The Microbiome: The Hopeful Path to Health
MMR Vaccination and Autism Revisited in 2016

Spot the Astroturf

AstroturfBy The Canary Party

CDC pays for astroturf support for the vaccine program. We have long suspected it, and occasionally we get to see behind the curtain. Such was the case last month when Megan Media posted a call for "mommy bloggers" to run paid stories supporting the vaccine program beginning April 11th.

The link has since been removed, but we took a screen shot to preserve the job posting.

We sent the following email to Megan Media for further comment, but no response has been forthcoming as of yet:

Megan Media,

Your campaign to promote the CDC's vaccine program by paying "mommy bloggers" for stories was made public last two weeks ago.

I am looking for some details on the campaign.

First, is this campaign sponsored by CDC, HHS, or any vaccine maker, patent holder, or associated org?

Who is the client on this vaccine promotion campain?

Why was the choice made to launch this during Autism Awareness Month?

Are the "mommy bloggers" required to disclose that they have been paid for their stories?

We will be publishing on this on the morning of April 11th, so apologies for sending the request after business hours on Friday, but I hope you can respond before then.

If not, I can always update the story if you are able to respond on Monday.

Thank you,
Ginger Taylor
Mother of a vaccine injured child

We encourage our readers to save the image, and post it in the comments section of any blog posts supporting the vaccine program for the next month, with the question:

"Have you been paid by Megan Media, the CDC, or any other parties for your vaccine stories?"



Carissa Bonham

As a professional blogger (not for this campaign- quite the opposite) I can tell you that ANY timea blogger is compensated in any way (money or even just free products) they are LEGALLY required to disclose this fact at the top of the post. Failure to do so has legal ramifications for both the blogger as well as the company paying the blogger.

What I want to know is: Who is paying Megan Media for this campaign and when it's done I would like the know how much they paid, the names of the bloggers and what the total reach was.

Joy Hoover

I tried to post that Megan Media link on Offit's Hollywood Reporter article. The paid Pharma minions are gaslighting anyone who questions vaccines.

Jeannette Bishop

Regarding wikipedia, I haven't knocked my head against it much. It seems like I may have tried to support some change(s) under question, if there was an option like that, or maybe I just followed some of the back and forth for a while. The results made me much less likely to rely Wikipedia for information on other sources.

I would say to anyone wanting to to go for it, if seems like a good idea to them, but I do wonder if a blatantly biased entry might actually be helpful?

Paul Champion

@ Cia & Jeannette.
As to what we can do about the industry-sponsored Wikipedia entries. I am at lose, other than to point out that Jesus said: “For you have the poor always with you” and the truth in that is, we will have to accept without criticism that others are not like ourselves. Yet, just as we can and should help others that are less fortunate than ourselves (if not more than for reasons of humanity) we should also stand firm against those (on Wikipedia and elsewhere) that have lost touch with their own humanity. Unfortunately that means taking things one small step at a time.

Addressing Jeannette's point. Unlike, wikipedia does not vet every edit. Therefore, if an articles starts getting a lot of bad encyclopaedic edits, a block is put on un- confirmed editors. Thus, is the current case with Vaxxed. To become a confirmed -editor, one has only to register and make a few (non controversial) edits. The other hurdle to over come is that edits need references to a reliable source -such as a medical journal. This really very easy for someone who is young enough to be computer savvy. Guidance is here:

If find this guidance makes your eye glaze over, remember that are a lot of people (friends, neighbours kids, relatives etc), that love these sort of computer tasks. They may be willing to help just for the satisfaction they’ll derive from becoming a wikipedia editor. Think positive.

Jeannette Bishop

There is a discussion on about whether the censorship-like approaches are a good strategy for those engaging in them. It includes discussion that the wikipedia entry on Vaxxed is already locked.

cia parker

There is already an industry-sponsored Wikipedia entry on Vaxxed which is false and insulting. Can we make it more accurate?

Gary Ogden

Paul Champion: Thank you for the link. Seems a discussion including both knowledgeable, thinking people and astroturfers.

Paul Champion

Re: wikipedia
@ Gary & Tim and anyone else interested.
It is all too true that Wikipedia contains a lot of astroturf but mainly because a lot of current Wikipedia editors either have vested interests or/and because other editors back them up, (whom must lead lonely humdrum lives) but their willingness to edit wikipedia gives them a feeling that they too are VIP's . This attracts editors that get their edits accepted simply because they go with the flow and we know only dead fish go with the flow. That is just two sides of the trinity of Wikipedia. If however, you examine the article talk pages you will find other independent editors doing their best to keep other editors exaggerated pontifications within bounds by -down to earth logical reasoning. This is where we can come in. As an example look at:

An editor stated that the article name should be changed. Quote: We should not call this a "controversy". The topic discussed is the MMR vaccine conspiracy theory. This is a fringe theory that is utterly unsupported by any science. We do the reader a disservice to suggest that there is a bona fide controversy. If the phrase "conspiracy theory" is not accepted, then we could alternatively use "fringe theory", "hoax" or "fraud" Unquote.

Yet, his uninformed views are being challenged by others -we can do that too. If we put enough eyes on this article (and with our own wiki), we would eventually be able to link to evidence that AW was demonstrably not fraudulent and correct most of the other misinformation in the MMR Controversy article. There are only so many PR gurus and lackeys, so the odds are in our favour if we use the same modus operandi.


Why can't we all apply for the job because they want mothers to "raise awareness of childhood vaccines". We could all tell them a thing or two about childhood vaccines and then some.

cia parker

Thank you, Jeannette, I'll have to think about what you said (not that I understand much of it). Thanks for giving me some leads! I wonder how hard it is to get a Tumblr account, it seems like everyone has one.

Gary Ogden

Paul Champion: It is not true that anyone can edit Wikipedia, or better to say that edits which don't further the agenda of the unseen wikipedians don't stay up for long (sometimes only seconds). Philip Roth was unable to correct misinformation about one of his novels. They told him he wasn't a credible source. But that's a great idea to establish a wiki with all the information we have in our heads but don't remember how to find again. I take extensive notes in pencil, and put very important sites into my favorites, because accuracy is crucial to our efforts. I would be very glad to lend assistance to such a project, though I'm not particularly computer-savvy.

Tim Lundeen

@Paul Champion

Wikipedia is one of the top astroturf sites on the internet. Try posting something about the dangers of the HPV vaccine in and see how long it lasts.

Non-controversial pages (e.g. ones that don't impact major corporate revenue streams) you might be able to edit.

go Trump

Perhaps somewhere on the AoA site it should state that..


the "comment after comment after comment after comment after comment after comment" of ...Vaccine Disasters... are simply TRUE.

Paul Champion

Joy B, I agree with you, yet,
Wikipedia is a encyclopedia that anyone can edit – Therefore, so can we. We don't have to sit back and watch. It does however, have some policy’s, such as edits need to by backed up by verifiable references. Its a job for those that are computer
savvy. We could start our own wiki (the software is free) and place on it all the graphs and other information, so we have it instantly at hand when trying to refute miss formation. Many of us have the information in our heads but find it difficult to find it again on Google. Especially if it comes from a paid for medical journal. The sheep have got themselves well organised, how about us getting more organised? Any thoughts on this?

Jeannette Bishop


My daughter says I need a Tumblr account (or something like that). She puts images on Tumblr and from there she copies the link (or code or something) that she then pastes into comments/replies on other forums.

Jeannette Bishop


I actually linked to the image Age of Autism uses in this article with the HTML code img shown here:

I haven't yet figured out how to get my own copy "in the cloud" somewhere though ...I don't use much social media, but I assume there are easier ways to upload/insert images.

cia parker

I was able to copy yours into Word. What did you do to make it possible to cut and paste it into comments? One further possible problem is that you really can't read any of it, it's too faint and blurry.

Joy B

Dorit Reiss is the "House Mother" of the whole astroturf thing, imo. So many minions showed up around the time she did. Orac, Skeptical Raptor on DKos, Willingham, Tara Haelle. These women have since secured lucrative MSM positions and endless book income as a result. So of course this is a hot market. The low end being anon "mommy" bloggers, paid piecemeal. A savvy young female writer is angling for an Emily Willingham-type position, though, for sure.

When Dorit first "arrived" around 5 years ago, many were incredulous as to her actual individual role, citing the sheer magnitude of her web presence. It was very bot-like. The first time I mentioned Dorit Reiss in one of Skeptical Raptor's comment sections of DK, she literally made an account within the hour to "refute" me. And her brand new account's comment was taken as gospel, while mine was censored, and I've had an account there for 10 years. To me, this behavior proved she was "real" and that this WAS her real job now, not as her wiki would have you believe, just some "passion" she realized after reading an "antivax" blog. Her "job" at Hastings probably consists of showing up for a few hour-long lectures a month, if that. Dusting off the old nameplate.

She's, very simply, the head of a goon squad. They are always lawyers. This is what the elite do when their profits are threatened, they don't charge headlong into battle themselves.

Most likely, the CDC or one of their thinktanks saw Dorit's thesis on "The Benefits of Regulatory Capture""(yes it's exactly what it sounds like), and saw her background in Israeli "justice" and said "She's our man". "Her" ideas have literally gone to policy in places like California. Remember a few years ago when she was spreading the "legal consequences" meme, and then in the blink of an eye, before it was much more than an argument in her own mind, it was a bill before Congress?

Her Wiki really has been burnished since last I checked. It makes her sound like some sort of lone crusader, who is now, due to her own magnificence alone, writing the laws...! I guess Wikipedia is the new Pravda.

Jeannette Bishop

Just testing and I'm a little afraid:

Test Failed

but the preview looked pretty well. Apologies if I crashed anything...

Bob Moffit

Had opportunity to watch about 45 minutes of CSPAN this morning .. listening to the inimitable Dr Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general at the United States Public Health Service and director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .. respond to questions from callers to the program .. with a well-practiced, sincere, gracious "great question" .. followed by short answers that easily "deflected, evaded and deceived" what had been asked.

Predictably .. Dr. Schuchat was permitted to spew "talking point" (diseases are a plane ride away).. after talking point" (vaccines saves millions of lives every day) .. as the CSPAN host silently listened to her rambling responses .. himself uninformed .. therefore unprepared .. to ask the follow-up questions that every "talking point" demanded to be asked.

There are many forms of "astro-turfing" .. which is why it is no accident that Dr. Schuchat and Dr. Offit limit their appearances on national television to programs where they are in complete control .. assured their ANSWERS to all questions asked .. WILL NOT BE CHALLENGED.


Rubinstein-Reiss must be making a fortune with this activity.

Tim Lundeen

I just watched Sharyl Attkisson's TED talk again: and her column on top astroturf sites:


"Marketing research analysts" "pharmaceutical consultants," are some of the terms used to describe this sczhit. Some PhD science bloggers who end up doing this line of work. They obviously can't get anything else and this pays the bills- perhaps handsomely as seen at glass door. "ZS Associates" seems to be one such PR firm and is huge.

cia parker

How do you post it in a comments section? I've saved it to my desktop, but don't know how to post memes or other images in a comment.

John Stone


I don't recall saying it was new, indeed, I was merely quoting, although I am sure your historical comparison is apt.

Michael Martin

So basically Megan Media is a hype company, PR firm or whatever you want to call it. Everything is for sale here, including the 4th Estate, sickening!

Angus Files

job creation or statistic creation then write about it..shills caught with the keg`s down..


Ronald Kostoff

John Stone,


What's new about that? Goebbels and Streicher were doing that eighty years ago, without all the information technology available today.

Bob Moffit

Good luck on receiving a response from Megan Media .. to ANY of the reasonable questions you asked .. seeking answers that Megan Media would be loathed to give.

Gotta give the astro-turfers credit .. they are well organized, well funded .. and .. absolutely shameless .. in their continuing effort to protect the ongoing fraud and manipulation of the CDC .. and .. by extension .. protection of the enormous profits .. generated by their client's .. the vaccine manufacturer corporations.

Louis Conte

Mandates, media manipulation, censorship.

All the while one of the authors on critical research issues a letter saying the science is fraudulent and the media doesn't cover it. Another researcher who ran the other batch of critical research is a fugitive from justice hiding in Denmark and the media doesn't cover it.

All this to support a drug program that has no liability, accountability or transparency.

Buzz Buzz Buzz

What a bunch of airheads!

John Stone

Megan Media's website flashes:

"Let's show you what we can do..

"Creative High Impact Executions..

"Daring Boundless and Social..

"We started Megan Media in 2008 with a passion for content and influence. Today, we’re a full-stack digital media and technology company that specializes in creating and implementing custom content and influencer marketing campaigns across mobile, tablet and desktop. We have the largest community of over 100,000+ passionate influencers that can create engaging, rich content and/or scale branded content that reaches more than 55 million people each month and over 200 million social connections.

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