's blog as authority wherever she goes. Not exactly a way to maintain your academic credibility!



Just to be clear, "Orac" dropping in hyperlinks to the Dog Whisperer and "What Not to Wear" in a post about Alex Spourdalakis is an example of "Preposterous Product Placement" and reveals just how phony that whole blog is.


Actually, I should have said- D'oh, the cranks whole teh people want real and honest news gambit, won. Damn.


Orac asks if Sharyl Attkisson is "feeling the heat?" They wish. It must be very disappointing to them (Science"blogs) that two major networks have not paid too much attention to their astroturfing and recognize that they do not speak for most of the viewing public. Jenny starts tomorrow (ABC). Best of luck to her and thanks, Sharyl (CBS), for your coverage on this tragic story of severe, non-verbal autism.


Faux Skeptics Make me Laugh, I respectfully disagree with you. Gorski doesn't hesitate to go after the career and reputation of other health care practitioners. That's what his blog is about. That's what he does. He professes to be pure and perfect, the possessor of true science and medicine, judge and jury over those who differ. He deserves to be professionally scrutinized.


Here is my post to CBS news:

"I am the mother of a nine year old boy who was diagnosed with autism at age 3. I just want to say thank you to Sharyl Attkisson for her excellent reporting on the autism crisis and her most recent report about the Alex Spourdalakis. Ms. Attkisson delves into the medical issues that plague our children and is the plight of so many autism parents who seek medical help for their children only to be denied. Many of these children are truely suffering. Please continue to focus on medical issues associated with autism particularly GI problems. We need the public to be aware that children with autism, like Alex, who have severe, chronic GI pain are often not being treated equally and not being given the same medical attention would be given a child without autism. This is discrimination. Sharyl Attkisson is wonderful and it is rare for a reporter to care enough to investigate and report on the medical problems that afflict our children. Her reporting serves to educate, open minds and shed light on an issue that can help truely our kids. Thank you Ms. Attkisson and CBS for airing this piece!"


Thank you,I agree with that previous comment 100%.
ATTENTION: Mr.Gorski: I need to mention that one sentence Ms. Sharyl Attkisson wrote WORTH MORE,THAT YOU HAVE EVER WRITTEN in your entire lifetime.Thank you CBS,great job.
If I was your employer I would have fired you after the first five blogs for your unethical and unprofessional communication.You have lowered yourself down with the rest of the snakes (pharma) and completely forgot your number one PRIORITY,which is to protect the children and to protect the future.Do you think you are the only one here with a professional degree??? There are many professionals and parents working day and night to find answers.Idiots like you will not stop us.The professional organizations YOU BELONG need to strip your licence.I really do not understand how you made it this far.I will do a full investigation on you.SAVE YOUR MONEY,WHILE YOU STILL HAVE A JOB.
(PS:I reserve the doctor title for caring professionals only.)


Wade you're right about CBS. Hardly ever has a network shown what severe autism even looks like! It was a tragedy that does need explaining (in court and outside of it)
About Orac- you have to wonder about some kind of class action lawsuit to do with incitement against him or Scienceblogs.

Wade Rankin

In contrast to the off-base criticism by David Gorski, et al on-line, Ms. Attkisson presented a balanced report that helped explain but did not excuse the incident. Nothing can excuse murder, but we need to understand what leads to such acts. Through Sharyl Attkisson, CBS has distinguished itself as one of the few media outlets to present a complete picture of the issues surrounding the ASD epidemic. All concerned should be congratulated for their integrity and courage.

Faux Skeptics Make me Laugh

I actually left a comment on Gorski's hate-site. It made me feel dirty dipping into that cesspool, but I felt it was important to leave this message. Let's see if he has enough courage to let it out of moderation.

"Orac, this is actually something you and I both agree on. You shouldn't attack a person's job or financial interests, no matter how loathesome you find them.

So you agree that people like lilady should be called out and admonished for contacting a school board president to get a teacher fired. Or for contacting the employers of the Patriot Nurse to do the same thing.

I guess this pity party only applies when someone does it to you, right?"

John Stone

John O'Neill

No one should condone murder, and no one should condone the extreme circumstances in which this happened. For a long time the law in different countries has recognised that even with murder there are levels of culpability, but this has not happened here. Sharyl Attkisson was right to highlight it.


Apparently Dr. Jekyll AKA David Gorski doesn't think the fact that his "hobby" of attacking others as Mr. Hyde AKA Orac, should affect his job or credibility as a physician. How unprofessional and naive he is. He viciously and thoughtlessly denigrates the career and character of anyone and everyone. He dishes it out all day long, yet when someone rightly complains about the antics and harm done by his alter ego, he becomes a crybaby. This is a licensed practicing surgical oncologist? Really?


Wow, forget that second episode of Mad Men, things are hopping at RI now. Looks like in Orac's "Some Anonymous Meanie Complained to my Bosses" rant, a blast from the past showed up. He wasn't anonymous and he named others who Gorski has harmed with his "spittle-flecked denigrations" against some Darwin critics. I guess Orac has seriously pissed some people off to put it mildly. How on earth can the guy be doing all this extra- curricular activity and surgery? It's a miracle.
Also, that new bot (observing party) is really up and running I mean she is leaping into planning malicious action toward Dr. wakefield along with the others. You can't make this stuff up.
I think it all really brings home National Geographic's mission statement home- these guys are really inspiring me about the planet.
Great idea, Linda, about Sharyl doing a Skeptic report.


"DR" Gorski should be fired from his job.His patients should fire him.National Geographic needs to stop funding this stupid non-sense blog.
His peers should get this rotten apple out of the bushel before all the apples go spoiled.He brought shame and stupidity to the medical community. Lilady is a retired nurse,an epidemiologist,she is not up to date and she used to give booster shots and vaccines to thousands of kids. All of them together with their best friend dr.prOffit can go down south,take a vacation and please never ever come back.We know that they do not care about our kids,Alex or anybody.It is all about money and big pharma profit.Dig yourself a hole Orac/Dorkski or whatever who you are
and stay there with your snake (pHarma symbol)friends.


As a matter of fact, imagine if Sharyl Attkisson shined a light on so called science skeptics. That would be a good report.


Twisted is right. Dr. Gorski and his team are boldly showing their colors. Let them. CBS execs would have to be blind not to see through their crazy accusations and their attempt to side swipe the truth and replace it with their own invented narrative. Coming so close after the recent campaign against Jenny, the networks must be getting a crystal clear picture of who these bullies are and their censorship agenda, if they didn't already know. Good.

John O'Neill

Sorry, but this is trying to excuse murder. Look at yourselves. For God's sake, look at yourselves.



I actually just read the petition against CBS. They state that the piece" frames autism as an excuse for murder." That's really twisting things. Most people have not even seen severe, non-verbal autism on tv until this and to twist what CBS and Ms. Atkinson did his way is similar to kevin O'Leary calling little Rachel Parent (the 14 year old who questions GMO's) a 'shill.' Very disingenuous and I don't think the public (or CBS) will buy it.


False Skeptics- ironic indeed that he's complaining about someone having phoned his employers but yet he encourages 'poll crashing' and censorship/hate campaigns against Jenny (Bust a Move fundraiser and The View) and now Sharyl.


I just sent my support for Sharyls reporting.
I had a long discussion with my parent's (who are in their 80s)about this story.
My son, is 27 and we have lived upstairs from them since he was 4. They know all too well the hell Autism can be.
We all agreed that until something is done to stop this scourge, there will always be parents who decide that for their child, their situation, and for themselves (for those who try suicide) that there are things worse than death.
Your child being endlessly tortured, in clear agony, with no help in sight, after crying and screaming for help, is one of those things.


No, the shills aren't focusing on the suffering much. I noticed that one of the commenters yesterday mentioned his non-verbal, severely autistic girl and even one of the commenters with autism was surprised that no assistive communication device, computer aid could seem to work. Not that some of them weren't sympathetic, but I want them to get it through their heads that autism isn't just 'autism lite.' The only good thing to come out of all of this poor young man's murder is maybe more awareness of just how severe autism can be for many. They have another petition going but hopefully CBS will have the same reaction that ABC had regarding Jenny McCarthy. Most people get the truth of what the story was about- not the 'twisted' version that they want to push with their agenda.
Jeanette-"I don't understand how these groups can ignore the picture of Alex's..."
Two reasons- shilling or reaction formation (I notice there are some fresh bots there- people who say they've been lurkers for a long time- I bet they have-hehe)

Jonathan Rose

Here's what I sent to CBS: "Sharyl Attkisson is the best investigative reporter of her generation, and her coverage of the Alex Spourdalakis story is further proof of that. Back her to the hilt. Did CBS cave when Joe McCarthy went after Edward R. Murrow? (And yes, I am drawing moral equivalences here.)"

False Skeptics Make Me Laugh

There should have been a "an his arse-kissers" in that last sentence.

False Skeptics Make Me Laugh

Dorkski is calling out his drones and lickspittles to send in feedback to CBS to pull the report.

Mr "I don't encourage censorship unless I don't like what it says" David H. Gorski are such cowards...


What was wrong with him and why wasn't the hospital trying to figure it out? Those are the issues, not "Why wasn't Alex wearing more clothes?" His life wasn't an episode of "What Not to Wear."


Called and supported. Your article is SPOT ON!


With all of you talking about Orac AKA Dr. David Gorski's comments about the CBS report, I went over there to see what he wrote. It's hard to read because he drones on nonsensically and it gets boring fast, but I tried to find some thread of logic and came away amazed that he could turn out so many words with so little substance.

His reason why Ms. Atkinson's report shouldn't be believed is because of her past reporting, because she is anti-this and anti-that, and besides, she knows this one and that one. I swear it felt like I was reading the ramblings of an 11 year old (no offense to 11 year olds) struggling to maintain social turf and dominance. You know, "Janie is friends with Sally, so she can't be friends with us and you shouldn't believe anything she says."

If he wasn't so disgusting, it would almost be amusing.


People are so horrified by mankind's ability to kill that they can't look objectively at what happened - they have to turn away with knee jerk reactions decrying any honest analysis as making excuses. Others are trying to avoid guilt and prosecution by deliberately confusing the issue, trying to cover up the reasons by claiming that the reasons are excuses.

Of course, there's a difference between reasons and excuses. The reason for the murder is the lack of help, the lack of support, the cruel treatment and possibly other factors unknown to us at this time. Whether the murder can or will be excused, based on those reasons, remains to be seen.

Jeannette Bishop

I don't understand how these groups can ignore the picture of Alex's intestinal condition, likely untreated for years, or the restraints, and particularly the day after day attempts to "anti-psychotically"--these are pills that are used, really for institutional convenience, on the failed theoretical claim that they "normalize" neurodiversity are they not?--treat what may really be going on elsewhere, very likely creating neurological addictions/alterations that Alex would then also have to deal with on top of what is seen in that picture, and call themselves advocates for the "neurodiverse."


Someones mad. Their going nuts.

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