Tag Archives: Conflict Of Interest

BBC Host’s Anti-Vax/Anti-Semite Comparison Backfires Spectacularly

Adam Rutherford, Age of Autism

Mainstream news about autism is totally fake. Last year, BBC said wearing a medieval helmet is an “ASSET” in the workplace.

Now look what anti-vaxxers are compared to!

It didn’t end well for Rutherford, however.

(The editor was promptly blocked by Rutherford.)

While The Lancet retracted Wakefield’s early vaccine-autism paper, the journal keeps published An open letter for the people in Gaza. Dr. Ang also remains registered with a license to practice by the UK’s General Medical Council. She was never even charged with having an undisclosed conflict of interest, unlike Dr. Wakefield.

The Lancet and the UK government both clearly take exception with vaccine injury litigation. They do not take any such exception with anti-Semitism.

Adam Rutherford doesn’t either.

UK Gov’t Authority Fabricated “Duties” Against Early Vax-ASD Science

 

The UK government completely made up “duties” to disclose conflicts of interest to defame the lead author of early science linking vaccines to autism. It is perhaps the most clear-cut proof of the UK government’s conspiracy to cover up the vaccine autism link.

The vaccine people are quick to cite the UK General Medical Council (GMC’s) findings of “disclosable interests” against Dr. Andrew Wakefield. Meanwhile, the vaccine people completely ignore the GMC’s own Financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest guidance. The guide tells doctors to “use your professional judgement to identify when conflicts of interest arise.” By second-guessing Dr. Wakefield’s professional judgement to punish him, the GMC completely fabricated the “duties” it said he violated according to its existing rules.

Though GMC’s findings of unethical research and dishonesty were overturned on appeal, vaccine people still use the red herring that Dr. Wakefield was not the one who appealed. However, the “disclosable interests” findings were only against Dr. Wakefield and were not grounded in findings against any other researcher.

But as the GMC’s guidance on its own website shows, those findings were not based on any existing rule either. One need only compare the GMC “findings” and the GMC’s actual position on conflicts of interest to see that they are a hoax. Nobody and certainly no government should recognize any findings or verdicts by the GMC panel that ruled against Dr. Andrew Wakefield.

David Gorski’s Cancelled Drug Trial Tainted By Institutional Conflict of Interest

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Wayne State University oncology professor and “Science”Blogger David Gorski is a hypocritical and crooked “doctor” who should be fired, de-licensed and not allowed anywhere near patients. He should also be investigated for his social media role in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s cover up of vaccine injury, a topic he squirms over when questioned about his lies publicly. And now, it is clear he had a conflict of interest in human subjects research at his university according to academic policy despite his denials.

Unfortunately, he has yet to get what he deserves as he continues to misrepresent his conflict of interest with Sanofi and the pharmaceutical industry while both smearing the parents of severely disabled children who were never the same again following vaccination and lying for the federal government that covers up that harm. Just recently, he spoke on the Skeptics Guide to the Universe – a podcast hosted by front group advisor Steven Novella – apparently upset at some recent critical coverage Gorski has been getting from NaturalNews. In the podcast, he complained of having talks with his supervisor at his job as a result of the NaturalNews reports.

Among the unflattering facts NaturalNews cited about Gorski is the six year old discovery by Autism Investigated’s editor that he has been conducting a since-withdrawn trial of Sanofi drug Riluzole, sponsored by his employer that was in a partnership with Sanofi. The finding led to a letter-writing campaign by concerned readers to Gorski’s employer informing them of the conflict, an event Gorski has complained about ever since. Yet despite his university apparently letting him off the hook and his repeat claims that he was not conflicted in any way, the Institutional Review Board policies of his employer say otherwise:

Institutional Conflict of Interest consist of two major types: (1) l Conflict of Interest involving University equity holdings or a royalty arrangement related to sponsored programs

The principal investigator Gorski is a professor at Wayne State. The trial sponsor Barbara Anne Karmanos Cancer Institute is affiliated with Wayne State, which was partnered with Sanofi. Whereas before Gorski did not disclose this conflict in human subjects research, he now misrepresents it as not being a conflict on his bio at “ScienceBasedMedicine” – a blog he edits.

On the clinicaltrials.gov website, the following is stated about Gorski’s now-defunct trial: “This study has been withdrawn prior to enrollment. (Funding ended)”. According to the website, Gorski failed to enroll patients into his trial after two-and-a-half years of patient recruitment. Perhaps his reputation has something to do with it. A simple Google search of Gorski yields the following title on the first page: “David Gorski’s Financial Pharma Ties: What He Didn’t Tell You”. Any patient being recruited for Gorski’s trial who is curious about its principal investigator would no doubt see that headline and have concerns, and Gorski himself is undoubtedly aware of the potential for patients to find his blog.

The trial’s cancellation is remarkable in light of Gorski’s expressed hopes for it, suggesting Riluzole may prove to be as effective a treatment for breast cancer as surgery, radiation or chemo. That would certainly not be something a drug company would lack any interest in funding as Gorski had claimed about his research.

But even more remarkable is the hypocrisy as it relates to the ethical standards with which Gorski holds other doctors. He was a huge online cheerleader for the ruin of absolved British doctor Andrew Wakefield’s career, even though medical disciplinary findings against him that included conflict of interest and unethical research allegations were disproved.

Yet here we have Gorski not being up front about his own conflicts of interest with the pharmaceutical industry in human subjects research on blogs that he knows could be written by the very patients he was trying to recruit for his Sanofi drug trial. Not only did he possess an undisclosed conflict of interest according to his own university’s IRB, but also according to the very medical disciplinary panel in the UK that yanked Dr. Wakefield’s license. Those guidelines make very clear that doctors should be up front to patients about potential conflicts of interest, including those of their employer. Gorski’s employer Wayne State was in a partnership with Sanofi that was probably worth millions while he was actively trying to recruit patients for his trial, yet nowhere was that mentioned on his public blog.

But these connections do not just conflict Gorski’s role in medicine and human subjects research, but also in medical education. On his academic bio, Gorski reveals that he encourages students to contribute to his online blog: 

As the managing editor of Science-Based Medicine (SBM), a weblog devoted to discussing the science of medicine, Dr. Gorski is very interested in science communication and critical thinking, and interested students are welcome to publish in SBM under Dr. Gorski’s guidance to hone their writing skills for lay audiences.

Little would his students know that his since-cancelled drug trial was tainted by an institutional conflict of interest that connected his employer Wayne State to the drug company Sanofi, the maker of Riluzole that Gorski was recruiting patients to a breast cancer trial on. While being misled into thinking they are honing their writing skills, they are merely providing content free-of-charge to an agenda-driven, corporatist blog edited by a doctor who was not upfront about his conflicts on his blog.

By not including his connections on his blog and continuing to misrepresent them, he continually misleads both students and patients about his competing interests. It is hardly surprising that such a dishonest hypocrite would help expand the CDC’s vaccine-autism cover-up to social media.

NYT’s Public Editor – A Public Relations Tool

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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.