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Guardian Health Editor Sarah Boseley's Little Problem

Sarah Boseley“The almost unavoidable conclusion is that large sections of the British media have always known that the “Wakefield” prosecution was based on an imposture, and have been holding their silence in contempt of fair reporting and of the public at large, and that these people are much more concerned about their own backs than they are about our children.”

The Guardian’s health editor, Sarah Boseley has been writing again about Andrew Wakefield, measles and MMR   . Boseley’s problem, as Age of Autism’s, UK editor John Stone pointed out in this article back in 2012 is that Boseley knew very well that the case against Wakefield was fabricated. Shortly after the article was written Wakefield’s senior colleague, Prof John Walker-Smith, was exonerated in the English High Court. The central case against Wakefield (who was not funded to appeal) and the other General Medical Council defendant Prof Simon Murch had been utterly disproven. The scapegoating, however, continues and Wakefield is still held accountable for events which never happened. Boseley also authored the 2009 news report 'Autism just as common in adults, so MMR is off the hook' based on the NHS Brugha survey

The Walker-Smith Appeal, the British Media and the Boseley Problem

By John Stone

Sarah Boseley  is the senior Guardian newspaper journalist who wrote on the occasion of the UK General Medical Council’s findings against Dr Andrew Wakefield and his colleagues Prof  John Walker-Smith and Prof Simon Murch in January 2010:

"Opinion is divided in the medical establishment on the wisdom of pursuing Wakefield – and particularly his colleagues who played a lesser role in the drama – at the GMC. Some say there was a clear case to answer and that the GMC had no other option but others believe that no good can come of it."

What Boseley omitted to do as a decent journalist and a competent reporter was to tell her readership what the medical establishment was worried about. And what they were worried about may be by now coming back round to haunt both the medical establishment itself and the media, although no doubt damage limitation measures are already being put in a state of readiness.  The spectre came in the form of a UK Press Association report of Prof Walker-Smith’s High Court appeal misleadingly entitled ‘MMR row doctor decision was “fair”’  . However, underneath the headline the story begins to hint at the real matter:

“The decision to strike off an eminent doctor over the MMR jab controversy has been defended at the High Court as "just and fair - not wrong".

“The General Medical Council (GMC) admitted to a judge that "inadequate reasons" may have been given by a disciplinary panel that found Professor John Walker-Smith guilty of serious professional misconduct. Those reasons related to conflicts over expert evidence.

“But Joanna Glynn QC, appearing for the GMC, said: "In spite of inadequate reasons it is quite clear on overwhelming evidence that the charges are made out."

“Professor Walker-Smith is asking Mr Justice Mitting at London's High Court to rule that he was denied a fair hearing. On the fourth day of his challenge, the judge said that the case had been "complex and difficult from the start - it greatly troubles me".”

At stake in the hearing are essentially two issues: whether Prof Walker-Smith acted beyond his brief as a clinician in the care of the 12 children in the much disputed Lancet paper, and whether the paper had anything to do – as alleged – with the protocol (identified with Royal Free Hospital ethical approval 172-96) for a Legal Aid Board funded paper, or was just as the paper itself stated an “early report” on 12 children seen and investigated on the basis of clinical need. This problem has been perpetually hinted at but never clearly explained in the British media – we will call it for convenience “the Boseley problem” though it is very much the problem of other journalists too.

Following the allegations by journalist Brian Deer and doctor MP Evan Harris in 2004 that the Wakefield Lancet paper had been commissioned and paid for by the UK Legal Aid Board the first apparent dissent to appear was in an award winning article by Dr Ben Goldacre ‘Don't Dumb Me Down' , the son of a leading government epidemiologist and Oxford University professor, Michael J. Goldacre.  Goldacre junior wrote in September 2005:

“Now, even though popular belief in the MMR scare is - perhaps - starting to fade, popular understanding of it remains minimal: people periodically come up to me and say, isn't it funny how that Wakefield MMR paper turned out to be Bad Science after all? And I say: no. The paper always was and still remains a perfectly good small case series report, but it was systematically misrepresented as being more than that, by media that are incapable of interpreting and reporting scientific data.”

This statement refers to neither Deer or Harris, and what it does not tell you is that the issue as to whether the Lancet paper was a really a “fraud” or not hinged on if  it was “a perfectly good small case series report” as stated on this occasion by Ben Goldacre or if it was based on the protocol for the Legal Aid Board commission to which it bears little or no resemblance (and which the three doctors at the GMC were later to claim was never executed) as originally argued by Deer and Harris in 2004. At the same time the possibility that medical establishment was trying to hedge its bets against the failure of a flawed GMC prosecution is opened up by the fact that Dr Harris, himself, was on the jury which gave Goldacre his Association of British Science Writer’s award for the article  (note that page mistakenly attributes the article to John Gribben) .

Indeed, there was sequence of editorials around the time of that award (which took place in the summer of 2006) doubting the wisdom of prosecuting Andrew Wakefield and his forgotten colleagues, which included pieces in The Independent, the New Scientist,  by Dr Michael Fitzpatrick in Spiked Online and a little later by Dr Fiona Godlee in British Medical Journal calling for the prosecution to be called off .

All this led later to particular embarrassment for Ben Goldacre, whose vacillating position on the matter was reported on Age of Autism (Can We Have it Straight?)(Goldacre Challenged on Wakefield)  and who as late as November 2010 (and months after he had first welcomed the GMC verdict) was accurately telling Irish Health:

“But you have to remember this paper didn’t actually say MMR causes autism, it didn’t even speculate on that. It was accompanied by an editorial that said by the way people should be very clear that it doesn’t mean that MMR causes autism.

“Also, this was a 12 subject case series report - it was a description of only 12 children’s clinical anecdotes, and while this is not good evidence to say MMR causes autism, it is a perfectly legitimate thing to publish.”

The almost unavoidable conclusion is that large sections of the British media have always known that the “Wakefield” prosecution was based on an imposture, and have been holding their silence in contempt of fair reporting and of the public at large, and that these people are much more concerned about their own backs than they are about our children.

John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.


Dr. Nancy Malik

Life is hard for medical doctors who expose conventional vaccines. Dr. Andrew Wakefield forced to move to USA. Earlier he sued British Medical Journal for claiming MMR study linking it with autism as fradulent. Now he along with @delbigtree has come up with VAXXED - a film on Vaccines & autism

John Stone

An interesting footnote is that Boseley received the BMJ communicator of the year award in 2010. Among her achievements was getting the CoE of GSK, Andrew Witty, to visit Uganda. You might ask, if the medical editor of the Guardian can influence the CoE of GSK, whether the CoE of GSK can influence medical editor of the Guardian?


Murchy Business


I believe Jenny attibuted something I wrote to you.


@ Jenny Allan,

You wrote "I'm sad you feel the Judge's comments implied, and were meant to imply, Dr Wakefield was not interested in the clinical welfare of the children"

Not in anything I wrote nor an implication of it. Mitting was playing politics. I would thank you not to put words in people's mouths which are not there.

Jenny Allan

Alessandro -"There is no challenge to the panel's finding that Dr. Wakefield's purpose was research: to investigate and, if possible, demonstrate the link between MMR vaccine, regressive autism and gastrointestinal disorders. The critical question in the case of Professor Walker-Smith was whether that was his primary purpose as well."

Of course!! Dr Wakefield was EMPLOYED by the Royal Free as a researcher and was precluded by contract from any child clinical contact. He was investigating vaccines, initially the single measles vaccine, in use for 20 years prior to the introduction in 1988 of the MMR vaccine. There was an upsurge of child Crohns Disease coinciding with single measles vaccination intro 1968. My daughters' generation got this and two of their pals got Crohns. Since the MMR intro both autism and bowel disease have rocketed. Parents were becoming concerned about MMR vaccine years before the Lancet Paper. This was an important topic for research. (It's now officially accepted there is an autism/ bowel disorder connection.

Yes, Dr Wakefield and the other Lancet authors needed biopsies and other samples from the children, but parents were invited to consent to two extra tiny tissue samples, for research purposes taken at the same time as diagnostic colonoscopies. Prof W-S already had ethical permissions for this.The parents were told refusing consent for extra biopsies would in no way delay or compromise their child's treatment, which would have proceeded as normal. in any case. My daughter consented to the extra biopsies and we still have a copy of the consent form. Deer also had copies from the Lancet children, but kept stum. Instead he concocted the fantasy of 172-96, an entirely different research project for which ethical permission had not been obtained, and was never actually carried out.

In the UK, alleged research misconduct is investigated by a different official watchdog. In order to 'get' Dr Wakefield it was necessary to drag in his clinician colleagues, alleging a conspiracy to subject children to unnecessary invasive procedures for purely research purposes. I am inclined to agree the 'establishment' ultimately regretted having to involve Professor Walker-Smith, an outstanding physician in his field. This frail elderly gentleman was subjected to three years of a Kafkaesque 'inquisition' with the guilty verdicts pre-ordained. This was a shameful episode in UK history.

I'm sad you feel the Judge's comments implied, and were meant to imply, Dr Wakefield was not interested in the clinical welfare of the children, but surely Dr Wakefield's subsequent campaigning on behalf of our own and everyone's children belies any such interpretation?

Murchy Business


For instance Mitting para. 42:-

"The evidence that child 2 was admitted in September 1996 for the purpose of undergoing a systematic set of gastrointestinal and neurological investigations is compelling and undisputed. There is no challenge to the panel's finding that Dr. Wakefield's purpose was research: to investigate and, if possible, demonstrate the link between MMR vaccine, regressive autism and gastrointestinal disorders. The critical question in the case of Professor Walker-Smith was whether that was his primary purpose as well. His evidence was that his purpose was to attempt to find out what was wrong with child 2 – something which no previous investigation had achieved. He thought that he had been over cautious in 1995 in not suggesting a colonoscopy. He accepted that the idea that there might have been a kind of bowel inflammation in a child who had had MMR vaccine and developed autism had come from Dr. Wakefield, but did not suggest colonoscopy to test whether or not Dr. Wakefield's idea was correct, but, in the child's interests to sort out what was wrong with him. He did so in circumstances in which child 2's mother had stated on a number of occasions, and to different people, that his bowel disorder and abdominal pain had in recent months deteriorated. "


The implication is that Wakefield is not interested in the clinical welfare of the children, he only wants to get his hands the research - of course, no one was more interested in the clinical welfare of the children but it wasn't his job to order biopsies. This is completely gratuitous (why mention Wakefield at all at this juncture?)


Well worth reading below about the transcripts not being available when the articles were written and were still not available when the fact checking was meant to be taking place.

This from the Dr Jane Smith deposition transcript pages 36-37 - "Q" or "PARRISH" is the Wakefield lawyer "A" is Dr Jane Smith the BMJ's witness and BLANKE is the BMJ lawyer:

MR PARRISH: Look at paragraph 13 of Dr Godlee's declaration. This says that Deer submitted the first drafts of his next three articles in June and July 2010. By next three I think you can see the context, she's talking about the three articles that ultimately became the Secret Series, correct?

A. Yes.

MR PARRISH: So he submitted those drafts in June and July 2010, correct?

A. Yes.

MR PARRISH: So he had already written the basic articles months before the GMC transcripts came out?

A. He had written something before we got hold of 9 the GMC transcripts. He had, of course, sat through the GMC hearings.

MR PARRISH: Objection, non-responsive. Did you understand my question?

A. Can you repeat it?

MR PARRISH: Yes. Mr Deer had written drafts of the three articles that became the Secret Series months before the GMC transcripts came out and were available?

MR BLANKE: Objection to form.

MR PARRISH: Correct? What is the objection?

MR BLANKE: Assumes a fact not in evidence that there is some general availability date for everybody to have access to these transcripts.

MR PARRISH: Well, you know the GMC transcripts weren't available in June and July 2010, weren't you?

MR BLANKE: The same issue. If you want me to receipt repeat the objection?

MR PARRISH: You can repeat the objection. It is your understanding that the GMC transcripts were not available in June and July 2010, correct?

A. We were not able to get hold of them until December.

MR PARRISH: And Mr Deer didn't have them available in June and July 2010, did he?

MR BLANKE: Objection to form.

A. I don't know.

MR PARRISH: You don't know?

A. I don't know.

Q. You didn't ask him if he had them available?

A. No.

Q. Did he offer to make them available to you in June and July 2010?

A. No.

Q. Do you have any real belief that he had them available in June and July 2010?

A. I actually don't know and I can't remember, but it didn't stop him from writing the articles.

Q. And, in fact, he told you and told Dr Godlee and others at the BMJ when he submitted the articles that the transcripts were not yet available and that they would need, the articles would need checking once the transcripts were available, isn't that right?

A. Yes.

Q. So you do know that he did not have them available when he wrote the drafts of the articles?

MR BLANKE: Objection to form. (Pause) There is a question pending.

A. Sorry, what was the question that I need to answer?

MR PARRISH: You do know that Mr Deer did not have the transcripts available at the time he submitted the drafts of the three articles to the BMJ?

A. I cannot recollect exactly what Mr Deer did and didn't have available to him in June and July. I do
know that we didn't get the transcripts until later.

Jenny Allan

Alessandro - It would have been impossible for Justice Mitting to have excluded Dr Wakefield from his analyses of the GMC evidence, since 75% of the GMC charges were common to all three doctors. I have examined the Court transcripts and can find nothing prejudicial to Dr Wakefield, where his involvement was commented on by Justice Mitting. The following are some examples:-

"As child JS’s mother’s letter to Dr. Wakefield dated 5th July 1997 made clear, although she felt that he had been damaged by MMR vaccine, her purpose in seeking Dr. Wakefield’s help was to “explore every possibility to help our son” who, otherwise, “has no future at all – other than being sedated and confined to an institution”. The panel sensibly resolved this contradiction by finding this aspect of the charge not proved.

Its finding that the colonoscopy was “for the purpose of yours and Dr. Wakefield’s research” is odd and the reasons given for it unsustainable. It is odd, because, as was common ground, no neurological investigations (MRI scan, EEG or lumbar puncture) had been carried out routinely since February 1997 and there is no evidence in the transcript of the medical notes which I have of laboratory analysis of biopsies for measles virus……If child JS had been admitted at the end of 1996, the references to the letters of 6th and 7th November 1996 might have been apposite; but he was not admitted until 12th November 1997. The reference to the “special investigations which Dr. Wakefield can offer” in Professor Walker-Smith’s letter to the Deputy Contracts Manager of 10th November 1997 is not borne out by the hospital records. This was a loose end which required to be tied down before a finding adverse to Professor Walker-Smith on this issue could reasonably be made.

When it formulated the charges against Professor Walker-Smith, the GMC did not know that permission had been granted to Dr. Wakefield for the use of Transfer Factor for child 10 on “a named patient basis”. Consequently, paragraph 27 of the charges accused Professor Walker-Smith of causing child 10 to be administered Transfer Factor for experimental reasons before obtaining information about its safety or ethical approval."

Judge Mitting enquired about the then 'mainstream' position on whether the MMR Vaccine caused autism, and was told the mainstream medical opinion denied any vaccine autism connection. This may have been seen by some as 'spurious' to the proceedings, but it was the position then as now. British Justice totally relies on the political impartiality of our judges. I have full confidence in Justice Mitting.


No @ Jenny Allan, there is politics afoot including in Mitting's judgement.

Mitting did seem to express opinions on matters beyond those in the case before him. Having panned the GMC Panel's abilities to decide anything more complex than which flavour of ice-cream to have for desert Mitting went on to express views about their decision on Wakefield when no one was there putting a case either way about that for Wakefield.

Mitting cannot have his cake and eat it. The Panel were incompetent morons was the ambit of his findings when letting off Walker-Smith so how could their deliberations in Wakefield or Murch's case be any better.

And Mitting knows it is not right to pass comments on issues he is not called upon to decide - he's a Judge who has been around the block more than a few times.

Jenny Allan

@ Murchy Business "He( Justice Mitting) then went on to consider whether Prof Walker-Smith might have exceeded his ethical brief in the routine clinical investigation of the children, falling over backwards as it were to try and rescue the GMC case. He also apparently went out of his way to smear Wakefield, suggesting that somehow he had different motives from Walker-Smith in reviewing this group of cases and publishing a report, while also making unnecessary pronouncements about MMR, and a mistaken pronouncement about ethical approval."

I don't agree with any of this. Anyone reading Judge Mitting's history could see he was no UK Government toady. The Judge would have grossly exceeded his remit by 'smearing Dr Wakefield, which would have of necessity involved High Court time examining separate issues from those of Professor Walker-Smith, whose insurer's were paying for the appeal. ( Approx 75% of the GMC charges involved Dr Wakefield, who was not funded for a separate appeal). I think you have been reading Brian Deer's analyses of the High Court appeal.

There was a concluding question from the Judge, about the 'mainstream' medical opinion about MMR vaccine causing autism. It was answered in the negative by Prof W-S's legal representatives.


It looks like the author of the BMJ's "Secrets Series" has put the final nail in their coffin. With the journal Nature having shown the histopathology was not evidence of fraud the author wrote this in a letter to Nature:

"Your report fails to identify where the BMJ's conclusions (that Wakefield's work was “an elaborate fraud” (F. Godlee et al. Br. Med. J. 342, c7452; 2011)) were reliant on bowel histopathology. I invoked patient selection, clinical histories and reporting with regard to autism."


Well that is a bit tough for the author. Judge Mitting in the English Court found as a fact when overturning the GMC's decision that there was no problem over patient selection. The children whose cases were reported in the Lancet paper were selected by being "consecutively referred" just as the Lancet paper says they were.

And the clinical histories and reporting with regard to autism were correctly reported, as shown by the GMC transcripts, which the author's Secrets Series of articles could not have been based on as the transcripts were not released when he wrote them.

So it is possible to form the view that the BMJ's entire fraud allegation debacle was a creation of the attention craving desires of a fevered dishonest buffoon who no one was hiring [and they still are not].

Murchy Business

In retrospect maybe only one and a half cheers for Judge Mitting having dismissed the central claim of the GMC panel that the Wakefield Lancet paper was based on the Legal Aid Board protocol, he then went on to consider whether Prof Walker-Smith might have exceeded his ethical brief in the routine clinical investigation of the children, falling over backwards as it were to try and rescue the GMC case. He also apparently went out of his way to smear Wakefield, suggesting that somehow he had different motives from Walker-Smith in reviewing this group of cases and publishing a report, while also making unnecessary pronouncements about MMR, and a mistaken pronouncement about ethical approval. As Boseley had hinted there was a political job to get Walker-Smith of the hook without rescuing Wakefield. Mitting in his judgment told the GMC that "nothing like this must ever happen again" but it did twice at least to Wakefield and Murch and nothing whatever was done about it. And, of course, the PTB had needed to get Walker-Smith and Murch into the frame in order to stitch up Wakefield in first place.


Oops. Obvious point not made. None of the BMJ's "Secrets Series" articles could have been based on the GMC transcripts as they had not been released when the articles were written and submitted to the BMJ.


Your bad Dr Godless.


@ John Stone

Thanks for the quote and link for the Nature news story.

What looks like another of Dr Fiona "Godless" Godlee's lies has turned up.

Whereever it first appeared, Godless' claim about the evidence of the fraud being in the GMC transcripts must have been also made in the Wakefield Texas libel litigation.

Note this from page 29 of the Dr Jane Smith deposition evidence transcript:

MR PARRISH: Miss Smith, you have in front of you there a copy of the declaration of Fiona Godlee and supported defendants Anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss, correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Look, if you would, please, Ma'am, at page 8, paragraph 22. In this paragraph Dr Godlee says: "I also assigned one of my deputy editors, Jane Smith, to do a fact check of the first three articles, specifically reviewing the GMC transcripts on which so much of the article's content was based."

The Godlee document referred to was made under oath in the Texas Court on pain of penalty for perjury.

Obviously, Godless could not have had the articles reviewed against the GMC transcripts because the transcripts had not been released by the GMC and so were not available at the time Godless claims they were used to reviewed the articles against the transcripts.

Clearly, not sure who is winning the war on truth: Godless or Saint Hillary Clinton. Both seem dedicated to wiping it out.

Jenny Allan

ChildHealthSafety has provided a full transcript of Professor Walker-Smith's UK High Court Appeal, upheld by Judge, Lord Justice Mitting.

Jenny Allan

It should be mentioned here Lord Justice Mitting was very thorough in analysing the evidence in relation to the Lancet childrens' clinical case histories, including both GP and Royal Free casenotes, and the conclusions made by the GMC, leading to the guilty verdicts on Professor Walker-Smith, Dr Andrew Wakefield and Professor Simon Murch.

From the High Court Judge's conclusions in the Appeal by Professor Walker-Smith:-
"If he (Professor Walker-Smith), believed he was undertaking research in the guise of clinical investigation and treatment, he deserved the finding that he had been guilty of serious professional misconduct and the sanction of erasure; if not, he did not, unless, perhaps, his actions fell outside the spectrum of that which would have been considered reasonable medical practice by an academic clinician. Its failure to address and decide that question is an error which goes to the root of its determination.

2. The panel’s determination cannot stand. I therefore quash it. Miss Glynn, on the basis of sensible instructions, does not invite me to remit it to a fresh Fitness to Practice panel for redetermination. The end result is that the finding of serious professional misconduct and the sanction of erasure are both quashed."

In other words, Professors Walker-Smith and Murch were simply performing their normal clinical duties, in diagnosing and treating the Lancet 12 children, all, bar the US child 11, properly referred by their GPs within the UK NHS system. My own grandson was one of apprx another 40 Royal Free referred children with the same syndrome. My family is very grateful for the care and treatment he received, from Profs Walker-Smith and Murch. Dr Wakefield was employed SOLELY as a research scientist, precluded from child clinical contact.

Following the Mitting verdict, Brian Deer attempted to 'spin' the damning criticism of the GMC witch trial, stating the GMC was not appealing the decision due to Professor Walker-Smith's age, although the fact this elderly distinguished physician had been retired for 7 years BEFORE being dragged into the dock of the 3 year GMC trial, had not bothered Deer's conscience before or since.

Deer also attempted to claim Judge Mitting was 'inexperienced' or only dealt with immigration cases, a big mistake on Deer's part. In the UK judges are inviolate.

John Stone


Godlee on the histopathology results, quote and link:

“Fiona Godlee, the editor of the BMJ, says that the journal's conclusion of fraud was not based on the pathology but on a number of discrepancies between the children's records and the claims in the Lancet paper…”



A question for Dr Godless about her lecture to the National Institutes of Health, Fogarty International Center, Tuesday, 6 September 2011. You can watch it here.

The lecture was supposed to be BMJ Editor Fiona Godlee presenting the details of what was believed by those listening to be "the painstaking measures the BMJ took to review and validate the articles" [the Secrets Series] claiming 'the "MMR scare" was based not on bad science but on deliberate fraud'.

What do you call it when a medical professional sells his or her name to a drug company to be put on a paper to be published in a peer reviewed journal when that professional did not write the paper or carry out the research? This is the practice of selling one's name to give credibility to a paper which is then used by a drug company to promote a drug - so to make money for the drug company.

And what is different about this.

An editor of a leading medical journal gives a lecture at the US National Institutes of Health as if she was an authority on the subject-matter but without disclosing the lecture was not hers - without disclosing she did not write it - that it was written for her - and without disclosing she did not have expertise in the underlying medical science.

To the few who might have understood, it seemed she did not understand the medical science she was lecturing about. But those who did not understand lapped it up.

But Godless did not write it. She just regurgitated text which the BMJ had paid the author of the original articles to write for her.

So not only was the "Secrets Series" not peer reviewed, even the Editor-In-Chief of the BMJ was presenting that author's work as if her own and of course without telling anyone - and none of it had been fact checked against the GMC transcripts Godless claimed were the ultimate source of truth.

The reality - the whole thing was a fabrication by the BMJ from beginning to end including Godless lecture to at the US National Institutes of Health.

And what does that tell you about the reliability of the NIH and what the NIH itself publishes?

All at the very least embarrassing - but at the worst ...............................


Moan and groan here. I have spent two hours this morning looking for a Del Bigtree's U tube, in which he tells Dr. Wakefield's study. Del was being interviewed by a local radio station -

He tells the story as only Del Bigtree can - I could not stop listening.

If anyone has an easier time than me - or more likely smarter at finding such past U tubes -- Please put it up for me - here?

I would love to see it again. And I think it's presents would be great here.

Thanks in advance.

Jenny Allan

Thanks for the link John -Fascinating stuff. The following is an exchange concerning the role of Harvey Markovitch in reviewing Deer's BMJ article "How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed", 6-01-11.
Note the following is STILL stated below the article:-
"Provenance and peer review: Commissioned; externally peer reviewed."

From the transcript of the Texas Court 'discovery' process:-
Q. A quick follow-up. You said Dr Markovich
normally spends two hours. What types of articles is he
normally spending about two hours on?

A. When he is asked for an ordinary review for a Journal.

Q. Are those medical journal articles or outside

3 A. They will be medical journal articles from us and from other journals.

5 Q. I think I must have misunderstood then what you said. He is an associate editor because he sometimes edits?

A.I beg your pardon, I'm sorry I misunderstood. The fact that he is an associate editor because he at the time read some of our fellow submissions is irrelevant to this. We were using him as a pediatrician reviewer. His association with the journal on the fillers is irrelevant. So he was referring to when he is asked to peer review articles for medical journals ours and others, he will normally spend about two hours on it.

Q. I see. But in this case in the two to three -- excuse me, three to four hours he spent he didn't
review the GMC transcripts or the childrens medical records?

A.Not to my knowledge.

Q. So he wasn't really looking to see whether the science in the Lancet article was correct, he was just looking to see whether it was plausible that what Mr Deer said in the BMJ article was correct?


@ John Stone

That is hilarious. You could not make it up.

Thanks for the link to BMJ Editor Jane Smith's deposition testimony on oath.

This seems to be the bottom line - and what looks to me in my opinion like another Godless lie too! [The count keeps going up].

After Dr David Lewis had challenged the BMJ about the Royal Free's histopathology not being even close to evidence of fraud, Godless claimed in the leading science journal Nature when challenged also by a Nature journalist that the histopathology was not important as the fraud evidence was in the GMC transcripts. [Sorry don't have the link but it should be online on Nature's website as it was a news article].

But Godless' colleague and BMJ Editor Dr Jane Smith confirmed the GMC transcripts were not available when she was meant to be fact checking the "Secrets Series" of three articles upon which Godless' seemingly totally false "fraud" allegation was based.

It looks like it is official on behalf of the BMJ [as Dr Jane Smith was authorised to give evidence on behalf of the BMJ in the depositions] that the Secrets Series were not fact checked and so could not have been peer reviewed. So in my opinion that looks very much like another confirmed lie by Godless.

Here is an example from pages 57-58 showing what looks in my opinion like confirmation the author's articles were and remain a pack of lies - "Q" is a question from Wakefield's lawyer and "A" is Dr Jane Smith's answer on oath:

Q. Look at what has been marked as Exhibit 44. I will represent to you that this is testimony from Day 7, 18 page 18 of the transcript relating to Child 12. (Exhibit 44 marked for identification)

A. Okay.

Q. Read to me beginning at the top of the page?

A. "Can I ask you to go to the clinical records and GP notes at page 11?"

Q. And you understand that GP notes refers to general practitioner notes?

A. I do, yes.

Q. Keep reading, please?

A. "There is a note at the top of the page 19th 4 July 1996, that note says: 'D for diagnosis. Autism. M,
5 for mother. Anxious Re MMR and autism and Crohns, but no blood PR, per rectum. Zero, no symptoms of obstruction'."

Q. That is quoting the general practitioner notes 8 for Child 12 saying there was a diagnosis autism, correct?

A. The GP note says diagnosis autism, correct.

Q. Yet you printed in the British Medical Journal that that child had no diagnosis of autism at all. Did you fact check whether or not there was a diagnosis of autism?

If a writer wants to make a living writing fiction the BMJ looks a good place to try as any. But then no one seems to hire the writer who wrote that junk to write anything. How odd [not].


@ Jenny Allan

Whilst you are correct that the BMJ did falsely claim their editorial was peer reviewed when it was not [a different lie by Godless], Godless separately claimed that the articles about the Lancet paper and Wakefield which the editorial commented on were peer reviewed when they were not.

That has never had any correction published by the BMJ so it remains a lie. The author concerned has never had a single peer reviewed article published.

It was admitted in depositions - which are on oath - that they did not check what the author wrote in those articles. They just accepted what it said. And none of them were peers in any sense - medical in relation to the content of the articles or in journalism.

So in all respects there was no peer review and there was no ordinary basic fact checking.

Godless and her crew writing the phrase in the BMJ "peer reviewed" is not the same as an article being peer reviewed. In fact, it is impossible tell if the BMJ has ever published anything which has in fact been "peer reviewed".

It looks like anyone can publish any false information in the BMJ, pass it off as medical, and the BMJ's "peer review" process will pass it - no questions asked it seems. That is the quality of content to be found in "leading" medical journals. But then the BMJ hires people like Godless so what can anyone expect?

John Stone

Alessandro here is a link to the Smith deposition:


John Stone


Not to forget that at the time Harvey Marcovitch was also chair of General Medical Council panels (to be clear the people who try the cases at the GMC).

Jenny Allan

Alessandro- Sorry I can't find the link to the depositions for the Texas Court, in the Wakefield v Deer and the BMJ litigation, but as I understand it, Godlee told the US Court the Deer BMJ article
"How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed", 6-01-11, was peer reviewed by Harvey Marcovitch, BMJ associate editor and co-author of Godlee's damning editorial, "Wakefield’s article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent", published on the same day and accusing Dr Wakefield of 'fraud' in the 1998 Wakefield et al Lancet Paper.

Below Deer'sBMJ Article "Provenance and peer review: Commissioned; externally peer reviewed."

John Stone


I think however it has been suggested with the Guardian (in folk memory the Grauniad) that while the typos got better the ethics became more obnoxious.

Jenny Allan

@ Allesandro "The only frauds were the BMJ claims to having peer-reviewed Deer's work when they did not fact check any of it - as admitted in depositions for the Texas Court."
No need to trawl through court transcripts to find Godlee's admission, her editorial accusing Dr Wakefield of fraud, was not 'peer reviewed' She was forced to publish a 'correction' in the BMJ.

Wakefield’s article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent
The BMJ should have declared competing interests in relation to this editorial by Fiona Godlee and colleagues (BMJ 2011;342:c7452, doi:10.1136/bmj.c7452). The BMJ Group receives advertising and sponsorship revenue from vaccine manufacturers, and specifically from Merck and GSK, which both manufacture MMR vaccines."


Boseley is not a journalist in my view. Pretty much all her reporting is slanted one way on health issues. A major source of advertising revenue for the perenially loss-making Guardian newspaper group is from the UK's public sector in job advertising and the like including for the UK's system of socialised medical care.

The Guardian is just a different kind of Times. It may not be run by Murdoch or part of that Empire but is it just another source of misinformation.

It supports left politics and is famous for its grammatical and typographical errors - often being itself called The Grauniad in tribute to the accuracy of the copy-editing.

At one time it was in bed with the British Medical Journal publishing in partnership. It is about as honest as the BMJ Editor Dr Fiona Godlee. If Godlee was running for the Presidency Hillary Clinton in my view would qualify for Sainthood.

Don't forget that Godless published an editorial claiming the Lancet paper and the rest was a fraud when the only frauds were the BMJ claims to having peer-reviewed Deer's work when they did not fact check any of it - as admitted in depositions for the Texas Court [which are online somewhere if some kind person can find me the link].

Dr. Stein wimps out

Dr. Stein just asked the magic question by a plant Pediatrician in town hall discussion. Stein's big move was to mention the thimerosal controversy. She even said this is no longer a concern any more. No mention of aluminum or live vaccines or overall burden of far too many on the system. She failed abysmally. The average citizen's concerns have got a lot more sophisticated than she realizes. The people are not STUPID.


completely off topic, but
Dr. Jill Stein is on a Green Party town hall on CNN live tonight, if anyone wants to discuss alternatives to trump or clinton.

Carolyn C Mcd

One of the frustrating issues with this is the fallacy that Dr Wakefield was the first to suggest that vaccines are unsafe for some children. Dr Bernard Rimland and others linked Vaccines and autism years earlier. And oh yeah all the parent eye witnesses.

John Stone


Good luck. I fear the BBC are beyond hope. Back in 2004 less than a month after the resignation of the chairman and Director General after the Hutton report they assisted in the Wakefield lynch party. I wrote this in 2011 over the Science Betrayed programme:


Also there was the appalling Jones report:




Superb John brilliant as always ,(I hope I`m not a sycophant)..I see with the VAXXED movie that the government's world wide have pressganged the press ,of course managed by Murdoch and a few others to re-ignite Deers whoppers (drum roll) Brian Deer and the crowd goes BOOO!! Yeh Brian is back to his spit worthy best, detesting all women and Andy ..well Deer hasn't written an article for years must be skint by now most people would have been if they aren't earning, who`s keeping you Brian?



John, The BBC are at it again. Today, on the Media Show (Radio 4) there was a discussion about how the media report various contentious issues. They talked a lot about Donald Trump and, toward the end of the piece there was a woman (didn't catch her name) who spoke about various issues that there is no need to discuss both sides as the 'science is settled' (or words to that effect). One of those subjects was vaccines. I shouldn't have been surprised, but I still can't believe that the BBC, who in many ways I am an admirer of, tout these lies.

This time I intend to fight back. I will write to the Director General tomorrow, I will email and have already tweeted. I know it won't make the slightest difference, but cannot sit back and do very little any more. I would be very grateful for any suggestions as to anything else I can do to convince the BBC that they are in danger of being on the wrong side of history again.

John Stone

Otto - not quite so. The "Wakefield paper" was published in 1998 in the Lancet, which is one of the two biggest British medical journals. What is true is that Wakefield was nowhere near so publicly prominent I believe in the US until the powers that be and the media went after him and used him as a scapegoat in 2010-11.

Otto Schnaut

Dear Mr. Stone- thank you for your usual high standard of relevant and objective reportage. I look forward to your articles with great interest.

When the media/pharma liars attempt to smear Dr. Wakefield as "the father of the anti vaccine movement"- which is a common and tired trope- the following data is useful and impossible to overcome in the world where the Earth is an oblate spheroid and concerned parents ignore celebrity advice on medical procedures. Anyone should feel free to cut and paste, and post as often as possible:

"Dr. Wakefield is described by your obviously uniformed journalist/medical professional/paid bloviator as the "father of the anti-vaccine movement. This is nonsense. Wakefield's retracted article in an obscure, low circulation medical journal was published more than 15 years ago. It was the 2008 and 2009 public comments by the late, former NIH director Dr. Bernadine Healy that engaged the public in the vaccine/autism issue.

Dr. Healy's CBS Evening News interview aired a full ten years after Wakefield's article. Reporter Sharyl Attkisson earned not only several Emmys, but the most prestigious award in investigative journalism- the Edward R. Murrow Award. Dr. Healy clearly stated, to 42.5 million views in the United States alone: "the Institute of Medicine is scared to study large groups of children with autism" because of where the science may lead; and: "a one size fits all vaccine schedule is medically indefensible."



That your editors and reporters continue to ignore Dr. Healy and deflect to Dr. Wakefield is causing grave harm to children all over the world. The conduct of the fourth estate with regards to this issue amounts to complicity in a deliberate cover up."

John Stone


Yes, a complete farce - I knew it would be removed if I challenged the lies head on. I was very late in posting but of course the pharma hacks were right on hand. It is fascinating that there were above 600 comments compared with just 17 for Boseley's article in 2009 but the general level was lamentable. Where does it all come from?


At least John's comments were posted. I responded multiple times on this article with "facts" that could be verified including the exoneration of the Wakefield Papers yet not one of those comments had been posted. In fact the first time I read through this article's comment board there were dozens of comments disputing effectively what had been written but those comments are also gone. Clearly an agenda is at hand here.

Jenny Allan

One of the most nauseating things I ever read, was Ben Goldacre's slimy sycophantic response to Brian Deer's criticism of him in Deer's Guardian Blog, following the UK press virtually ignoring Deer's January 2011 BMJ article. ( Goldacre's response can be found in the Guardian comment thread below the blog.) https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2011/jan/12/andrew-wakefield-fraud-mmr-autism

From DEER's blog:- "Over the past few years, many of the MMR vaccine's medical champions have queued up to take a pop at my investigation. They've never found any fault in its accuracy or originality. But it was as if they felt that somehow it wasn't right.
"Actually, I would like to speak in defence of Andrew Wakefield," said Guardian Bad Science columnist Dr Ben Goldacre in a BMJ video, long after I first skewered the man's research but before Wakefield was struck off by the GMC. "I'm not sure it was necessarily a bad piece of research."

GOLDACRE's response:- "“Now, my view has changed, in the light of Brian Deer’s excellent work: we now know that this was a flawed and misleading 12 subject case series report. So that’s two big problems with it triggering a gigantic and lengthy scare story: it was a weak form of evidence to start with, by design, but on top of that, it was itself dodgy………..I’ve been unswervingly supportive of Brian Deer’s work, linked to it, written about it, and promoted it at every opportunity, including now (there has been almost total media silence in the UK on his current revelations), and I’ll continue do so.”

The UK 'media silence' was allegedly caused by a Press Association warning Deer's BMJ articles were potentially slanderous. In the US, a now notorious CNN interview by Andersen Cooper accused Dr Wakefield of 'fraud' and killing children.


It must be really hard to be a news person rigt now. It takes almost some kind of genius to keep up with what issues that you don't cover, or write about - - or suppose to slant their story a certain way on certain issues. Yeah, -- It is takes a special kind of person to be a mainstream reporter now a days. Lots of Brian Deer types.

John Stone

It is interesting to revisit my comment on Sarah Boseley's report of the Brugha survey on the very day it was published. The only thing I got wrong was that I thought they could never get it published in peer review, but that was to under-estimate our Humpty-Dumpty bureacracy. Anything is true if they say it is, but any journalist with their head screwed on, and of integrity, ought to have smelt a rat.


22 Sep 2009 21:22
0 1

This is incredible. I have only been looking at it for a few minutes, but it looks like this is a projection which has been made on the back of 19 identified cases who have not been formally screened for autism.


No conclusions are drawn about the MMR or anything else. It has not been published as peer review study, and given such whimsical methodology it certainly couldn't have been.

The poor quality of the work and the spin show just how desperate the Department of Health are.

Bob Moffit

"The almost unavoidable conclusion is that large sections of the British media have always known that the “Wakefield” prosecution was based on an imposture, and have been holding their silence in contempt of fair reporting and of the public at large, and that these people are much more concerned about their own backs than they are about our children."

For "large sections of the British media" .. members of what once was considered an honorable profession .. journalism .. to "hold their silence" when they know of the injustice of the U.K's "prosecution of Dr. Wakefield" .. out of "concern about their own backs" .. rather than "concern about our children"


Unfortunately ... large sections of the US media are just as morally and ethically bankrupt as are their "journalistic cousins" in the UK.

Of what use is a "free press" .. when "large sections" of that "free press" voluntarily surrender their freedom to publish the TRUTH ... as they KNOW THAT TRUTH TO BE?

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