Jake Crosby

Watch David Gorski Squirm!

Old tv staticBy Jake Crosby


Just go to the 1:14:57 mark to watch David Gorski struggle to respond to a question I posed to him at a talk he gave at a “skeptics” event in March.

One Sunday in Virginia, I met the most prolific defamer the vaccine lobby has ever dumped on the blogosphere: David Gorski, MD, Ph.D., a.k.a. “Science”Blogs' “Orac.” For years, I had known Gorski through his inarticulate, verbose online rants hurling insults and innuendo at anyone who dared suggest any vaccines could cause a particular side-effect while dismissing such concerns out-of-hand, especially safety concerns about the mercury-based,  neurotoxic vaccine preservative thimerosal. In Chicago in 2010, he called me out by name and said I was a “young punk” for revealing his connections to Sanofi-Aventis through his university.  I certainly never met him before.

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Jake Crosby: "SafeMinds Ignores Major Allegations While Replying Dishonestly to Other Charges"


Editor's note: I declined to run Contributing Editor Jake Crosby's original article on this topic for reasons outlined here. Since then, it appeared elsewhere and generated a great deal of comment within our community (and without). We subsequently ran a statement from SafeMinds, the object of the original piece. Now Jake has asked us to run this follow-up. Given that the subject is on the table, and that this article would presumably appear elsewhere in any event, I decided to run it, unedited. -- Dan Olmsted.

(PS: After a thorough airing of views, the comment thread is now closed. Go in peace for all mankind.)

By Jake Crosby

On November 29th, SafeMinds hijacked the Dan Burton Congressional Hearing on autism and vaccines by pretending to represent autism parent and scientist Dr. Brian Hooker, and by changing the topic away from vaccines - thus opening the door to autism epidemic denialists among other vaccine program apologists. On its website and on Age of Autism, SafeMinds responded to my Bolen Report article “SafeMinds Steals The Show, Literally…” claiming that what I wrote about the organization were “false allegations.” However, they provided no proof that any of them were false, completely ignoring some of the more serious allegations.

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Best of AofA: Brian Deer's Second Award - As Meaningless As The First

Dumb deerAuthor's Note: This post originally ran in 2011, after the vaccine lobby's hired gun Brian Deer received his second "Press Award," to explain why his second such award is as meaningless as his first. Later that same year, Deer won another "award" from the UK pharma front group "HealthWatch." Then just a few days ago, another front group in the UK run by pharma-backed "science" writer Simon Singh gave Dr. Andrew Wakefield - whose Lancet paper was vindicted by colleague Prof. John Walker-Smith's successful appeal earlier this year - a mock award for "quackery." In response, we are re-running this piece to remind readers that Brian Deer's "awards" are just as farcical. 

By Jake Crosby

The UK’s “Press Awards” are not nicknamed the “Hackademy Awards” for nothing, especially in the case of Brian Deer. He has been given not one, but two such awards. The claim, made by Brian Deer, that the UK Press Awards are like the Pulitzer Prize is laughable and absurd.

The UK’s Society of Editors runs the Press Awards. Sitting on the Editors’ advisory council is Les Hinton, who recently resigned as CEO of Dow Jones in the wake of the Murdoch phone hacking scandal. Also on that committee is Rebekah Brooks, who resigned as senior executive of News International - which publishes The Sunday Times - and was then arrested.

For over a decade,  Brian Deer's only award was based on a faulty premise. It was called “Specialist Reporter of the year.” The judges said Deer was “the only journalist in Britain that polices the drug companies.” However, during the year for which he won his award, 1998, Brian Deer wrote an article alleging that patients who suffered neurological injury from the DTP vaccine were not really injured and should therefore not have received legal compensation for their injuries. That is the exact opposite of “policing” the drug companies, but is instead harrassing the victims of defective drug company products. In 2004, Glenn Frankel reported in the Washington Post that one of Brian Deer’s specialties “was tracking down false claims of damage from vaccines.

Weeks after the bogus premise behind his first award was reported on Age of Autism, Brian Deer was nominated for “News Reporter of the Year” and also for “Specialist Reporter of the year,” the latter of which he won at the ceremony in London’s Savoy Hotel on April 5th, 2011. That award was given to Deer for his smear campaign against Dr. Andrew Wakefield.

The measure of any great or even good journalist must be his independence. Journalism awards are supposed to be based on independent assessments of reporters’ work, otherwise they are meaningless. Furthermore, it seems too perfect that Brian Deer was nominated for a Press Award (that he would later win) mere weeks after Age of Autism revealed he had only won one award.

How surprising can this really be given that the Academy of Judges for this year’s awards ceremony included Richard Caseby, managing editor of The Sunday Times? Caseby became notorious for his exchange with Rosemary Kessick – one of the few parents of the Lancet 12 children that Brian Deer actually interviewed.

Following a 6-hour interrogation of Kessick by Deer in 2003, during which he falsely gave his name as “Brian Lawrence,” she complained to The Sunday Times executive editor John Witherow. The exchange is detailed by Dan Olmsted in his article,  An Elaborate Fraud, Part 2: In Which a Murdoch Newspaper’s Deceptive Tactics Infect the British Medical Journal.

Unfortunately, Kessick might as well have been complaining to GlaxoSmithKline, the board of which has retained News International boss, James Murdoch, since 2009. John Witherow recently wrote in a self-congratulatory piece about The Sunday Times’ investigative journalism on July 17th:

There have, of course, been many other investigations, including Brian Deer's outstanding work on exposing the doctor behind the false MMR scare.

This sentence exposes a clear desire to try and shift the arguments off the ground of the Sunday Times and GSK and into a more general arena so showing that what happened to Wakefield was a result of universal investigating and popular will. In fact one of the most staggering things about the Wakefield case was that Deer carried sole responsibility for it prior to lodging it with the GMC; no other investigative journalist in the world uncovered or wrote anything original critical of Wakefield besides Deer. 

Instead of Witherow responding to Kessick’s complaint, Richard Caseby wrote back:

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Best of Age of Autism: Jake Crosby Booted from Seth Mnookin Book Event

Given-the-bootManaging Editor's Note: Today is the one year anniversary of this event - and Jake Crosby's 24th birthday.  

By Jake Crosby

Seth Mnookin blatantly lied about me again, this time at a public conference run by an organization that is chaired by a Merck vaccines executive. In short, I asked Mnookin a question during the Q/A period; he stopped me, accused me of disrupting the event, and falsely stated I had disrupted past events of his, whereupon security escorted me out.

It all happened on December 2, 2011 – my 23rd birthday – when I attended the “Research Ethics Book Group Lunch and Book Signing,” at the annual “Advancing Ethical Research Conference,” held by “Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research” (PRIMR). 

The book being discussed was “Panic Virus,” by Seth Mnookin, who fielded questions from the audience. He was originally scheduled to be physically present, but his daughter was born three weeks early the day before, so he held the discussion via Skype. The conference was listed under the “current speaking schedule” on his personal website.

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Dr. David Gorski Admits Thimerosal Might Cause Autism

GorskiBy Jake Crosby

The blogosphere’s vaccine industry front man Dr. David Gorski once said that if autism prevalence falls by 2015, he will concede that it would be “pretty good” epidemiological evidence of a possible connection between autism and the neurotoxic mercury-based vaccine preservative thimerosal, if not outright proof. Since he said this, autism prevalence in one U.S. state, Alabama, has gone down, and Dr. Gorski has not followed through on his promise.

Seven years ago, while blogging under the pseudonym “Orac,” Dr. Gorski said:

“I propose as quite a reasonable measure that, if autism rates fall by 50% or more in 2010 or even 2015, I will happily admit that I was incorrect in my assessment and rejoice that such a blow has been struck against this condition. If rates fall by less than 50% but still inarguably statistically significant, I will concede that this would be pretty good epidemiological evidence that there might be a connection, although in that case the connection would clearly not be nearly as strong as the link claimed by some activists, like J.B. Handley, founder of Generation Rescue, whose website states quite bluntly that 'childhood neurological disorders such as autism, Asperger’s, ADHD/ADD, speech delay, sensory integration disorder, and many other developmental delays are all misdiagnoses for mercury poisoning.'”

On January 7th, 2008, he broke his own promise to wait until 2015 to draw any hard and fast conclusions about thimerosal’s role in causing autism when he wrote a blog post on “Science”-Based Medicine titled:

“Mercury in vaccines as a cause of autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs): A failed hypothesis”

What was his basis for jumping to this conclusion? A study purporting to show an increase in autism prevalence after thimerosal was removed from vaccinations in California (one state, just as Alabama is just one state):

“The scientific data, taken in totality, do not support a link between mercury in vaccines and autism. Today yet another important study by Robert Schechter and Judith Grether was released published in the Archives of General Psychiatry entitled Continuing Increases in Autism Reported to California’s Developmental Services System: Mercury in Retrograde1, that utterly failed to support the hypothesis that mercury in vaccines is an etiological factor in autism. It is yet another nail in the coffin of the medical myth that mercury in vaccines causes autism.”

Aside from the problems with the Schechter and Grether study that the authors fail to even acknowledge, they do admit:

“Continuing evaluation of the trends in the prevalence of autism for children born in recent years is warranted to confirm our findings.”

So, even these authors admit the findings are premature and are yet to be confirmed. So much for Dr. Gorski's claim that it is “another nail in the coffin of the medical myth that mercury in vaccines causes autism.” Even worse, Dr. Gorski had all but neglected the deal he made with the so-called mercury militia in 2005, when he stated that even if autism rates decreased in the US by less than 50% as late as 2015, he would admit that it “would be pretty good epidemiological evidence that there might be a connection” to thimerosal.

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Trine Tsouderos Becomes Pharma PR Agent After Chicago Tribune Editor Lectures to PR Firms on “Strengthening Relationships with the Media"

TrinetsouderosBy Jake Crosby

I’m not just calling Trine Tsouderos a pharma PR agent because of her series of articles filled with pharmaceutical industry talking points. The former cupcake correspondent is now the healthcare media director at the PR firm GolinHarris, whose healthcare clients include Merck’s HPV vaccine as well as GlaxoSmithKline. In principle, she may be changing careers, but in practice she’s doing what she has done for more than three years – pandering to the pharmaceutical industry. She’s just gone from a de facto PR agent for pharma to a de jure PR agent for pharma. Not surprisingly, GolinHarris milked her joining the agency – mentioning the award Chicago Tribune bought with CDC’s help back in 2010.

According to her new boss:

“Trine’s experience as a journalist will immediately benefit our clients and our teams,”

The hiring of Tsouderos comes one year after Michael Lev, Associate Managing Editor for Business at the Chicago Tribune, gave a panel discussion for the Public Relations Society of America. The title of the event was “Strengthening Relationships with the Media.” The panel discussion took place at the offices of GolinHarris, Tsouderos’ new employer, where Michael Lev was helping blur the lines between journalism and public relations.

A journalist teaching PR firms how to strengthen their relations with media is a journalist who has completely sold out his profession. That is exactly what Michael Lev has done and what Trine Tsouderos is now doing. Ironically, Tsouderos’ husband Jon Yates remains employed by the Chicago Tribune as the newspaper’s self-help guru, authoring his widely read “What’s your problem?” column for the newspaper’s business section, edited by none other than Michael Lev.

Lev’s effusive praise of Tsouderos’ husband included calling him a “‘Man of Steel’ when it comes to tracking down people who have wronged one of his readers.”

In 2008, the year before Trine Tsouderos began attacking doctors who practice alternative treatments for autism, exploiting a divorce between autism parents and portraying Age of Autism editors Kim Stagliano and Kent Heckenlively as reckless parents for helping their children, Michael Lev was on a six-member panel judging for the Gerald Loeb Awards – a prestigious contest run by UCLA’s Anderson School of Business to honor the best in finance and business journalism. Sitting with Lev on the panel was Amy Wallace, who wrote a cover story for Wired Magazine the following year praising millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul Offit. A finalist in the contest was the Chicago Tribune's very own Patricia Callahan, who would later be Tsouderos' partner in their hit-piece journalism. All three of the reporters Tsouderos collaborated with to do her smearing – Timothy Jones, Steve Mills and Patricia Callahan – have worked with Michael Lev on previous stories.

Even worse, Trine Tsouderos is now employed at GolinHarris, the very PR firm where Michael Lev lectured one year prior on how PR firms can strengthen media relations. I guess that’s the second career Trine Tsouderos can thank Lev for.

Not everyone was pleased with Tsouderos’ departure, however, especially the vaccine industry’s media marionette Seth Mnookin, who lamented on Twitter:

@ChicagoScience [Trine Tsouderos] leaving Trib for PR. truly one of the most fearless reporters I've met. Horrible loss.

She is fearless all right - fearless about selling her journalistic integrity for a lucrative career as a Amy_Wallace_+_Michael_LevPR agent for pharma. Then again, that’s what she’s been for more than three years. Only now Tsouderos has the potential to strengthen pharma’s PR relationships with all media, not just the Trib. I’m surprised Seth Mnookin is not celebrating. It seems only yesterday Trine Tsouderos, Amy Wallace and Seth Mnookin were all at AutismOne 2009 plotting their respective attacks. Are Seth Mnookin or Amy Wallace next on the PR hiring list?

Jake Crosby has Asperger Syndrome and is a contributing editor to Age of Autism. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a BA in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy. He currently attends The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services where he is studying for an MPH in epidemiology.

Amy Wallace and Thomas Goetz: Wired to Pharma

Money trail

 By Jake Crosby

Considering the abuse I sustained from millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul Offit last spring, I am continually amazed at the contrast between who he really is and the fairy tale humanitarian our pharma-controlled media make him out to be. But in 2009, Wired Magazine ran a piece that promoted him more than any other article that has ever been published by the popular press.

The article was written by freelance entertainment business reporter Amy Wallace. Remember Amy Wallace? I still wish I didn't. To those lucky enough not to, I apologize for ruining your day.

Wallace was hired by Wired Magazine to write a cover story that ran in October of that year: “An Epidemic of Fear: How Panicked Parents Skipping Shots Endangers Us All.” It was nothing more than a puff piece of Paul Offit, entirely composed of his talking points. Wallace essentially supplied the byline. In the article that led to a lawsuit against him, Offit accused the National Vaccine Information Center's Barbara Loe Fisher of lying.

Responding to a barrage of angry letters, Wired Magazine posted a taunting blog mocking readers' accusations that Wallace is a “pharma lobbyist,” and lying that she is not. In an interview with Wired Magazine about how the story was conceived, Wallace credited a now-laid off editor named Mark Horowitz for giving her the idea, but that idea was likely not conceived by Horowitz.

After the article ran, Wired also posted a podcast discussion between senior editor Nancy Miller and executive editor Thomas Goetz, who lauded Wallace's shill story. What Goetz concealed was that he was writing a book and a blog with a Senior Research Associate of a vaccine developer and major pharmaceutical subsidiary.

When this story ran, Wired's executive editor Thomas Goetz did not disclose that he was writing a book called The Decision Tree and a blog of the same name with the assistance of Brian Mossop, an employee of Genentech – a biotechnology firm wholly owned by the Swiss pharmaceutical giant, Roche. Genentech also developed the Hepatitis B vaccine manufactured by SmithKline Beecham (now GlaxoSmithKline). The licensing of that vaccine for routine infant immunization is proudly mentioned in the corporate chronology on Genentech's website. That vaccine was preserved with the mercury-based neurotoxic preservative thimerosal until roughly the early 2000s, but continues to be recommended for all newborns on day of birth.

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The Immunization Partnership Applauds Meachum's Ruling, Exposing Her Conflict of Interest

Scales injusticeBy Jake Crosby

Confirming her conflict of interest, Judge Amy Clark Meachum's decision to throw Dr. Andrew Wakefield's defamation case out of district court was publicly applauded by the President/CEO of The Immunization Partnership who promised to continue working with the Texas Academy of Family Physicians (TAFP), for which Judge Meachum's husband lobbies.

On August 9th in the comments section of “Science”Blogs, The Immunization Partnership President/CEO Anna C Dragsbaek wrote:

Thanks for your very humorous blog. I am the President and CEO of The Immunization Partnership, the organization that hosts The Texas Immunization Summit every two years. We applaud the judge’s decision in this case and continue to work with TAFP, and countless other organization around the state to ensure that Texas is protected against vaccine preventable diseases. As you might imagine, we are at ‘ground zero’ in the anti-vaccine debate. We fight everyday to counteract the egregious flow of misinformation and erroneous assertions that are propagated by Andrew Wakefield and his colleagues. As for the conspiracy theory, if working in collaboration with all of the stakeholders locally and nationally to ensure that families do not suffer the consequences of vaccine-preventable diseases is conspiracy, then color us guilty. In the meantime, we will continue to advocate for evidence-based immunization laws and policies, educate the public and support immunization best practices. We welcome your participation in our upcoming Texas Immunization Summit, September 27th and 28th. Come see how Texans are stepping up to the plate on this critical issue.

However, the keynote address at this upcoming TAFP-sponsored summit will not be given by a Texan, but by the vaccine industry's media go-to guy Seth Mnookin, who has made libeling Dr. Wakefield a considerable part of his career. At the 2011 World Science Festival in New York City, I was standing right next to Mnookin when I heard him tell another attendee that Dr. Wakefield “faked his data.” At a conference put on by a Merck-chaired organization, Seth Mnookin booted me out when I defended Dr. Wakefield in Q and A. Similarly, when the judge's decision was announced, Mnookin tweeted:

Wakefield harassment suit against BMJ & journalist thrown out of court. http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2012/08/03/wakefield-vs-bmj-lawsuit-dismissed-on-jurisdiction-grounds/ … h/t @ejwillingham

In 2008, the Texas Immunization Summit hosted a keynote speech by millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul Offit and in 2010, hosted a talk – sponsored by TAFP – given by anti-vaccine-autism research group Autism Science Foundation's president/founder Alison Singer. She tells parents to vaccinate recklessly even though she split the MMR vaccine into three separate shots for her neurotypical second daughter.

Continue reading "The Immunization Partnership Applauds Meachum's Ruling, Exposing Her Conflict of Interest" »

Seth Mnookin Censors CDC, Tries Schmoozing Rob Schneider

Twitter blockBy Jake Crosby

Believe it or not, vaccine industry spokesman Seth Mnookin blocked me on Twitter from responding to his tweets, not for citing anything from Age of Autism, but for citing – of all sources – the CDC. Linking to a recent CDC media release, Seth Mnookin decided to take advantage of the ongoing pertussis epidemic in Washington State to advance his own agenda, by tweeting:

9 deaths so far in largest pertussis outbreak in 50 yrs; unvac'd kids 8x higher risk for infection, says CDC. http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2012/t0719_pertussis_epidemic.html

Mnookin was apparently paraphrasing the CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the agency's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, who cited the elevated risk, but in that same quote, exonerated people who weren’t vaccinated:

"However, we don't think those exemptors are driving this current wave."

When I responded to Seth Mnookin's tweet with the exact, above quote by Dr. Schuchat, he blocked me from being able to respond to any more of his tweets. In effect, he censored the information that would not serve his agenda, even though it came from the CDC, not from any of his designated “anti-vaccine activists.”

It all started when I opened my new Twitter account; I had stepped into a heated battle between Rob Schneider and Seth Mnookin. This exchange started with a blog post written by Seth Mnookin responding to a comment Schneider left underneath an article Mnookin wrote for a GE-owned site called “Txchnologist.” On that site, Mnookin lambasted HuffPo for re-posting a news segment of Schneider speaking out against a state law in California aimed at requiring doctor's consent for children to forgo a vaccination.

Mnookin's blog post urged Schneider to read books by millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul Offit, linking to a page on Offit's vaccine indoctrination center saying an infant can receive as many as 10,000 vaccines at one time. Mnookin also cited the IOM's latest report attempting to white-wash the vaccine-autism link and asked Schneider if he would like to speak to families of children who died of whooping cough, even though the current outbreak is not driven by vaccine exemptors as even the CDC admits. Seth Mnookin then tweeted the blog post to Rob Schneider on Twitter, provocatively boasting:

A pt-by-pt rebuttal to @robschneider 's comments on my @txchnologist piece about his anti-science lunacy http://ht.ly/ckqPp

Then Rob Schneider called Mnookin out:

@sethmnookin You have to attack and call names. Yet you won't admit that Children get irreparable harm from vaccines.

Mnookin then tried to schmooze Schneider by offering him a free copy of his book “Panic Virus.”

@robschneider I'd love to send you a copy of my book - this is a totally heartfelt offer. you can DM me if you'd like one.

So I decided to leave some tweets of my own to Schneider, which among other things, told him of Seth Mnookin's forced removal of me from his lecture last December when I tried asking him a question, and also described his friend Paul Offit telling me to “Get the fuck out of here! Piece of shit!”

Rob Schneider re-tweeted both of those tweets to his 80,000+ followers, who now know what Paul Offit said to me last April and that Seth Mnookin threw me out of his speaking engagement. Despite later claiming he played no role in my ejection and that he probably would have preferred that I'd stayed, Seth Mnookin blocked me from responding to him on Twitter after I reminded him of CDC's admission that vaccine exemptions were not behind the whooping cough outbreak in Washington State. This fact would not serve the special interests of vaccine manufacturers well, or those of Seth Mnookin either, apparently.

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Judge in Wakefield Case Amy Clark Meachum's Husband Lobbies for Sponsor of Alison Singer

Justice not blindBy Jake Crosby Meacham

Amy Clark Meachum, the judge who threw Dr. Andrew Wakefield's case out of district court by essentially saying that BMJ, Fiona Godlee and Brian Deer can libel him all they want since they are from the UK, is married to a lobbyist named Kurt Meachum of Philips & Meachum Public Affairs.

According to Texas Tribune Lobbyist's directory, Kurt Meachum's client, the Texas Academy of Family Physicians, earned him $10,000-$25,000 in 2011 alone. What is the significance of this? Family physicians give many vaccinations as a considerable part of their practice. But that's hardly the beginning of the story.

In 2010, the Texas Academy of Physicians sponsored a talk given by none other than Pharma Front Group President and Founder Alison Singer at a vaccine industry conference no less. Her group, “Autism Science Foundation,” was founded for the expressed purpose of discouraging vaccine-autism research. Despite telling parents to vaccinate recklessly at the 2010 Texas Immunization Summit, Singer split the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine in three separate shots for her second daughter, who does not have autism, unlike her first who received the combined shot.

Meanwhile, Dr. Andrew Wakefield's lawsuit is not over; he is appealing. A successful appeal by Professor John Walker-Smith already discredited all the charges of serious professional misconduct against Dr. Wakefield concerning the Lancet paper he coauthored. Brian Deer, Fiona Godlee and the BMJ had better hope the influence of the vaccine industry is strong enough to ensure Dr. Wakefield's case never makes its way to an unbiased judge. Otherwise, they will be back in court before they know it.

Jake Crosby has Asperger Syndrome and is a contributing editor to Age of Autism. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a BA in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy. He currently attends The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services where he is studying for an MPH in epidemiology.


My Conversation with IACC Chair Dr. Tom Insel

Thomas inselBy Jake Crosby

The following is my videotaped public comment in front of Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), drastically cut down due to a time limit given to me the day before the meeting. Shortly before I testified, IACC Chair Tom Insel asked me to be “respectful” of committee members, saying he read my original submission. “I know you don’t like some of the committee members,” he told me. I asked him multiple times to clarify.  He just kept repeating to me to be respectful until he finally replied, “I don’t think I am getting through, here.” So I asked for some examples of disrespectful comments, and he responded, “physical threats.” I was completely floored by his example. I replied that my written testimony did not contain any physical threats and that the final version in my pocket is just scaled down. When I asked him for some examples of disrespectful comments in what I had written, he dodged with, “I don’t know, because I’ve only read your comments submitted to the committee, not the comments in your pocket.” I could tell he was not looking forward to what I had to say.


When the meeting ended, no public comments had been discussed even though a half hour had been set-aside for committee members to respond. Many of us sat there all day, hoping the comments would be discussed, but they weren’t. I was, however, curious what Dr. Insel thought of them.

When I asked Dr. Insel if my commentary was respectful enough, he replied, “I wouldn’t lose sleep over it.” I found it interesting that he was asking me to be respectful given his poor track record of respect for the autism community. So I brought up the story of him getting on an elevator with a woman and her son with autism. I relayed to him that when her son started to stim, Dr. Insel hit the “open door” button and stepped off, saying, “ I'm not riding up with them.

When he heard this, Dr. Insel made an exaggerated goofy face and claimed he could not remember. “I’ve gotten on a lot of elevators with people,” he told me. I said, “It was a story that ran on Age of Autism.” He replied, “There are a lot of stories going around.”

“Well, I just wanted to get your side of the story. You don’t strike me as someone who reads blogs,” I responded.

“I don’t,” he replied, “but I think you need to work on getting your facts right; I remember this one article by Dan and Mark on Age of Autism titled ‘When Vaccine Development Is Family Business: Tom Insel’s Conflicted Role on Vaccines and Autism,’ talking about my brother’s role in developing a vaccine. That was all the way back in 1978. How is that a conflict?”

I replied that vaccines, particularly thimerosal, are suspected of causing autism and that the vaccine his brother helped develop contained thimerosal. The IACC chair replied with the same goofy look, “I don’t even know if it contained thimerosal. His involvement was all the way back in 1978, before you were born.”

I replied, “It does not matter when it was made, it’s still a routinely given vaccine. HibTITER made by Wyeth, right?”

He denied even knowing the brand name. “My brother is not involved in that anymore, he heads a group devoted to fighting juvenile diabetes.” The Hib vaccine is also suspected of causing juvenile diabetes.

Dr. Insel then brought up Mark Blaxill’s testimony. “If there is anybody’s public comment to emulate, it would be Mark’s. He did not attack anybody in particular; he just made his point about how the committee was not doing a good job. I respect Mark, I don’t agree with him, but I respect him.”

Continue reading "My Conversation with IACC Chair Dr. Tom Insel" »

My Conversation with NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins

Dr. Francis CollinsBy Jake Crosby

Below is a video of the Canary Party Press Conference when the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) was on lunch break. In it, I speak (16:40 mark) about a conversation I’d just had with Dr. Francis Collins – the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

If you want to talk to someone who will say whatever is convenient in the moment to deny and defend the autism-vaccine cover up within his federal agency and related organizations, talk to the Obama-appointed NIH director Dr. Francis Collins. At the IACC meeting, during break, I introduced myself and we shook hands.

I then asked him why I was not selected to be on the committee as a person with autism who wants to cure and prevent autism, unlike any of nominees with autism who were selected for the committee. He had no idea.

“I didn't pick the members,” he told me, even though NIH is ultimately tasked with direct oversight of the IACC.

I then brought up my NIH encounter with Paul Offit. I asked Dr. Collins, “You know him?” He responded, “Oh yes, of course.”

I then asked him if he knew Andrew Wakefield.

“Oh yes, I'm afraid everyone knows Andrew Wakefield after the misconduct he's engaged in.” I told Dr. Collins, “He has not engaged in misconduct. Those are the allegations of a journalist with no medical or scientific background – Brian Deer.” “

“His paper was retracted from The Lancet,” Collins replied.

So I said, “There is no reason for his paper to be retracted, not after the senior author John Walker-Smith was exonerated on appeal, debunking the reasons given by the journal for retracting the paper.”

He was expressionless. “So,” he said, “what is your stance on vaccines?”

“I think they cause autism.”

“Oh, you do?”

“Yes,” I told him.

“So you made up your mind. Do you think that's wise?”

I responded, “Do you think it's wise that Marie McCormick of the IOM made up her mind, saying IOM will never come down that autism is a true side-effect of vaccination, in 2001, before looking at any of the data for or against?”

“Well, I don't think she made up her mind.”

“Then why did she say that?”

“I don't know why she said that,” Collins admitted, “but I don't think her comments had much of an impact.”

“Not much of an impact?! She is the chairwoman of the IOM committee which produced the report in 2004 rejecting a causal link between vaccines and autism! The IOM has global influence on scientists worldwide and the IOM is corrupt!”

He responded, “Yes, IOM does have worldwide influence, but I am not convinced IOM is corrupt. Every scientist I've talked to has said it's time to move on.”

I guess he’s never talked to his late predecessor, former director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Bernadine Healy, who actually recruited Collins to NIH while head of the agency. Maybe those scientists he referred to all read the NIH/CDC-sponsored 2004 IOM Report, but not the closed door, leaked comments by committee members like Marie McCormick who came to preconceived conclusions well before the decision.

So I asked him, “If the IOM is corrupt – you don't think they are – but if they are, then won’t that corrupt the whole scientific process?”

“Yes,” he responded, “but IOM is not corrupt.”

Collins just admitted that the views of every scientist he's spoken to were staked on those of a small handful of people who made some disturbing remarks behind closed doors implicating themselves in a vaccine-autism cover up. And Collins had no explanation for these comments. I guess that's why, throughout our talk, he became evasive and uncomfortable, and finally said “I don't think this discussion will end well.”

Continue reading "My Conversation with NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins" »

Alison Singer Hand Picked Matt Carey For IACC, Embellished His Credentials.

Hand picked

By Jake Crosby

Who picked Matt Carey of the UK blog Leftbrain/Rightbrain to serve on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, commonly known as IACC? Answer: Alison Singer of Autism “Science” Foundation, the vaccine industry front group and so-called autism charity that was expressly formed to discourage vaccine/autism research.

It was not HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius who chose Carey; Sebelius reportedly said she did not pick the new members, she just confirmed their appointments. It was not NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins who chose Carey; when I spoke to Dr. Collins in person, he told me he played no role in selecting the committee members. And it was not NIMH Director and IACC Chair Dr. Thomas Insel who chose Carey, since Dr. Insel told me, after the meeting, that he does not even read blogs. Of course, all these people share some degree of responsibility for Carey's appointment, but none of them could have been the person who selected him for IACC.

 So who could it be? Who on the IACC would appoint Leftbrain/Rightbrain's main blogger to the committee when he was not making any real contributions to the autism community?

Process of elimination: None of the federal members have ever left a comment on Leftbrain/Rightbrain, so that rules them out. If Ari Ne'eman had any say in the matter, he would have recommended more “autistic self-advocates” for the committee, as he probably did. In addition, this comment he left on Leftbrain/Rightbrain lambasting Kevin Leitch totally rules him out.

Public IACC members Lyn Redwood of SafeMinds and Geraldine Dawson of Autism Speaks would definitely not pick Matt Carey for IACC representation; the last time Carey commented on anything Dawson has done, it was in a blog post titled “Autism Speaks misleads the public on the IACC's stance on vaccine research.” The post was publicized by Alison Singer's front group on Facebook.

In fact, there is only one person who's ever served on IACC who has both commented on and hosted blog posts that Matt Carey wrote: Alison Singer.

She even commented on the Leftbrain/Rightbrain blog and made the following remark about my article, “Kevin Leitch's Jab in the Dark,”:

What a strange story. Many parents question whether vaccines are involved in autism because of the media coverage of the issue, but then they read the science and realize the studies are there and the science clearly indicates no causal role for vaccines. Kev, although I find your point of view refreshing and your posts unique, I dare say you are hardly alone at coming to this conclusion. Jake will have to try harder next time. -Alison

(Alison Singer is also a hypocrite since she split the MMR vaccine into three separate shots for her second daughter, who does not have autism, as opposed to her first. She admitted this to CNN months after AoA's JB Handley was tipped off by an anonymous Autism Speaks employee.)

Under a blog post authored by Matt Carey, a.k.a. “Sullivan,” Singer got a cheap laugh at the Washington Redskins cheerleader Desiree Jennings for her neurological disabilities that she developed after an influenza vaccination:

I’d love to comment but I am laughing too hard. The Australian accent is priceless.

(People have been known to develop foreign-sounding accents after brain injuries.)

Her comment was surrounded by comments from Carey, who seemed to take no issue with Singer's sadistic humor at someone else's expense.

The only blog post that Matt Carey contributed outside of Leftbrain/Rightbrain prior to his IACC appointment was to the blog of Autism “Science” Foundation - Alison Singer's front group. In addition to making no indication that Carey blogs under a pseudonym, his IACC bio lied that he was a frequent contributor to Singer's blog:

Dr. Matthew Carey [Ph.D. physicist] is the father of a young child with multiple disabilities, including autism spectrum disorder, and is a frequent contributor to the Left Brain/Right Brain blog and the Autism Science Foundation blog.

Continue reading "Alison Singer Hand Picked Matt Carey For IACC, Embellished His Credentials." »

Matt Carey Replaces Kevin Leitch

 Matt Carey Owns Leftbrain/Rightbrain! Well, almost...

United American Flag

By Jake Crosby

Hours after my videotaped public comment to the federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) was posted on Age of Autism – calling out Leftbrain/Rightbrain blogger Matt Carey for qualifying for his US federal committee appointment by contributing to a UK blog - I and others here at Age of Autism received the following email from Leftbrain/Rightbrain's owner and founder, Kevin Leitch:

To whichever of you fruit loops gives a shit, Kev

LB/RB is not a British blog. It is now owned and controlled solely by Matt Carey. It is now hosted on US servers. Similarly, control of the domain name leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk is now under the total control of Matt Carey and when I get around to sorting it out, it will be owned by him too.

I don't write about autism/vaccines/bad science any more because there's no point. You lot have become parodies of yourselves and you don't even know it.

Kev Leitch. (The photo was included with the email.)

In other words, LBRB is still a British blog because its URL is still a UK domain name which remains under the ownership of UK citizen Kevin Leitch – until he gets around to sorting it out.

Weeks after Matt Carey was first criticized for his appointment to IACC here on Age of Autism, Carey announced to readers that Kev's blog would be moving to the US-based blog host, Wordpress. The reasons cited by Carey were primarily technical, and the blog also acquired a Wordpress URL. What was never explained, however, was why the domain name remains a UK one. Typing in the Wordpress URL brings you to  the old UK domain name as soon as the site uploads.

If Matt Carey wants to legitimize his IACC representation after the fact by Americanizing Kev's blog, taking ownership of a UK web domain name is not the way to do it. Carey also ought to stop hiding behind the pseudonym “Sullivan” and start authoring blog posts under his real name.

Matt Carey is not just a blogger anymore, he is now a civil servant in our federal government. Civil servants don't gain legitimacy by blogging under fake names while taking ownership of foreign domain names for websites. In fact, that's a sure way to lose legitimacy, not that Carey has any.

Jake Crosby has Asperger Syndrome and is a contributing editor to Age of Autism. Jake is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a BA in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy. He currently attends The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services where he is studying for an MPH in epidemiology.

Skeptics Censor Skepticism of Paul Offit's Book

GTFOBy Jake Crosby

Two weeks after millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul Offit verbally abused me at the University of Pennsylvania, he gave a talk about his book “Deadly Choices” at the Washington D.C. Chapter of the Center for Inquiry – an umbrella organization for several pharmaceutical industry front groups that call themselves “skeptics.”

CFI's pharmaceutical ties run deep. Dr. Jonathan Tobert – retired Merck scientist who developed the first statin drug – sits on CFI's board of directors. Prior to his appointment to the board, he had already supported the organization for 30 years according to CFI's website. For 24 of those 30 years, he was employed by Merck until retiring from the company in 2004 to join an FDA panel through that ever-revolving door between government  agencies and the pharmaceutical industry. CFI president, bio“ethicist” Ronald Lindsay, headlined a recent conference with bio“ethicist” Arthur Caplan, director of the Penn Center for Bio“ethics.” Caplan chaired GlaxoSmithKline's bio“ethics” advisory panel for three years and is vehemently opposed to vaccine choice.

“Friends of the Center” for Inquiry could attend Paul Offit's talk free-of-charge, but I'm no friend of the center, so I had to pay an entry fee. After signing my name, I was all ready to hand over my money when I was asked:

“What's your name?”

After I answered, I was told:

“I can't take your money. I can't let you in. I'm going to have to ask you to leave.”


“Because the speaker is uncomfortable with you being here.”

Continue reading "Skeptics Censor Skepticism of Paul Offit's Book" »

Penn Prof. Paul Offit to GW Grad Student: “Get the f*ck out of here! Piece of sh*t!”

Offit standing

By Jake Crosby

That's what millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul Offit said to me following a talk he gave at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology, endowed by Merck. But that was not the only abusive thing he said to me. He also called me stupid, lied that I don't have Asperger Syndrome and labeled me with a new diagnosis after again calling me a stalker.

Offit's talk was part of Penn's Microbiology Seminar Series sponsored by PENN Infectious Diseases. It was titled “Rotavirus Vaccines: From Bench to Bedside.” Throughout the lecture, he talked about the different rotavirus vaccines: RotaTeq, Rotarix and RotaShield – the vaccine pulled for causing intussusception, which is a potentially fatal condition in which the intestine turns inside-out. He even discussed how he was going to lobby to bring back RotaShield in 2000, but that it was already too late and he blamed the harm to RotaShield's reputation on the ensuing controversy over mercury in vaccines. Offit also admitted that his own vaccine, RotaTeq, can cause intussusception.

I was especially surprised to hear him reveal an insight about pharmaceutical executives putting money before health:

“You never say at a pharmaceutical conference, 'it's the right thing to do.'”

At the conclusion of his talk came the Q/A session. When the moderator finally called on me, I asked:

“Hi Dr. Offit,

You didn't talk about your involvement in approving RotaShield. You told an autism parent you did not get to vote the rotavirus vaccine onto the schedule, but you voted for it three times leading up to the CDC's decision to adopt your committee's recommendation into its schedule. So how could you say you did not vote it onto the infant schedule when you clearly did?”

Offit sneered at my question and then snickered and shook his head when I mentioned the autism parent.

He replied:

“Jake! How are you buddy?”

“I'm fine.”

“Ladies and gentleman, this is Jake Crosby – my stalker!”

I called him out, “That's libel!”

Someone then shouted from the audience, “Are you serious?”

So I said, “This is constitutionally-protected free speech and a public event.”

“Oh really,” Offit said sarcastically.

But then surprisingly, he attempted to answer my question:

“I did not participate in the first vote to get Rotashield onto the schedule. I did participate in the vote to get it into the Vaccines For Children program [free vaccines], among other votes. Prior to my voting, I consulted the chair Dr. John Modlin [who is also conflicted with Merck, and was reprimanded for it by Congress], and he said it was okay that I participated. So I did because I was not working on a competing vaccine at the time. Ours was still many years away from completion.”

“But you were still...”

I was going to tell him that he was still working on a competing vaccine and that he still voted RotaShield onto the schedule, but the moderator cut me off:

“Let's continue talking about this afterward.”

Offit said, with a big grin:

“Oh, we can talk about this endlessly.”

Though we did talk after his lecture, it would not be about RotaShield.

Then another graduate student asked a question. While calling people like Donald Trump “idiots,” he said there are some people who have legitimate questions about vaccine safety and wanted to know how to engage those people.

Offit replied:

“You have to use reason! But there are some people who will never stop believing,” gesturing toward me.

At the end of the talk, the woman sitting next to me asked:

“So who in your family has autism?”

“I do.”

Paul Offit beckoned me to the podium with his finger and then I made my way down the aisle.

When I reached the podium, I said:

“You call me a stalker and then you tell me you want to speak to me.”

He extended his hand, wanting me to shake it.

I hesitated.

He asked with a big smirk, “Aren't you gonna shake my hand?”

“I think it would be better to not shake your hand since you've complained of receiving physical threats,” I told him.

“Shake my hand Jake,” he insisted.

“No, I won't.”

He then lost his temper very quickly.

Continue reading "Penn Prof. Paul Offit to GW Grad Student: “Get the f*ck out of here! Piece of sh*t!”" »

The Titanic Wave of Autism: “You will lie there and drown!”

Crosby tomb

“You will lie there and drown!”

 By Jake Crosby

 That was what my great-great-grandfather, first-class passenger and Civil War veteran Captain Crosby ship Edward Gifford Crosby (that's his ship in the photo), said to my great-great grandmother Catherine Elizabeth Halstead Crosby 100 years ago on the RMS Titanic after the ship struck an iceberg and began sinking. He rousted her out of bed and had her go into a lifeboat along with his adult daughter, my great-great aunt Harriette Rebecca Crosby. They were both saved by the RMS Carpathia. But because of the women and children first custom, Edward did not get into a lifeboat. He perished along with two-thirds of the ship’s passengers and crew instead.

With the recently reported autism prevalence of 1 in 88, the words of my great-great grandfather take on a new meaning. They don’t just describe what will happen to sleeping passengers on board a sinking ship, but rather what will happen to a sleeping nation as the autism prevalence continues to rise, as more crooked members are appointed to a federal autism committee and as vaccine industry front men continue to give public talks unchallenged. Like the passengers onboard the sinking RMS Titanic, we cannot afford to just lie there.

TitanBut this quote has more than a figurative meaning to our community. The mortality rate among people with autism is twice as high as the general population, mostly because of drowning accidents. As with the Titanic, there are real lives at stake and inaction will cost more lives. There is a modern, manmade epidemic of titanic proportions largely caused by our vaccine program, which shields vaccine makers from personal injury litigation. We do not have anything to fear of challenging people like Seth Mnookin or Paul Offit at their speaking events around the country, only what the consequences of not challenging them will bring. As long as we do not, our nation will lie there and drown in its own complacency.


Jake Crosby has Asperger Syndrome and is a contributing editor to Age of Autism. Jake is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a BA in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy. He currently attends The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services where he is studying for an MPH in epidemiology.

Managing Editor's Note:  There is a site called Lives Lost to Autism that memorializes children and adults whose lives have been cut short by their autism - through drowning, parental murder, caregiver assault. Autism kills from the outside in.

Obama Administration Gives UK Blog Federal Autism Committee Representation

Us-uk-flagBy Jake Crosby

Leftbrain/Rightbrain, a pharma-friendly UK blog, has now been given as much representation on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) as the world’s largest autism charity, Autism Speaks. The UK blog is actually cited on the HHS website as a leading reason Matt Carey (Click here for photo), who anonymously blogs on the site under a pseudonym - the cartoon character “Sullivan,” - was made a public member of the IACC, even though Leftbrain/Rightbrain is neither owned by a US citizen nor has a registered US domain name. Meanwhile, the following US autism organizations have no representation on the only federal committee that advises HHS solely on autism policy:

National Autism Association (NAA)

Autism Research Institute

Talk About Curing Autism

Age of Autism

The Autism Trust USA


Generation Rescue

Carey was falsely cited by HHS as having blogged frequently for a U.S. autism organization when in fact he had only written one blog post for it prior to his nomination. He has written many hundreds of posts for the UK's LeftBrain/Rightbrain.

Despite the fact that the vaccine-autism controversy is a dominant issue in the autism community, the Obama Administration appointed numerous promoters of vaccine industry talking points and only one person sympathetic to the other side. This violates the HHS’ own policy for federal committees, as stated on the IACC Call for Nominations:

The Department strives to ensure that the membership of HHS Federal advisory committees is fairly balanced in terms of points of view represented and the committee’s function.

Of the total 15 public members, only two are known to have cited the role vaccines may play in causing autism. The remaining 13 members include a former Merck VP, a vaccine industry front group president, an academic colleague of a millionaire vaccine industrialist and a Simpsonwood attendee who wrote Pediatrics urging the journal to publish Poul Thorsen’s fraudulent thimerosal study. And of course, that list includes Matt Carey.

Years before Carey disclosed his identity as the lead writer on LeftBrain/RightBrain, he authored a post for the blog called:

Why Generation Rescue shouldn’t be on the IACC

Unlike any member of Generation Rescue however, Matt Carey does not even represent an American autism organization. He complained that Generation Rescue was “lobbying hard for a seat on the IACC.” and claimed that all groups representing the “’autism is caused by vaccines’ segment of the community” should be represented by IACC member Lyn Redwood. Carey blatantly advocates for tokenism on a federal committee - a violation of HHS policy cited above which calls for committees to be “balanced in terms of points of view.”

There are many other examples of Carey’s behavior that should have disqualified him from participating in a federal autism committee. Under another of Carey’s Leftbrain/Rightbrain posts, freelance writer Brian Deer left several comments blaming parents for their children’s autism:

And they wonder why their children have problems with their brains.

Continue reading "Obama Administration Gives UK Blog Federal Autism Committee Representation" »

Rich McManus Repeats Paul Offit’s Libel of Jake Crosby for NIH Cover-Up

Sisyphus-signBy Jake Crosby

Thirty-seven days after I was thrown out of an NIH lecture by congressionally reprimanded millionaire vaccine industrialist and vaccine injury cover-up spokesman Paul Offit, the newsletter NIH record ran an article repeating Offit’s libel that I was a “stalker.” The story also said I stormed out of the room and slammed the door behind me.

The week before NIH published this libel, the video footage of my physical removal from the lecture was destroyed.

The author of these myths, NIH Newsletter Editor Rich McManus, began his article with a pretentious invocation of Greek Mythology:

In the myth of Sisyphus, our hero is continually frustrated when the boulder he is pushing up the mountainside rolls backward just as he approaches the summit.

And just who does Rich McManus think is the mythological “hero” at NIH? Take a wild guess:

…Dr. Paul Offit, his Sisyphusian effort to place the boulder of vaccine safety and efficacy atop the mountain of evidence is thwarted not by the boulder’s rolling back, but by the mountain gaining a spurious kind of altitude, based largely on guff.

But it’s McManus’ claims that are built on a mountain of guff, and the destruction of damning proof to the contrary. I guess I can’t expect much original thought from yet another person who just repeats Offit’s lies for him:

At a Clinical Center Grand Rounds “Great Teachers” edition on Dec. 14, Offit explained how he made the transition from vaccine crafter to vaccine defender before a packed Lipsett Amphitheater that included—as if to underscore the hazards of his new role—an appearance by a stalker.

Aside from his libeling me that I was a “stalker,” I find it amusing that Rich McManus considers being told you’re wrong a “hazard.” Perhaps that is because the real guff in this story is Paul Offit’s boulder of dishonest talking points, alongside his and McManus’ libel about me.

Rich McManus then concludes his myth by giving a false account of what happened between Offit and myself:

Offit was also challenged by a young man identifying himself as a local graduate student who rose in defense of Dr. Andrew Wakefield.

After fielding the young man’s questions in increasingly measured tones, Offit explained, “One of the consequences of what I do is that sometimes you get hate mail, sometimes you get sued, and now I have a stalker.” This particular student, he said, “often makes disparaging comments about me at national meetings as well as on the Internet.”

Now, I know Paul Offit mentioned the Internet - specifically plugging Age of Autism, but he never brought up national meetings. I made no  remarks about him at national meetings, and Offit never said I did at the talk. Then McManus told the biggest whopper of a lie in his closing sentence:

Publicly identified as a nuisance, the man stormed out of Lipsett Amphitheater and slammed the door.

I never stormed out of the room; I was forced out. A man came up from behind me at the microphone after Offit libeled me by calling me a “stalker” and said:

“Let’s go.”

I was then promptly escorted out of the room; I didn’t slam any doors.

The false accounts described in McManus’ fiction prompted me to make a Freedom of Information Act Request to the NIH on February 7, asking for the video footage of my ejection (I was the only questioner not shown on the VideoCast; the footage of Paul Offit listening to me asking the question was used instead.). I then received the following letter from NIH, dated February 29:

The Office Research Services searched its files and no records responsive to your request were located because tapes are recycled thirty days after broadcast and that, therefore, the only tape of the event is the one on the NIH website.

Having read this, I don’t see how FOIA requests for NIH VideoCast footage can be of much use since they take 20 days just to process. How convenient that Rich McManus published his libelous mythology the week after the video footage of my removal was recorded over after it was edited out of the VideoCast.

Continue reading "Rich McManus Repeats Paul Offit’s Libel of Jake Crosby for NIH Cover-Up" »

Brian Deer’s BMJ Series Not Peer Reviewed

Peer ReviewBy Jake Crosby

It’s been quite a month. Along with the clearing of Professor John Walker-Smith’s name, the discrediting of the Lancet’s retraction of Wakefield et al. for which he was senior author and the subsequent evisceration of most of the General Medical Council’s (GMC’s) charges “found proved” against Dr. Andrew Wakefield, comes yet more insightful news about the British Medical Journal (BMJ) article accusing him of fraud. BMJ Editor-in-Chief Fiona Godlee has persistently claimed that Part I of Brian Deer’s “Secrets of the MMR Scare” Series, “How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed,” was peer reviewed. However, she has never been clear about how this was done.

Until now.

If there is anything new from Brian Deer, Dr. Fiona Godlee and the BMJ Publishing Group’s “anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss” Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s defamation lawsuit, it’s that no one other than Dr. Godlee, deputy editor Dr. Jane Smith and associate editor Dr. Harvey Marcovitch reviewed Deer’s stories pre-publication. In other words, Deer’s entire series was never peer reviewed, in contrast to what Dr. Godlee falsely claimed via email about Part I of the series (responding to emails sent by Age of Autism readers):

The article, which was subjected to peer review and editorial checking, was based on enquiries carried out over some seven years, involving, among other things, interviews with parents of children enrolled in Andrew Wakefield's research.

Underneath the Footnotes section of the article in BMJ reads the following claim:

Provenance and peer review: Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

The motion-to-dismiss cites written declarations from all three editors and from Brian Deer on behalf of the defendants: Brian Deer, Dr. Godlee and the BMJ Publishing Group.

Yet Dr. Marcovitch is not correctly referred to as an associate editor in the motion as he was on the accompanying editorial cosigned by him at the time Part I of Deer’s series was published. Instead, Dr. Marcovitch is referred to as an “external reviewer.” What’s more, Brian Deer, Dr. Fiona Godlee and the BMJ Publishing Group used this false reference to deny actual malice:

Additional Fact-Checking and External Review: Not only did the BMJ fully trust Deer and his reporting, it and Dr. Godlee took extra steps to ensure the reporting was truthful. For Deer, who was ever mindful of Dr. Wakefield's prior litigation and regulatory-complaint history, this meant five months of work to ensure that every word and every citation was verified. (166) For the BMJ, this meant a separate fact-check of the first article by a deputy editor (Smith) and an external review for scientific accuracy by an expert pediatrician (Dr. Marcovitch).(167) Pre-publication review by outside sources constitutes affirmative evidence of no actual malice.

Of course, Dr. Marcovitch was not an outside source as claimed in the motion. Not only that, he was perhaps the most conflicted of all three editorial cosignatories. His conflicts included being the head of panels for the GMC and being a member of a pharma-backed company, the UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO). There was even a campaign launched by Age of Autism readers last year to complain about him to the GMC.

Although he is still listed as associate editor on the BMJ website’s masthead, Dr. Marcovitch claimed to have left the publication late last year. When contacted by the National Whistleblower Center’s Dr. David Lewis during his investigation of the journal’s institutional research misconduct, Dr. Marcovitch bowed out of the probe with the excuse that he was no longer associated with BMJ Publishing Group:

Subject: Re: NWC Board Meeting


To: lewisdavel



Date: Fri, Oct 14, 2011, 11:15 am

Dear Dr Lewis,

I no longer have any association with BMJ Publishing Group so cannot assist with your query.

Harvey Marcovitch

Yet he has now made a written declaration of support for the motion to dismiss served by the lawyers of Brian Deer, Dr. Fiona Godlee and the BMJ Publishing Group. Throughout the motion, Dr. Marcovitch’s declaration was cited either to repeat the GMC’s discredited findings against the Lancet paper by Wakefield et al., or to dramatically allege the paper started “one of the great public health disasters in the UK in modern times.”

One claim for which the motion did not cite Marcovitch’s declaration was that he was an “expert pediatrician” who “externally reviewed” Part I of Brian Deer’s series for “scientific accuracy.” The declaration that was cited to support the claim of Marcovitch’s independence was made by Dr. Fiona Godlee, herself a defendant in the case as well as editor-in-chief of the medical journal being sued.

But will she stand by that declaration in a foreign court, having traveled all the way from London, England to Austin, Texas so as to perjure herself on her own behalf as well as her current employer’s? I wouldn’t put much past her, but that seems very unlikely.

Would Dr. Marcovitch be willing to travel all the way from London, England to Austin, Texas just to perjure himself in a foreign court on behalf of what he claims are his ex-boss and his ex-employer by lying that he was an “external reviewer” when he was in fact an associate editor of the BMJ? That seems even less likely.

BMJ’s lawyers will say whatever is most convenient in their attempt to quash Dr. Wakefield’s lawsuit and keep it from reaching trial. They did the same when denying Brian Deer received a letter from a parent accusing him of misrepresenting his own son’s case in the BMJ series.

However, I would imagine a motion’s strength depends on whether the arguments made in that motion could be legally made under oath in a court of law. That is not the case here; the BMJ’s argument of external review is not even consistent. The motion’s introduction made an oxymoronic statement about Dr. Marcovitch’s role in the affair when it said Deer’s investigation was:

…subjected to multiple editorial reviews, including an external review by an expert pediatrician.

An external review cannot be included as an editorial review. An editor, like Harvey Marcovitch before supposedly jumping ship, makes an editorial review.

Continue reading "Brian Deer’s BMJ Series Not Peer Reviewed" »

Was Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s “Deadly Immunity” Retracted from Salon by Arthur Allen’s Wife and Her Brother?

JC mainBy Jake Crosby

If the co-opting of CBS and HuffPo by liars-for-hire like Seth Mnookin was unfortunate, what happened at Salon was even worse. A year ago, the website decided to retract Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s piece, Deadly Immunity which exposed the government cover-up of harm caused by the mercury-based vaccine preservative thimerosal. Salon’s editor-in-chief, Kerry Lauerman, wrote at the time:

…subsequent critics, including most recently, Seth Mnookin in his book “The Panic Virus,” further eroded any faith we had in the story’s value. We’ve grown to believe the best reader service is to delete the piece entirely.

The retraction followed a rumor started by Seth Mnookin that Rolling Stone (Illustration by Ed Sorel from original RS article) which also ran the article, deliberately pulled it from the magazine’s website without telling anyone – the only “subsequent” criticism of Kennedy’s article in Mnookin’s book that Salon could have been referring to. It didn’t take long after Salon’s retraction of “Deadly Immunity” for Mnookin’s rumor to be dispelled by Rolling Stone, which told readers the link to Kennedy’s article was inadvertently broken during the website’s redesign. However, Mnookin’s false rumor that the article was purposefully removed from Rolling Stone led to its permanent removal from Salon.

Despite the thimerosal cover-up accomplices’ best efforts pick apart Kennedy’s article, no one has ever been able to disprove what it uncovered, as letters by Kennedy responding to hostility towards his article clearly show. IOM President Harvey Fineberg went so far as to libel Kennedy by accusing him of fabricating quotes. Dr. Fineberg even lied that none of the IOM panelists had any ties to the pharmaceutical industry or the CDC. (Fineberg himself has chaired a review committee for CDC since the 1980s, according to his C.V.). Yet, he couldn’t even refute the fact that his institute’s panel, and its chairwoman Marie McCormick, came to a preconceived conclusion at the behest of the CDC – namely that the IOM would never come down that autism is a true side effect of vaccines.

It’s no surprise then that Rolling Stone Magazine stands by the story, even after Salon pulled it. So what happened at Salon that did not happen at Rolling Stone? What does Salon have that Rolling Stone does not? The answer: close familial ties to Arthur Allen, the thimerosal cover-up’s original media accomplice.

David Talbot: CEO and Founder of Salon, Brother-in-Law of Arthur Allen

JC TalbotThe retraction of Deadly Immunity came shortly after Salon Media Group appointed a new editor-in-chief – Kerry Lauerman. But his boss, Salon Founder and CEO David Talbot, who also happens to be brother-in-law to the vaccine industry’s original go-to guy Arthur Allen, may have planned the retraction even before Lauerman’s nomination. And Allen’s wife who is also Talbot’s sister, Margaret Talbot, was most likely the chief architect.

When Arthur Allen returned to the United States in 1995 after a career in foreign reporting for the Associated Press, his brother-in-law David Talbot started up Salon.com and became its editor-in-chief. The newly founded website was a nice little safety net for Arthur Allen while he restarted his career. Starting in 1996, he contributed dozens of articles to Salon. Just recently, Allen made his first contribution to Salon in nine years. In fact, there are perhaps few publications Allen has contributed to since 1995 that his wife had not previously contributed to, or that her brother had not previously edited and/or founded. Much of Allen’s success, it seems, has come from riding on the coattails of his more accomplished family members.

Continue reading "Was Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s “Deadly Immunity” Retracted from Salon by Arthur Allen’s Wife and Her Brother?" »

Alice Park and TIME: Great Media Frauds

ALice ParkBy Jake Crosby

Just recently, TIME Magazine writer Alice Park included Dr. Andrew Wakefield among the “Great Science Frauds” of all time in TIME “HealthLand” on January 12, 2012. But if there is anything one should know about Park, it’s that she is a great media accomplice of pharma in the vaccine injury cover-up.

In 2008, Alice Park penned an article titled “How Safe Are Vaccines?” timetabled to coincide with the Washington DC “Green Our Vaccines” rally. The piece drew public rebuke from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. at the rally, who announced in front of the capital, “I called that woman who wrote that TIME Magazine article!” “That woman” was Alice Park.

It so happens that TIME Magazine was going through a makeover implemented by the corporate global consulting firm, McKinsey, which was still firmly under the leadership of Ian Davis, twin brother to the judge who killed MMR litigation in the UK. Their older brother, Crispin Davis, was the boss of Lancet Editor-in-Chief Richard Horton when Horton lied about not knowing of Dr. Wakefield’s involvement in litigation. McKinsey was also the location for a book party for congressionally reprimanded millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul Offit.

Other examples of TIME’s abhorrent coverage include a profile of Jenny McCarthy that questioned her son’s diagnosis of autism on the basis of speculation by unnamed doctors who never examined her child. The author, Karl Taro Greenfeld, is now a contributor to Alison Singer’s blog.

Editorial influence could have also played a role. TIME’s Senior Science and Technology Editor, Jeffrey Kluger once interviewed Jenny McCarthy with a barrage of loaded questions. Kluger had a history of writing about the vaccine industry even before he began covering this controversy.

In 2005, Kluger authored Splendid Solution, Jonas Salk and the Conquest of Polio. The book aimed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the success of Salk’s polio vaccine. However, the book was full of errors.

Continue reading "Alice Park and TIME: Great Media Frauds" »

“The hell with balance!” - Paul Offit Throws Out Jake Crosby, Argues with NYU Research Scholar Mary Holland at Yale

Offit standingBy Jake Crosby

Millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul Offit lied about me again. Unlike at NIH, where Tara Palmore had me removed after I asked Paul Offit a question during Q&A, at Yale, Dr. Offit himself demanded I leave after he repeated his lie that I am a “stalker.” Fortunately, Vaccine Epidemic co-editor Mary Holland was also in the audience – and defended me after I left.

On January 13, 2012, Offit gave the Beaumont Lecture at Yale’s Sterling Hall of Medicine, sponsored by the Beaumont Medical Club. The title of his talk was “Hard Knocks: Communicating Science to the Public.” It contained many of the same talking points as his recent NIH “Clinical Grand Rounds – Great Teacher Lecture” titled “Communicating Vaccine Safety Science to the Public.” The Yale audience numbered around fifty to seventy-five people, comprised mostly of older physicians.

It was during Dr. Offit’s lecture when he first spotted me seated in the audience. At the end of his talk, he scowled at me. I was not intimidated.  Three questions into the Q&A discussion, the microphone was handed to me and I proceeded to ask my question:

"Hi Dr. Offit, I'm a student at GW School of Public Health. You said Dr. Wakefield "can't stop suing people"…

As I was about to ask my question, Offit began shouting me down:

"Stop right there! Stop right there!"

"Were you aware..."

"Stop right there! Jake, I am sick and tired of you following me to my events! Get out! Leave!"

"This is only the second event of yours I've been to."

He responded by saying I cannot criticize him in person, only online.

"You can write about me on your vindictive blog!"

Continue reading "“The hell with balance!” - Paul Offit Throws Out Jake Crosby, Argues with NYU Research Scholar Mary Holland at Yale" »

The Mnookin Virus Infects CBS and HuffPo

Antimalware-doctor-virusBy Jake Crosby

Seth Mnookin has spread his deceit to CBS and The Huffington Post, with the help of accomplices from both sources.

It is amazing just how much Seth Mnookin continues to be propped up as having credibility he simply does not possess. Now, thanks to two fellow opportunists - David Freeman and Neil Katz - we see that pharma’s censorship has taken over CBS and The Huffington Post, both of which have now welcomed the vaccine industry’s shameless pusher, Seth Mnookin

The latest example of this is a blog post he wrote for The Huffington Post’s new “Science” section comically titled:

The Autism Vaccine Controversy and the Need for Responsible Science Journalism

Seth Mnookin summed up the rant on his own blog:

In it, I talk about “the legacy of years of dispatches that created a false equivalency between verifiable facts and…outlandish allegations,” …

And given Seth Mnookin’s tendency to prefer outright lies to verifiable facts, it is not surprising what his biggest fear is:

I figure a worst-case scenario is the site uses the fig leaf of “balance” and posts another anti-vac screed in the next day or so…in which case, lesson learned.

The Atlantic Wire (a website of The Atlantic, edited by the nephew of John Stossel) ran a blog post celebrating Mnookin’s Huffington Post article, quoting Huffpo’s spokesman Mario Ruiz:

"We believe in providing a platform to bloggers from a variety of disciplines and points of view -- indeed, we welcomed Seth Mnookin’s critique, and regularly present multiple sides of hotly debated issues."

But Seth Mnookin tells a different story:

…I was somewhat surprised when a new HuffPo editor approached me about contributing to their about-to-be launched science section. It would be, he promised, a marked departure from what the site had featured in the past.

That editor, former WebMD writer David Freeman, was managing editor of CBS News’ “Health Channel” before joining HuffPo. Seth Mnookin has high praise for him according to The Atlantic Wire:

"[David] wanted me to contribute and was very vocal about the fact that this was going to be a pro-science section that adhered to strong standards. And David certainly has a good track record," Mnookin told us, adding that he'd worked with Freeman a bit a(sic) CBS. "From the first time we talked he's always struck me as someone who's incredibly smart and also very responsible. Again, my most optimistic reading is that Arianna wouldn't have hired someone like him if she wasn't interested in doing this the right way."

Last April, when Freeman “worked with” Mnookin at CBS, the network posted a talking point gallery on its website titled “10 deadly myths about childhood vaccines”:

What's the truth about childhood vaccines? Are they an effective way to safeguard kids against a range of potentially deadly illnesses? Or do they cause autism and other medical problems? Keep clicking as Seth Mnookin, the author of "The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear," separates vaccine fact from fiction with his list of common misconceptions. It's information that just might save a life.

Accompanying it was an article by Freeman’s colleague and then-cbsnews.com executive editor Neil Katz (just before he was hired by The Huffington Post as its new executive news editor). The title:

What autism, climate change and Obama's birth certificate have in common

It was posted on the very same CBS HealthPop blog that Freeman started and edited with Katz, to which Freeman also contributed biased blog posts riddled with vaccine industry talking points.

Katz’s hiring at HuffPo came right after David Kirby’s piece about the Pace Law Review – ignored by CBS - titled, High Rates of Autism Found in Federal Vaccine Injury Program: Study Says More Answers Needed. There hasn’t been another article like Kirby’s on HuffPo since. 

And New York Times writer Carl Zimmer, who I saw share a stage with Seth Mnookin in New York City last summer, blogged about Mnookin’s piece for Discover Magazine, in an entry titled “Huffington Post + Science. A New Leaf?” The implication being that The Huffington Post will become the latest addition to the vaccine industry’s collection of propaganda outlets.

Continue reading "The Mnookin Virus Infects CBS and HuffPo" »

"Contagion" and CNN - Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s Pretend Interviews In Hollywood and Real Life

SanjayBy Jake Crosby

Little did viewers know that while medical news anchor Dr. Sanjay Gupta denounced Dr. Andrew Wakefield approximately one year ago on CNN and CBS - right after the British Medical Journal (BMJ) accused him of fraud - a movie of pure vaccine industry propaganda was being filmed with Dr. Gupta in its cast. That movie, Contagion, was about the outbreak of a fictional swine flu virus that jumped species and caused a pandemic, stopped only by a fictional vaccine developed by the CDC. In that film, Dr. Gupta played himself as a mainstream media reporter.

In the part of the film where Gupta appeared, he was on television interviewing the fictional CDC doctor, Ellis Cheever, played by Laurence Fishburne, and fictional anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist blogger, Alan Krumweide, played by Jude Law.

In real life, Dr. Gupta appeared on CNN with Anderson Cooper in a one-way smear attack on Dr. Wakefield that masqueraded as an “interview” just before Seth Mnookin made his television debut on that same show as the vaccine industry’s new spokesman. In stark contrast, Mnookin was given an open forum to spew his talking points while simultaneously interviewed by Cooper and Dr. Gupta, all three comfortably seated at a table in the AC360 studio of CNN. If there was any commonality between Dr. Gupta’s CNN interviews and his interview in the movie Contagion, it’s that they were all pretend.

In the fictional interview by Dr. Gupta involving Fishburne and Law’s characters, Fishburne’s Dr. Cheever was caught in a lie after Law’s Krumweide revealed that Dr. Cheever gave his fiancée advanced-warning of a citywide quarantine before it was given to the public.

In the real-life but equally pretend interview of Dr. Wakefield involving Dr. Gupta on CNN, Dr. Wakefield was dubbed a liar after recommending his book in response to Brian Deer’s smears that were published and supported by the BMJ.

Back to the fictional interview, Jude Law’s Alan Krumweide said public health officials like Fishburne’s Dr. Cheever are in a conspiracy with vaccine makers, “because they are.” Krumweide insisted, “They’re working hand in glove.”

Continue reading ""Contagion" and CNN - Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s Pretend Interviews In Hollywood and Real Life" »

Paul Offit Lies About Jake Crosby; Tara Palmore Throws Him Out and NIH Covers it Up

Dr. Offit ProfileBy Jake Crosby

Like Seth Mnookin did earlier this month, Paul Offit blatantly lied about me while giving a lecture. The congressionally reprimanded millionaire vaccine industrialist told a room full of people I was a “stalker,” and event organizer, Dr. Tara Palmore had me escorted out of the “Great Teachers” lecture given by Paul Offit at the NIH on December 14, now on Videocast.

My crime: Asking Dr. Offit a challenging question and then pointing out one of the fallacies in a statement he made after dodging my question. Drs. Offit and Palmore also had a little talk about me at the end of the lecture, which was recorded onto the VideoCast, unbeknownst to them.

It all began when I found out online that Paul Offit would be speaking at the NIH, part of the “Clinical Center Grand Rounds – Great Teachers Series,” sponsored by Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The title of Dr. Offit’s lecture was “Communicating Vaccine Safety Science to the Public.” He’s also author of the now infamous claim that an infant can safely take 10,000 vaccines at once. So I took the metro out to the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, just as I did for the talk given by Fiona Godlee. As I took my seat, I saw Paul Offit in person for the first time.

Dr. Palmore – associate director of the Infectious Diseases Training Program for the National Tara Palmore Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease - gave a grand introduction to Dr. Offit and described how he has bravely taken on the “anti-vaccine movement” (even though most vaccine safety advocates are not against all vaccines). She called him a “Rock star in the pediatrics and infectious diseases communities.” He’s more like Ronald McDonald for the vaccine industry. She also introduced his son who was with him and looked college-age.

Despite the estimated $10 million Paul Offit earned from RotaTeq vaccine sales and despite his Merck-sponsored chair at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, his lecture began with his incredible claim that he has no relevant financial disclosures. He even received a congressional reprimand for taking part in voting on vaccine policies for which he is conflicted.

Here’s what he said instead:

“I’m sorry. I have no financial conflicts of interest. This is my only real conflict is that I am a Philadelphia Eagles season ticket holder, which gives me an inability to actually effectively assess that team.”

When Paul Offit’s presentation ended, the question and answer session began. A woman sitting near me asked Dr. Offit if he recommends “scare tactics” (which he favored). At that point I went to the microphone, ready to ask my question.

Even though there were already two men lined up behind another microphone, Dr. Offit looked directly at me, which I took as a cue to ask my question. So I began (42:59 on VideoCast):

“Hi, Dr. Offit - Jake Crosby - GW School of Public Health and Health Services, I’m a grad student there actually studying epidemiology for an MPH.”

Palmore dashingJust then, as you can see in the VideoCast, Dr. Palmore – in a white lab coat – bolted from her second row seat and dashed towards the back of the room, out of camera shot. (43:12) That’s how quickly she decided I had to go – all I’d stated was my name and where I go to school. Fortunately, I had time to ask a quick question before being evicted.

“You said that Dr. Andrew Wakefield said that the MMR vaccine causes autism. He never said that actually. He said that the safety data to back up the MMR vaccine’s use was inadequate and seven years later the Cochrane Review basically came to that same conclusion. What do you have to say to that?”

Paul Offit responded, without addressing his misrepresentation of Dr. Wakefield:

“What I would say is what I said before which is that those 14 studies have looked very carefully at whether or not MMR vaccine is associated with autism - has clearly shown that it doesn’t. I think the second thing that is clear is that if you look at the cause or causes of autism I think an enormous amount of data has come up with that. We now know that there is a genetics [sic] to autism. We also know there can be environmental influences, but when those environmental influences occur, they have to occur in the first or second trimester - take your pick - valproic acid, congenital rubella virus, thalidomide. So I think that those…”

At this point, Dr. Palmore’s hand can be seen resting on his podium (44:01). Offit Palmore Hand

She shadowed him for the rest of the talk, literally. Her shadow hovered next to him – as if to guard him from other unauthorized questions.

Seeing that he dodged my question about Andrew Wakefield and instead rehashed several of his talking points, I decided to challenge him on one of them.

“Well those are prenatal but that doesn’t mean that everything that could possibly cause autism has to be in the womb just because those two exposures just so happen to be prenatal.”

I mistakenly said “two” instead of “three,” but it hardly mattered. As with my original question, he did not address my point at all. This time, however, he got personal.

Continue reading "Paul Offit Lies About Jake Crosby; Tara Palmore Throws Him Out and NIH Covers it Up" »

Seth Mnookin Boots Jake Crosby Out of Public Conference Chaired by Merck Exec

By Jake Crosby

Seth Mnookin blatantly lied about me again, this time at a public conference run by an organization that is chaired by a Merck vaccines executive. In short, I asked Mnookin a question during the Q/A period; he stopped me, accused me of disrupting the event, and falsely stated I had disrupted past events of his, whereupon security escorted me out.

It all happened on December 2, 2011 – my 23rd birthday – when I attended the “Research Ethics Book Group Lunch and Book Signing,” at the annual “Advancing Ethical Research Conference,” held by “Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research” (PRIMR). 

The book being discussed was “Panic Virus,” by Seth Mnookin, who fielded questions from the audience. He was originally scheduled to be physically present, but his daughter was born three weeks early the day before, so he held the discussion via Skype. The conference was listed under the “current speaking schedule” on his personal website.

When signing up in advance online, I was told the event was already full, so my name was placed on the waitlist. Nonetheless, enough people who successfully registered for the event did not show up, and I was allowed in without a registration badge after giving my name, saying that I was on the waitlist and also saying I was covering the event for a major autism news website. I was even told I could sit down at one of the tables and help myself to lunch.

In the lead up to the question and answer session, a sheet labeled “Questions for discussion” was handed out to all audience members, filled with some of the most loaded questions I’ve ever seen, one of which read:

According to Mnookin, Andrew Wakefield and the other players in the movement to link vaccines and autism succeeded in convincing so many people, despite overwhelming scientific evidence against such a link, because they played to the desperation and frustration of parents of autistic children. How, according to Mnookin, did the desperation and frustration of parents also allow Wakefield and other clinicians who “treated” autistic children – with multiple endoscopies and the like – to shield themselves from charges that they were engaged in bad science and unethical behavior?

Surprisingly, the conversations by some of the folks at my table seemed to run counter to the overarching message of the event. I overheard one person saying he always rejects flu shots. Another person remarked that if Seth Mnookin is so sure vaccines do not cause autism; he must have some alternate reason for the skyrocketing rate of the disorder. Except that he doesn’t.

Eventually, the screen at the conference turned on and up came Seth Mnookin’s face. He couldn’t see us; he could only hear us, but we could see and hear him. As soon as questions rolled around, I raised my hand, was called upon and got up to the microphone to ask the first question.

“Hi - Jake Crosby - congratulations,” I said, regarding his newborn daughter. I then proceeded to ask my question:

“With regard to Dr. Andrew Wakefield, given the new advancements within the past month, with Dr. David Lewis…”

Then – all of a sudden – the screen went black. The moderator said that we lost connection. Audience members then told me to switch microphones in case the one I was using didn’t work either.

Eventually, the audio returned. The moderator asked, “Seth, are you there?”

“Yes,” he said, “The last words I picked up were ‘given these new advancements…’” Then his face reappeared.

I later realized he probably disappeared from view in order to make a phone call. I then proceeded to ask how he can continue to accuse Dr. Wakefield of unethical research and bad science given the ongoing investigation by Dr. David Lewis – professional scientist with the National Whistleblower Center – who exonerated Wakefield of the pathology fraud allegations made by BMJ earlier this year, and stated the pathology results were consistent with what was in the Lancet paper, and also given that the expert pathologist – Dr. Amar Dhillon –  defended the results in a letter to the BMJ. But as I was finishing up, he cut me off.

“Okay, Jake, I’m going to stop you right there.”

“I just want to know how you can continue to accuse Dr. Wakefield of this.”

“We’ve talked before at my other events you’ve been to, and you’ve been into interrupting and disrupting.”

“I haven’t been disrupting; I was just asking a question.” (At the only event of Mnookin’s that I attended before this one,  I conversed with him afterwards. He even shook my hand – hardly a “disruption” of his “events.” But then again, accuracy is not Mnookin’s strong suit as he readily admits.)

“I never mentioned Andrew Wakefield in my plenary address,” he claimed, even though Dr. Andrew Wakefield was mentioned several times in the questions for discussion given out at the event.

During this exchange, I overheard some snickers from a few audience members. Then a woman came up to me, grabbed the microphone, aimed it down at the floor so I couldn’t speak into it and asked, “Can I see your badge, please?”

“I don’t have a badge, I was let in from the waitlist.” Jake boot

“You’re going to have to leave!”

I repeated what I told her, but it was no use. Apparently, you can’t ask Seth Mnookin a challenging question without a badge.

While she was escorting me out, Seth Mnookin proceeded to answer my question that he had just labeled disruptive of his event. I could make out bits and pieces of what he was saying:

“…he [presumably Dr. Lewis] is not an expert on bowel pathology…the BMJ evaluated the data and found there was nothing there…it doesn’t even matter if Wakefield acted unethically, he’s still wrong…”

Continue reading "Seth Mnookin Boots Jake Crosby Out of Public Conference Chaired by Merck Exec" »

Anderson Cooper 360 Writer/Producer Fails to Disclose Conflicts

AndersonBy Jake Crosby

Addendum: Five months before Dr. Wakefield's interview on AC360, Thomson Reuters announced that BMJ Group had selected Thomson Reuters' product, ScholarOne Manuscripts, as the peer review workflow management system for all of its journals.  The company press release put out by Thomson Reuters quotes the BMJ Group's publishing director, Peter Ashman, as saying “We are excited to expand our partnership with one of the world’s leading publishers...By serving all of the journals published by BMJ Group, our customizable and flexible ScholarOne Manuscripts will standardize the organization's review process, adding to its effectiveness and efficiency in journal administration.” This is a direct partnership between the Merck/GSK-funded BMJ Group and the Merck-managed employer of an AC360 writer/producer's husband. The reason for Anderson Cooper leading the US media to support the BMJ's sham allegations of fraud against Dr. Wakefield within hours of their publication should now be crystal clear.

The following is a letter I sent to CNN after the January 5th televised abuse of Dr. Andrew Wakefield by the network’s mascot, “Silver Fox”  Anderson Cooper, whose pale face regularly haunts the channel. I didn’t receive a response.

With  the BMJ’s prime example of Wakefield’s alleged misconduct proven false followed by the  collapse of the BMJ's fraud claim, it is especially timely that we revisit this abhorrent example of coverage by the media in light of its deafening silence. Whatever happened to “keeping them honest”? You know, “challenging authority and exposing corruption”?

Dear Anderson Cooper 360,

I am writing about your show on January 5th of this year in which Dr. Wakefield was repeatedly cut off, interrupted, berated and called a "liar" while Brian Deer was allowed free reign to bluff his way through his interview the next day. 

I hope you will understand that the conflicts of interest below thoroughly compromised your show's credibility, especially in light of the fact that Anderson Cooper was evidently not willing to read Dr. Wakefield's book. I hope he will be more willing to watch a lecture Dr. Wakefield gave at Brandeis University in which he spent the first 20 minutes addressing fraud allegations and thoroughly exposing what turned out to be Brian Deer's fraud. Every statement Dr. Wakefield makes is documented and verifiable. You owe it to your viewers to watch this video. 

The conflicts of interest on the January 5th show were especially serious in light of that fact that they were not disclosed on your program.

First, the BMJ - which alleges Dr. Wakefield committed fraud - is in partnership with Merck and GlaxoSmithKline - manufacturers of the MMR vaccine. Its editor-in-chief Fiona Godlee admitted the BMJ failed to disclose these connections even though they should have.(1)

Secondly, Brian Deer is a freelance reporter; he is not employed by The Sunday Times as he claimed in a related interview on your network . He was put on this story by an editor named Paul Nuki whose father George Nuki knowingly approved a dangerous vaccine in 1988 that caused meningitis. Brian Deer was assisted by MedicoLegal Investigations - a front group of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry - and was the original complainant in the GMC hearing against Dr. Wakefield yet was allowed to continue to write about the story Deer created.(2)

Finally, to add to the litany of failures to disclose COIs on your program, a writer/producer for your show named Cate Vojdik is married to a medical reporter named Dr. Ivan Oransky.(3) 

Dr. Oransky is executive editor of Reuters Health - Thomson Reuters' CEO Thomas Glocer - Oransky's boss - is on the board of directors of Merck.(4) Oransky is also a longtime and major contributor to The Lancet, which retracted Dr. Wakefield's paper.(5) Dr. Oransky's father was a pediatrician who was personally responsible for vaccinating many children born between the years of 1972 and 1998.(6) The latest national prevalence estimates by the CDC show that children born in 1998 have an autism prevalence of 1 in 110.(7)  

Below is a link to the recent video of Dr. Wakefield's lecture at Brandeis University. Later in the lecture, Dr. Wakefield also shows that there is still evidence linking vaccines and autism - including from a CDC study claiming to show the exact opposite of all things. 

Dr. Andrew Wakefield at Brandeis University

I hope you will view this video of Dr. Wakefield's Brandeis lecture.

All the best,

Jake Crosby

Continue reading "Anderson Cooper 360 Writer/Producer Fails to Disclose Conflicts" »

False Statements from David Tayloe and Paul Offit About Dangerous, Withdrawn Vaccine

TayloeBy Jake Crosby

Recently, Dr. David Tayloe, past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, gave false statements about Dr. Paul Offit’s involvement in both the approval and the removal of the first Rotavirus vaccine, RotaShield. The vaccine was taken off the market more than a decade ago because it caused intussusception – a severe gastrointestinal condition that killed eight children. Last year, Paul Offit denied his involvement in RotaShield’s approval, claiming he did not vote to add it to the CDC’s childhood vaccination schedule, when he in fact voted for it three times. 

These are hardly the first false statements to have come from Tayloe and Offit, however. Paul Offit previously said that an infant can conservatively take up to 10,000 vaccines at once and David Tayloe claimed on the Today Show that “credible studies don’t show any relationship between vaccines and permanent injury.”

Tayloe’s latest false statement followed my question to “Pox” author Michael Willrich, who was speaking at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. I asked him if he was aware that Paul Offit was involved in the approval of RotaShield – the vaccine that caused intussusception in Willrich’s own infant son. Professor Willrich did not answer my question, but said he would talk to me afterwards. Now I know why.

Willrich’s talk was being taped by  Book TV for CSPAN-2. He then answered my question privately.

In my article about the talk –  The Original Paul Offit – I described a white-haired man who stood up right after me and flat-out denied what I said (46:28):

“To be perfectly clear, when the data came forward on the RotaShield incidents of intussusception Dr. Offit was among the first to say with the ACFE (sic) – the council – ‘this must be withdrawn,’ and that was not in his interest in the way it’s been portrayed here.” [gesturing towards me]

Although I had suspected it at the time, watching the C-SPAN2 video now has confirmed that the white-haired man who did not introduce himself at the lecture was indeed Dr. David Tayloe Jr., former president of the American Academy of Pediatrics whose father was successfully sued over a DTP vaccine injury sustained by one of his patients in the 1980s. The $3.5 million lawsuit was settled for $1.1 million, costing Dr. David Tayloe Sr. $400,000, which was not covered by his insurance.

Despite Tayloe Jr.’s claim that voting RotaShield onto the schedule was not in Paul Offit’s interest, it was in fact very much in his interest because its approval opened up the market to future Rotavirus vaccines, including Offit’s. Secondly, Tayloe argued that Offit was “among the first” to say the vaccine should be withdrawn. That statement was also false  – Offit merely said intussusception should be included on the label as a side effect – hardly a call for the vaccine’s withdrawal. Furthermore, Offit only voted to add the vaccine onto the schedule, never to remove it.

According to a blogger and proponent of “neurodiversity”, Paul Offit wrote her the following claim in an email exchange (boldface mine):

Continue reading "False Statements from David Tayloe and Paul Offit About Dangerous, Withdrawn Vaccine " »

Petula Dvorak’s Symphony of Pharmaceutical Lies

Petula DvorakBy Jake Crosby

 My Great-Grandmother Dvorak liked to say we’re related to the Czech composer Antonin Dvorak, but I seriously hope I am not related to the pharma-influenced Petula Dvorak, who writes a column for The Washington Post. She recently wrote a very unoriginal piece bashing Dr. Andrew Wakefield and alleging the reason people support him is because they are won over by Jenny McCarthy’s sexiness:

“That woman. With the swinging blond hair and spray tan. People listened to her. They still listen to her,”

Actually, they listened to the former chief science advisor for the UK’s Department of Health, Dr. Peter Fletcher, who said:

"There are very powerful people in positions of great authority in Britain and elsewhere who have staked their reputations and careers on the safety of MMR and they are willing to do almost anything to protect themselves."

People also listen to the US Government, which compensated many cases of children who developed autism as a result of their vaccinations. People listened to the previously suppressed  CDC data showing mercury in vaccines multiplied the risk of autism. People listened to the studies showing vaccine-strain measles in the  guts, blood and cerebrospinal fluid of children with autism. People listened to the scandal in Denmark where the team led by indicted fraudster Poul Thorsen used fudged statistics to argue that autism continued to rise after thimerosal was removed when just the opposite was the case. People listened to the fact that most of the tobacco science Dvorak invokes but probably only knows about through oft-repeated talking points actually found relationships between vaccines and autism but those findings were suppressed. People also listen to the side effects listed on vaccine package inserts. And finally, people listened to the increasing number of parents who reported eerily similar stories of their children regressing into autism following their vaccinations. Petula Dvorak didn’t listen to any of this; I guess she doesn’t have a very good ear.

She is a metro reporter who specializes in parenting issues and has also won praise from Lisa Belkin – the former writer of the “motherlode” blog for the ethically bankrupt and pharma-directed newspaper called The New York Times

Belkin once loaned her blog out to a member of Alison Singer's pharma front group that pretends to be an autism charity, resulting in another long, bitter and obsessive screed against Jenny McCarthy, similar to Dvorak’s recent piece.

Belkin is also colleagues with a reporter named Susan Dominus - who added to the chorus of lies about Dr. Andrew Wakefield by writing a similar story for The New York Times Magazine earlier this year suggesting he wins support by engaging in some covert form of mind control. Dominus’ article was moderated by Belkin’s blog, which censored many critical comments (I’ve never seen a comment of mine successfully uploaded to The New York Times website – and I don’t think I ever will). Susan Dominus previously wrote a puff piece for Seth Mnookin's Uncle Bob.

Continue reading "Petula Dvorak’s Symphony of Pharmaceutical Lies" »

Best of Age of Autism: Paul Offit’s Message: CDC, FDA, NIH, IOM, AAP, WHO and Merck Engaged in Pseudoscience

Finger-pointing2 Managing Editor's Note: Dr. Offit has been appointed to the IOM.

By Jake Crosby

Did Age of Autism move the goalposts? Paul Offit says yes, but statements from the CDC, FDA, NIH, IOM, AAP, WHO and even Merck say otherwise.
In the PBS documentary Frontline, responding to concerns about vaccine-related factors in the etiology of autism other than just thimerosal or the MMR vaccine, millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul Offit said:

“So now this is classic for pseudoscience, is you just keep moving the goalpost. So now the goalpost is, no, we didn't mean actually MMR caused autism or thimerosal caused autism”

First of all, we continue to mean that the MMR and thimerosal clearly do cause autism as actual science shows - even if routinely denied by the tobacco science Offit regularly cites.

Secondly, his dismissal of any further criticisms of vaccines beyond these two factors as “pseudoscience” conflicts with the expressed concerns of many high-ranking members of public health and the pharmaceutical industry. They voiced opinions that other factors such as aluminum and receiving too many vaccines at once may cause autism and related disorders.

At the secret Simpsonwood meeting 10 years ago, Dr. Richard Johnston - a pediatric immunologist funded by SmithKline Beecham - said (on page 20):

“Aluminum and mercury are often simultaneously administered to infants, both at the same site and at different sites.

Continue reading "Best of Age of Autism: Paul Offit’s Message: CDC, FDA, NIH, IOM, AAP, WHO and Merck Engaged in Pseudoscience " »

Jake Crosby Challenges BMJ Editor-in-Chief Fiona Godlee

Godlee By Jake Crosby

I couldn’t believe it. Yet there it was on Leftbrain/Rightbrain – news that Fiona Godlee would be giving a talk at the NIH entitled “Lessons from the MMR Scare.” When I clicked the link to the event on the NIH website, it confirmed that LBRB was actually right about something: Fiona Godlee, editor-in-chief of the British Medical Journal, was coming to the U.S. (Thanks Matt!)

So on September 6th, I took the Metro out to Bethesda, Maryland to participate in Dr. Godlee’s discussion, co-sponsored by The Fogarty International Center and the National Library of Medicine: two component organizations within NIH.

The person who introduced Fiona Godlee was Dr. Roger Glass, director of the Fogarty International Jake Godlee Center. I was interested to learn that this was not the first time Dr. Godlee had been at the NIH, seeing photos of her with Dr. Glass from her last visit five years earlier.

During his introduction, Dr. Glass described his own work on rotavirus, which spanned, as he put it, “much of my career.” Indeed, he had helped work on rotavirus vaccine development with millionaire vaccine industrialist Dr. Paul Offit. Yet, Dr. Glass said he was not interested in vaccine adverse events until the first Rotavirus vaccine was “crippled” by intussusception, as if the vaccine was the victim and not the children it harmed. It was at that point that he “realized there was a huge anti-vaccine movement outside” – more like the intestines of children turning inside out – including those of the infant son of my former professor, Michael Willrich.

When Dr. Fiona Godlee stepped up to the front of the room, almost everyone applauded. I couldn’t bring myself to clap for her, so I didn’t.

Her talk was hardly anything new – mostly just a regurgitation of practically every smear that’s ever been made against Dr. Andrew Wakefield within the last eight years. She did, however, make one startling admission when stating her three feeble excuses for failing to disclose her journal’s pharmaceutical connections.

First she argued that it “did not occur to me” to disclose because she did not see Brian Deer’s articles as “pro-vaccine” but “anti-fraud.” This, however, is directly contradicted by the accompanying BMJ editorial she cosigned with deputy editor Dr. Jane Smith and associate editor  Dr. Harvey Marcovitch – and in fact was the lead author of – which concluded (boldface mine):

The Lancet paper has of course been retracted, but for far narrower misconduct than is now apparent…leaving the door open for those who want to continue to believe that the science…still stands. We hope that declaring the paper a fraud will close that door for good.

That doesn’t sound “anti-fraud,” it sounds anti-Lancet paper.

Dr. Godlee’s next excuse was a complete oxymoron. She said did not see the pharmaceutical connections as conflicting because the Merck-Univadis partnership was with BMJ Learning and the pharmaceutical funding was for the BMJ Group Awards, claiming neither was part of BMJ.

I simply don’t follow her logic at all. Anything that’s part of the BMJ Group revolves around and would therefore be a part of the BMJ, hence the name.

Finally, the last excuse she gave for her failure to disclose her journal’s competing interests with Merck and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) earlier this year was:

“And the third which I didn’t say at the time because I was afraid it would make me look stupid is I didn’t know that MMR was made by GSK or Merck; I just didn’t happen to know that.”

Well, she certainly looks “stupid” now! How could the BMJ editor-in-chief who had defended the MMR vaccine for at least seven years not have known who made it?

At the end of her talk, Dr. Godlee concluded by hijacking a quote from Albert Einstein:

“The right to search for the truth implies also a duty; one must not conceal any part of what one has recognized to be the truth.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Continue reading "Jake Crosby Challenges BMJ Editor-in-Chief Fiona Godlee" »

Kathleen Sebelius Throws Arthur Allen Under The Bus

Sebelius pink jacket By Jake Crosby

Arthur Allen: tomato writer and the vaccine industry’s original media go-to guy, has now been thrown under the bus by the very folks he spent years defending – the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Just last month the department expressed skepticism over the validity of a quote he attributed to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, which was included in a February 5, 2010 interview for Reader’s Digest, "H1N1 The Report Card"

More than a year after my article, Did Kathleen Sebelius Pressure Media to Deny Vaccine Safety Voices?, which uncovered HHS Secretary Sebelius’ disturbing quote to Arthur Allen that “We have reached out to media outlets to try to get them to not give the views of these people [vaccine safety advocates] equal weight in their reporting,” Greg Dobbs of HDNet followed up on my initial findings, asking HHS to verify this statement Allen attributed to her. The response, in writing, was a shocker:

“No one here can remember or determine that this quote is factual.”

In other words, Arthur Allen, who had devoted his career to defending the vaccine industry – particularly the mercury-based preservative thimerosal - long before Chris Mooney, Michael Specter or Seth Mnookin entered the controversy - was effectively sacrificed to save the HHS Secretary from well-deserved embarrassment.

Allen even wrote an entire book in the vaccine industry’s defense. And yet, the HHS has now suggested he may have fabricated the quote he attributed to Sebelius. Especially bizarre is that Allen was hardly leading her to the answer she gave when he asked, “What can be done about public mistrust of vaccines?”

This incident also raises questions about how the HHS and perhaps other government agencies will eventually behave towards sympathetic reporters in the future, some of whom have engaged in serious ethical violations, which range from having  blatantly lied to committing outright fraud. Brian Deer has committed both. Let’s also not forget Gardiner Harris who violated the ethical guidelines of The New York Times.

Will these journalists also be thrown under the bus along with Arthur Allen? If so, how will they react?

Will they sacrifice their own credibility to support the people they’ve spent years defending? Will they turn against their new betrayers? Or will they say nothing at all? In order to find out how Arthur Allen would respond, I sent him an email asking if the quote he attributed to Sebelius, later questioned by the HHS, was true.

It’s been at least two weeks and he still has not responded.

Jake Crosby has Asperger Syndrome and is a contributing editor to Age of Autism. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a BA in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy. He currently attends The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services where he is studying for an MPH in epidemiology.

Brian Deer Tries to Cover His Tracks

Deer tracks By Jake Crosby

In trying to cover up the fact that he altered the original version of an article he authored for The Sunday Times, Brian Deer put the following claim beneath his article about Septrin, “The Pill That Killed,” hours after my article, Fresh Fraud: Brian Deer’s Vanishing Writing, went online:

[The length of this report varies slightly between Sunday Times print editions]

Yet the altered version on Brian Deer’s website is nowhere to be found in the Factiva intelligence engine, owned by Dow Jones, a subsidiary of NewsCorp, which also owns The Sunday Times – just the original article which quoted Margaret Best and said Wellcome’s “whooping cough vaccine damaged her son.” Even if Brian Deer’s bracketed claim was true, there is no explanation for him posting a scaled-down version of the article. Furthermore, why would he forbid me from going onto his website in the midst of my investigation if he had nothing to hide?

It’s bad enough that Brian Deer literally rewrote history, altering the 1994 article “The Pill That Killed” on his own website to remove any reference to vaccine injury. Yet we now discover that he also rewrote history in his 1998 defense of the whooping cough vaccine manufacturer, Wellcome, in “The Vanishing Victims.” In this article, he suddenly denied Margaret Best’s son was vaccine injured:

A drug company paid out more than £2.75m, plus costs, when an Irish court declared that Kenneth Best…was damaged by whooping cough vaccine. Brian Deer re-examined the evidence, including that of Kenneth's mother Margaret...and asks: what if the law got it wrong?

Deer then proceeds to chart what he considers the start of the controversial saga of the DTP vaccine, also known as the whooping cough vaccine:

On Friday, October 26, 1973, Dr John Wilson, paediatric neurologist, stepped to the front of the London lecture theatre of the Royal Society of Medicine…The topic of his contribution was brain damage caused by whooping cough, or pertussis, vaccination…To be honest, at the time I never paid attention to this saga's first 23 years.

Though he did acknowledge to have “casually commented” about a rare link between brain damage and the whooping cough vaccine in a 1988 Sunday Times article titled When Need Outweighs Blame, Brian Deer was anything but honest. He completely omitted that some 20 years after Dr. Wilson’s lecture, he wrote of Margaret Best that Wellcome’s “whooping cough vaccine damaged her son.” Deer even interviewed her for the “The Pill That Killed,” and yet pretends to have never met her four years later when writing The Vanishing Victims:

But then I got a phone call, from a woman in Ireland…

The caller was Margaret Best, a short, energetic, then 47-year-old Irish housewife, who had successfully sued a drug firm over her brain-damaged son, Kenneth Best.

You’d never know Brian Deer interviewed her before 1996 from reading The Vanishing Victims.

And possibly on the adage that my enemy's enemy is my friend, in November 1996 she invited me over to stay at her house near the city of Cork.

Of course, if Brian Deer had let on to his readers that Best knew him, trusted him and invited him to her house because he had been sympathetic to her plight years before, he’d expose himself as the betrayer he knew he was about to become.

Continue reading "Brian Deer Tries to Cover His Tracks" »

Fresh Fraud: Brian Deer’s Vanishing Writing

Laptop-sales-consumer-fraud-2 By Jake Crosby

Brian Deer is the reporter spearheading the current smear campaign against Dr. Wakefield, the lead author of the 1998 case series about children who developed autism and bowel problems after their MMR vaccinations. Deer falsely accused Wakefield of altering data. Yet, a new discovery reveals Brian Deer drastically altered the content of a copyrighted 1994 article he authored for The Sunday Times newspaper featuring Susanne, a grieving mother whose daughter was killed by a defective antibiotic known in the UK as Septrin, and her connection to the mother of a vaccine-damaged man. Deer committed this act of deception on his own website.

Brian Deer altered a passage from The Sunday Times, March 20, 1994 article, The Pill That Killed, which he authored. The original version is now archived in the Factiva intelligence engine. Text deleted by Deer from the original article is in red and Deer’s newly added text is in green.

Hers is perhaps a naive view, but Susanne has been stronger on questions than answers about the reasons for Justine's death. For the past five years, she has voraciously hunted for any information that might fill the yawning gap in her understanding. comprehension of what happened. In January, she studied a BBC documentary about Margaret Best, an Irish woman who was awarded [£]2.8m in compensation against Wellcome last year after its whooping cough vaccine damaged her son. Yet still Susanne could make no sense of the feelings that were nagging inside.

"Tell her not to feel guilty," says Best, who believes that Susanne should get immediate advice from a good specialist lawyer. "I know what it's like. There's something that's eating away at you. You've got to find the truth of what happened. And you just go and look for that. I can understand her anger and her frustration.” 

Click to enlarge the screenshot of the original 1994 Sunday Times Article by Deer:

Jake Post

Altered Passage First Uploaded to Deer’s Site in 2003:


Passage on Deer's site from 2009, remained altered six years later:


Passage as seen on Brian Deer's website now, still altered:


Unlike the original article that actually ran in The Sunday Times, the butchered version expunges all reference to vaccine damage and the hefty claim that was won against DTP vaccine manufacturer, Wellcome. The deleted text said the three-in-one DTP vaccine for Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (Whooping Cough) damaged the son of an Irish parent named Margaret Best, who was also quoted in the original article. All her quotes along with any mention of her or her son were among the text that was deleted.

In 1998, four years after he wrote The Pill That Killed, Deer would betray Best and son in The Vanishing Victims, a Sunday Times magazine article he wrote denying the vaccine damage suffered by DTP vaccine recipients, including Best’s son. Deer actually quoted himself in the article asking Margaret Best if her son is a dog due to his behavior.

Continue reading "Fresh Fraud: Brian Deer’s Vanishing Writing" »

Brian Deer’s Second Award - As Meaningless As The First

Deer certificate  By Jake Crosby

The UK’s “Press Awards” are not nicknamed the “Hackademy Awards” for nothing, especially in the case of Brian Deer. He has been given not one, but two such awards. The claim, made by Brian Deer, that the UK Press Awards are like the Pulitzer Prize is laughable and absurd.

The UK’s Society of Editors runs the Press Awards. Sitting on the Editors’ advisory council is Les Hinton, who recently resigned as CEO of Dow Jones in the wake of the Murdoch phone hacking scandal. Also on that committee is Rebekah Brooks, who resigned as senior executive of News International - which publishes The Sunday Times - and was then arrested.

For over a decade,  Brian Deer's only award was based on a faulty premise. It was called “Specialist Reporter of the year.” The judges said Deer was “the only journalist in Britain that polices the drug companies.” However, during the year for which he won his award, 1998, Brian Deer wrote an article alleging that patients who suffered neurological injury from the DTP vaccine were not really injured and should therefore not have received legal compensation for their injuries. That is the exact opposite of “policing” the drug companies, but is instead harrassing the victims of defective drug company products. In 2004, Glenn Frankel reported in the Washington Post that one of Brian Deer’s specialties “was tracking down false claims of damage from vaccines.

Weeks after the bogus premise behind his first award was reported on Age of Autism, Brian Deer was nominated for “News Reporter of the Year” and also for “Specialist Reporter of the year,” the latter of which he won at the ceremony in London’s Savoy Hotel on April 5th, 2011. That award was given to Deer for his smear campaign against Dr. Andrew Wakefield.

The measure of any great or even good journalist must be his independence. Journalism awards are supposed to be based on independent assessments of reporters’ work, otherwise they are meaningless. Furthermore, it seems too perfect that Brian Deer was nominated for a Press Award (that he would later win) mere weeks after Age of Autism revealed he had only won one award.

How surprising can this really be given that the Academy of Judges for this year’s awards ceremony included Richard Caseby, managing editor of The Sunday Times? Caseby became notorious for his exchange with Rosemary Kessick – one of the few parents of the Lancet 12 children that Brian Deer actually interviewed.

Following a 6-hour interrogation of Kessick by Deer in 2003, during which he falsely gave his name as “Brian Lawrence,” she complained to The Sunday Times executive editor John Witherow. The exchange is detailed by Dan Olmsted in his article,  An Elaborate Fraud, Part 2: In Which a Murdoch Newspaper’s Deceptive Tactics Infect the British Medical Journal.

Unfortunately, Kessick might as well have been complaining to GlaxoSmithKline, the board of which has retained News International boss, James Murdoch, since 2009. John Witherow recently wrote in a self-congratulatory piece about The Sunday Times’ investigative journalism on July 17th:

There have, of course, been many other investigations, including Brian Deer's outstanding work on exposing the doctor behind the false MMR scare.

Continue reading "Brian Deer’s Second Award - As Meaningless As The First" »

Marie McCormick’s IOM Remarks Leave A Bitter Taste

McCormick_bitters_A_Gamondes By Jake Crosby

Why does Marie McCormick – former chair of the panel that produced the botched IOM report claiming vaccines do not cause autism – currently serve as co-chair of the “Vaccine Safety Working Group” of the National Vaccine Advisory Council? Her past remarks should disqualify her from serving on any committees concerned with vaccine regulation as illustrated by the following examples retrieved from the leaked transcripts of the January 12, 2001 closed session of the Immunization Safety Review Committee of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine at the National Academies Building in Washington DC.

Here is a comment she made in 2001, justifying a preconceived conclusion about autism and vaccines:

“What I am trying to get at is, do we want to simply, on our gut, say looking at the significance of the wild disease that you are protecting, and the seriousness and potential association with the vaccine -- because we are not ever going to come down that it [autism] is a true side effect -- is that going to be sufficient for you to judge public health impact?” (p. 97)

Here is another leaked comment of McCormick’s from the same meeting about minimizing the public backlash while giving the IOM Report’s CDC sponsors what they want:

“It is safety on a population basis but it is also safety for the individual child. I am wondering, if we take this dual perspective, we may address more of the parental concerns, perhaps developing a better message if we think what comes down the stream as opposed to CDC, which wants us to declare, well, these things are pretty safe on a population basis. I offer that as one strategy as we take this dual track.(p. 33)

Those are unedited quotes of Dr. Marie McCormick from meetings of the Immunization Safety Review Committee on vaccines and autism - the committee that would eventually come to a formal “rejection of causation” in 2004, which effectively quashed federal funding of vaccine-related autism research. McCormick chaired that committee.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a conspiracy as “combin[ing] secretly for a… reprehensible purpose.” The drug industry loves to accuse others of invoking the C-word but this behavior of Dr. Marie McCormick and others – behind closed doors of the private, chartered IOM no less – is a conspiracy in the plainest sense of the word.

Needless to say, she should not sit on the National Vaccine Advisory Council. Even though her comments were made a decade ago, she continues to operate under the same principles as evidenced by her inaction on NVAC.

On June 14th, I decided to call up a session of NVAC and listen in to the public discussion among committee members. I was disturbed at what I heard:

One NVAC member said there should not be an independent vaccine safety committee because it would detract from what NVAC does! Another NVAC member said people who should be responsible for vaccine safety are “people like us – people who conduct clinical trials of vaccines” - for drug companies in other words. A third member said NVAC is like the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) – overall considered successful at preventing plane crashes because someone on NTSB probably worked for Boeing within the last five years. He provided no example of this because he couldn't; none of the NTSB board members worked for Boeing within the last five years.

Continue reading "Marie McCormick’s IOM Remarks Leave A Bitter Taste" »

Peter Bearman – Given Millions for His Opinions

Uncle sam hat money
By Jake Crosby

He may not receive the same level of attention as Paul Offit, but what Columbia sociologist professor Peter Bearman lacks in publicity, he more than makes up for in autism research money. Millions of your tax dollars are being given to him through the NIH under the guidance of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, whose chair, Dr. Thomas Insel, is the brother of a vaccine developer, Dr. Richard Insel. (When Vaccine Development is a Family Business. The Conflicted Role On Vaccines and Autism)

Is Bearman’s research worth the money being invested in it? This question was addressed on Age of Autism once before by Katie Wright, whose answer was pretty conclusive – “nonsense.” Kevin Leitch of Leftbrain/Rightbrain - perhaps the only place I’ve seen Peter Bearman receive a large amount of attention outside his own academic circles - leapt into the fray addressing none of Wright’s points while making a stink about how she simply won’t accept Bearman’s “science.” Little did I know at the time that this very debate would jump off the Internet and onto the Brandeis campus.

 On March 24th, I attended a lecture at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management held by the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy. The title of the event was “Understanding the Increased Prevalence of Autism.” The honorary speaker was none other than NIH-funded Columbia sociologist, Professor Peter Bearman.

Having read Age of Autism’s post about Bearman, Peter Bearman, Autism and the House of Nonsense, I knew what to expect, and none of what Bearman said really shocked me or was different from what I’d heard from him in the past. He went through his research - the increased risk of autism between same-sex twins and a corresponding decrease of autism between opposite-sex twins, his claims that autism is due at least in part to diagnostic substitution of the “mental retardation label,” the “social clustering,” the increased parental age, and the close spacing of births.

With the close spacing of births, Bearman did acknowledge that it was perhaps related to folate-depletion, suggesting a nutritional basis for autism spectrum disorders that might perhaps play a role. While nutrition may well be involved in the pathology of autism, historical epidemiology suggests these findings are hardly significant. Closely spaced births was a much bigger phenomenon 100 years ago when the average family size was considerably larger while autism prevalence was not even high enough to be detectable – if there was any autism back then at all – much less at epidemic levels like it is today.

After hearing Bearman talk for a good 45 minutes, the audience was allowed to ask questions. I brought up his paper in the International Journal of Epidemiology and its claims that diagnostic substitution could account for a 25% increase in the rate of autism. I told him it was based on a flawed extrapolation of a sub-group of about 9% of cases who switched from a diagnosis of mental retardation to a co-morbid or sole diagnosis of autism. I also mentioned that the conclusion was based on generalizing this group to the autism caseload as a whole.

He started to answer, then paused and said out loud, “How should I answer this?” He then gave a long-winded response about how difficult it was to quantify the increase and that he felt his methods were right, but never explained why. In his response, he made two amazing admissions:

1. The increased prevalence of autism is real. It was good to know that even Bearman admitted that the epidemic denial of anthropologist Roy Grinker – a frequent commenter on Bearman’s work – was bunk.

2. Four out of five of the reviewers of his paper had the problem I had about its incorrect extrapolation. “And now,” he said, referring to me, “five out of six,” in a half-joking manner.

Bearman still concluded, “But I think it’s a good paper.”

That is just not an acceptable answer. He might as well have admitted that the NIH was giving him millions for his opinions, because that in essence is what he just said. NIH funding is supposed to produce scientific papers, not editorials. I could just as easily get someone’s opinion by reading the comments on a HuffPo article.

Yet he still had the nerve to call studies of environmental factors “junk” in his response to another audience member’s question, after admitting that four out of five peer-reviewers have essentially said just that about his own work. Then he said that another paper of his that is up for peer-review at different journal will “probably get rejected,” which was followed by snickers from the audience – to which I thought “it’s funny to them that his research is garbage?”

Bearman also delved into the increased risk of parental age, saying this caused “de-novo mutations” in genes that was driving the increase in autism and making it more heritable. He showed us a graph of autism concordance between same-sex twins going up and between opposite-sex twins going down. Historically, twin studies have been used to claim autism is a genetic condition while spuriously omitting the fact that concordance between twin births is instead due to related environmental exposures and susceptibility. Bearman’s analysis was no exception here. He never mentioned that the older a parent is, the more exposure they’ve had to a particular substance, and the more exposure they’ve had to such a substance, the more likely it is to affect their unborn children.

With that in mind, I asked Professor Bearman if perhaps the trend in twin concordance by gender was due to the increase of something in the environment that puts a certain group of people at risk, noting that autism effects more boys than it does girls. He did not address my point about susceptibility factors – simply saying that the 4:1 ratio of boys to girls affected with autism has remained stable and offered no evidence for why “de novo” genetic mutations were more likely a culprit than environmental insults beyond the correlation to older parents.

What struck me as most incredible was his response to a student who brought up Wakefield’s case series and The Lancet’s retraction of the paper. The student, as repeated ad nauseum in the popular press, incorrectly called the paper a study linking vaccines to autism. I called out correcting her, stating that it never did.

Bearman responded that because autism exists in clusters as opposed to the “global usage of vaccines” that he does not think the vaccine-autism connection warrants further study. Of course, vaccination rates fluctuate just as autism rates do. It is absolutely bizarre that he would make such a statement, especially when his own research made almost no effort to see whether vaccination rates and autism rates were related.

Bearman also stated that vaccination exemptions were highest in places with high autism prevalence as a way of doubting the connection. Well, of course they would be; vaccination exemptions are a response to the soaring autism diagnoses. This should, if anything, intensify the urgency for vaccine-autism research.

“But what if that’s caused by fear of vaccines-induced autism?” – I asked.

He never answered my question, but did acknowledge, “I know you disagree with me.”

But Bearman’s disagreement also contradicts what he told a different audience in a video featured in Katie Wright’s article. To that audience, he said autism rates and vaccination exemptions are completely unrelated, and that autism organizations are scaring people away from vaccines – as if autism clusters form around autism organizations and not the other way around. I guess even Bearman figured that such an assertion was absurd and changed his story. Yet, the story he replaced it with was no less absurd. Evidently, he is also disagreeing with himself in the Columbia video lecture.

Continue reading "Peter Bearman – Given Millions for His Opinions" »

Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s Lecture at Brandeis – Now Online

Justice Wakefield By Jake Crosby

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 was a triumphant day. Dr. Andrew Wakefield came to Brandeis, and Poul Thorsen – the Danish scientist who coauthored the infamous reports used to cast doubt on the vaccine-autism connection – was indicted on charges of fraud. You can read the details about Thorsen HERE. And the video of Dr. Wakefield’s Brandeis lecture is now available. I don’t want to spoil anything for our readers, except to say that Dr. Wakefield did a great job. (Photo credit Asher Krell for The Justice)

Dr. Andrew Wakefield at Brandeis University from Age of Autism on Vimeo.

Alongside the Brandeis faculty, students and staff who were present, I was happy to see a substantial showing of friends of the autism community from off-campus. Dr. Richard Deth, professor of pharmacology at Northeastern University discussed the higher prevalence of autism among boys when Dr. Wakefield asked him to speak during Q/A. Dr. Deth and autism parent Heather McClennand - also at the lecture - were recently interviewed on Boston’s local FOX TV station.  Alison MacNeil attended the event, and then just five days later was featured in the PBS Series Autism Now, talking about her vaccine-injured son to her father Robert MacNeil. Also in attendance was a local pediatrician who commented on her observation of a higher incidence of autism after the Hep B birth dose was introduced. Fellow Aspergian/Autistic Chloe Ioffe was there as well as autism mom Allison Chapman, two of many who gave Dr. Wakefield a standing ovation. I was happy with the excellent turnout.

It’s been five months since the huge media blitz against Dr. Wakefield. Never before had I seen so many unsubstantiated charges so widely disseminated yet unchallenged. Since then, I have wanted to bring Dr. Wakefield to campus to address the claims against him.

One place where these claims were repeated was a New York Times op-ed from January, authored by Michael Willrich, Associate Professor of History at Brandeis. At first, I didn’t recognize the author’s name – thinking, “They replaced Gardiner Harris, already?” Then I read “Brandeis University” in the bio and it all hit me like a sack of bricks. It was my former professor!

I then had the idea of a Willrich-Wakefield debate, so I called Professor Willrich and left a message asking to meet with him. He wrote me a friendly email in response telling me how nice it was to hear my voice and that he looked forward to catching up. I then brought Professor Willrich’s name up to Andrew Wakefield, who told me he would have no problem debating my former professor if given the chance.

Unfortunately, that was the easy part.

As I was exiting one of my classes, I saw Prof. Willrich and asked him about setting up an appointment. He was very amicable, mentioning that he read my article in last semester’s issue of Brandeis Magazine. I replied that I saw his Op-Ed about Andrew Wakefield in The New York Times. At that point, I realized I had to spill the beans.

 “Would you like to debate him?”

The expression on my former professor’s face immediately changed from happiness to horror.

“Not really,” he replied.

Continue reading "Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s Lecture at Brandeis – Now Online" »

The Original Paul Offit

Barnes smoking By Jake Crosby Offit standing

The Philadelphia physician consulted for a vaccine manufacturer and staunchly defended the vaccine industry, denying immunizations could cause a neurological disorder. He invented a pharmaceutical product that would make him millions. To the popular press, he was the vaccine industry spokesman – denying vaccine damage in his writing to The New York Times while failing to disclose blatant conflicts of interest. He abused statistics and exploited his MD status to gain undue credibility with the public, while multiple public health authorities backed his views. He was extremely critical of parents of vaccine-injured children. The vaccine he defended was harvested from a farm animal, putting human health at risk. 

And he died the year Paul Offit was born – 1951.

His name was Dr. Albert Barnes – a physician and consulting chemist for the smallpox vaccine manufacturer H.K. Mulford Co. at the turn of the 20th century.  At that time, there was a controversy raging over Mulford’s smallpox vaccinations and whether they were responsible for an outbreak of tetanus cases in the neighboring city of Camden, N.J. The concept of regulatory laws to ensure the safety and effectiveness of vaccination did not even exist, and contracting a deadly, acute illness such as tetanus from a contaminated vaccine was a real risk back then. With nine children dead, Camden had one of the worst single outbreaks of post-vaccination tetanus on record. Across the river in Philadelphia, half the public school desks were empty due to fears of the vaccine.

To get to the bottom of this tragedy, the Camden Board of Health commissioned none other than Dr. Barnes – consultant to H.K Mulford Co. - to determine the root cause. The results were hardly surprising:

“It is hence evident that the infection from tetanus could not have been caused by the vaccine,” he wrote in a letter to the editor of The New York Times on November 19, 1901.“All the vaccine employed has been subjected to rigid bacteriological examination, and in not a single instance have tetanus germs been found.”

Who was really to blame for the cause of tetanus, according to Dr. Barnes?

In the Camden cases, the patients’ arms after vaccination were neglected by the parents of the children…In not one of the cases had the vaccination received proper care, but had been exposed to infection from every possible source.”

Answer: “the parents”

“In every one of the Camden cases the doctors who performed the vaccinations were not again consulted until the appearance of symptoms of tetanus, when they found the vaccination uncovered, except by dirty clothing, rags &c.”

Dr. Barnes’ entire letter is archived at The New York Times for anyone who can stomache it. (Scroll to the bottom for the beginning of the letter.) Note that the letter only mentions “seven” cases, suggesting two more children would die of post-vaccination tetanus in Camden: (See HERE)

What Barnes ultimately concluded was that the parents failed their children for not having their vaccination wounds routinely examined and kept clean by physicians – a claim that is now known to be ridiculous, but seemed plausible 110 years ago. In fact, it actually sounds more plausible than Paul Offit’s claim that a baby’s immune system can take up to 100,000 vaccines and be okay.

Like Dr. Offit, Dr. Barnes was also developing a drug that may have further conflicted his position on the H.K. Mulford vaccine and would eventually make him millions of dollars – a topical antiseptic drug he would trademark the following year under the brand name “Argyrol,” that would dominate the market before being replaced by antibiotics. In his letter to the Times, Dr. Barnes stressed the importance of keeping vaccine wounds “scrupulously clean” – arguing that the vaccine itself was not to blame. Did Dr. Barnes purposely withhold his connection to the pharmaceutical under development because he saw a potential market in future recipients of vaccines?

Continue reading "The Original Paul Offit" »

My Conversation with Seth Mnookin

Thats-what-he-said By Jake Crosby

Panic Virus author Seth Mnookin blatantly lied about me on his blog this week. He said I chastised him “for ignoring the evidence that vaccines cause autism and repeatedly cited Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 …study in The Lancet as proof.”  I never cited that paper as proof that vaccines cause autism. He confused his industry talking points with reality.

I met Seth Mnookin at the World Science Festival on June 2nd in New York City. My conversation with the vaccine industry’s trendy new spokesman occurred after watching him engage in a moderated panel discussion with four other journalists, in a theater full of science writers avidly taking notes. There was no opportunity to ask questions.

After the session ended, I walked up to Mnookin and the first thing I heard was him admitting to another person that he’s “sloppy” and that he even has to keep a whole corrections page on his website – as if, as our editor Dan Olmsted said, it’s a “badge of honor.”

I stood by patiently waiting for the right moment to introduce myself and hopefully engage him in conversation. My plans quickly shifted when I overheard him say Dr. Andrew Wakefield “faked his data.” At that point I knew I had to speak up:

“He did not fake his data.”

“What?” he replied, as if he was talking to a disembodied voice even though I was standing next to him.

“He did not fake his data,” I repeated.

“Yes, he did,” he responded.

“No, he didn’t,” I said back.

“I’m not gonna argue this with you!”  he shouted. He seemed to be on the verge of losing it. For a person who had jumped into a controversy as heated as this and claimed to be a proponent of open-dialogue, he sure did not like being challenged.

I tried to explain to him the process by which diagnoses of bowel disease are made at the Royal Free that Dr. Wakefield described in his Brandeis lecture:

A routine pathologist, not necessarily an expert on bowel disease, checks the samples, and – not being an expert – notes whether or not he sees any peculiarities. His reports are then followed up by an expert team, which reviews the findings. After that the expert pathologist gives the biopsies a further look and then makes the final evaluation on a scale of severity.

Just when I was about to explain how Brian Deer was the one to commit fraud by claiming that the routine pathologist’s report was altered by Dr. Wakefield rather than replaced by that of the expert pathologist, Mnookin interrupted me with another zinger.

“Parents said Dr. Wakefield faked his data.”

 I told him this wasn’t true. He told me that it was written that it was true. I told him the only person who had written this was Brian Deer.

At that point, a woman he was with cut me off to ask, “Who are you affiliated with?”

I replied that I was a contributing editor to Age of Autism, and continued with what I was saying.

At that point, he asked, “You’re Jake, right?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Seth,” he said back, as if I didn’t know who he was.

I apologized for not introducing myself and continued.  I said Brian Deer created the story he later reported - first complaining to the GMC and then writing about the GMC case against Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues. I pointed out that Deer insisted he did not complain to the GMC even though a UK High Court Judge said he had.

What did Seth Mnookin say to all this?

“I respect that.”

Throughout our discussion, that was pretty much his default line whenever he was confronted with a point he couldn’t refute.

He then changed the subject, bantering about how it was not just Brian Deer against Dr. Wakefield, but the whole medical and scientific consensus.

Continue reading "My Conversation with Seth Mnookin" »

Congratulations Jake Crosby, Brandeis Graduate!

Graduation Aof A Contributing Editor Jake Crosby is graduating from college today!!  He'll be receiving a BA, with a double major in History and Health: Science Society and Policy. Brandeis University's 60th commencement will be live-streamed at 10:30 a.m., if you'd like to catch Yo-Yo Ma playing the cello among others receiving honorary degrees.   http://www.brandeis.edu/streaming/ 

Jake will receive his diploma later in the day at one of the University's mini-commencement ceremonies for individual departments (not live-streamed). In the fall, he will be attending the MPH epidemiology program at The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.

A message from Jake to his readers:

Thank you all for your support throughout my college experience!

Brandeis Hoot Letters to the Editor: On Dr. Wakefield

Brandeis By Jake Crosby

By Readers of The Hoot
April 29, 2011

Section: Editorials

To the Editor:

While The Hoot’s article covering Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s April 13 lecture at Brandeis presented both sides, the accompanying editorial titled, “Don’t let Wakefield go unchallenged,” was completely biased and provided no support for its claims that Wakefield’s work has been “discredited” and contains “errors and flaws,” or that he “committed great harm through his research, which is filled with fraud and unethical conduct far more than it is with facts.”

In truth, Dr. Wakefield’s greatest harm is to the bottom line of the pharmaceutical companies when he points out serious risks in the vaccine schedule. One such example is the recommendation to delay the Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis vaccine by a mere two months, which has been shown to halve the risk of developing asthma according to a 2008 Canadian study from the University of Manitoba, as cited by Dr. Wakefield in his lecture.

The Hoot editorial also stated that Dr. Wakefield should have debated a Brandeis health policy or science professor. That’s exactly what I’d intended but those who were invited to debate him declined.

A January op-ed in The New York Times written by my former professor, Michael Willrich, criticized Dr. Wakefield. Yet neither Professor Willrich nor anyone from the social or natural science departments who opposes Dr. Wakefield and who was approached with the idea of debating him was willing to do so.

In The Hoot’s article, Dr. Steven Miles—a gerontologist who said Dr. Wakefield “scared” Minnesota’s Somali community—neglected to mention that autism affects a whopping one in 28 Somali children in Minnesota and that Dr. Wakefield was actually invited to speak by the Somali community.

The Somalis had plenty to fear from autism before they were visited by Dr. Wakefield, who advocated an initiative to study why the condition affects their population so profoundly. This is something the state health department and Steven Miles—who was quoted as calling Minnesota’s Somali community “unsophisticated and desperate”—are not publicly supporting.

Parents at the event who came from off-campus—many of whose children had been as sick as the children in Dr. Wakefield’s presentation—were represented as an “angry group” who had “gobbled up” “atrocious science and statistical fudging” in graduate student Zach Feiger’s statement to The Hoot. Yet he did not question the science or the statistics at the question and answer session. Isn’t it “atrocious science” to continue giving every infant the Hep B shot on the first day of life, which is associated with a three-fold greater prevalence of autism in boys according to a SUNY Stony Brook study cited in Dr. Wakefield’s presentation?

That there are people who would not debate Dr. Wakefield, ask him questions or even hear what he has to say is their own responsibility—not that of the speaker, the organizer or anyone else in attendance that night.

I am proud that Dr. Andrew Wakefield had this opportunity to address the allegations against him as well as the science of autism and vaccine risks. He spoke to a diverse audience of students, faculty, staff, parents of children with autism, scientists, a pediatrician and professionals in the field of autism.

—Jake Crosby ’11

Jake Crosby organized Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s Brandeis lecture and is a contributing editor to ageofautism.com.

Did the Dominus Effect Begin with Seth Mnookin’s Uncle Bob?

NewYorkTimesLogo By Jake Crosby

The saga of Seth Mnookin and his uncle, Robert Mnookin just gets weirder and weirder. First it has been revealed that Robert Mnookin is close colleagues with Linda Singer - the mother-in-law of pharma-funded wife, Alison Singer - and Michael Lewis, who sits on the board of her fake autism charity/pharma front group, “Autism Science Foundation.” (HERE) 

Now, the latest installment of this bizarre tale comes in the form of a smear piece against Dr. Andrew Wakefield in The New York Times Magazine authored by a reporter named Susan Dominus. The title speaks for itself: “The Crash and Burn of an Autism Guru.” Apparently, the previous title,  “Autism Guru Fights for His Reputation and Theory,” was too balanced for The New York Times, which has since changed the headline.

It was certainly too balanced for Seth Mnookin, who tweeted about it, “Unfortunate head on Wakefield profile in @nytimes mag: Autism Guru Fights For His Reputation & Theory (HERE).”

Then the title was revised to be more disparaging to Dr. Wakefield. 

The article gives Seth Mnookin’s book a plug:

[Andrew Wakefield] is very good at what I call whack-a-mole arguments,’ says Seth Mnookin, author of ‘The Panic Virus,’ a history of the controversy over autism and vaccines.

But Seth Mnookin is not the first Mnookin to have received a favorable quotation in The New York Times Magazine by Susan Dominus. In a 2005 article she authored for the magazine entitled, “The Fathers’ Crusade,” she gushed:

 Robert Mnookin, director of the Harvard Negotiation Research Project and a professor at Harvard Law School, is the rare expert who concedes that each side has legitimate concerns. A presumption of joint physical custody would have ‘’some nice symbolic attributes,’’ he told me; but he worries about how it would play out in practice. He notes that the parents whose custody negotiations end up going all the way to court tend to be the parents who fight the most. In those cases, he argues, forcing judges to implement joint physical custody is a bad idea for the kids, since it only perpetuates their exposure to the conflict. He contends, however, that if divorced parents know that a judge is disinclined to award joint physical custody in circumstances with a high degree of conflict, it creates an incentive for a parent who wants sole custody to create conflict. Mnookin says he doesn’t favor the presumption of joint physical custody, although he concedes that without one, the system gives mothers an advantage. ‘’In times of cultural transition like this,’’ he said, ‘’the law struggles.’’ (HERE)

Seth Mnookin’s uncle Bob liked this description of himself. In fact, he liked it so much that he listed a link to a special page containing the excerpt in the press section of his personal website. The chronology of the press list on his website suggests this was the first time he received such a favorable plug in the popular press. (HERE)

Now, in 2011, Robert Mnookin is in a position to pull his weight at The New York Times. He coauthored an article for The International Herald Tribune, a New York Times Company-owned newspaper, and just last year, his latest book received a glowing review in The International Herald Tribune which also ran on The New York Times website. Could Seth Mnookin’s uncle Bob have played a role – direct or indirect – in Susan Dominus’ current New York Times hit piece on Wakefield?

Continue reading "Did the Dominus Effect Begin with Seth Mnookin’s Uncle Bob?" »

Dr. Andrew Wakefield To Speak at Brandeis University

Callous By Jake Crosby

This Wednesday at Brandeis University, Dr. Andrew Wakefield will give a lecture and answer questions on what has become one of the greatest medical controversies of our time – the vaccine-autism debate in the midst of the autism epidemic.

If you are in the Boston area, please come and listen to a great lecture by Dr. Wakefield. Brandeis students, faculty and staff will be given first priority to ask questions of Dr. Andrew Wakefield at Wednesday evening's event. 

The event will be held in Rapaporte Treasure Hall in the library complex right next to the Usdan Student Center on the north campus and will begin at 7:30PM and go on until 9. Parking for off-campus visitors will be provided.

Below is the link to the campus map and a list underneath of all the buildings. Bring the cursor to “Goldfarb” to illuminate the designated building on campus – that’s where Rapaporte Treasure Hall is:
Follow signs for parking.

Jake Crosby is a college student with Asperger Syndrome at Brandeis University majoring in History and Health: Science, Society and Policy, an intern at Northeastern University and contributing editor to Age of Autism.

Seth Mnookin, Bob's Your Uncle!

Bob's your uncle By Jake Crosby

How did Seth Mnookin go from writing about baseball and rock n’ roll to defending the vaccine industry? He has become pharma’s media darling, parroting all the standard corporate fringe talking points in his widely publicized but error-laden (see HERE) book “Panic Virus” as well as to mainstream media outlets – telling them outright not to report the other side. Not surprisingly, Seth Mnookin – a former drug dealer and burglar who bit a police officer –has undisclosed ties to the fake autism charity and vaccine industry front group, “Autism Science Foundation,” through his own uncle no less.

Robert Mnookin is a professor at Harvard Law School where he chairs the Program on Negotiation. Teaching under him is attorney Linda Singer – mother-in-law of Alison Singer – founder of the “Autism Science Foundation” whose stated purpose is to avoid and discourage vaccine-autism research. Co-teaching with Linda Singer during her 25 years at the law school is attorney Michael Lewis, who happens to be a board member of the Autism Science Foundation along with Singer's daughter-in-law and Paul Offit.

But Linda Singer, Robert Mnookin and Michael Lewis have more than teaching negotiation at Harvard in common – Singer and Mnookin served on the board of directors of the think tank called the “Consensus Building Institute.” Furthermore, Robert Mnookin is a member of the board of directors for the think tank, CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution (alongside the Senior Vice President of Global Litigation for GlaxoSmithKline). Linda Singer is a member of the “CPR Panel of Distinguished Neutrals,” and her law firm, JAMS, is prominently represented on CPR’s board of directors. Michael Lewis is also consultant at JAMS, as well as a member of the Consensus Building Institute’s board of directors.

So here you have Michael Lewis who is on the board of directors for the Autism Science Foundation, Linda Singer who is the mother-in-law of the founder, Robert Mnookin, uncle of a bestselling author, and the prospect of a new book project from someone other than Paul Offit that can appeal to new parents. Although speculative, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see Seth Mnookin’s name coming up between these three close colleagues. Who else might be a strong candidate to write a book promoting the views of Alison Singer and Paul Offit?

Continue reading "Seth Mnookin, Bob's Your Uncle!" »

Alison Singer: Autism Mom, Pharma Wife

Halloween-spiderweb By Jake Crosby

Alison Singer: autism parent, IACC seat usurper, industry front group founder, recent guest on The Dr. Oz Show, and now - loyal Pharma-funded wife. Of course, that’s what she’s always been. We just didn’t know it, until now.

Mrs. Singer is married to Dan Singer, a longtime employee of McKinsey and Company: a global management consulting firm. Singer’s firm sponsors one of the awards given out by the British Medical Journal, which published and even endorsed British Pharmaceutical Industry sock puppet Brian Deer’s false allegations of fraud against Dr. Andrew Wakefield. McKinsey is not Pharma, you might say. True to an extent, but McKinsey’s commitment to the industry is significant. In the “industry practices” category of “client service,” McKinsey and Co. has a whole page on “Pharmaceuticals & Medical Products,” where they offer a wide range of consultation services to the pharmaceutical industry on everything from prescription pharmaceuticals, to over the counter medicines, to biotechnology and medical products and diagnostics. In 2006, in the company’s quarterly, an article was even run entitled “Avian flu: Expanding global vaccine production.” The avian flu vaccine is preserved in 49 micrograms of mercury, approximately twice that of a season flu shot. 

But on January 12 McKinsey did more than consult for the pharmaceutical industry; they partied with its leading vaccine spokesman, millionaire vaccine industrialist Dr. Paul Offit. An email invitation sent out by Alison Singer’s group, the Autism Science Foundation, read:

“Please join us for the book launch and signing

at the offices of McKinsey & Company
55 East 52nd Street, 21st floor
New York, NY 10022
Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hosted by: Autism Science Foundation

RSVP: Julie Martin
Tel. 646-723-3977

Underneath that message is a bio of Paul Offit and next to it is a picture of Offit’s book cover. Below the book cover, it says:

“All proceeds from sales of Deadly Choices will be donated to the Autism Science Foundation”

It’s more than a little odd that McKinsey would be promoting the work of the Autism Science Foundation (ASF). Ever sensitive to the prestige and standing of its partners, McKinsey would seem a more natural partner of Autism Speaks, the Park Avenue charity of the autism world rather than an upstart run out of Singer’s garage (actually, ASF rents Singer a desk and receptionist from a “Sunshine Suites” property in Noho). Understanding their ASF promotion requires understanding McKinsey’s longstanding role in the autism-vaccine controversies.

Continue reading "Alison Singer: Autism Mom, Pharma Wife" »

Brian Deer’s Only Award Based on Faulty Premise

Sine qua non By Jake Crosby

While CNN’s Anderson Cooper was shouting down Dr. Andrew Wakefield when he was responding to Brian Deer’s first charges against him that were published in the British Medical Journal on January 5, 2011, Cooper claimed Deer was an “award-winning journalist.” Such a title has become a sine qua non for any journalist that the establishment wants to promote, but the judges who gave Deer this one award could not have read his reporting, either that, or they were hallucinating.

In 1999, Brian Deer won “Specialist Reporter of the Year” award from the UK’s Press Association for his 1998 articles in The Sunday Times Magazine. News of the award, originally published in the newspaper and which Deer proudly displays on his online shrine briandeer.com, reads:

"Brian Deer, of The Sunday Times, was named Specialist Reporter of the Year in the British Press Awards last week. The judges were impressed by his investigations in the field of medicine, saying he was probably ‘the only journalist in Britain that polices the drug companies.’ Deer’s award-winning articles, in The Sunday Times Magazine, ranged from vaccine-damaged children to the hidden side effects of Viagra."

Continue reading "Brian Deer’s Only Award Based on Faulty Premise" »

Age of Autism Awards 2010: Dr. Paul Offit, Denialist of the Decade

Denial_hole_in_ground By Dan Olmsted 

Why bother to call attention to Dr. Paul Offit, the vaccine patent-holder who has led the attack on the idea that vaccines have anything to do with autism or any of the myriad of other ailments afflicting this generation of American children? Well, because other people are paying attention -- including the nation's pediatricians and the mainstream journalists who need to start calling him to account. Offit has a new book out -- "Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All." Here's the question doctors who recommend him to nervous parents, and parents unsure what to think, and journalists who interview him, need to ask: Why is Offit transparently opposed to ever studying the health outcomes of vaccinated versus unvaccinated Americans, even as he acknowledges that vaccines have a long history of causing serious side effects?

While his last book, "Autism's False Prophets," focused squarely on the disability now afflicting 1 in 100 children, Offit branches out here to deride those who have any concerns whatsoever about the safety of the current vaccine schedule. There is plenty of sympathy for parents of children who have died of infectious diseases, but perfunctory dismissal in cases where parents blame vaccines. 

Thus Michael Belkin, whose daughter Lyla died after her hepatitis B shot, is treated as a gullible gadfly, goaded by Barbara Loe Fisher into heading "the Hepatitis B Vaccine Project at her National Vaccine information Center. Soon Belkin, a Wall Street financial adviser, was everywhere" -- everywhere being the CDC and Congress, which is exactly where he should have been as a citizen and parent who believes that Hep B is a dangerous and unnecessary childhood vaccine that killed his daughter. Sniffs Offit: "Despite Belkin's certainty that hepatitis B vaccine had caused his daughter's SIDS, study after study failed to support him."

Parents of girls who died after Gardasil vaccination get similar treatment. The idea that Gardasil is dangerous is "a contention refuted by careful study" and "established science." 

And chickenpox vaccines are critically important because chickenpox can lead to shingles, "one of medicine's most debilitating diseases. Shingles is so painful that it has at times led to suicide. And shingles doesn't only affect the skin; sometimes when the virus reawakens it causes strokes, resulting in permanent paralysis. Chickenpox is a disease worth preventing." Absent is any acknowledgement of the evidence that the vaccine itself, by reducing cases of simple childhood chickenpox, has led to a big increase in shingles by removing the protective immunological "bump" those who already harbor the virus receive when they are re-exposed.

Hannah Poling and the government's $20 million concession that vaccines resulted in her autistic regression? Not mentioned. Billions paid out by vaccine court for all sorts of injuries over the past 20 years? Well, vaccine court is a strange place ...


Offit and baby no $ Anyone concerned about any of these things fits Offit's definition of anti-vaccine, because vaccines don't cause any of them, because Paul Offit says so, a solipsism that is really quite breathtaking: "[B]ecause anti-vaccine activists today define safe as free from side effects such as autism, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, strokes, heart attacks, and blood clots -- conditions that aren't caused by vaccines -- safer vaccines, using their definition, can never be made."

Yet Offit himself yields an amazing amount of ground by describing unsafe vaccines -- including early polio shots and a rotavirus vaccine that was the immediate predecessor of his own. His technique is to situate all this as historical, part of the triumphant march of progress into the bright sunshine of vaccine safety. Here's a description I find especially astonishing: "When Barbara Loe Fisher burst onto the scene, several vaccines had serious side effects, every year causing allergic reactions, paralysis, or death. Public health officials and doctors didn't hide these problems. But they didn't do anything to correct them, either. And most parents had no idea they existed."

Public health officials did nothing to fix vaccine problems that led to paralysis and death? And parents didn't know about it? Is this not an indictment of the medical industry, and an unintentional endorsement advocates who have worked to remedy it?  Does it not argue that at least some of the time parental observations may well be correct, an early warning system of the first order? Well, no, because apparently those things no longer happen -- to say otherwise, in Offit's parallel universe, would be anti-vaccine conspiratorial quackery. 

Jenny and evan Much of the book is a score-settling screed against anyone who's ever criticized him or vaccine safety surveillance, including Fisher, Jenny McCarthy and J.B. Handley. So it's no surprise that his "can't be done" argument against studying unvaccinated populations for any untoward outcomes arrives in the middle of an attack on Handley. Offit quotes J.B.'s comments on a Larry King segment in April 2009: "Larry, we have no idea what the combination risk of our vaccine schedule looks like. At the two-month visit, a child gets six vaccines in under fifteen minutes. The only way to test that properly would be to have a group of kids who get all six and a group of kids who got none and see what happens. They don't do that testing. They have no idea."

Offit's comment: "Handley was asking for a study of vaccinated and unvaccinated children. One result is certain: given recent outbreaks of Hib, measles, mumps, and pertussis, no vaccinated children would suffer and possibly die from preventable infections. It would be, of course, an entirely unethical experiment. No investigator could prospectively study children who are denied a potentially lifesaving medical product. And no university's or hospital's institutional review board worth its salt would ever approve such a study." 

Offit goes on, outrageously, to compare Handley's proposal to the infamous Tuskegee experiment in which doctors withheld treatment from black males suffering from syphilis in order to study the natural course of the disease. 

P-LEEZE. No one I know of is suggesting that a study of unvaccinated children deliberately withhold vaccination. Rather, there are growing numbers of never-vaccinated children in America -- a fact Offit acknowledges with dismay -- and plenty of families willing to participate in such a study. State governments have vaccine waivers on file for public school attendance that are another obvious source of non-life-threatening data.

The real problem for Offit is not an ethical one; the real problem is that any such study would trump all the self-interested industry and CDC studies that never manage to include never-vaccinated chldren as a control group. Informal efforts to do that -- by myself, J.B.'s Generation Rescue and others -- have pointed toward less autism and asthma, and been met by the medical establishment and its sycophantic sock puppets with an absolute frenzy of denial and misdirection.

In our book, "The Age of Autism -- Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-made Epidemic," MarkAge of Autism_cover quote (3)  Blaxill and I discuss this aversion to doing the obvious. "A very simple test goes right to the heart of the vaccine controversy: What is the difference in total health outcomes, including autism, between vaccinated and unvaccinated populations? We would argue that we've uncovered a number of natural experiments in human populations that suggest we should be seriously concerned over the ever-increasing load of childhood vaccinations, especially in the United States. ... Oddly, when it comes to doing such studies in human populations, and studying the autism levels in the Amish, the homeschooled, or philosophical objectors, vaccine industry proponents resist mightily. Conducting human vax/unvax studies in existing unvaccinated groups would be so fraught with methodological problems that they are 'retrospectively impossible.' As for controlled studies, they would be so burdened with permission problems that they would be 'prospectively unethical.' In short, the resistance to the proposal to do vax/unvax work has not only taken the attitude that 'we already know the answers,' but 'we should not seek to know.' It's pretty hard to make scientific progress in the face of this kind of epistemological nihilism."  

I am begging, on bended knee, that pediatricians quit putting Offit on a pedestal, and that mainstream journalists do their job and ask him why he is so averse to any study that involves the health of never-vaccinated children. Don't let him call you "anti-vaccine," and don't let him change the subject to the quite thoroughly separate issue of preventing deadly disease. That's an important topic, but there is room at the table for both effective public health policies against disease AND a fearless examination of whether today's vaccine schedule contributes to chronic health problems -- whether Paul Offit denies it or not.


Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism