Author Archives: Jake Crosby

Editor of Autism Investigated Earns MPH in Epidemiology

Dear Readers,

It is now official; I have earned a Master of Public Health degree in epidemiology from The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my readers for their continued support and insight – those who have followed my work and continue to follow my work even after I began my own website. You have contributed to an interactive and lively discussion here at Autism Investigated that is badly needed, but sadly not possible at other blogs.

In the meantime, I am a Ph.D. student concentrating in epidemiology at the University of Texas School of Public Health. It is regrettable that posts have been quite sparse over the past month – the reasons being largely due to travel and becoming adjusted to my new program. However, rest assured that Autism Investigated is still alive and well and will continue to deliver independent investigations uncovering the who, what, when, where and why of the autism epidemic.

Sincerely,

Jake Crosby, MPH

Editor of Autism Investigated

How Dan Olmsted and David Kirby Helped Kill A Landmark Autism Lawsuit

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By Jake Crosby

It may sound bizarre, but that is exactly what happened when journalists Dan Olmsted and David Kirby interfered with Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs’ Reverend Lisa Sykes’ 2008 personal injury lawsuit against drug companies Bayer, Wyeth and GlaxoSmithKline. Incredibly, Olmsted and Kirby were persuaded to co-write a letter that took the side of the drug companies against Sykes’ case. Even more bizarre was who successfully appealed to Olmsted and Kirby to support Bayer: vaccine industry mainstay blogger Dr. David Gorski, via an open letter on “Science”Blogs. (He would later accept direct funding from Bayer: a 30,000-euro grant according to Gorski himself.)

It all began when “neurodiversity” blogger Kathleen Seidel of the now-defunct neurodiversity.com website was subpoenaed by attorney Cliff Shoemaker, who was representing Reverend Sykes in her case against Bayer and other pharmaceutical companies for injuries her son sustained from mercury exposure through vaccination and Rh-immunoglobulins. Seidel had quite a track record of pro-pharma activities. She had complained against scientists to their state medical board and to the FDA, and had also written in support of the CDC freezing outside researchers from accessing a federal database. These complaints by her would eventually culminate in a scientist being coerced by FDA into voluntarily withdrawing a product from the market, even though it met FDA’s safety standards. Seidel’s complaints would also lead to a scientist losing his medical license and his son being fined $10,000 by a medical board known for flouting fairness statutes meant to protect doctors. According to millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul Offit, Seidel falsely claimed to him that Generation Rescue co-founder JB Handley threatened her with a lawsuit which in turn led to Handley being libeled in Offit’s 2008 book. He would be forced to change the text in his book. Not surprisingly, Seidel had also attacked Rev. Sykes’ case.

So what is wrong with Sykes’ lawyer, Clifford Shoemaker, subpoenaing Kathleen Seidel in order to try and find out possible connections she may have to pharma? Well, according to the vaccine industry blogger David Gorski’s letter to Kirby and Olmsted: ”freedom of speech” and the “First Amendment.” Gorski also insisted Seidel was not connected to the pharmaceutical industry (as if he would admit that she was if he was privy to this information) and noted that she is not a defendant in the case, despite her persistence in helping those defendants by targeting their critics. Gorski did make one point to Olmsted and Kirby that was correct, however:

If both of you, who so strongly disagree with Kathleen’s conclusions, were to speak out, it would shame Shoemaker and his clients, the Sykes, beyond any condemnation that I or the rest of the blogosphere can provide.

Indeed, Olmsted and Kirby were in a unique position to undermine Reverend Sykes’ case against Bayer and other pharmaceutical companies given that both journalists are well known to be on the same side of the debate as Sykes. That is the real reason Gorski wrote them his letter as he stated himself. He even hilariously tried to make them feel sympathetic towards Seidel by saying that they wouldn’t like being subpoenaed by vaccine manufacturers, and ended his email with the following plea:

If a lawyer representing a plaintiff suing vaccine companies can get away with this, just imagine what abuses lawyer [sic] with the resources of a big pharmaceutical company or the government could perpetrate to silence blogospheric critics. Imagine what mischief they could cause by demanding the correspondence, e-mails, financial records, and contacts with religious groups from their critics. That would be you, Mr. Kirby and Mr. Olmsted.

Just think about it.

Sincerely,

Orac

And yet, Orac, (blogging pseudonym for Dr. David Gorski) supports that very “mischief.” After Dr. Andrew Wakefield sued Brian Deer, Dr. Fiona Godlee and the British Medical Journal for libel in 2012, Gorski wrote Dr. Wakefield’s lawsuit:

…would allow them [Deer and Godlee’s lawyers] to subpoena all sorts of information…It might also, as I’ve pointed out, allow the defendants’ lawyers to depose all manner of Wakefield’s connections relevant to this libel suit, possibly even some of Generation Rescue’s luminaries and bloggers at AoA, given that it appears very much to me as though GR (Generation Rescue) and AoA coordinate their attacks on Deer and Godlee with Wakefield.

When Dr. Wakefield first filed his lawsuit, Gorski wrote that:

Communications between Wakefield and any AoA blogger might be subject to discovery.

That would include “Mr. Kirby and Mr. Olmsted,” not to mention me and potentially anyone else who has ever contributed to Age of Autism and corresponded with Dr. Wakefield. Obviously, Gorski would support the Merck and GSK-funded British Medical Journal, its editor Fiona Godlee and writer-for-hire Brian Deer serving Olmsted and Kirby with a subpoena. Gorski’s ploy is not surprising at all, given his complicity in the CDC’s thimerosal-autism cover-up and IOM’s subsequent whitewash.

What is devastatingly surprising, however, is Kirby and Olmsted’s response that came just three days after Gorski’s letter that blatantly stated: “I am appealing to both of you to use your influence and position in the autism biomedical movement to protest this shameless action by Mr. Shoemaker.”

In a complete betrayal to the autism community, Olmsted and Kirby did use their influence to protest Shoemaker’s subpoena, but they only sent their letter of protest to David Gorski. It appeared on his blog and nowhere else:

We both take this matter very seriously, and strongly oppose any effort to subpoena the records of Ms. Kathleen Seidel. We have also clearly expressed our feelings to Mr. Shoemaker. While we may not agree with her opinions, we consider Ms. Seidel to be a colleague. Rights to privacy, and to free speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment, must be upheld for all. We urge Mr. Shoemaker to reconsider, and drop this action against Ms. Seidel.

David Kirby

Dan Olmsted

Perhaps the most shocking part of the letter is their reference to Seidel as their “colleague” – a colleague who has no journalism credentials, who complains against scientists to their state’s medical board, the FDA and medical journals while advocating for outside researchers to be frozen out of accessing a taxpayer-funded, federal database. That is the “colleague” Kirby and Olmsted profess to support on the basis of “free speech” – a “colleague” whom by Gorski’s own standards as applied to Dr. Wakefield’s case – would be more than appropriate to subpoena.

It gets worse, however, much worse.

Less than two weeks after Kirby and Olmsted’s signed letter of support for their “colleague” Kathleen Seidel invoking the first amendment, Seidel gained free legal support from a Washington, DC-based consumer advocacy group called “Public Citizen.” More specifically, she was receiving support from Public Citizen’s “First Amendment Team.”

Dan Olmsted is connected to Public Citizen through its Health Research Center director/cofounder Dr. Sidney Wolfe. Dr. Wolfe’s involvement in Public Citizen spanned nearly four decades. Did Dan Olmsted provide Kathleen Seidel with free legal support? Whether directly or indirectly, the letter of support for Seidel he cosigned with Kirby could have only helped.

Within a day of David Gorski boasting about Public Citizen’s support for Seidel on “Science”Blogs, Shoemaker’s motion to subpoena was quashed. Less than two weeks after that, the Sykes dropped their case against Bayer and other pharmaceutical companies. The following month, the Sykes’ lawyer Clifford Shoemaker was professionally sanctioned.

As this was all happening, Olmsted and Kirby’s support for Seidel drew the ire of one notoriously cantankerous Age of Autism reader – autism father and Hating Autism blogger John Best. He tried to complain about Olmsted and Kirby’s support for Seidel – and by extension Bayer – in the comments of Age of Autism, only to be censored. Eventually, Best was banned from commenting on Age of Autism altogether. Apparently, Seidel’s right to free speech is more important to Age of Autism than that of its own readers as well as the scientists whose reputations she worked to destroy and whose research she worked to stifle.

John Best is not the only person who did not receive a satisfactory explanation from Kirby and Olmsted regarding their support of Seidel. David Kirby did not respond to my inquiry for this article. (I merely asked him if anyone other than Gorski had pressured him to write the letter.) Age of Autism editor Dan Olmsted has informed me that he refuses to communicate with me altogether. When we were still communicating, however, he figuratively claimed:

John Best wants to shoot me, and I’m a good guy!”

At that time, I had no idea that this “good guy” helped quash a thimerosal lawsuit against Bayer – much less that that was what Best had been complaining about and been censored from Age of Autism over. Then in 2011, David Gorski disclosed taking research funds directly from Bayer. I would love to know what role Olmsted and Kirby’s letter invoking “free speech” may have played in helping secure direct pharmaceutical funding to Gorski – a blogger who ironically considers them worthy of subpoena by vaccine industry-backed litigants.

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated and is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a BA in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy, He is completing his candidacy for an MPH in epidemiology from The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.

Gardiner Harris Infects Forbes With Herper Virus

Matt Herper
Matt Herper, Senior Editor of Forbes

By Jake Crosby

Forbes Magazine has shamelessly given a platform to vaccine industry talking heads such as Emily Willingham and “Science”Blogger Peter Lispon. Its senior editor – Matt Herper – routinely writes articles pushing pharma talking points, while censoring the science CDC has tried to bury that utterly contradicts its party line. Ironically, when Herper first entered the debate, he seemed to hold promise as an inquisitive reporter. That, however, did not last long. So what influenced him? The probable answer: The New York Times’ ethically bankrupt reporter Gardiner Harris.

Matt Herper first came to this debate in 2007 when the CDC released a heavily biased study that sought to absolve thimerosal of causing neurological harm, using information from the CDC’s Vaccine Safety Datalink Project (VSD). Its lead author, William Thompson, is a former Merck employee and its senior author Frank DeStefano was already caught trying to bury proof that thimerosal was causing neurological damage. In spite of the fact that the 2007 study cut 70% of its participants, it replicated earlier research by DeStefano and colleagues associating thimerosal exposure with tic disorders and speech delays. Furthermore, the 2007 study never examined autism as an outcome. In fact, it never studied unvaccinated children.

As a result, Dan Olmsted, formerly of rescuepost.com, asked CDC why the lack of study of unvaccinated children. After receiving many long, circuitous answers, Olmsted tried to ask a follow-up question but was cut-off. Fortunately, there was another reporter who shared his concerns, and whom Olmsted quoted as asking:

“So I was just wondering in a follow up question about why not compare to unvaccinated kids. And you – if I understand right, you included all children from several managed care organizations in order to enroll?”

Olmsted thanked Matt Herper for asking the question, but did not follow up on how Herper actually covered the CDC’s study. That was a whole different matter.

The title of Herper’s article speaks for itself: “Fear Factor.” Herper coauthored the article with Forbes’ then-senior editor Robert Langreth. The third sentence speaks volumes:

The overwhelming consensus among scientists that vaccines don’t cause autism or learning problems is getting a boost today from a government study of 1,000 children that showed no evidence at all that receiving vaccines containing a mercury-containing preservative, thimerosal, caused any problems for children at all.”

Neglecting special populations such as unvaccinated Amish, Herper and Langreth simply cited CDC’s simplistic excuse as to why no unvaccinated children were studied:

Researchers couldn’t compare kids who got vaccines with those who didn’t, because almost all children are vaccinated. Only three kids out of every thousand in the United States don’t get at least some vaccinations.

Forbes was not the only mainstream publication that covered this study in such a deceptive way, however. Over at The New York Times, the conflicted “journalist” Gardiner Harris wrote an article that predictably began:

Yet another study has found that a controversial vaccine preservative appears to be harmless.”

However, if the preservative appeared to be “harmless,” then the CDC wouldn’t have replicated past research associating it with speech delays and tic disorders. The CDC study would have also included autism among its outcomes, but did not. Harris did not even address the fact that no unvaccinated children were studied, as Herper and Langreth did.

Why would different reporters from different publications report on this story from the same dishonest perspective? Perhaps because Robert Langreth and Gardiner Harris were old colleagues who cowrote articles for The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) – a newspaper whose editorial bias predates both Forbes Magazine and The New York Times. WSJ has published unsigned editorials supporting the rider in the Homeland Security Bill that sought to shield Eli Lilly from thimerosal litigation. After Langreth left Forbes for Bloomberg News, Herper became senior editor. In other words, Herper took over Langreth’s job, but still manages Forbes’ content on the vaccine-autism issue exactly like Gardiner Harris’ former colleague Langreth did – by backing the government’s cover-up of vaccine injury through censorship and propaganda.

We can almost certainly thank Gardiner Harris for infecting Forbes Magazine with the Herper Virus. Veteran public health reporter Harris is now in India where he came down with travelers’ diarrhea for not washing his own mango.

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated and is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a BA in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy. He is completing his candidacy for an MPH in epidemiology from The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.

Ask Tina Brown to Condemn Linking Autism to Child Porn

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Editor’s Note: Above is a photo of Tina Brown and son, Photo Credit: Patrick McMullan Company

By Jake Crosby

With Temple Grandin now disassociating herself from her mother Eustacia Cutler’s fallacious article in The Daily Beast linking autism to child porn, attention now shifts to The Daily Beast itself, particularly site’s editor Tina Brown. In an article for the now-defunct Newsweek Magazine of which she was editor, Brown referred to her “adored” adult son with Asperger’s. It is then especially odd, given that she has a son with Asperger’s whom she adores, that she would allow a totally baseless article claiming autistic men are more likely to be pederasts. She remains silent on the topic even after being asked on Twitter how she could have published such a piece.

Tina Brown is responsible for articles published on The Daily Beast website. That means she should vet everything The Daily Beast runs, and it is possible she could have simply missed Cutler’s article. Nonetheless, it seems highly unlikely that the mother of a son with Asperger’s would have completely missed such a sensationalist and bigoted story by the mother of perhaps the most famous autistic person alive today and who ever lived.

In Brown’s piece where she discusses her son’s disability, she talks about the attempt of parents like her to “patch together a tolerably happy existence” for their offspring. Among the hopes she has for her son is “a safe sex life,” according to that article. Now everybody should have a safe sex life. However, the common complaint I’ve heard from other autistic men is simply the lack of a sex life – nothing about concerns for safety. Obviously, a sex life involving something illegal would not be safe.

If Tina Brown was aware of the article, does she relate to Eustacia Cutler’s article in some way? Perhaps she knows of somebody in the autism community who fits Cutler’s profile of an autistic male pederast? The only person I know of who might fit that profile is the psychologist mentioned in autistic blogger Jonathan Mitchell’s response to Cutler’s article, and that psychologist’s claim of an autism diagnosis is dubious according to Mitchell. Whether Brown does know of an autistic man who looks at child porn or not, it is still no excuse for painting the entire male autistic population with such a denigrating association.

While Tina Brown may be able to deny ever knowing about this article before publication – however unlikely that may be – she cannot deny having any responsibility for running Eustacia Cutler’s piece. Brown has an obligation to speak out against the bogus allegations Cutler raised.

Tina Brown owes it both to her profession as a journalist, and even more importantly, to the entire autism community. Send an email to editorial@thedailybeast.com, put “Attn: Tina Brown” in the subject line and ask that she condemn Eustacia Cutler’s article.

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated and is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. 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 completing his candidacy for an MPH in epidemiology.

Protest Daily Beast’s Bogus Autism-Child Porn Connection

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Update, August 8, 2013: In response to an inquiry by Autism Investigated concerning Dr. Temple Grandin’s possible role in her mother’s article that associated autistic men with child pornography, a liaison of Dr. Grandin’s replied: “Dr. Grandin was not consulted on the article and was not aware of it’s publication until she saw it on the internet.” However, there is still no response from Tina Brown or anyone else at The Daily Beast.

Editor’s Note: It is appalling that The Daily Beast would run a damaging, unsubstantiated and offensive article falsely alleging that autistic men are more likely to look at child pornography than the rest of the population. The story was written by Temple Grandin’s mother of all people, who does not even have an autistic son – only an autistic daughter. She applies her false logic to autistic men but not to autistic women. Jonathan Mitchell, autistic author of the Autism’s Gadfly blog, wrote a great response re-posted below. However, I have removed the hyperlink to the article from his blog post because I do not want to publicize the Daily Beast story. Anyone who wishes to find it can do so. To make matters even worse, IACC member John Elder Robison publicized the article in the first sentance of his Psychology Today blog. I echo Jonathan Mitchell’s call to write the editors of The Daily Beast to protest this story at editorial@thedailybeast.com and also urge readers to protest this story to Temple Grandin herself from her personal website’s contact page:  http://templegrandin.com/ask.html Daily Beast editor-in-chief Tina Brown has written in Newsweek that she has a son with Asperger Syndrome. She can be reached on Twitter @TheTinaBeast.

Are autistic men pedophiles? Bizarre stuff from Temple Grandin’s mom

I’ve just read a very offensive, at least to me, article written on the Daily Beast allegedly by Temple Grandin’s mother who implies that many autistic men are pedophiles who spend their time looking at child pornography and end up being registered sex offenders.  Nearly three years ago, I wrote about Nick Dubin, a neurodiversity activist who as a matter of public record was arrested by the FBI for downloading and looking at child porn.  Dubin, a licensed clinical psychologist and one-time director of a school for special needs children, has made the somewhat dubious (at least to me) claim that he himself is on the autism spectrum.  I’m not sure what happened to his case, whether he plea bargained, was convicted or acquitted.  Other than this I don’t know of a single documented example of an autistic pedarest (or wannabe child molester).  I wish Ms. Cutler would provide one but she does not.    

Ms. Cutler makes the entirely alleged (with the emphasis on alleged) claim that an autistic man brought his computer into a repair shop and the technicians found child porn on his hard drive.  No name is given, no link or documentation whatsoever is provided as to the veracity of this story.  

She goes on to make the bizarre and bigoted claims (with no evidence) that autistic men as a general rule have abnormal sex drives and need children to teach them to have sex and this somehow drives them to download child pornography yet does not give a single example (other than her alleged one) of this phenomenon in practice.  She claims to quote University of North Carolina professor Gary Mesibov who seems to somehow concur that as a rule many autistic men are pedarests and pedophiles.  She provides no documentation of where Mesibov has said this.  

I wish she’d give some sort of documentation of this or some sort of published study that claims that autistics have a tendency toward pedophilia.  Or if anyone else reads this blog and wishes to comment on an example I’d be interested in hearing about this.  

I hope people can understand why I find this most offensive.  I wonder if ASAN will get involved with this, since they seem to take offense at something like the Ransom notes campaign which would seem to be considerably trivial compared to this.  I’ve written an email to the Daily Beast urging them to retract this article or at least apologize for it.  editorial@thedailybeast.com  I hope other people will do so also.  Somehow I think this is more offensive than some deragatory song lyrics or other (at least to me) lesser or more trivial matters that petitions have been started over. 

No More Federal Research Fraud – OPPOSE HR1757!

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By Jake Crosby

Yesterday, Age of Autism ran an action alert from its sponsor, SafeMinds, urging readers to ask their congressional representatives to support HR1757, or the “Vaccine Safety Study Act.” SafeMinds describes HR1757 as follows (boldface mine):

“Also known as “The Vaccine Safety Study Act,” this bill, introduced by Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), directs the National Institutes of Health to conduct a retrospective study of health outcomes, including autism, of vaccinated-versus-unvaccinated children…”

In other words, this bill aims to mandate the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct a vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study of autism and other disorders before the NIH and other federal agencies are forced to clean up their act and stop engaging in the institutional research misconduct that causes the vaccine-autism cover-up to persist. Although the initiatives of congressional representatives like Bill Posey and Carolyn Maloney to investigate malfeasance by government agencies should be commended, HR1757 only helps to legitimize and facilitate federal research misconduct by agencies like NIH, while distracting from efforts to expose government corruption. Autism Investigated supports vaccinated versus unvaccinated research conducted by independent researchers at academic institutions, but not conducted by federal agencies that merely pursue predetermined results. NIH is one of those agencies. According to Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in his Rolling Stone article “Deadly Immunity”:

“Even in public, federal officials made it clear that their primary goal in studying thimerosal was to dispel doubts about vaccines. “Four current studies are taking place to rule out the proposed link between autism and thimerosal,” Dr. Gordon Douglas, then-director of strategic planning for vaccine research at the National Institutes of Health, assured a Princeton University gathering in May 2001. “In order to undo the harmful effects of research claiming to link the [measles] vaccine to an elevated risk of autism, we need to conduct and publicize additional studies to assure parents of safety.” Douglas formerly served as president of vaccinations for Merck, where he ignored warnings about thimerosal’s risks.”

That alone should disqualify NIH from conducting research on vaccines and autism, but there’s more. When I had an opportunity to speak to NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins at the July 2012 IACC meeting, he defended the 2004 Institute of Medicine report his agency co-sponsored for which the decision to reject autism as a side effect of vaccination was determined before the review of any scientific research. Dr. Collins also defended his agency expelling me from a talk by millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul Offit, after Offit libeled me. Additionally, NIH destroyed video footage of my removal and then ran an article in its weekly newsletter repeating Offit’s libel. Most egregiously, in 2011 BMJ editor Fiona Godlee was invited to libel Dr. Andrew Wakefield at NIH. I asked her questions during her lecture, and none of her allegations held up to questioning.

The action alert itself, written by SafeMinds’ Executive Director Eric Uram, is wrong on multiple levels. He gives his organization full credit for CDC data obtained through FOIA showing cumulative thimerosal exposure from vaccines multiplies the risk for autism and other disorders exponentially, when in fact that data was actually discovered by Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs‘ Vice President David Geier. Uram also repeats one of the vaccine industry’s major talking points – that prospectively studying unvaccinated children would be unethical. In fact, there is no way one could argue a prospective study would be unethical as long as the study investigators have no control over the exposure.

A prospective study would be more rigorous and possibly more feasible to conduct with the increasing numbers of unvaccinated patients. Yet there is data obtained through FOIA showing significant harm done by just one ingredient in vaccines coupled with the fact that the vaccine schedule as a whole has never been tested. So a randomized controlled trial would not only be ethical, but necessary and way overdue. A retrospective study like the kind SafeMinds is asking for would be much easier for NIH to manipulate than a prospective study, whether experimental or observational. It is especially unfortunate that SafeMinds has succeeded at convincing congressmen like Bill Posey that such a study is the way to go.

To ask your representatives to oppose HR1757, follow the steps below:

•    Find your House Representative: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/.

•    Call and schedule a meeting at their district office and urge them or their staff to oppose this very destructive bill, knowing the outcome of any NIH vaccine study.

•    Contact the offices of Rep. Posey and Rep. Maloney. Explain to them very politely that while you support vaccinated versus unvaccinated research, you do not support such research being done by federal agencies that have committed scientific misconduct to cover up adverse side-effects from vaccines. Ask that they work instead to expose the research fraud committed by government agencies like NIH, not ask for more research from NIH.

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated and is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. 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 completing his candidacy for an MPH in epidemiology.

 

Seth Mnookin Claims My Handshake Was Jab in His Chest

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By Jake Crosby

This fallacious and bizarre new allegation of Seth Mnookin’s came in his first and only blog post about me in which he wrote (boldface mine):

“Jake, as I told you the first time you accosted me at a talk, in New York City in June 2011 — you remember that, right? It was the time you refused to shake my hand and instead jabbed me in the chest in front of dozens of people…”

And yet, in my article about our June 2011 encounter which he did not dispute, I wrote (boldface added for emphasis):

“He [Seth Mnookin] continued about how I’m not going to convince him of my views and he won’t convince me of his, then he put out his hand, which I felt was merely the pinnacle of his suck-up ploy.

“So you aren’t gonna shake my hand, now? C’mon!”

Despite my hesitation, I shook his hand.”

What’s so remarkable is that not only does Seth Mnookin’s claim that I jabbed him in the chest instead of shaking his hand contradict what actually happened, but what actually happened was chronicled by me in my article that ran online one week after our exchange. His account of my jabbing him in the chest, among other fallacies of his about our encounters, came in a July 25th, 2013 blog post about me ironically titled:

“Crosby’s labyrinth, or why I couldn’t stop myself from replying to the vaccine conspiracy theorist to end all conspiracy theorists.”

That’s right – according to Mnookin, I’m not just the vaccine conspiracy theorist to end vaccine conspiracy theorists, but “to end all conspiracy theorists.” He responded to a comment I left on one of his blog posts slamming Jenny McCarthy for her views on vaccines after she was confirmed by ABC to co-host “The View” this fall.

His response was basically fictitious accounts of our past encounters that are directly contradicted by actual, verifiable facts that I detailed shortly thereafter. His description of our handshake as a jab in the chest was only the beginning.

Seth’s fiction
I accost him.
He asks me to shake his hand.
I refuse.
I jab him in the chest.

What really happened
He slanders Dr. Andrew Wakefield.
I defend Dr. Wakefield.
Mnookin shouts at me.
He verifies who I am.
He tells me who he is (even though I already know who he is).
I apologize for not introducing myself initially.
He asks me to shake his hand.
I shake his hand.

Not only does he give a false account of what happened during my first encounter with him, but also my second encounter with him where he booted me out of the room starting with his claim that the event I attended was “invitation-only.”

In summary, the contrast between what Seth Mnookin said happened and what actually happened goes like this:

Seth’s fiction
I crash his invitation-only event.
I introduce myself to his televised image and begin my “monologue.”
In the middle of my “monologue,” he disconnects.
While he’s disconnected, I’m asked to leave (presumably because I was not invited).
His connection comes back on.
By the time it does, I’ve already left.
The first thing he says after his connection is up is that I shouldn’t have been removed.

What really happened
I try to sign up for his event online.
I’m put on a waitlist.
I’m let into his event off the waitlist.
I introduce myself to his televised image and begin asking my question.
Suddenly he disconnects.
He returns and repeats the last words he heard me say.
I continue my question.
He cuts me off and accuses me of disrupting past events of his.
I’m ejected.
As I’m being ejected, he proceeds to answer my question unchallenged.
He’s still rambling even as I’m walking out the door.

After giving a heavily fabricated account of what happened at his event where I was ejected, he then attempted to address my very first article about him: “Seth Mnookin, Bob’s Your Uncle!”

He tried to play down his uncle Robert Mnookin’s connections to the mother-in-law of vaccine industry front group/“autism charity” president and founder Alison Singer, as well as to a board member of her organization.

Seth’s fiction
His uncle is presumably just a professor specializing in negotiation and mediation at Harvard Law School.
Alison Singer’s mother-in-law only taught mediation there “at various times.”
Her colleague, an Autism Science Foundation board member, has no direct connection to Harvard Law School.
To have known of Seth Mnookin, Singer’s mother-in-law and her colleague would have had to have looked “into the backgrounds of everyone they’ve ever worked with, served on a board with, or had professional dealings with.”
Seth Mnookin took a huge professional risk by parroting the talking points of a front group for a highly profitable and partially taxpayer-funded branch of the pharmaceutical industry.

What really happened
Seth Mnookin’s uncle chairs Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation.
The mother-in-law of the founder of Autism Science Foundation, a vaccine industry front group that poses as an autism charity, taught mediation in the program for 25 years according to her professional bio.
One of the mother-in-law’s colleagues co-taught mediation with her for that same time period.
That colleague also serves on the board of the Autism Science Foundation.
Seth Mnookin writes a book that echos the pharma talking points of the Autism Science Foundation.
In exchange, he gets rewarded with two years of media appearances, speaking engagements, book awards, a forum at PLoS blogs and even an MIT professorship.

Seth Mnookin’s accuracy at reporting events is truly dismal, as his own blog post about me shows. His year-and-a-half to two-year-after-the-fact accounts of what happened during our encounters are not only contradicted by what actually happened, but by what I wrote actually happened within a week of those encounters. Not surprisingly, his denial in his blog post that he specifically called my question to him at Harvard four months ago “insigificant minutia” that is “devoid of facts” is blatently false.

Of all his fictitious accounts in his blog post about our encounters, however, his suddenly claiming two years after the fact that our handshake was me jabbing him in the chest takes the cake. In fact, it takes the whole bakery.

Addendum, July 30, 2013: Seth Mnookin has now further embellished his sham account of what he falsely claims was my refusal to shake his hand and instead jab him in the chest in New York City. He said he stuck out his hand offering me to shake it when I first approached him, saying I refused to shake it. Not only did I shake his hand, but our handshake did not happen until well into our conversation. This was after he told me he agreed with me that there weren’t enough services for people with autism, in contrast to his claiming I disagreed with him on that point. At no point in our encounter did I discuss any “proof” of him being on the take, nor did I jab him in the chest as he repeatedly claims. Details of our encounter can be found in the article I had written one week later: “My Conversation with Seth Mnookin.”

Seth Mnookin
then discusses my ouster from Age of Autism, insinuating I was banished for claiming Age of Autism is conspiring with government officials to cover up vaccine injury. The latest article stemming from my ongoing investigation into the congressional activities of Age of Autism sponsors can be found in the following post: “Mark Blaxill Publicly Attacks Critics.” Nowhere in this article or in any article of mine written prior do I allege that those who hijacked the congressional autism hearings conspired to do so with those who have covered up vaccines’ role in causing the autism epidemic in the first place.

Addendum, August 2, 2013: 
Age of Autism’s UK Editor John Stone took Seth Mnookin to task in the comments of his blog over his fictitious accounts of our past encounters, specifically Mnookin’s bogus claim that I jabbed him in the chest.

It is appalling that a serious scientific publisher would give houseroom to such a column, which has nothing to do with scientific argument. I have had one or two disagreements with Jake but I don’t believe that he jabbed you “in front of witnesses”, and why mention it now instead of taking action at the time? A slight matter of character assassination aside it is a non-sequitur and ad hominem.

Whatever, Jake made a material point about how the Institute of Medicine selected its evidence – he did not even get into how they pre-arranged it (IOM closed meeting 12 Jan 2001) –

http://www.putchildrenfirst.org/chapter6.html

before we also note the fundamental problem that IOM preferred highly flawed statistical analysis to case studies of injured children (some of whom have received awards quietly from the VICP as they admitted to Sharyl Attkisson).

“The government has never compensated, nor has it ever been ordered to compensate, any case based on a determination that autism was actually caused by vaccines. We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease. Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures.”

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-20016356-10391695.html

An identical statement was given to David Kirby, reported in Huffington Post.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-f-kennedy-jr-and-david-kirby/vaccine-court-autism-deba_b_169673.html

What we are really dealing with here is journalist led science. Anyone who steps out of line has to be taken out: Wakefield, McCarthy, Crosby…If I may say so it seems me that with all the hatchet work across the media on Jenny McCarthy the real issue is that she is a parent who stood up and called a spade a spade. And the things that she described happen: they’ve even been compensated on the quiet.

 

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated and is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. 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 completing his candidacy for an MPH in epidemiology.

Age of Autism Condemned For Banishing Autism Investigated’s Editor

jakecrosbyageofautism

Editor’s Note: Below is an email sent by an autism parent to Age of Autism complaining, in part, against my banishment as contributing editor to the site and ends by requesting that I be allowed to contribute again. While I enjoy my new forum, Age of Autism is nonetheless dishonest to continue listing me as a contributing editor when I can no longer contribute to the site. Though Age of Autism never published the email, it was then forwarded to the Bolen Report where it was first published online in full.

“I’m writing to all of you to tell you about my frustrations with the autism movement. I agree with Tim Bolen that right now we DON’T have an autism movement. We don’t have ANYTHING AT ALL. And it is time to change that. I looked at AoA and then the Canary party full of optimism. I contributed money. And what is the outcome? NOTHING to show of. The Canary party has made no progress whatsoever. And kicking Jake Crosby out of AoA is low and disgusting. You guys should be ashamed of yourselves. You were supposed to be the glue that united all of us, but you’ve turned into one more…

So, what is the autism movement?

ARI, TACA, Generation Rescue, NAA, Autism Speaks (though I absolutely believe that this is big pharma in a sheep costume). and many, many others… all going in independent ways and nobody is accomplishing anything at all, we are too broken.

What is our message? We can’t even agree on one…

So, I understand (and welcome) Tim Bolen’s frustrations and harsh remarks. I think we need to listen to him. Let’s work with the Health Freedom Fighters and see if we can take this “autism movement” to some place…. From my side, I wanted to contribute some of my ideas, in case they take you to some place that you had not thought out. So, here are some of the top priorities in my opinion:

1. Winning the information battle regarding autism and vaccinations. This is a MUST.

We ABSOLUTELY need to change the social discourse on vaccinations. Big pharma keeps paying journalists to publish these bogus reports on how we are having measles outbreaks and those are horrible and the cause of them is the autism community (and Wakefield, of course). We need to stop just weakly responding to those statements and change the approach: we are the ones that need to keep publishing about how we have studies that vaccines cause autism, there are no studies to evaluate combinations on vaccines, big pharma wants to push for more vaccines because of money (and no risk to them), CDC is the marketing branch of big pharma, etc. So, we need to accomplish this through several actions:

a. Develop a list of journals and journalists that are on our side and can help us push these messages. We need to keep feeding them information and support them as much as we can.

b. Develop some standard messages with links to articles, etc where parents like myself can go and use to push specific messages to specific articles. Right now every parent has to make their own research to find all the links with articles, all the stories, etc. We don’t have that much time. But if we could have a central place (like the one on the 12 or 14 studies), that would be great. It would help us deliver more messages with less researching on content. And for you, the messaging would be much more clear.

c. We need to find a way to make it more “expensive or painful” for journalists to be on the side of big pharma. Right now, if they take the messages from big pharma they get the rewards from them with none of the responsibility. I think if we made a web page called “journalists encouraging autism” or something like that (with negative connotation) and we start adding the links to their articles and talk about how they are promoting more autism, eventually they may think twice about what they are writing as we are not going to forget who they are. I saw Trino Tsouderos evolution into prOfits best buddy. It still drives me crazy…

d. Once I thought about a game called: 6 degrees of freedom from big pharma (like 6 degrees of freedom from Kevin Bacon). The idea is to find how all the vaccine pushers are within 3-4 degrees of big pharma. If we could popularize such a game it could win us a huge battle in the world of misinformation (people would really start understanding how everything revolves  around the money of big pharma).

2. We need to make the US a place where our doctors can explore new ideas with our children without fearing about what happened to dr. Wakefield. So, this takes us back to my priority 1.

3. We need to get many more politicians on our side and for that, again, we need to succeed on number 1. And then we need to get the help of the politicians to help us stop the funding from big pharma into the CDC and FDA. I think that is a huge MUST. But we won’t be able to do it unless we win number one first. Which is why we need to change the social perception on vaccinations. Learn from what the LGBT movement has accomplished. We could certainly learn from them…

4. Another topic is a study of vaccinated vs unvaccinated children. This is another important area of need. And we should do crowd-sourcing for it. I think we need to identify the doctors and statisticians that can help us set up the study (so that it is really tight and big pharma cannot dismiss it). We can get the money through parent supporters like myself. But we could use crowd-sourcing for many other things if we could just identify the areas of priorities.

I do realize that this is a very long and harsh email. I hope you all read it though and I’m writing it because I don’t know how else to make some progress on our battles. I’m just the mother of an autistic child. But I’m sick of our inability to get the message across that vaccines are very dangerous. And for starters, this is how I have decided to contribute to the cause… As always, I will offer my help. And I hope you work with Tim Bolen and his people. By the way, you need to open the doors to Jake Crosby again. He still represents what our children could be. He deserves all our help and support.

 

Editor of Autism Investigated Acquires NoMercury.org

nomercury

Editor’s Note: Lujene Clark, cofounder of NoMercury.org, will be passing on control of her website to me. I am honored to carry on the excellent work of her and her late husband, Dr. Alan Clark. See her announcement below.

Announcing the relaunch of NoMercury

As many of you know, my son, Devon, is a vaccine-injured child. He received a flu shot in December of 2002, and afterwards, he suffered severe neurological, neurobehavioral and immunological changes.

After much research, my husband, Dr. Alan D. Clark, and I discovered that Devon had been poisoned by Thimerosal, the mercury in his vaccines.  In our journey for answers, we soon discovered other parents whose children also suffered similar adverse effects from vaccines. Because of this, in January 2004, Alan and I decided to form our organization, titled NoMercury.

NoMercury’s website quickly became a major resource for the autism community, and we were able to successfully help parents with anti-mercury legislation in numerous states. We were very proud of our work and we were very honored to have met and assisted other parents in their search for answers.

Sadly, in August 2005, Alan was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer, but, in spite of his ailing health, he was determined to continue on with the organization. My last promise to him before he passed away was that I would continue our efforts with NoMercury in order to educate legislators, the medical community and the public about the dangers of mercury, especially in vaccines.

In February of 2006, Alan lost his battle with cancer.  A devastating loss to not only our family and friends, but also the autism community.  Fortunately, I was blessed to have wonderful friends such as Linda Weinmaster and Bob Krakow, who joined me on the Board of Directors of NoMercury to help fulfill Alan’s mission.

Due to the circumstances surrounding Alan’s sudden passing, I needed to reduce the amount of time I was able to dedicate to the organization and my active presence in the autism community.  I needed time to grieve, to heal, to be with my son who needed my full attention, and to aid my father, who had also been diagnosed with cancer.  Life is about priorities, and my priorities drastically changed following Alan’s death.

By the year 2008, much to the dismay of many in the autism community, I also made the difficult decision to no longer maintain the NoMercury website.  I could be politically correct and offer up some innocuous reasons, but I’ve always been brutally honest so there is no point in sugar coating things now.

For quite some time, I had been disappointed in the direction some in leadership positions within the autism community had taken.  But, it seemed that with the passing of great leaders such as Liz Birt in December 2005, Alan in February 2006 and just a few short months later in November 2006, Dr. Bernie Rimland, the community had changed, and, in my opinion, not for the better.  It appeared to have lost its focus, its heart and to some extent – its integrity and accountability.

I had watched as the main focus of some in the autism community had become less about healing our children, fighting for legislation and working on getting neurotoxins out of vaccines to more about self-aggrandizement, individuals promoting themselves and their organizations.  Too many egos, too much posturing and jockeying to be “leaders,” organizational “branding” and too much subterfuge, and far too much “hero worship” for some who certainly did not deserve such adulation and blind faith.  In other words, it felt the mission of the autism community had been compromised, if not forgotten altogether!

Many of the “leaders” had either sold out the community to Autism Speaks for a “seat at the table” or their efforts had been more and more centered toward self-promotion. In my opinion, some of those moves were intended to undermine not only our efforts at NoMercury, but also the efforts of other wonderful groups such as TACA, NVIC, SAR, Moms Against Mercury, HEAL and other smaller organizations; all of whom valiantly struggled to stay above the fray and steadfastly clung to putting the children first, often at great expense and personal sacrifice.

Never one to suffer fools gladly, I had had enough of the egos, the back-stabbing and having my work co-opted (a polite term for others’ taking credit for my efforts and my work.)  I withdrew from a very active presence in the autism community in order to focus on medical research and to educate others more on an individual basis.  Even so, I still very much wanted and needed to fulfill my last promise to Alan – to fulfill the mission of NoMercury.

The thousands of pages of my research, thousands of hours of work product – it’s all been under-utilized, which has distressed me greatly. I knew that at some point I WOULD revive NoMercury, but I also knew that it would have to be placed in the hands of someone extraordinary.   So much of my heart and soul, as well as blood, sweat and tears had gone into this, it would take a very special person who had earned my trust and respect in order for me to relinquish this work product.

Due to recent events that have transpired within the autism community, the answer to this question of who could take the reigns became abundantly clear. This young man possesses an exceptional intelligence, a pure and sincere heart, tenacity, an unquenchable curiosity, personal integrity and an unrelenting commitment to the truth.

I have watched in awe as this amazing young man stood his ground against harsh criticisms and under-handed bullying tactics by some leaders in the community. He has dared to expose the truth in what was happening behind the scenes within leadership; incidents that most parents were (and still are) blissfully unaware of, and don’t realize may have been hindering their efforts as activists.  He bravely proclaimed that not only did the Emperor not have new clothes, in fact, he was naked.  In typical fashion, the guilty shot the messenger while denying the message.

Nonetheless, he has remained firm and stood his ground against those who mock him in an attempt to spin their own inappropriate behavior and who want nothing more than to see this young man fail. Despite everything that has been thrown at him, he has risen above this and formed his own blog, titled Autism Investigated – an honest, hard-hitting, no-holds-barred look at the autism epidemic.

He is a diamond among the stones, and there is no one more fit or deserving than he to take up the fight where Alan left off.  This young man is Jacob Crosby.  With Jake at the helm, I am more confident than ever that Alan’s dreams will be fulfilled.

Jake uses his unequivocal intelligence along with his fierce drive and determination in an effort to end this travesty of mercury-poisoned, vaccine-injured children.  He wants to see to it that future generations of children do not have to overcome the struggles and obstacles that he himself has endured and conquered.  He wants what he has always wanted – what MANY of us want – to end the harming of children through unsafe and untested vaccines.

Jake has amazing talents, not only his brilliant mind and perseverance, but he possesses outstanding analytical reasoning, investigative skills and is a very talented writer.  He does NOT feel the need to filter or sanitize the truth to make it more socially palatable for those who find the truth uncomfortable and inconvenient.  To Jake, the truth IS the truth and it needs to be told regardless of outcome or exposure, especially if it impedes our community’s ability to end this madness.  I could not agree with him more, and for all of these reasons I have listed, I believe Jacob Crosby is the perfect person to carry on this organization that Alan and I began almost ten years ago.  I know that this young man will do right by the community and remain true to Alan’s vision, and I know he will be successful.

Linda and I have agreed to remain on board in an advisory capacity to support Jake’s efforts.  He will soon be making the NoMercury website available once again as a valuable resource tool for the community, in addition to his investigative work.  We are so excited for the possibilities…so don’t be surprised if you once again see us in the halls of your State Legislature or up on The Hill.  After all, our track record for successfully assisting parents with their legislatives efforts remains unsurpassed.

Please join us in welcoming Jake and giving him your support.

Kindest regards,

Lujene G. Clark, MA, LMT
President & Co-Founder
NoMercury

Jacob Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated (http://www.autisminvestigated.com) and is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. 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 completing an MPH in epidemiology.

NYT’s Public Editor – A Public Relations Tool

new-york-times-vs-eli-lilly

By Jake Crosby

How could The New York Times publish “all the news that’s fit to print” when Eli Lilly’s board of directors member Ellen Marram also sits on the board of directors for The New York Times?

As evidence of this bias, The New York Times’ current public editor, Margaret Sullivan, recently bragged on her blog that Brendan Nyhan – former health policy research scholar for Johnson & Johnson’s philanthropic arm, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – praised The New York Times for carrying on the vaccine-autism cover-up in print in the wake of Jenny McCarthy’s confirmation as co-host for “The View.” As my past investigations have shown, The New York Times does not follow its own ethics policy, and the public editor is nothing more than a public relations tool.

There is perhaps no better proof of this, however, then my below exchange with The New York Times’ Office of the Public Editor two years ago, after the newspaper’s ethically bankrupt reporter Gardiner Harris wrote an article in 2011 praising IOM‘s latest whitewash of the vaccine-autism link. The exchange ended with Sullivan’s predecessor, Arthur Brisbane, dismissing my complaint and essentially admitting The New York Times does not follow its own ethical guidelines.

Jake Crosby 9/6/11
to Public/NYT/NYT.

Dear Mr. Brisbane,

My name is Jake Crosby; I hold a BA in both history and health: science, society and policy and am also a student at the GW School of Public Health and Health Services studying for an MPH in epidemiology. I have also been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (autism spectrum disorder) and am a contributing editor to Age of Autism: Daily Web Newspaper of the Autism Epidemic.

I am writing to complain yet again about your reporter, Gardiner Harris, for his biased reporting in favor of the pharmaceutical industry when reporting on the vaccine-autism controversy while in possession of an undisclosed conflict of interest. Last year, I complained to your predecessor, Clark Hoyt, about the fact that Harris’ brother works for a firm that sells laboratory equipment to pharmaceutical companies. Hoyt wrote me back admitting that Harris assumed some of his brother’s clients are manufacturers of vaccines.

Yet since my complaint last year, Gardiner Harris’ name appeared in the byline of yet another story denying the vaccine-autism link that ran on August 25th; the title, “Vaccine Cleared Again As Autism Culprit,” speaks for itself.

As such, Harris is once again in violation of The New York Times “Ethics in Journalism” policy, which states:

“Similarly the journalist may be asked to affirm that to the best of his or her knowledge no household member or close relative has financial holdings that might reasonably raise doubts about the journalist’s impartiality. If such conditions arise, the staff member must alert newsroom management.”

http://www.nytco.com/press/ethics.html#affirming

This policy also includes brothers, as stated in the section, “Avoiding Conflicts Over Family”:

“A brother or a daughter in a high-profile job on Wall Street might produce the appearance of conflict for a business reporter or editor.”

http://www.nytco.com/press/ethics.html#B2

I was disappointed because I was left with the impression, following my first complaint to your newspaper, that Gardiner Harris was taken off the story because of his violations of The New York Times’ “Ethics in Journalism” guidelines. His name appeared in no byline of any such biased article about the vaccine-autism connection since my first complaint, until August 25th.

While Gardiner Harris is undoubtedly at ethical fault – having already been warned – I am open to the possibility that an honest fluke might have caused this article to somehow miss The New York Times’ newsroom management and make it to press, especially since The Times is undergoing a change in executive editorial leadership this month.

I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Jake Crosby
Contributing Editor
Age of Autism
www.ageofautism.com/jake-crosby

 Joseph Burgess of the Office of the Public Editor responded the next day, asking for my exchange with Clark Hoyt and senior standards editor Greg Brock:

Mr. Crosby, thanks for writing.  This might be an unrealistic request, but do you still have your correspondence with the previous public editor or Times staffers on this issue?  That would make it easier for us to process your email with The Times.

Best,

Joseph Burgess
Office of the Public Editor
The New York Times
public@nytimes.com

Note:  The public editor’s opinions are his own and do not represent those of The New York Times.

So I responded, forwarding my previous exchanges with Hoyt and Brock:

Dear Mr. Burgess,

It is my pleasure. Your request is a perfectly reasonable one; thank you for asking. Below, you will find my exchanges with both the previous public editor and Greg Brock, Senior Editor for Standards, who Clark Hoyt shared my complaint with.

Thank you for your prompt reply, and I look forward to further correspondence.

Best,

Jake Crosby
Contributing Editor
Age of Autism
www.ageofautism.com/jake-crosby

The next day, Burgess responded again – asking where Hoyt or Brock gave the impression that Harris was removed from covering vaccines and autism (even though I noted in my initial email that Harris’ name did not appear on the byline of any such article since my initial complaint):

 Mr. Crosby, thanks for writing back and for providing the emails.  Just so that I understand, what gave you the impression that Mr. Harris was removed from  covering this angle of his beat?  It doesn’t seem from my reading of the emails that either Mr. Hoyt or Mr. Brock came to the conclusion that there was a conflict of interest for Mr. Harris due to his brother’s professional interests.  If you could point me to a specific place where they may have given you that impression that would be greatly appreciated.

Best,

Joseph Burgess
Office of the Public Editor
The New York Times
public@nytimes.com

Note:  The public editor’s opinions are his own and do not represent those of The New York Times.

So I responded:

Dear Mr. Burgess,

It is – once again – my pleasure. The specific place where Mr. Hoyt and Mr. Brock gave me that impression was when I cited the ethical guidelines showing Gardiner Harris held an undisclosed conflict of interest in my last response to them, they did not take issue with any part of my interpretation. If they had, I think they would have said so to clarify the journalistic code of ethics for reporters at The Times. The fact that Mr. Hoyt and Mr. Brock did not appear to take any such issue, however, implied tacit confirmation of my points.  

That coupled with seeing Mr. Harris’ name absent from the byline of any further articles The Times ran about this controversy before August 25th left me with the impression up until then that silent action had been taken and that Mr. Harris had been effectively phased out of covering this angle of his beat, as you call it, for The New York Times.

Best,

Jake Crosby
Contributing Editor
Age of Autism
www.ageofautism.com/jake-crosby

Then after three days of back-and-fourth exchange with Burgess, Arthur Brisbane personally responded to my email to kill my complaint altogether. His excuse? “…ethic policy at The Times is open to interpretation…”:

Mr. Crosby: Thanks for your message. I have read through the history of your correspondence with Clark Hoyt and Greg Brock and also reviewed your current complaint. It seems to me that this matter was given an thorough review in the previous case. While the ethic policy of The Times is open to interpretation, I would concur with my predecessor on this. I don’t see a problem with Mr. Harris writing on the subject.

Again, thanks for letting me know of your concern.

Art Brisbane
public editor

In other words, The New York Times’ ethical policies can be spun any way The Times’ public relations “editor” sees fit, even if his “interpretation” is directly contradicted by the policy itself. Nonetheless, I responded asking for Brisbane’s “interpretation” of that policy:

Dear Mr. Brisbane,

It is my pleasure, and thank you for both reading my correspondence with Clark Hoyt and Greg Brock along with my current complaint.

I beg to differ with you that my previous complaint was thoroughly reviewed. Your predecessor did not make any reference to the ethical policies of The Times regarding conflicts of interest. In fact, his excuse for Mr. Harris not having a conflict of interest was contradicted by The Times’ ethical policies. If your reasoning is that the ethical policies of The Times are “open to interpretation,” then I would appreciate hearing what your interpretation of those policies would be and how you think they would absolve Mr. Harris.

Best,

Jake Crosby
Contributing Editor
Age of Autism

www.ageofautism.com/jake-crosby

I never received any word back. I sent follow-up emails to the newspaper’s executive editor Jill Abramson and publisher Arthur Ochs-Sulzberger Jr., but never received any reply from them either. Obviously, The Times’ ethics policy was not interpreted differently; it was flouted.

Eight months after my exchange, Gardiner Harris was re-assigned to India as a foreign reporter for The Times, where he came down with travelers’ diarrhea from eating a mango that the former public health reporter failed to wash. He continues to report from there to this day. Meanwhile, The Times continues to be complicit in helping the government whitewash away the scientific fact that vaccines cause autism in media as Ellen Marram of Eli Lilly – the company that introduced the mercury-based vaccine preservative thimerosal to the market – continues to sit on The New York Times’ board of directors.

As justification for this, The Times’ current public editor Margaret Sullivan states on her blog:

“It can be important to state both sides of an argument — but only when both sides are legitimate.”

But “legitimate” does not accurately describe the position on autism and vaccines by the IOM, which privately stated “…we are not ever going to come down that it [autism] is a true side effect…” before reviewing any evidence for or against, nor that of The New York Times which is based on such scientific misconduct.

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated and is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. 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 completing his candidacy for an MPH in epidemiology.