Salon Founder: “Deadly Immunity” Retraction “Smacks of Editorial Cowardice”

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Photo credit: Salon.com

By Jake Crosby

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has an article up on his personal website that gives fascinating insight into the retraction of his piece “Deadly Immunity” by Salon.com, including a letter from the site’s founder. In his letter to Kennedy last month, Salon.com founder and former editor-in-chief David Talbot condemned Salon’s retraction of Kennedy’s 2005 article on the government cover-up of harm – such as autism and other developmental disorders – caused by thimerosal. The piece was retracted in 2011 by Salon’s then-editor Kerry Lauerman, who said at the time, “We’ve grown to believe the best reader service is to delete the piece entirely.” Talbot slammed Lauerman’s decision, saying – among other criticisms – that it “smacks of editorial cowardice”:

I was dismayed when I first heard that Salon had removed your article about the hazards of thimerosal from its web archives. As you know, I was no longer the editor of Salon when your article was published. And I am not an expert on the subject. But without taking a position on mercury preservatives in vaccines, I know enough about the debate — and about the pharmaceutical industry’s general track record on putting profits before people, as well as the compromised nature of regulatory oversight in this country when it comes to powerful industries — to know that “disappearing” your article was not the proper decision.

I founded Salon to be a fearless and independent publication — one that was open to a wide range of views, particularly those that were controversial or contested within the mainstream media. Removing your article from the Salon archives was a violation of that spirit and smacks of editorial cowardice. If I had been editor at the time, I would not have done so — and I would have offered you the opportunity to debate your critics in Salon’s pages.

In my day, Salon did not cave to pressure — and we risked corporate media scorn, advertising boycotts, threats of FBI investigations by powerful members of Congress, and even bomb scares because of our rigorous independence. Throwing a writer to the wolves when the heat got too hot was never the Salon way. It pains me, now that I’m on the sidelines, to ever see Salon wilt in the face of such pressure.”

Rolling Stone Magazine also published Kennedy’s piece, but never retracted it even after the magazine’s editors reviewed Salon’s explanation for the “Deadly Immunity” retraction and the book that prompted it: “Panic Virus,” by Seth Mnookin. It was Mnookin’s book that gave rise to the rumor that Rolling Stone secretly retracted Kennedy’s piece, which Rolling Stone has since dispelled.

Now that Mnookin’s self-described personal friend Kerry Lauerman has taken his editorial cowardice over to The Washington Post, Salon’s current editor-in-chief David Daley should do the editorially courageous thing and restore “Deadly Immunity” to Salon’s archives. Not doing so would make him just as much of an editorial coward as Lauerman.

See on The Epoch Times.

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10 Thoughts on “Salon Founder: “Deadly Immunity” Retraction “Smacks of Editorial Cowardice”

  1. Hans Litten on May 20, 2015 at 7:08 am said:

    Themiserol , toxic at nanograms (parts per billion) , which astounded the discoverer of this fact Dr Frank Engley ,
    all the way back in 1948 !

    For 67 years the lethal toxicity of themiserol has been known .
    And yet here we are . Draw your own conclusions . I’ve certainly drawn mine .
    How could this possibly be about money ?

  2. Eddie Unwind on May 23, 2015 at 2:58 am said:

    Greatly appreciate your insights and expertise offered into the vaccine-debate, Jake. Fear that following recent events re Pan’s SB277 that are possibly headed for something like an ‘Immunotopia’.

    • Thanks Eddie, unfortunately I think opposition to the bill has been poorly waged. The real issue is not about choice, but about honesty. What good is “choice” when you make one because of lies told by your government? The worst thing about SB277 is not simply the denial of choice, but the fact that it coerces people into subjecting their children to risks known but publicly denied by the government. But instead of getting that message across, empty preaching for “choice” has eclipsed opposition to the bill to its benefit and to Californians’ detriment.

  3. Eddie Unwind on May 23, 2015 at 5:29 am said:

    Thank-you for your time here, Jake, much appreciated. I know very little indeed about the politics involved in this matter, but I sometimes wonder – due to the involvement of those in government, the pharmaceutical industry and mainstream media, and considering the potential implications and ramifications of admitting anything to the contrary of the mandated vaccination program – if at core there’s simply a ‘be damned’ attitude (which would be a very disconcerting prospect). Like the ill-fated bomber in Dr.Strangelove?

  4. Eddie Unwind on May 23, 2015 at 5:34 am said:

    Notwithstanding, of course, the profit -factor. But more often than not, big bucks only serve to amplify the ‘be damned’ factor.

  5. Eddie Unwind on May 23, 2015 at 12:03 pm said:

    Oh, and one final query, it seems very difficult indeed to get a relatively stable indication as to the comparative rates of autism over successive years. I recently read a health-report published by abc.net which brazenly stated that there has been no rise in autism rates in Australia over the past 20 years (any anomaly explained away, they pointed out, by differing techniques of diagnosis) . Yet the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicate that the 2012 SDAC give figures of a 79% increase between 2009 (64,000 people diagnosed with autism) and 2012 (115, 000).

    I understand that this is almost certainly a very murky subject indeed, but any information you can provide – say, in relation to rates in the US – would be greatly appreciated.

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