ghostwriter: A person whose job it is to write material for someone else who is the named author. - Oxford Dictionaries
By Jake Crosby
As surprising as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. chopping out the chapters on autism from his book “Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak” while saying there is no proof thimerosal causes autism, is the identity of one of the professional writers he hired to write his book for him. The creator listed in the file properties of Kennedy’s unpublished manuscript had actually defended the neurotoxic vaccine preservative thimerosal, which appears to shed light on Kennedy’s decision to strike the chapters.
Adam Hadhazy is a “freelance science writer” with his own professional website and linkedin account. He also authored a piece for Popular Mechanics in 2010 defending thimerosal, titled “The Truth About 9 Anti-Vaccine Studies.” In it, he quoted millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul Offit as summarizing Dr. Mark Geier’s research on thimerosal and autism “junk.” Hadhazy also called Dr. Andrew Wakefield “discredited” and wrote that his 1998 Lancet paper on children with autism and bowel disease “largely launched the dangerous anti-vaccination movement.”
Adam Hadhazy further cited the letter former CDC researcher Thomas Verstraeten wrote to Pediatrics falsely stating that CDC did not conceal any evidence thimerosal causes autism. Citing Paul Offit, Hadhazy suggested that infants can “conservatively handle thousands of vaccines simultaneously”. The take-away point from all this is that Hadhazy is an all-purpose defender of the vaccine program, and he’s written Kennedy’s book for him. Hadhazy’s “substantive, behind the scenes role” in Kennedy striking the chapters connecting thimerosal to autism is more than evident.
In the Washington Post, Dr. Mark Hyman – celebrity doctor who wrote the book’s preface – takes credit for convincing Kennedy to remove the chapters. Yet Dr. Hyman is an awfully strange person to have done so, given that he has no history of writing about thimerosal. Dr. Hyman further echos a familiar pharma talking point: “Yes, there’s been an increase in autism, even as we take out thimerosal” (Ironically, the CDC data Dr. Hyman relied on to defend thimerosal is not even considered reliable by thimerosal defenders). Hadhazy’s piece for Popular Mechanics on thimerosal and vaccines is heavily laden with pharma talking points.
In Kennedy’s officially released book, the entire part on autism is removed including a chapter titled “Autism Rates Decline When Thimerosal Exposure Levels Are Reduced” and another on the government’s concession that vaccines caused autism in Hannah Poling. The entire part critiquing media coverage was removed as well. Even chapters in remaining parts were pulled. Those include chapters on CDC and AAP’s conflicts of interest, the Breusewitz v. Wyeth Supreme Court decision siding with drug companies, the Homeland Security Rider seeking to protect thimerosal maker Eli Lilly and CDC’s intimidation tactics against scientists such as Dr. Mark and David Geier and Prof. Richard Deth. Those chapters were apparently “too combustible” to keep as well, as was the word “Causative” that was taken out of the chapter title that formerly read “The Verstraeten Study – Causative Links between Thimerosal and Neurological Damage.”
Meanwhile, Age of Autism continues to ardently defend Kennedy, saying on its Facebook page: “If you’d like to piss in the cornflakes, find another bowl.”
It looks like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has already done that to his own bowl.
Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy and a 2013 graduate of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology. He currently attends the University of Texas School of Public Health where he is studying for a Ph.D. in Epidemiology.