The mainstream media covered this week's CDC new autism data – 1 in 68 American children affected, up 29 percent in two years – without even realizing the conflict of interest at the heart of the story.
CDC is the agency that recommends and promotes the childhood vaccination schedule that so many parents know first-hand is the driving force behind the autism epidemic. The preposterous idea that there is no epidemic, or the equally ridiculous notion that it is impossible to tell, abets the CDC in avoiding culpability for what has happened the past 25 years.
But because the CDC has done such a good job of convincing the media that a vaccine-autism link has been discredited, most journalists don't realize the conflict staring them in the face. They don't understand that the CDC cannot be trusted with anything bearing on the cause or frequency of autism, that it can't be treated as a credible and disinterested source. It's amazing really: the folks that caused this train wreck by falling asleep at the switch are investigating the cause and counting the casualties, and the media treats it as gospel.
Most of the time, journalists "get" this concept -- vested interests must be disclosed and generally detract from the reliability of their claims. You could see that play out this week in Chris Christie's own internal investigation exonerating him from any culpability in Bridgegate. The big media outlets basically laughed him off the national stage, noting that his own lawyers used taxpayer money to absolve him while casting evidence-free aspersions on his "emotional" former chief of staff. (Emotional, hysterical women -- this sounds familiar!)
Yet the same day, the CDC gets away with the entirely unbelievable idea that it's unclear whether there is a real increase in autism, and never gets called on why this might serve their own purposes. That keeps the wolves from the door for a couple of more years until they can switch over to the DSM-5 and obscure matters once and for all.
Amplifying the problem is that these conflicts extend to the big media players who like to come across as ferocious watchdogs when it comes to traffic jams in Fort Lee, but have far too much at stake -- namely, pharma revenue -- and far too little intellectual curiosity to dig independently into the truth about the roots and rise of autism. Some of those journalists are just as conflicted as the CDC.
For one thing, many of the "experts" the news anchors turn to when the new numbers come out are doctors, and frequently pediatricians. That is the profession that implemented the epidemic, in my view, yet they are now helping the CDC hide the truth, whether deliberately or by being totally sunk in the orthodox quicksand.
Thus Dr. Richard Besser, not just a doctor and not just a pediatrician but the former acting Director of the CDC, for cripe's sake, is the person deemed most suited to explain it all to us on ABC's World News Tonight.
After Diane Sawyer grills Christie in a long interview, she says, "and next now tonight we turn to a startling new medical report about autism."
"Why the surge? It could be better diagnosis," Besser reports. "But experts do say there are more children with autism." Well there's your story right there, Rich -- why are there more children with autism?
"What's causing it? We know genetics play a role, that young autistic brains are physically different. But it's still a puzzle." Yes, because neither of those are causing a surge. In other words, no clue is offered as to why there are more children with autism.
Then comes the usual switch to the early intervention blather -- "doctors just aren't screening, but there's new technologies to catch it sooner." Eye tracking, new approaches to treatment -- taking autistic kids' love of trains to make them more social. Get them talking to each other about trains -- that's the ticket to responding to a damaged generation.
"Tonight, as those numbers are growing, so is the race to find out why," Besser reports over images of happy train-riding autistic kids.
No, it is not. The train wreck is right on track, and the race is on to hide the truth.
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism. © 2014 AgeofAutism.com