Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Not much I can add to this . . .

Orac and the gang are all over it of course. Pit bull reporter Brian Deer, who has had his jaws clamped onto psychopathic mass murderer Andrew Wakefield for years, finally drags his quarry to the ground. He demonstrates what we have all always suspected -- Wakefield's study suggesting a link between the MMR vaccine and autism wasn't just sloppy and wrong, it was intentionally fraudulent. Whether Her Majesty can find a way to prosecute him remains to be seen, but it will be a shame indeed if he gets away with it.

I'll bet you can predict how the corporate media are covering this. Yep, they're Fair and Balanced. Here's CNN's headline and lede:

Doctor Defends Retracted Autism Study

A physician accused of an "elaborate fraud" in a now-retracted British study that linked autism to childhood vaccines is defending himself, telling CNN his work has been "grossly distorted."

Speaking on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," Dr. Andrew Wakefield said Wednesday he has been the target of "a ruthless, pragmatic attempt to crush any attempt to investigate valid vaccine safety concerns."

The story then briefly summarizes the accompanying editorial in BMJ, gives Wakefield another shot: "Wakefield dismissed Brian Deer, the writer of the British Medical Journal articles, as "a hit man who has been brought in to take me down" by pharmaceutical interests. Deer has signed a disclosure form stating that he has no financial interest in the business," gives Deer a chance to deny that he is a tool of the pharmaceutical industry, then brings in Wakefield's fans to pile on more horse manure:

Wendy Fournier, president of the National Autism Association, defended Wakefield in a CNN interview.

"I cannot imagine for a second that Dr. Wakefield would have any reason to falsify data," she said. "He's a man of integrity and honesty and truly wants to find the answers for millions of children who have been affected by autism."

Fournier accused pharmaceutical companies of trying to protect their turf.

"You can't question vaccines without being destroyed," she said. "There's too much money at stake here."

J.B. Handley, the father of an 8-year-old with autism and a co-founder of Generation Rescue -- a group that believes there's a connection between autism and vaccinations -- also questioned the motivation behind the investigation into Wakefield's work.

"Children are given 36 vaccines in the U.S. by the time they reach the age of five," he said. "This is an attempt to whitewash, once and for all, the notion that vaccines cause autism."

There's is some more He Said/She Said and then Wakefield's defenders get the last word:

Wakefield's defenders include David Kirby, a journalist who has written extensively on autism. He told CNN that Wakefield not only has denied falsifying data, he has said he had no way to do so. "I have known him for a number of years. He does not strike me as a charlatan or a liar," Kirby said. If the BMJ allegations are true, then Wakefield "did a terrible thing" -- but he added, "I personally find it hard to believe that he did that."

Of course Wakefield had a way to falsify his data -- just make it up. And that's what he did.

So that's it -- your typical "Shape of the Earth, Views Differ" story. This matter is settled. It is not controversial, it is not a debate on which reasonable people can differ, in which both points of view must be given equal consideration. On one side you have people who are stating facts, and on the other hand you have liars and their victims. Yet the corporate media seems incapable of grasping the situation.


C. Corax said...

Don't worry about it. When large numbers of kids start dying of preventable diseases, maybe a whole 'nother set of parents will find that slimeball and have a "discussion" with him.

kathy a. said...

wow, deer's piece is amazing.

kathy a. said...

not all mainstream media outlets are missing the point. the washington post reports it accurately as a fraud.

Cervantes said...

Yes, the AP story is fine too. But I've found a few more that are also Fair and Balanced.

kathy a. said...

mother jones:

roger said...

we watched anderson cooper last night challenge wakefield and let him make a fool of himself. cooper gave deer a long last word.

deer was calm and informative. wakefield wild-eyed and sputtering ad hominem attacks.