With President-Elect Trump’s consideration of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as chair of a committee on vaccine safety and scientific integrity, the shills of fake news have been relentlessly trying to convince Trump’s team to reconsider. The most widely circulated argument has been Salon.com’s retraction of Kennedy’s article “Deadly Immunity“, where he wrote on the government cover-up of the dangers of the mercury-based vaccine preservative thimerosal. The retraction was based on a bogus rumor that Rolling Stone secretly retracted Kennedy’s article and was later condemned as “editorial cowardice” by Salon.com’s founding editor-in-chief David Talbot. But now there is even more news that should bury the retraction of Kennedy’s work once and for all in this exclusive two-part series by Autism Investigated: the Salon.com editor-in-chief who took credit for the retraction of Deadly Immunity didn’t even read it, didn’t write its retraction statement and didn’t interview the person who started the rumor as portrayed on Salon.com. The first part of the series provided proof that he didn’t, this second part reveals who did.
That person is the MediaShift blogger whom the editor-in-chief misrepresented Kennedy’s article to in Part I: former Salon.com managing editor Scott Rosenberg. Rosenberg attended theScience Online 2011 annual conference with the Rolling Stone rumor-starter Seth Mnookin. The event ran from January 13-15 right before the article was retracted on the 16th. Both Mnookin and Rosenberg had books of theirs featured at the conference:
Got copy of my own book SAY EVERYTHING at #scio11 giveaway last night. Find me Sat AM if u want to trade. Won’t bargain hard
— Scott Rosenberg (@scottros) January 15, 2011
Scott Rosenberg – Not Kerry Lauerman – Interviewed Seth Mnookin
Rosenberg was also still contributing to Salon through 2011 when Kennedy’s piece was retracted. Yet Rosenberg would never disclose that in his MediaShift blog about Salon’s retraction of Kennedy’s article weeks later. Seth Mnookin’s first tweet about Salon’s interview used Science Online 2011 hashtag #scio11 – specifically for tweets Science Online meeting commentary and follow-up discussions – even though Lauerman was never at the conference while Rosenberg was:
— Seth Mnookin (@sethmnookin) January 16, 2011
That was the first and last tweet by Mnookin about Salon’s coverage of his book and the removal of Kennedy’s article using the #scio11 hashtag. The purpose of the #scio11 hashtag according to a conference attendee was to denote tweets about Science Online 2011 “meeting commentary and follow-up discussions” by conference participants:”One goal of the conference was to be as inclusive as possible by livestreaming several of the sessions online and encouraging liberal use of the Twitter hashtag, #scio11, for meeting commentary and follow-up discussions.” Mnookin was also trying to score interviews at Science Online 2011 to pitch his book prior to the conference:
A Twitter search for both Mnookin and Rosenberg’s Twitter handles reveals substantial interaction between them at Science Online 2011, as well as Rosenberg tweeting about Salon’s retraction of his piece almost immediately after it happened. In contrast – Lauerman had no participation in Science Online 2011; a search with the #scio11 hashtag and his twitter handle yields nothing. Lauerman was not even in virtual attendance, despite it being an option for conference participants who could not physically be at the conference. He simply was not there at all.
Lauerman’s Motive For Retraction: Payback to Rosenberg in Exchange for Career Advancement
Kerry Lauerman had quite a rapport with Scott Rosenberg going back many years, specifically concerning the project Lauerman launched that was Rosenberg’s idea. This is what Rosenberg said about Lauerman in 2008:
“The Open Salon that opens its doors today — it’s been in private beta for a while — is an outgrowth of the work I did back then, but of course over the past year the project has evolved much further…It’s the work of Kerry Lauerman and his team — and, now that the participants are using it, it’s in the hands of Salon’s readers the people formerly known as Salon’s readers, to make of it something new and exciting.”
The implementation of Rosenberg’s idea by Lauerman was followed by his rapid accession to editor-in-chief just two years later. So naturally, Lauerman would feel indebted to Rosenberg which would in turn be a motive for Lauerman having Kennedy’s article retracted to please Rosenberg if Lauerman felt Rosenberg’s idea got him the highest editorial position. Lauerman not having personally interviewed Mnookin, read Kennedy’s piece or wrote Salon.com‘s retraction statement would also explain why Lauerman refused to even take Kennedy’s calls the night Lauerman told Kennedy via email that Salon.com would retract his piece on the night of the 15th – the last night of the conference attended by Mnookin and Rosenberg.
Interestingly – following the retraction – Rosenberg went on to run the annual Science Online conferences regularly attended by Mnookin until the organization became insolvent and shut down in 2014. Lauerman did not read Kennedy’s article when it was pulled, did not interview Mnookin and likely yanked “Deadly Immunity” as a favor for a friend with strong Mnookin connections. Yet now years later, the result of this crooked behavior is used as justification to block Robert F. Kennedy Jr. from becoming chair of a badly needed commission to stop the ongoing harm being committed against innocent infants. Fortunately, the president-elect and the vice president-elect both seem pretty happy to have Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on their team.
*Please send this article to the president-elect and vice president-elect*