Anne Dachel's Book Debut: The Big Autism Cover-Up, How and Why the Media is Lying to the American Public
I'm happy to announce my book, The Big Autism Cover-Up, How and Why the Media is Lying to the American Public, from Skyhorse Publishing. This book is the product of ten years of monitoring how the press covers autism, especially the controversial link with vaccines.
It's a book I never thought I'd have to write. I couldn't have imagined a decade ago that members of the media wouldn't at some point wake up to what's happening to our children and honestly and thoroughly report on it. Sadly, that hasn't happened.
I have watched the rate of autism soar to horrific levels and observed how the news industry covers it. In 2004, it was one in every 166 children. Then it became one in 150, then one in 110, one in 88, and today, one in every 68 children, one in every 42 boys. Each time the numbers took another gigantic leap forward, health officials were right there in the news saying that they weren't sure if the new statistic meant there were actually more children with autism---it might just be more better diagnosing of a condition that has always been around.
The press reports on autism like it's a medical curiosity we have all the time in the world to figure out. Millions of dollars are poured into dead-end studies that link autism to genetics or actions on the part of the parents, all faithfully covered in the news.
Autism is not recognized or addressed as the disaster it truly is because the media allows health officials to control what the public is told. It's that simple. This is especially true when it comes to reporting on the controversial link with vaccinations. The press is more than happy to give the last word to the agency that runs the vaccine program and that is filled with individuals with direct financial ties to the vaccine industry.
In The Big Autism Cover-Up I explore the critical issues--those things that should have made autism into a national crisis and caused a media reporting frenzy. Incredibly each of them ended up being distorted, trivialized and allowed to fade into obscurity because of the actions of news organizations.
The list includes:
Unanswered Questions, the announcement in 2011 that the U.S. government had quietly been compensating vaccine injury victims for damages that included autism for over two decades while publicly denying that such a link existed,
Hannah Poling, the Georgia girl whose claim of vaccine-induced autism was conceded by medical experts from HHS,
Andrew Wakefield, the British gastroenterologist whose work showed a possible link between the MMR vaccine, bowel disease and autism,
Sharyl Attkisson, the outstanding and courageous journalist who gave us years of in-depth coverage of the link between vaccines and autism on CBS News,
The Greater Good, the award-winning documentary that explored the issue of vaccine safety in detail, giving us experts on both sides--a film that has now been seen by five million people worldwide,
And April, Autism Awareness Month, when annually the media pretends that having a generation of neurologically impaired children is something to celebrate.
I have a lot of support for my claim that we're not being told the truth about autism in the news. A Gallup Poll released in September found, "Americans' confidence in the media's ability to report 'the news fully, accurately, and fairly' has returned to its previous all-time low of 40%."
Also in September, The Daily Signal ran a story called The News Is Fit to Print But Are Major News Organizations Fit to Report It?
Readers were told, "Former investigative reporter and producer Lowell Bergman observed, 'You can have all the information you want in the world. If you don't have the people raising questions and looking beneath the surface, and people being paid to do this, you're not going to find the answers.'"
The Daily Signal continued, "A starting point for reversing this trend is for the heads of major American news organizations to look in the mirror and ask whether their organization or their journalists are part of the problem.
"The First Amendment provides important protections to our individual liberty, going so far as to specifically identify 'the press' as protected. Implicit in this guarantee is that the press will not become complicit in the government's narrative."
That begs the question, what if members of the press fail to do their job and honestly and thoroughly report the news? What if they merely give us the official line, no questions asked?
The Big Autism Cover-Upgives example after example of major news outlets giving us phony autism coveragae. I marvel that reporters I've followed for years don't get tired of saying the same things over and over.
What happened when Robert Kennedy Jr.'s book, Thimerosal, Let the Science Speak, came out in August 2014 is a chilling example of how the media fails to honestly cover our issues. BEFORE the book was released, Keith Kloor at the Washington Post wrote about it. He defended the use of mercury in vaccines and criticized Kennedy for claiming that vaccines cause autism.
On July 20, Forbes published the story, Robert Kennedy's Dangerous Anti-Vaccine Activism, by Steven Salzberg. Throughout the piece Kennedy was accused of linking thimerosal to autism and repeatedly labeled "anti-vaccine." Salzberg described thimerosal as "a preservative" without ever saying it's made from toxic mercury.
On July 30, during an interview with Don Lemon on CNN, Kennedy attacked members of the press for what he described as "a virtual tsunami, a cascade of these vitriolic and poisonous press reviews of the book--BEFORE the book came out."
Kennedy added, "So not a single one--and they were filled with inaccuracies--not a single one of these reporters actually read the science." He said that it was the job of reporters to check the facts for themselves, "rather than getting pap fed by government officials or vaccine regulators with a strong vested interest in the status quo."
Kennedy also had strong words about the press coverage he'd received when he was on My Fox New York on August 20. There he made it clear that his book was not about thimerosal and autism, despite twelve different news outlets saying it was. When he was asked why he didn't focus on the link to autism in his book, Kennedy said, "We don't discuss autism because it's such a radioactive issue. We just looked at the other neurological disorders. ."
He continued, "This is not just a health crisis, it's a journalistic crisis. Journalists have to stop taking the word of a captive agency with a vested interest in thimerosal, and instead look at the science."
These were powerful words. Kennedy said that autism was simply TOO CONTROVERSIAL to include in a book about use of a known neurotoxin in children's vaccines. Autism--a disorder that affects almost 2 percent of U.S. children with no known cause or cure is such a hot button issue that Kennedy knew it would affect how this book was received. Furthermore he implicated the media in covering up the truth about thimerosal.
Back in 2009, Bob Woodward, famous for uncovering the Watergate Scandal, was featured in a video from the Washington Post called, Tips from Bob Woodward on Investigative Journalism. He told reporters how to do their job. He said they should "check everything firsthand," have six to twelve sources for a single story and get documentation. Woodward's advice got my attention at the time simply because this is precisely what the media DOESN'T do when the subject is vaccines and autism.
Members of the press refuse to ask questions. Instead, they will accept anything a doctor or health official says as fact. "Fair and balanced" usually means including an autism mom countered by someone from the medical community who cites a study. No one ever tries to find an expert to challenge the official denials, which leaves the public to assume there are no experts on the side of the parents. They never ask, "Who funded the study?" or look into the conflicts of the researchers.
This is how the press has failed us. The news industry isn't willing to address the issue honestly and this is what my book is all about. There are some shocking examples of the news industry covering up the truth in the Big Autism Cover-Up. In Chapter One I quote Louis Conte, one of the researchers who uncovered the 83 compensated vaccine injury claims that included autism. He told me how the media reacted to the announcement. Louis said, "The release of the paper was greeted with media silence. I spoke to journalists who flat out told me that their networks or their editors were pressured to NOT cover this story. One highly placed investigative journalist at a major network told me 'I can't believe what you found. This should be our lead story. It's shocking. And I've been told that I can't cover it.'"
There are two quotes I include at the beginning of the book that really go to the heart of things.
One is from the 2012 movie, Argo, about a CIA plot to create a phony movie in order to rescue Americans hiding in the Canadian embassy in Iran in 1980. At one point in the movie, Alan Arkin said, "If you want to sell a lie, get the press to sell it for you."
The other quote was something I found on my Facebook Page: "The two most misguided notions held in America: Our government wouldn't really do that to us; If they did, they would tell us about it on TV."
As the Gallup poll results showed, more and more Americans know we can't trust what the news industry tells us. I think we're finally waking up to what's really going on.
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 is on sale now from Skyhorse Publishing.