Thank you to David Foster, AofA contributor, for allowing us to post his comment made on a blog entry at the Orac-penned ScienceBlogs "Respectful Insolence."
Ben Swann returns, and this time he’s got the CDC whistleblower documents.
(Orac:) When it comes to blogging, sometime’s it’s feast or famine. Some days there are more topics and stories that I’d like to blog about than I could ever get to, given that I generally only do one post per weekday, while other days I seriously think about skipping a day because there’s just nothing out there that interests me. This is one of the former kinds of days. Seriously, there was an embarrassment of riches last night, so much so that I had a hard time making up my mind what story to write about. The one that I ultimately chose only just edged out the second place choice, and then only at the last minute and then only because it is a followup to a post I did about about a month ago. I might well get to the runner up tomorrow, but for now it’s time to revisit a story I’ve done a lot of blogging about because it’s come up again.
How many of you remember Ben Swann? Well, he’s back. Regular readers might remember that Swann is the clueless, conspiracy-minded “investigative reporter” who anchors the evening news for WGCL-CBS46 in Atlanta. The location is important, because it’ means he’s the local news anchor for a major CBS affiliate who did a highly credulous story about the the “#CDCtruth” rally in October...
Do you ever notice that Orac can never simply provide the facts and let the reader draw their own conclusions? Why is that Orac? Do you have that little faith in your readership? (You should.) Every sentence is filled with ad hominem attacks and vitriol, and you always seem to leave out details which are not consistent with the conclusion you wish your readers to draw.
Its fascinating to watch how Orac and everyone else here is so willing to put the cart before the horse. Apparently the credibility of Dr. William Thompson, a senior epidemiologist and research scientist at the CDC, is dubious enough that these kinds of serious claims do not warrant any sort of investigation. We wouldn't want to learn that everything we've been spouting about for years might not be true, now would we?
Think about this seriously for a moment. Dr. Thompson is a senior CDC research scientist and one of the authors of the 2004 DeStefano paper, and he now claims that significant findings were withheld from that paper. If this were about any topic other than vaccines, this whistleblower would have already testified in front of Congress. Maybe he's right, maybe he's full of it...but at the very least the gravity of his claims warrant serious investigation, and Posey has now tried twice to convince his colleagues to hold hearings. Crickets.
All of you keep yammering on about how nothing has come of this, it's old news, this happened a year ago and there have been no new developments, and you use this as evidence that Dr. Thompson's claims must be false.
The continued silence from the media on this story and the inaction from Congress are just more examples of how difficult it is to get any vaccine safety issue adequately investigated, much less even taken seriously. Especially when there are so many pseudo-skeptics who can't seem to figure out exactly what they should be skeptical of.
"Certainly, its key premise, that DeStefano et al showed that African American boys who receive the MMR earlier are at a much higher risk of autism than those who don’t and that the CDC covered it up, is not supported by evidence and rests on the misinterpretation of the DeStefano et al dataset."
That is bull puckey. What evidence? The evidence here is the 2004 DeStefano study itself, and when a whistleblower claims that a study withheld significant findings, you can't use that same study as "evidence" that he is not correct. Right now the only real evidence is Dr. Thompson's statements, the videos that were made of him talking on the phone, and the documents that he gave to Congressman Posey (you know, the documents he claims the other researchers threw away).
You can make fun of Ben Swann all you like, but the simple fact is that no mainstream media outlet, or mainstream journalist for that matter, would be willing to take this on. It would mean the end of their career, and you all know it.
The fact that you do not see that as a problem tells us everything we need to know about your collective bias on this issue.