Memorial Day USA 2023

Sharyl Attkisson, Friend of Ours

Sharyl Attkisson 2By Anne Dachel

In my book, The Big Autism Cover-Up , I devoted a whole chapter to journalist Sharyl Attkisson.

In the early 2000s Sharyl did groundbreaking stories on the rise of autism and the link to vaccines. These were on CBS, back when CBS was a legitimate news outlet. She reported on thimerosal use in vaccines, the MMR vaccine, the conflicts of interest of health officials, Brian Hooker’s revelations about a CDC whistleblower and the Hannah Poling decision, where the U.S. government conceded a case involving vaccines and the development of autism.

(See coverage links at the bottom.)

On May 28, 2023, Sharyl published a new piece entitled Prevalence of autism: 1 in 35 eight-year-olds

Here Sharyl is focused on the latest jaw-dropping numbers, something NO ONE in our public health agencies ever is.

According to CDC, one in 35 eight-year-olds in the US had an autism-related brain disorder in 2020...and the true number is even worse today, three years after the data that was analyzed. Even more concerning, the numbers are higher among children under age eight. And autism occurs at a significantly higher rate in American boys than in girls.

In 2000, many experts declared an emergency when the rate had suddenly spiked to one in 150 children.  …

The new rate was dismissed once again by health experts as merely being better recognize of a condition that’s always been around. It got almost no coverage in the mainstream press, and no one was publicly talking about why the rate never stops increasing.

Sharyl continued:

CDC concludes the shocking prevalence shows the need to spend more resources identifying and treating autism. Oddly, nothing is said about the need to identify what's causing the epidemic so it can be prevented in the first place.

She went right to the issue officials never stop denying:

Countless studies, government court documents, and medical experts have linked vaccines to autism in children with biologic or genetic susceptibilities. The autism epidemic coincides with the time that the government tripled the childhood vaccine schedule in the 90s. Additionally, during the same time period, other immune-related disorders have also spiked in children. That includes Crohn's disease, POTS, allergies and asthma, skin allergies and rashes, juvenile diabetes, celiac and more.

She made the stunning claim that YES, vaccines do cause autism AND YES, the government knows there is link and has covered it up for decades.

Some government officials have repeatedly stated there is no evidence of a link between vaccines and autism, or that the theory has been "debunked." However, court documents show the government secretly acknowledged such injuries two decades ago, and the government's own top medical expert eventually said he had been wrong and that vaccines do "rarely" cause autism, after all. He signed an affidavit saying the Dept. of Justice fired him as an expert witness when he told them vaccines can cause autism, and covered up his opinion.

WHO was this expert government witness who has been silenced?

Sharyl reported on him FOUR YEARS AGO. This Full Measure coverage featured Robert Kennedy, Jr. among other prominent people in the vaccine-autism debate.

FULL MEASURE: January 6, 2019 - The Vaccination Debate

Dr. Andrew Zimmerman is a world renowned pediatric neurologist. Dr. Zimmerman was the government’s top expert witness and had testified that vaccines didn’t cause autism. The debate was declared over.

But now Dr.Zimmerman has provided remarkable new information.

He claims that during the Vaccine Court hearings, all those years ago, he privately told government lawyers can and did cause autism in some children.

That turnabout from the government’s own chief medical expert stood to change everything about the vaccine autism debate if the public were to find out.

Rolf Hazlehurst, father of a vaccine injured child whose case lost in Vaccine Court:

 He has come forward and explained how he told the United States government the vaccines can cause autism in a certain subset of children.

The United States government, the Department of Justice suppressed his true opinions

Sharyl: Hazlehurst discovered that later when Dr. Zimmerman evaluated Yates as a teenager.

That’s when he partnered with vaccine safety advocate, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who has a voce condition.

Kennedy: This is one of the most consequential frauds, arguably, in human history.

Sharyl: Kennedy was instrumental in convincing Dr. Zimmerman to document his remarkable claim of the government covering up his true expert opinion on vaccines and autism. …

…His sworn affidavit. It says on June 15, 2007, he took aside the Department of Justice or DOJ lawyers he worked for defending vaccines in Vaccine Court.

He told them he discovered exceptions in which vaccines could cause autism.

“I explained that in a subset of children, vaccine induced fever and immune stimulation did cause progressive brain disease with features of autism spectrum disorder.”

Kennedy: This panicked DOJ attorneys, and they immediately fired Zimmerman…. They wanted to silence him.

Sharyl: Days after Department of Justice lawyers fired Dr. Zimmerman as their expert witness, he alleges they went on to misrepresent his opinion to continue to debunk autism claims.

Records show that on June 18, 2007, a DOJ attorney Dr. Zimmerman spoke to told Vaccine Court, “We know Dr. Zimmerman’s views on the issue. There is no scientific basis for a connection between vaccines and autism.”

Dr. Zimmerman now calls that highly misleading.

The former DOJ lawyer didn’t return our calls and emails.

Kennedy has filed a fraud complaint with the Justice Department Inspector General…

Meantime, the CDC which promotes vaccines and monitors vaccine safety, never disclosed that the government’s own one-time medical expert concluded, vaccines can cause autism, and to this day, public health officials deny that’s the case. …

(Dr. Anne Schuchat from the CDC is shown denying any link.)

In addition to filing a fraud complaint, Kennedy has delivered Dr. Zimmerman’s affidavit to leaders on Capitol Hill, but there he claims is another key part of this story: roadblocks set up by the pharmaceutical industry or Pharma.

Kennedy: Everybody takes money from Pharma, so they’ve all been corrupted. It’s almost impossible to get anything done on Capitol Hill.

Sharyl: Kennedy, a Democrat, isn’t the only one claiming vaccine industry money rules the day.

We spoke to 11 current and former members of Congress and staff who claimed they faced pressure, bullying or threats when they raised vaccine safety questions.

Several of them agreed to appear on camera.

Former House Oversight Committee Chairman, U.S. Rep. Dan Burton: There’s no question in my mind whatsoever that the pharmaceutical industry had a great influence with people over at the CDC and FDA. There’s no question in my mind.

Sharyl: [Burton] pursued vaccine investigations in the early 2000s. Beth Clay is one of his staffers.

Clay: There was a lot of pressure from people on the Hill. … Colleagues, they were pharmaceutical lobbyists.

The pharmaceutical lobbyists, they’re the same people that have been entrenched. They can walk into any office on Capitol Hill, and they’ll talk to staff, they’ll talk to members and they’ll encourage them to discourage our investigation.

Sharyl asked why they have so much access in Congress.

Clay: It’s money. If you look at the donations over the last 20 years, the pharmaceutical industry and Republican and Democrat—they’re nonpartisan. They put money everywhere.

Sharyl is shown interviewing former U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon, M.D.

Sharyl: If you would want to hold a hearing on an issue like vaccines and autism, your own leadership might fight you on that because of the financial influence—

Weldon: No, they wouldn’t fight you, they’d kill it. It’d be dead. They don’t even want to discuss it. It’s dead on arrival.

If you as an individual member want to take on the pharmaceutical industries, it’s, it’s, forget it. 

Sharyl asked him to describe how this influence works in Congress.

Weldon: It would typically be in a hallway or on the street. People would come up to you can say, you really need to back off on this. It could be bad for the community, bad for the country or bad for you. 

When asked about Dr. Zimmerman’s affidavit, Dr. Weldon said it was “consistent with my opinions. Some children can get an autism spectrum disorder from a vaccine.”

Next was a clip from U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, a Republican.

Posey: I don’t have to tell you that that industry is a very, very powerful industry. Matter of fact, I don’t know of anyone more powerful than that industry.

Sharyl: Posey says his own party leaders twice promised to hold hearings on the topic, only to scuttle them in the end.

Hazlehurst, who happens to be a criminal prosecutor, was scheduled to be a witness at one such congressional hearing. Two weeks before the hearing in 2013, he briefed congressional staff

Hazlehurst: I presented at that congressional briefing, and I explained in that briefing, if I did to a criminal in a court of law, what the United States Department of Justice did to vaccine injured children, I would be disbarred and I would be facing criminal charges.

I think that scared the hell out of them.

Sharyl: The hearing was abruptly cancelled. 

Meantime, Dr. Zimmerman, the one-time expert witness used to debunk vaccine-autism claims, now says several of his own patients got autism from vaccines.

They include Yates Hazlehurst.

A lobby group representing the pharmaceutical industry wouldn’t agree to an interview but told us they’re working with Congress and other stakeholders on the importance and safety of vaccines to support the health and safety of individuals and communities.

Watching and transcribing what Sharyl Attkisson revealed in 2019 shows the extent of the corruption, collusion and cover-up involving so many powerful people who should care about the welfare of children.

I remember my first trip to Washington in 2005. I went to every congressional office of members from my state of Wisconsin and talked about what autism was doing to children and the link to vaccines. (Back then the autism rate was officially one in 166 children.)

There was absolutely no interest. I do remember talking to U.S. Rep. Dan Burton who told me and others point blank to go back and continue to do what we were doing because “nothing will happen here,” meaning on Capitol Hill. 

It’s clear almost 20 years later no member of Congress has any interest in why autism is unstoppable. Their silence has been bought.

Kennedy’s words ring true: Everybody takes money from Pharma,


2007 CBS News: Eye To Eye: Autism

Here Sharyl interviewed Michael and Theresa Cedillo about their daughter’s vaccine injury case.

2008 CBS News: Follow the Money

Sharyl investigated the conflicts of interests involving top vaccine defenders.

Government officials and some scientists say there's no link between vaccines and autism -- and they're often backed by independent experts. But how "independent" are they? Sharyl Attkisson reports.

2008 CBS News Eye To Eye: Vaccines and Autism (Hannah Poling case)

U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon, M.D. was interviewed about the Hannah Poling case in this report. Here is what he said about liability.

I have a lot of concerns about that. Obviously the biggest one is just public health, the welfare of our children…

We had Secretary Leavett of HHS in front of the committee, and I said to him and the Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Obey there are some huge issues associated with this.

Obviously one of them is, we need to maintain public confidence in our vaccine program. These vaccines prevent very serious, devastating illness, and we’re not doing enough research.

If it is every shown scientifically that these kids were getting this terrible condition because of these shots, that the federal government would be liable in court to provide for the healthcare and in some cases if they’re really badly disabled, the support of these children for their lifetimes. This is a very huge issue, not just on a humanitarian level, but as well on a financial level.

Sharyl asked Dr. Weldon about the government’s continued denial of any link between vaccines and autism in light of the Hannah Poling decision.

Weldon: I wouldn’t recommend they say something like that in light of the Poling case and the admission and the admission on the part of the government.

What the federal government really needs to do is step up the level of effort and get answers to these questions. …

Weldon went on to call for more research into vaccine side effects.

2009 CBS News: Does HepB Vaccine Cause Defects?  Here Sharyl interviewed Dr. Andrew Wakefield.

In 2014  Sharyl was interviewed by Brian Stelter on CNN about why she left CBS. She was clear that it was the censorship that was being imposed on reporters by the producers. They were caving to the demands of corporate sponsors.

Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism.


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Thank you Anne for all you do. The world owes you and hope someday you collect. This comment from Weldon disgusted me. "Sharyl asked Dr. Weldon about the government’s continued denial of any link between vaccines and autism in light of the Hannah Poling decision.

Weldon: I wouldn’t recommend they say something like that in light of the Poling case and the admission on the part of the government.

We are in this mess because calling a spade a spade is a spade too far when it comes to the truth regarding vaccines. Its a racket and Weldon knows that.


The medical industry, for humans and animals, are in it for the money. They don’t make as much money on healthy people or healthy animals. Vaxxines fix that problem by harming people and animals and they become a steady stream of income or mor likely profit for those industries. And congress covered their tails by giving them immunity from the harm their products cause. The only way to fix this problems is for the vaxxine industry to completely be crushed by people not using their vaxxines for themselves or their animals. The government will not help here, neither will the courts. We are on our own and the only thing we have to fight with is our refusal to use their products. Take a look at bud lite as an example of our power of purchase.

Angus Files

I can remember watching Sharyl Atkinson and thinking why is she being allowed to report whilst others are not but I guess shes the brave one.

Thanks Anne thanks Sharyl

Pharma For Prison


Gerardo Martinez

Thank you AoA and Ms. Anne and Ms. Atikinson- real journalism. The tragedy is that it will only be published here and a few other truth seeking outlets. But we the parents know and vow to do our best so this is exposed and will not happen to anybody else's child.


Cannot wait for Mrs. Attkisson' publics expose about minority veterans and those people being denied disability and Veterans Administration benefits or if they are lucky given the bare minimum. This includes people with autism.


Excellent article, Anne. Sharyl is one of the very few who faithfully practiced the art of unbiased journalism and refused to compromise. The autism community have been blessed by both of you.

mauine Meleck

Terrific article. Thanks, Anne.


a captured congress. a suffering nation. amid a trampled truth.
thanks for a powerful compilation, Ms Dachel.

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