Antivax lies from a local reporter

It’s worse than I thought.

A local investigative reporter has just broadcast a report on mercury, vaccines, and autism that was devoid of any investigation. It was a piece of lazy journalism, relying on the propaganda of the antivax cults, rather than real medical information. It was a pure propaganda piece. Before this aired, I did email Wilson and offer to hook him up with actual experts. I received no reply.

Let me share some details…

I have the transcript for fisking, but first some propaganda elements. The president of the American Academy of Pediatrics was given two brief cameos. They were close up, and she was perspiring a la the Nixon-Kennedy debates—she was made to look bad. And he accused her of lying. She stated that mercury is not present in most childhood vaccines, and Wilson flat out said that it’s in at least 11 of them. She was given no chance to respond. Random folks from a Green our Vaccines rally were, however, given free rein to say anything without fear of being contradicted. He used loaded language liberally, often emphasizing that mercury-containing vaccines are routinely given to young children. The lies and deceptions were not enough for this guy.

Anyway, on to the transcript.

Anchor Lead:

It’s the controversy that won’t go away. Is the skyrocketing rate of Autism in children due in any way to the mercury long contained in childhood vaccines? It’s an issue our chief investigative reporter Steve Wilson has stayed with from the start…and Steve will science ever answer this one?

Already we’re begging the question. Is there really a “skyrocketing rate of Autism (sic)”? According to actual statistics, no

It could happen one day but only if researchers keep looking…and with 1 in 150 children now diagnosed with Autism in this country–more than 100 new, young victims every single day–a lot of skeptical parents and others believe there’s a big incentive for industry and government to cover up the truth.

Implication: if only the government would just stop covering things up, and if real studies were done, the problem would be obvious.

Well, I’ve got news for ya, Steve: the studies have been done, over and over again, and they are of good quality, and from many different nations. Vaccines don’t cause autism. Also, there is no cover up.

Steve’s quote from the doctor: “I don’t think anybody is saying you want to inject mercury… for routine vaccinations, we don’t allow it to happen.”

Steve’s juxtaposed quote from a mom with no stated credentials other than having an autistic child: “…and I know for a fact people that have gone to their physician and have been told there was no Thimerosal in their vaccine, then the parents asked to see the package insert and they find it there.”

Nice. Take the doc, make her look terrible, take the mom, make her look great. Have the mom, with no credentials contradict the doc without any evidence other that “I heard it somewhere”. Then treat it as the truth. Did you actually investigate any of these “facts”, Steve? You are an investigative reporter. If an expert tells you something, ask another expert if they agree. If some random kook tells you something, try to nail it down. That’s what reporters are supposed to do.

A congressional committee that studied the matter has already concluded: “Thimerosal…is directly related to the Autism epidemic.”

It could have been prevented or curtailed “had the FDA not been asleep at the switch” allowing the untested toxic to be part of the vaccine recipe, something the committee report blamed on “misplaced protectionism of the pharmaceutical industry.”

Presidential candidate John McCain says now there’s “strong evidence” of a link between skyrocketing Autism and the mercury in vaccines.

No respected medical body or government institution has ever found a connection.

He then goes on to show Boyd Haley, who Wilson calls “a scientist and pioneer in the study of this issue.” Actually, Haley is an “expert” in the issue in the same way that my daughter is an expert in poop—she is terribly interested, has some interesting ideas based on fantasy and immaturity, is illiterate, and completely wrong. But at least she’s cute.

Wilson goes on to cite similar “experts” on issues that, if he had even bothered to consult an expert or even google, would have sent him running away screaming. For example, he quotes the infamous “monkey study”, which added nothing to our understanding of autism. He then uses the “Amish Gambit” in which antivaxers claim that the Amish don’t vaccinate and have a much lower incidence of autism. This is false.

And if the deception wasn’t thick enough, he repeats the typical canard about the Hannah Poling case…despite the wild claims made, the government admitted no connection between vaccines and autism in the Poling case. Read it.

This report is full of so many of the typical lies, it makes me sick, and sad. Investigative reporters are essential to democracy. They are willing and able to dig up buried facts, to chase down stories without fear of losing a job, and to basically disturb the peace for the greater good. With great power comes great responsibility. Exercise it, Steve, and next time, do your damned homework.