On March 31, 2016, independent investigative journalist Jefferey Jaxen published the video: Special Report: VAXXED [UNCENSORED] The Real Story,
about the media uproar that began over the announcement by Robert De Niro that the Tribeca Film Festival would include that movie "Vaxxed" about William Thompson, the whistleblower at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Jaxen's video focuses on the role of the media in covering up the real message of the film. Instead of reporting on a story about official fraud involving a major study on vaccine safety, the press labeled "Vaxxed" "anti-vaccine" and vilified its director, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, as a discredited doctor who had lost his medical license for linking vaccines and autism.
Jaxen said, “A dangerously polarized mainstream media in the United States was spotlighted and exposed for all to see. The public endured what can only be called a coordinated attack of widely accusatory and inaccurate news stories attacking De Niro, the Tribeca Film Festival, and the documentary film producers Dr. Andrew Wakefield and Del Bigtree. What was alarming is that not one journalist or media outlet churning out the prejudice content had ever viewed the unreleased film."
Jaxen continued, reminding the public that the cancelation of Vaxxed "once again showed a dangerously controlled and regulated media with an agenda.” Dr. Wakefield was included in Jaxen's video saying that the massive media call to remove "Vaxxed" from Tribeca was unprecedented, making it a First Amendment issue.
I was very impressed by Jaxen's nine minute video. He was exactly right. We could all see that he print and broadcast media had their marching orders, and they all said the same thing.
The government's only answer when faced with the question, "Do vaccines cause autism?" has long been, "Studies show no link." CDC research is massive and continuous, all results showing vaccines are safe. What if that's not the truth? What if CDC study results have been falsified and those findings have been used for years, even in vaccine injury suits, to prove safety that isn't there? That's too scary for many people to even consider.
I put together a number of the stories by the major newspapers and networks. Without exception, each was an attack on Andrew Wakefield. Instead of interviewing any of the principle people involved with "Vaxxed," including Wakefield, experts were cited who denounced the film.
People Magazine, ABC News, and the New York Times included Dr. William Schaffner who vouched for the safety of vaccines and warned how dangerous it would be to show "Vaxxed." He was described only as connected to Vanderbilt University and nothing was said about the work he does as a consultant for GlaxoSmithKline, MedImmune, Merck & Co., Novartis, Sanofi Pasteur Inc. and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.
I've included the names of the reporters and who they work for here because I know this story will be saved in the Age of Autism archives. I want all these people to be remembered. I want this article on their sloppy, bias coverage to be available whenever anyone searches their work. And when we're forced to finally admit the truth about what an unchecked, unsafe vaccine schedule has done to a generation of children, I want everyone to see the lengths news outlets went to in order to bury the truth.
Finally, let me say that I sent this list of stories to Dr. Wakefield and I asked him if a single one of these reporters had contacted him for an interview about "Vaxxed." His answer was a resounding "No." We should all be very frightened about news sources that don't care about talking to the people involved in such a critical controversy or about reporting the real story about William Thompson and the CDC's 2004 MMR study. It's clear members of the media have their own priorities and they don't include honestly reporting on vaccine safety.
Ashley Welsh, CBS News: Tribeca Film Festival under fire for anti-vaccine documentary
“What the film's description doesn't say is that its director, Andrew Wakefield, is widely regarded as a fraud in the scientific community.
“Wakefield -- a former doctor who's been stripped of his medical license -- first made headlines with a 1998 study published in The Lancet that claimed the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine was linked to autism. His research was found to be based on fraudulent data and the journal later retracted the study.”
Phil Helsel and Andrew Rudansky, NBC News: De Niro's Tribeca Festival Yanks Anti-Vaccination Film
“The film's director is Andrew Wakefield, who suggested a possible link between vaccines and autism and had his medical license stripped in 2010. He published a study alleging the link in the medical journal Lancet in 1998, but the research was widely discredited and the Lancet later retracted it.”
(Included here was a video of Thomas Frieden, CDC head, from Feb in which he urged everyone to get vaccinated.)
Adam Howard, MSNBC: De Niro decision to pull film can’t cure Hollywood’s vaccine obsession
“The director of the film, Andrew Wakefield, who is a British former surgeon and medical researcher, has been criticized for alleging that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine can cause autism. His widely shared 1998 report on the links between vaccines and autism has been retracted and Wakefield has been barred from practicing medicine in the U.K. because he allegedly falsified his research. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control has conducted or funded nine different studies that found no correlation between vaccines and autism.”
Gillian Mohney, ABC News: Rejected Tribeca Documentary Recalls Debunked Study that Helped Spark Anti-Vaccine Movement
"The documentary, called "Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe," was directed and written by Andrew Wakefield.
"Wakefield, a doctor from the United Kingdom, is at the center of the controversy after publishing a small study, which has since been rescinded, that claimed to find an association between vaccines and autism.
"Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, was in contact with the film festival staff to express concerns over the documentary. Schaffner pointed out there have been 'at least 15' studies that have studied vaccines and found no indication there is an association with autism."
Gary A Emmett, M.D., F.A.A.P., Philly.com: Vaxxed: The controversy surrounding a discredited doctor's film
"Andrew Wakefield is a true believer in the maxim that “the ends justify the means.” He believes, in opposition to multiple well conducted scientific studies including one from Kaiser Health with more than 300,000 participating children, that measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) is a causal factor in autism. Wakefield is wrong, but being wrong has not changed what he is saying. He is also no longer Dr. Wakefield – he lost his license to practice medicine in England because of lying about his results in a study."
"Benard Dreyer, MD, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics said, 'This was a totally dishonest film spreading lies about measles vaccine and autism that have caused a lot of damage to public health and children around the world.'"
Jessica Fecteau, People Magazine: Controversy Still Swirls Around Anti-Vaccine Documentary After Robert De Niro Pulls It from Tribeca Film Festival
"Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical School, told PEOPLE that including the film in the festival worried him and his colleagues. ...
"The film claims MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccines are linked to cases of autism, which was a theory presented by gastroenterologist and medical researcher Andrew Wakefield. The notion has since been widely discredited and retracted from the journal it was published in.
"...Schaffner suggests that supporters of the movie are drawn by Wakefield's charisma. "'[Dr. Wakefield] is very engaging, very good-looking and an excellent speaker so he attracts followers,' he says. 'People buy into a concept – so the psychologists have told us – and then when they are presented information that's quite contrary to the notion that they hold so dear, the normal human reaction is to double down and become even more stubbornly committed to the concept.'"
Joe Leydon, Variety: Film Review: ‘Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe’
“'Vaxxed' is the handiwork of first-time (and, probably, last-time) director Andrew Wakefield, a British gastroenterologist who collaborated on a study linking the MMR vaccine and a reported spike in autism diagnoses that was published in the Lancet, the prestigious English medical journal, in 1998."
- Ian Lipkin, Wall Street Journal: Anti-Vaccination Lunacy Won’t Stop
"The filmmakers claim they have not stated that autism is caused by the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, known as MMR. However, that is the inescapable message of 'Vaxxed.' And it is certainly the stance of Andrew Wakefield, the discredited British researcher who is the movie’s director and co-writer.
"I’ve known Mr. Wakefield since the late 1990s, when his (later retracted) paper suggesting a link between the MMR vaccine and autism appeared in the Lancet medical journal. He studied British children with developmental disorders and reported that they began to show signs of autism within weeks after receiving the vaccine."
Jessica Glenza, UK Guardian: Controversial Vaxxed film premieres in New York despite scientists' outcry
"The film is directed by British former doctor Andrew Wakefield, whose retracted and debunked study of a dozen children asserted that there is a link between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and autism."
Melena Ryzik, New York Times: Anti-Vaccine Film, Pulled From Tribeca Film Festival, Draws Crowd at Showing
"The film was directed and co-written by Andrew Wakefield, an author of a 1998 study that suggested the link. The study, published by the British medical journal The Lancet, was retracted in 2010. Though the film mentions the retraction, it does not note that the British General Medical Council revoked Mr. Wakefield’s medical license, citing ethics violations and financial conflicts of interest. Mr. Wakefield appears in 'Vaxxed' as an expert on the topic."
Melena Ryzik, New York Times: Pulled From Festival, Anti-Vaccination Film Will Run in Theater
"The director and co-writer of 'Vaxxed' is Andrew Wakefield, an author of a small 1998 study about autism and vaccination that was published in the British medical journal The Lancet and then retracted in 2010. The study has been widely and frequently debunked.
"Mr. Wakefield has also had his medical license revoked over ethics violations and his failure to disclose financial conflicts of interest."
Pam Belluck and Melena Ryzik, New York Times: Robert De Niro Defends Screening of Anti-Vaccine Film at Tribeca Festival
The film, 'Vaxxed' From Cover-Up to Catastrophe,” is directed and co-written by Andrew Wakefield, an anti-vaccination activist and an author of a study — published in the British medical journal The Lancet, in 1998 — that was retracted in 2010. In addition to the retraction of the study, which involved 12 children, Britain’s General Medical Council, citing ethical violations and a failure to disclose financial conflicts of interest, revoked Mr. Wakefield’s medical license.
David Wenner, PennLive.com: Robert De Niro, whose child has autism, changes mind about anti-vaccine film&>“The film, ‘Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe,’ was co-written and directed by Andrew Wakefield. Wakefield is the discredited physician who authored 1998 medical journal articles claiming to link autism to vaccination, and giving a huge shot of energy to an anti-vaccination movement. The journal later withdrew the articles after concluding data was misrepresented." Peter Sblendorio, New York Daily News: Petition for Robert De Niro to screen controversial "Vaxxed" documentary at Tribeca Film Festival drawing thousands of signature “The documentary, which was directed by discredited doctor Andrew Wakefield, examines the alleged connection between certain vaccinations and the "skyrocketing increase in autism" and details an alleged cover-up by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ‘Vaxxed’ centers on a scientist named Willam Thompson who claims to be a whistleblower for the CDC's cover-up, according to the documentary's website.”
Los Angeles Times: Tribeca to screen movie by controversial anti-vaccine activist Andrew Wakefield
“Tribeca did not reveal the director. He is, it turns out, the highly controversial anti-vaccine activist Andrew Wakefield
“Wakefield helped launch the anti-vaccine movement with a 1998 paper in the Lancet that drew a link between the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and higher rates of autism. Many scientists have since refuted the claim, and the British General Medical Council would go on to find Wakefield guilty of three dozen charges”