For Payam: IACC Comments Make Tom Insel Squirm
Avonte Oquendo, 14, Preverbal Autism, Missing From Queens NY

Weekly Wrap: Columbia Journalism School Single Subject News Network

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted

UPDATE: Well, that was quick. Shortly after this article was posted, Columbia Journalism School withdrew their invitation, saying that after further review, "Age of Autism does take a clear position on the link between vaccines and the incidence of Autism, also engaging in advocacy on that position. Therefore we must disqualify the site from our study." The same person said, when inviting us in August: "I'm also a huge fan of The Age of Autism, how you've built and sustained an enriching and focused platform. It's a huge pleasure to invite you to join a community at Columbia University's Tow Center for Digital Journalism. ... What you're doing is part of a wave in the journalism world that the Tow Center wants to bring together and highlight as a trend." We warned them to expect to hear from critics but were told, "Thank you Dan for the head's up but we are happy to have you!" Que sera, sera.

 Age of Autism is honored to announce we have been chosen as part of Columbia Journalism School's inaugural Single Subject News Network. An initiative of Columbia's Tow Center for Digital Journalism, the network "connects news websites that focus on one subject on an in-depth level, filling the gaps in mainstream media and innovating models for journalism." 

On the weekend of November 9, the Tow Center "will host a series of panels amongst students, industry, and an elite class of 20 single subject news publishers selected by the program." I'll be on a panel discussing how to create community around a niche topic.

We really are in elite company with these other 19 online journalism sites, and as the network rolls out the names, and talks more about the increasing role that online, in-depth, independent journalism is playing in the evolving media universe, we'll keep you posted. This is a strong acknowledgement of the work all of us in the AOA community have done going on six years next month -- Kim and Mark, our tireless Contributing Editors, our valued commenters and faithful readers, sponsors and advertisers.

Meanwhile please do me a personal favor -- go to Facebook and Like the Single Subject News Network.

This week I was watching Morning Joe when they had a segment on a new Frontline episode and book on the NFL's concussion crisis,  called League of Denial. It's fascinating and instructive to watch an issue reach critical mass and break through the media barriers that keep big institutions from being held to account. The NFL is having its moment of karma right now, with the widespread recognition that it has failed to tackle the problem and in fact done a massive end-run around it for a long time, even as the damage piled up like players falling on a goal-line fumble.

I grabbed my composition book and took some notes of comments from the two authors: "a trajectory of denial over a period of two decades" ... A pattern of "attacking the scientists" whose honest research raised warning flags ... A legal settlement admitting no culpability ... But change is coming from the bottom up: "suburban mothers aren't letting their kids play as much as they used to," and that will affect the NFL down the road ... Change is "around kids' mothers making these decisions ... If ten percent of mothers decide it's too dangerous, that's the end of football as we know it."

This all seems more than vaguely familiar, doesn't it, dear readers of Age of Autism?


I was riveted by the "two decade trajectory of denial" -- a marvelous phrase. It was in the mid 1990s that a pronounced spike in autism was first observed -- by the CDC, in fact. That's when the trajectory of denial took off -- Brick Township and the bogus "no increase" epidemiology, the Verstraeten and Scandinavian follies, the vaccine court hocus pocus, the Wakefield inquisition and the Offit Offensive.

Here we are almost two decades later. Do the math. The Moment of Karma approacheth.

It's also been a couple of decades since the catastrophic effects of the anti-malaria drug Lariam, approved in 1989, were first observed -- and denied, with suicides, homicides and psychosis among troops, travelers and Peace Corps volunteers being chalked up to travel stress, PTSD and personal problems, the sensitive souls of Peace Corps volunteers.

Now the denial is slowly unraveling, and the Special Operations command's decision last month to ban the drug entirely is the beginning of the endgame. Perhaps Special Ops got tired of being lied to as they watched their elite troops succumb not to combat injuries but to a "preventive" drug.

Still, at higher levels of the military and the public health bureaucracy, the impulse for self-preservation continues to manifest in delay and denial and a refusal to look at the horrendous implications. Former Army major Dr. Remington Nevin has called Lariam the potential "Agent Orange of our Generation," meaning tens of thousands of troops may be suffering lasting disability, for which they are getting no acknowledgement, compensation, or medical and mental health support.

So it's galling to see the beribboned and medal-bedecked brass continue to play dumb as they try to explain the high rate of suicide among troops and vets. Just this week USA Today ran a four-column headline that the Army is exploring "ways to predict, prevent suicides," enlisting big data to try to figure out who's most at risk and intervene.

Good idea. But there's no suggestion that data includes any pharmaceuticals. If you give hundreds of thousands of soldiers a drug the FDA warns can cause psychiatric problems and suicides "long after" someone stops taking it, shouldn't that be part of your inquiry?

And of course it's not just Lariam. Soldiers, like American kids, have become pin cushions for excessive medical interventions in a captive population, from the dubious anthrax vaccine to the wake-up pills, the calm-down pills and the what have you pills and vaccines, administered both in the heat of battle and to send veterans on their way back to the Brave New World, where even more psychoactive RXs await if they still can't get with the program. I've taken to calling this phenomenon the United States Pillitary.

But the military says it is on the case, supporting our troops. According to USA Today, "suicide is a perennial stain on the military that now grows worse each year, a trajectory [there's that word again!] baffling to military leaders and devastating to the shattered families left behind. 'It just drives me crazy that we can't figure (it) out,' Army Undersecretary Thomas Hawley says."


Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.


Stand Up!

It would have been nice, but gaining recognition for a "job well done" by any university or institution that receives funding from both corporate and government sources is simply unrealistic---both sources are culpable and run by many who have hijacked science to promote their religion--germ theory and conventional medicine.

Thank You Dan for all that you do here at AOA.


Thankyou, onevoice, re: info on polysorbate.
I recall Dr. Larry Palevsky also makes an easy to understand reference to it: it can allow/carry things across a cell's membrane. Where as in a normal (immune/histologic? can't remember which) reaction, the substance would just need to contact the cell membrane to initiate a reaction, when polysorbate 80 is present, the substance can go inside the cells and the reaction follows there, i.e., AUTO-immune reaction. Body attacks the cells themselves.


There are polysorbate 20/60/80 available.These are chemical emulsifiers that allow oil and water mix.Used in bakery, cosmetics,vaccine manufacturing (Gardasil,Flu vaccines)etc.
It is also used as an agent to carry medication through the blood brain barrier,like chemotherapy medications when the cancer is in the brain. Europe-an research study also indicates
that it has damaging effects on the gonads (rat study that examines the rats after injection,and checks different tissues for histological changes)so in a nut shell the ovas were degenerated in the ovaries.It also has the ability to weaken the blood brain barrier by creating lesions.It also has the capability to transfer aluminum (eg.adjuvants)or
viral particles or contaminants to the central nervous system.Some people allergic to this substance,can cause anaphylactic shock.When you combine two emulsifiers like boric acid(rat poison)and polysorbates their detergency will increase.(eg Gardasil)Yes I took biochemistry and I will do everything to bring big pHarma down for the pain they have caused to my son.I hope this helps.


@betty: Can you explain more about polysorbate 80? I am unable to find much about it.

Cat Jameson

Thank you, Dan for your tireless efforts. Proud to be part of Team AofA!


I was only surprised they invited AoA to begin with, and the cynic in me wonders if the plan wasn't to un-invite AoA from the beginning. Journalism is dead anyway. Columbia only shows, by the stench, how many days the corpse has been rotting. They don't realize the money and dumbing down to which they have succumbed.


re: "It used to be that when true journalists saw powerful interests trying to silence a story..."

So true, Carolyn Flannery!


Congratulations on being invited. Maybe someone in Columbia's MFA for Creative Non-Fiction would be interested in doing an essay about your un-invitation by the "journalism" department. In which department will one really be able to read about truth in history? That being said, maybe the history department would be interested, too.


@ Taximom
I agree that severity of concussions has increased. I think we are weakening our blood brain barrier somehow. Maybe Fluoride? I think of fluoride as a bouncer at the blood brain barrier. BFF Aluminum always gets in when fluoride is at the gate! Also, I wonder about polysorbate 80 in foods and especially injected in vaccines. It's not just for emulsion. It's added to certain pharmaceuticals to help the drugs get to the brain. Furthermore, I think too many antibiotics have killed the microbiota we need for better integrity of our blood brain barrier.


AOA's uninvitation would be a good story for media critic and NYU journalism professor Mark Crispin Miller to cover. Miller covered the Pharma storm directed at Jenny.


The truth is very painful for corporations to swallow and it is effecting their bottom line.It is AoA and the parents who will bring truth forward.They are scared,because the Autism crew is strong,well informed and united.
Please look back to history and remember how long Semmelweis had to fight with the doctors to wash their hands properly. Today we
sterilize everything and they have to scrub first and wear sterile gowns,mask,hats and gloves.So stay strong and keep going,always forward,always focused and address the issues head on.Change is going to happen from the roots,from the parents who will understand what pharma is doing to their children.It is called marketing in North America.They want to have total control of all human functions.
Pillitary Society in the works???
Thank you AoA for all your hard work.Please celebrate your independent thinking.This is their(CJS)loss.

Carolyn Flannery

It used to be that when true journalists saw powerful interests trying to silence a story they realized they were looking at Pulitzer Prize worthy controversy. Something so big they would stay up nights trying to find a pattern from those most affected, those closest to the story -- trying to track down the truth, balancing perspectives ---like Dan Olmsted! . They would realize that the answer to the controversy was to find out why it was being silenced and to follow the silencer and the money to the root cause.
They would consider the likely motivations of those involved. They would remember that there is no hysterical need to coverup and silence and attack the reporter if there is no crime.
And they would dig in. But now in this day of corporate controlled media, suddenly the reaction to controversy is to duck and cover. I hoped that at least in our finest universities the quest for truth was more important than antagonizing money interests. I will never think of Columbia School of Journalism with admiration and respect again. Cowardice thy name is Columbia. The next time an infant suffers because he was given toxins in shots --a practice by your silencing AOA you condone--it's on everyone on this committee too afraid of their career to listen to the truth. And when you are made obsolete by sites like age of autism because people no longer believe propaganda when they see it lies about their own lives, you will wish you had learned from AOA how to actually create vibrant, life changing journalism,speak truth to power, and ask the questions that will change the world instead of the questions that protect your paycheck. My only hope is that this denial to age of autism inspires some very bright students to look at age of autism from their curiosity. Sometimes censorship is the best publicity. And yet I am sad for you guys who work so hard and deserve this honor.

Bob Moffitt

From today's NY Post .. business section:

"Columbia business professor teaches ‘shady’ China deal"

An internal “CaseWorks” study from Columbia University’s prestigious business school obtained by The Post teaches its students an important lesson: Make millions of dollars while promoting a host of busted Chinese companies — even as investors who held the shares lose hundreds of millions — and you can be written up as an American success story.

That’s exactly what Columbia Business School’s Kravis Professor Paul Ingram did when he co-authored a 23-page piece with Benjamin Wey, a controversial promoter of Chinese shares listed in the US."

The full commentary regarding Columbia Business School's reported ethical transgressions are well worth reading to remind oneself that Columbia's School of Journalism is not the only "ethical" problem at that once prestigious university:

Cherry Sperlin Misra

Good news about football. It brings to mind an article written by a young man who got into college football and as he saw how much physical violence was involved, thought for a brief moment, "Is this legal????"


Congratulations on being "uninvited!" that is fantastic news, this episode marks a new low for CJR.

Their last best foray on this topic I recall was the article with a pic of a steely eyed, determined looking Brian "Those Children don't have Bowel Disease" Deer juxtaposed with a pic of AJW that looked like a mug shot. It strikes me that CJR is aggressively proud of it's determined ignorance regarding the subject if iatrogenic vaccine induced brain damage.

Being uninvited puts AoA in better company. AoA is a reality based news organization with proper journalistic standards. CJR honors and fetes corrupt anti science zealots, such as Deer, and Offit.

"All the news that's paid for fits"

Cynthia Cournoyer

Wear it as a badge of honor. Dan, you are in a class by yourself. You and others who are side-lined don't need any recognition from those who measure their worth by how many drug companies they can align with.

The answers lie clearly in front of those who wish to see.


Good job Dan!!!

Sure would love to know if a financial pressure was brought to bear by the vaccine companies on Columbia School of One Sided Journalism, Brainard, and/or any of the mucky mucks in that school. For some reason my sixth sense smells a rat!!

In more recent times many of those that post on these on line boards fail to list their connections and conflicts of interest.

Paul S (cycle3man) grandpa to a VACCINE damage grandson!!!


Merck the maker of the MMR vaccine had to fire 16,000 employees and lost $884 million in profits this year. Your critics are scared of more people hearing the truth. You should be proud of their panic to get you removed from this. Merck is projected to keep losing big time. Dr. Proffit isn't going to like that! lol

billie joe

When will be be seeing AOA the documentary... Seriously... you have enough material.

Kim Stagliano

Kim here = we've been using Social Media for Avonte - Twitter and FB actively. We can add a post too. Thanks.


Wonder what their integrity went for.


Whether they didn't initially know, or they did know and then caved to pressure, either way, not impressive, downright embarrassing, for a school of journalism.


#1) I agree with Jennifer: Please do a story ASAP on the missing autistic boy in Queens. The more we can spread his picture and story, the more hope in finding him.

#2) About concussions: am I the only one who has noticed that a HELL of a lot more people are getting severe concussions than, say, 30 years ago?

When I was growing up, I didn't know anybody who had a concussion, a really serious concussion, with weeks or months of neurological problems following.

8 people that I KNOW, in the last 2 years, have had them. 4 of them had serious neuro problems for over a year. 2 will likely have some problems for the rest of their lives.

This isn't...better diagnosis, is it? What's going on? Do we all have thinner skulls than we used to? Are people throwing balls (and hitting their heads on walls and floors) harder than they used to?

Or....could the neurological effects of vaccines (or other environmental causes) be such that our brains and nervous systems are now predisposed to be more sensitive to such damage??

What kind of vaccines do football players get? What about the steroids some take--don't those, also, predispose them to damage from mercury from other sources?

Dan, I think this story might potentially go a lot further than you thought...

Scared Of-it

Paul Offit's propaganda (I mean books) publisher is COLUMBIA U PRESS. Within moments of this post going live the paid and unpaid trolls started placing phone calls, scared the gal who now has egg all over her face and pulled strings to have Age of Autism removed. Low rent. Low class. Low integrity. Journalism today is public relations - an arm of the marketing department of every corporation in America. Must keep the ever smaller slices of bread buttered.


"Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) Was For Free Speech Before They Were Against It"

Drug Test
By Daniel Schulman for the Columbia Journalism Review.


Jennifer, Age of Autism has done a lot of stories on wandering. Just type "wandering" or "missing" in the Google Site Search to the left and you will see.

If you go to the AoA facebook page you will see a post about Avonte Oquendo - the missing 14-year-old from Queens - and on Kim Stagliano's page as well.


Clearly those who invited AoA did know who AoA is. AoA's point of view is obvious every day, not something that wasn't realized at first. Whoever invited AoA appreciated what AoA does, but some higher-up and/or sponsors stepped in and squelched AoA's participation in order to censor the autism-vaccine debate. But we are called "conspiracy theorists" when we notice this kind of censorship.

John Stone


This is so sad. Unfortunately, many of us also recall the dead-beat views of Curtis Brainard in Columbia Journalism Review earlier this year which is the real voice of modern journalism, an obsequious, uncritical purvenyor of received opinions that find easy patonage.


Jeannette Bishop

Congratulations on getting the invitation, despite the update. So the school either didn't do its homework back in August, or more of the same weighed in, and we are only left to hope that at least three or four more people at the school are now better educated about the "mainstream objectivity" regarding vaccination and the need for some investigative inquiry before they go get their "free" flu shot(s)?


Re the update: I'm sorry to AOA. You are all deserving of recognition, but because you don't have a price, it did seem too good to be true. It's kind of comical and pathetic that a big fancy school of journalism didn't know who they were inviting to be in their network. Makes them look like a joke, journalistically speaking.

Anne McElroy Dachel

The Columbia Journalism School is clearly misnamed. Avoiding controversy is not journalism. They are in reality, the Columbia School for the Promulgation of Propaganda, for that's what happens when there isn't a free press. They should understand why online, in-depth, independent journalism is growing and has such credibility. Mainstream news sources are controlled by their sponsors. What's truly sad about this is that it shows that the next generation of news reporters will have learned early what they can and cannot talk about.


So, they only want niches represented that they personally agree with. So yeah, that is journalism with integrity.....ignoring the legions of parents who are believe autism and vaccines are linked. I guess our niche isn't legit despite 1 in every 4 parents sharing this belief.


Why have you not done a story about the missing 14 year old boy from Queens, NY? He has severe autism and needs to be found. Please focus about stories on AUTISM. Not the mass shooters with mental illness, other disabilities who have their own websites etc... If you have been chosen by Columbia as being a single subject website than prove it.
Your focus should be on AUTISM. Anne Dachel is always asking where the adults with autism are. The sad fact is that many of these children with autism don't get the chance to live long enough to be adults. Murder, wandering deaths, accidents, read the nightmares section if you don't believe me.


Congrats on being chosen as 1 among 20.
I think you should be just the *ONE*

Twenty years and Brick Township - nope goes back furhter than that and it was in significant number further back too.

That is why this is one of the toughest nuts to crack --ever.

Rae N.

Ironically, there's second great Columbia J-School - in Columbia MO. Here's hoping some of those bright, talented Show-Me-Staate students down there will take the hint.

Bob Moffitt

Dan and all at AoA ... congratulations on your well-earned "honor" of being "chosen as part of Columbia Journalism School's inaugural Single Subject Nets Network".

I agree with your observation the "two decade trajectory of denial" by the NFL that followed growing suspicions that repeated concussions by professional football players was causing many retired players serious neurological problems .. including death by suicide .. closely resembled the very same trajectory of denial exhibited by the CDC in the mid-1990's when they were first alerted to the pronounced spike in autism first observed in Brick Township.

The analogies between the NFL and CDC "denial tactics" are unavoidable .. such as .. only one of many .. that both attacked the messenger .. in the NFL it was medical examiner Dr. Bennet Omalu who conducted the original autopsy on former Pittsburgh Steeler Mike Webster .. and .. Dr. Andrew Wakefield who conducted original research that a connection between "gut issues" and "autism". Both these men were vilified and both lost their professional reputations due to the onslaught of sustained negative accusations brought against them by very powerful vested interests who were desperate to prevent either man's research from being validated. Classic "kill the messenger" to prevent his "message" from being heard.

However .. on the subject of being "fair and balanced" .. Frontline's "League of Denial" presentation closely resembled their patently "unfair and unbalanced" report on "Vaccine Wars". Both reports claimed the "scientific research" they presented was clear and convincing evidence that .. #1 .. concussions alone are solely responsible for the neurological deterioration suffered by former football players during their careers .. and .. #2 .. that vaccines are not responsible for any neurological damage .. including "regressive" autism .. that a child experiences.

The "research science" they presented .. at least to me .. did not prove "conclusively" either theory.

Indeed, there are so many questions I would love to have asked those who claim to have irrefutable proof that concussions alone "cause" the neurological damage "identified" in the brains of football players.

No doubt the symptoms of neurological damage over years .. such as .. anxiety, depression, insomnia, behavior and mood alterations, early onset dementia, difficulties concentrating, memory loss, on and on .. are symptoms exhibited by literally millions of people being treated with medications that "cause" these very same symptoms .. even though millions of those people never played football or suffered a concussion in their entire lives.

Indeed, is this particular research .. or something similar .. conducted on the brains of the many attackers .. such as .. Columbine, Newtown, Annapolis, Colorado theatre .. who exploded in violent episodes costing the lives of so many innocent men, women and children?

Indeed, is anybody doing this type of "brain research" on the active and retired military members who are committing suicide at the inexplicable rate of 22 a day? If not .. why not? Surely a suicide rate of 22 veterans a day cannot be attributed exclusively to combat concussions .. because .. the rate of combat concussions was probably far higher during the extended years of WWI .. WWII .. Korea .. Vietnam ..?

By the way .. I wonder if Boston University will take extra precautions to protect the brains they have been privileged to study .. then Harvard University did with the brains of autistic children they were entrusted with were destroyed due to "mal-functions of two fail safe monitoring systems"?

Alison MacNeil

Well Done!!

John Gilmore

Congratulations Dan, Kim, Mark and the Age of Autism crew,

Well deserved recognition. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during the discussions around putting AoA in the group. Keep up the good work. In this post-jourrnalism era we are in your work is absolutely essential.

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