By Jake Crosby
“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.
I accost him.
He asks me to shake his hand.
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:
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.
As I’m being ejected, he proceeds to answer my question unchallenged.
He’s still rambling even as I’m walking out the door.
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.
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.
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) –
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.”
An identical statement was given to David Kirby, reported in Huffington Post.
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.