Dachel Media Update: New York Times: "A lax culture" at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
By Anne Dachel
Read Anne's commentary and view the links after the jump. The Dachel Media Update is sponsored by Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy and their OurKidsASD brand.
Try to imagine the New York Times criticizing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for anything, especially anything involving infectious diseases. I wouldn't have thought it was possible--until I saw their story, After Lapses, C.D.C. Admits a Lax Culture at Labs, on July 13, 2014.
This involved a stunning public admission by the agency head, Dr. Thomas Frieden, that mishandlings at the CDC had potentially exposed employees to some of the most deadly infectious agents on the planet, including anthrax and avian flu virus.
The Times story was by Richard Fauseet and Donald G. McNeil, Jr., and McNeil's name was one I immediately recognized because of his past reporting on the vaccine/autism controversy
In 2010, McNeil wrote the piece, Thimerosal, a preservative containing mercury, does not cause autism, about rulings from the Federal Court of Claims affecting 5,000 pending cases where parents sought compensation for vaccine injuries that involved autism.
In that story, McNeil called on Dr. Paul Offit and several moms from the autism community for their reactions. (And like almost all member of the mainstream media, he failed to cite a single expert who could challenge the court's ruling that it is safe to inject mercury into human beings.)
McNeil had done the same thing in another Times story in 2009 called, U.S. court says vaccine not to blame for autism. Here he pitted the American Academy of Pediatrics against parents who claim that vaccines caused their children's autism, seemingly unaware that hundreds of independent studies by well credentialed experts raise serious concerns about side effects from our ever-expanding vaccination schedule.
In 2008, the Times published the story, A Multitude of Vaccine Benefits, Yet Controversy Persists, by McNeil where he referenced the CDC and "numerous studies" disproving any link between their vaccines and autism-with no mention of the numerous conflicts of interest that have been shown to exist for the agency and the research they rely on for safety.
For years this has been the standard at the NY Times when the topic is vaccine safety. There are endless stories that have come from Times reporters citing the CDC as the source, assuring the public that the mumps, measles and rubella vaccine is safe and thimerosal is not linked to autism. They've also steadfastly reported on the latest autism rate increases announced by the CDC adding that it may not be a real increase, just better diagnosing of an age old disorder that doctors failed to recognize in the past.
"The likelihood of a child's being given a diagnosis of autism, Asperger syndrome or a related disorder increased more than 20 percent from 2006 to 2008, according to a report released on Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"The new report estimates that in 2008 one child in 88 received one of these diagnoses, known as autism spectrum disorders, by age 8, . . .
"The frequency of autism spectrum diagnoses has been increasing for decades, but researchers cannot agree on whether the trend is a result of heightened awareness, an expanding definition of the spectrum, an actual increase in incidence or some combination of those factors."
Given the past autism coverage at the Times where the CDC was given the last word on the latest rate change, the latest guess at the cause of autism and latest denial of a link between vaccines and autism, this newest piece is mind-boggling and it goes to the heart of just how much we can trust what this agency tells us.
Donald McNeil said some incredible things in his latest article on the CDC. He quoted Dr. Frieden saying that he was "just frankly, stunned and appalled" over the safety lapses involving viruses. SERIOUSLY? All I could think was, if this faux pas was stunning and appalling, why wasn't Frieden equally upset by the fact that the agency he's headed for the last five years promotes the safety of using mercury in vaccines despite the fact that the FDA never tested the additive for toxicity. Acting director of the FDA, William Egan, testified about it in 2013 before Rep. Dan Burton's subcommittee. The FDA continues to rely on a single study of 22 dying patients done by Eli Lilly back in 1929 as proof that injecting mercury is safe.
The media didn't give the CDC a free pass this time and just about every network and newspaper had the story. (It would be a little hard to pretend that "lapses" in handling of things like live small pox and pathogenic bird flu virus wasn't serious.)
For those of us who've watched the media for years cite pronouncements from the CDC as if Moses brought them down from Mount Sinai, this was really a switch. We'd been told that the CDC could do no wrong, yet the NY Times story described an agency with lots of serious problems.
"The recent revelations have created a crisis of faith in the federal agency, prompting calls for an independent body to investigate such episodes in the future, as well as for sweeping changes at the agency and to a sprawling web of research labs that has grown after the 2001 terror attacks led to an intensified focus on microbes that could be used as biological weapons. . . .
"'It is ironic that the institution that sets U.S. standards for safety and security of work with human pathogens fails to meet its own standards,' Richard H. Ebright, a professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers University, wrote in an email Saturday. 'It is clear that the C.D.C. cannot be relied upon to police its own select-agent labs.'. . ."
That wasn't all. The Times said some other concerning things about the agency that is in charge health care in America.
"Later this month, the C.D.C. will invite outside experts to form an external advisory group on lab safety. But some experts say that the agency should not police itself. . . .
"Dr. Frieden said the idea of an independent investigative agency was 'certainly worth exploring.'. . .
"The report recalled other errors. In 2006, the agency accidentally sent live anthrax to two other labs, and also shipped out live botulism bacteria.
"Several experts on biosecurity noted that the inspector general's office of the Department of Health and Human Services sent official complaints to the C.D.C. in 2008, 2009 and 2010 about undertrained lab personnel and improperly secured shipments."
Having the Times saying these things is REALLY IMPORTANT. Add that to the recent criticism of the CDC.
by two experts, one from Ohio State and one from the U. of PA, who say the CDC's method for determining the autism rate is flawed and that the results probably aren't valid, and it's clear there are lots of reasons to question what's going on in Atlanta. Given all this, why should these people have oversight over themselves when it comes to vaccine safety?
The Dachel Media Update is sponsored by Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy and their OurKidsASD brand. Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy is one of the largest and most respected compounding pharmacies in the country. They use only the finest quality chemicals and equipment to prepare our patients’ compounded medications and nutritional supplements. Customizing medication and nutritional supplements for our customers allows them to achieve their unique health goals.
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism and author of The Big Autism Cover-Up: How and Why the Media Is Lying to the American Public, which goes on sale this Fall from Skyhorse Publishing.