Tag Archives: Retraction

BREAKING: AI Demands Daily Beast Retract Paul Offit Post on Vaccine-Miscarriage Study

Paul Offit has written a post for The Daily Beast arguing that a CDC study of miscarriage and influenza vaccination should have never been published. He bases his argument on his own misrepresentations of the study’s results. Read Autism Investigated’s below letter to The Daily Beast’s editorial team demanding they retract Offit’s post.

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Paul Offit’s Article Misrepresents Study Findings, Should be
Retracted
From: <info@autisminvestigated.com>
Date: Sun, September 24, 2017 3:33 pm
To: editorial@thedailybeast.com

Dear Daily Beast,

Your contributor Paul Offit’s latest article “The Pregnancy Vaccine Scare That Should Have Never Been” makes multiple misrepresentations of a recent CDC study on influenza vaccination and miscarriage. Since these misrepresentations form the basis of his central argument that the study should never have been published, Offit’s article is fatally flawed and should be retracted by your publication.

Offit states about a recent study of miscarriage and flu vaccination that the study authors found no overall association with miscarriage and flu vaccination when they had:

“The CDC’s question prior to this study was “Does influenza vaccine cause spontaneous abortions?” The answer to that question was no. It was only after investigators sub-stratified their data to include those who had or hadn’t received a vaccine the previous year that they could find statistical significance.”

This is directly from the study, contradicting Offit’s claim:

“The overall adjusted odds ratio (aOR) was 2.0 (95% CI, 1.1–3.6)”

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X17308666

As someone who holds a degree in epidemiology (unlike Offit) and has analyzed the database used in this study (also unlike Offit), I can assure you that that is a significant association. The “95% CI” (confidence interval) excludes the number 1.0. Therefore, the answer to their study question would point in the “yes” direction.

This also demolishes his next point about the study, that the association was based on small numbers:

“After the CDC researchers had finished sub-stratifying their data, the numbers were small”, concluding the results due to “the curse of small numbers gleaned from a large database.” But even before the authors had computed their next association from a smaller sample, the association from their full study sample was already significant. But because Offit misrepresented the association as being insignificant, his point about the study’s findings being based solely on small numbers is also wrong.

His very first point was also wrong, too:

“Researchers had studied two influenza-vaccine seasons: 2010-2011 and 2011-2012. The problem of first-trimester spontaneous abortions occurred during the first season but not the second.”

The study itself makes clear this happened in both seasons: “This effect modification was observed in each season”

Because the majority of Offit’s points are based on his own misrepresentations – including all those that discussed the study findings directly – simple corrections are too mild. The entire post should be retracted by The Daily Beast, especially since the purpose of the post was to make the case for why the study should have never been published. In reality, The Daily Beast should have never posted this fatally flawed article by Paul Offit and should now retract it.

Sincerely,

Jake Crosby, MPH

FAKE NEWS REVEALED, Part II: The Ghostwriter Behind The Kennedy Retraction

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Scott Rosenberg, ghostwriter behind Kennedy retraction

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 Immunitywhere 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:

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:

 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.

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*Please send this article to the president-elect and vice president-elect*

FAKE NEWS REVEALED, Part I: Salon Editor Who “Retracted” Kennedy’s Article Didn’t Even Read It

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Kerry Lauerman, Salon.com editor-in-chief who deleted Robert F. Kennedy Jr. ‘s article without even reading it, is now executive “news” editor of Mic.

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 the site. This first part of the series provides proof that he didn’t, the second part will reveal who did.

That editor, Kerry Lauerman, has since made quite a career out of running outlets that delivered fake news. In 2014 he was hired by The Washington Post and in 2015 was made the newspaper’s National Projects Editor. Among Lauerman’s roles, according to the newspaper, would be “the planning, execution and coverage of some critically important events during the political year, such as the presidential debate and forum we’re co-sponsoring with Univision, and in guiding our preparations for the political conventions.” During that stint of Lauerman’s at WaPo, the now-president-elect stripped the newspaper of its press credentials because of its dishonest reporting.

Then the month before the election, Lauerman left the newspaper to become executive “news” editor of Mic – a creepy far-left site aimed at millennials that makes sensationalized stories out of the way men sit in subways. He still edits Micwhere he now pushes garbage rumors about the president-elect while he still attacks Kennedy.

Proof Lauerman Didn’t Read “Deadly Immunity”

A blog post for MediaShift dated January 24, 2011 provided a quote of Lauerman’s following the retraction. It proves Lauerman’s basic grasp of both the article and the context of the Kennedy quote he provided was so poor, Lauerman could not have read the article he censored:  

“It’s a seriously flawed story we feared could do real harm. People who have bought into the anti-vaccine panic have created a health crisis, and a flawed report that feeds that hysteria poses a real threat. With this particular story, the unproven logic that animates the piece — as when Kennedy says the link between thimerosal and the epidemic of childhood neurological disorders is real’ — is not easily excisable, and no matter how many editor’s notes or Drudge-like, red-flashing sirens you place on a story to warn readers, there will be those who will take a well-known, respected American at his word. We simply didn’t think it was worth that risk.” (boldface mine) 

How Lauerman quoted Kennedy’s article to justify its retraction completely contradicts how the retraction statement quoted that same sentence in his article on Salon.com:   

In 2005, Salon published online an exclusive story by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. that offered an explosive premise: that the mercury-based thimerosal compound present in vaccines until 2001 was dangerous, and that he was convinced that the link between thimerosal and the epidemic of childhood neurological disorders is real.” (boldface mine)

The intro to Salon.com’s interview with Seth Mnookin – news fabricator extraordinaire who started the rumor that Rolling Stone canned Kennedy’s article – also contradicts the context in which Lauerman quoted Kennedy:  

In 2005, we published a report, “Deadly Immunity,” by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. that appeared in Rolling Stone magazine (Salon had a co-publishing arrangement with the magazine at the time), in which Kennedy wrote that he became convinced that the link between thimerosal [a mercury-based compound once used in vaccines] and the epidemic of childhood neurological disorders is real” (boldface mine)

The only apparent place that misleadingly quoted Kennedy’s article the same way Lauerman did in 2011 was a CBS Moneywatch piece that also helped spread the false rumor that Rolling Stone pulled Kennedy’s article. That would mean Lauerman only read that piece instead of actually reading Deadly Immunity”.  And as one can see from a search result, there do not appear to be any other January 2011 sources that chopped the quote from Kennedy’s article to look like an absolute statement the way Lauerman did. The only way for Lauerman to have reasonably misrepresented Kennedy’s piece and quoted it out of context the way he did would have been for Lauerman not to have read his article and to have only read the CBS Moneywatch article with the chopped quote from Kennedy’s piece. Had Lauerman even bothered to read “Deadly Immunity”, he would know that his whole claimed pretense for retracting it was totally false. But the facts didn’t matter to him, as they continue to not matter to Salon.com. 

Since his reasoning is contradicted by both the retraction statement and the Salon.com interview as well, that would mean Lauerman did not write or conduct them either. But if he didn’t do either for Salon.com, who did? That will be revealed in Part II of this series, where the ghostwriter will be outed.

TrumpKennedyPence-590x443

*Please send this article to the president-elect and vice president-elect*

Dr. Andrew Wakefield on Re-Licensure – “I will now give this very, very serious consideration”

Wakefield_VaxedTrailor-1024x576

At the annual AutismOne conference – 26.5 minutes into the below Twitter-linked video of a Q/A session on the documentary Vaxxed – director and much-maligned doctor Andrew Wakefield said he will give “very, very serious consideration” to getting his medical license restored. His comment was met with applause and cheers from the audience, who gave him a standing ovation.

Dr. Wakefield first expressed interest in having his license restored earlier this year, and Autism Investigated received a signed letter from the UK’s General Medical Council (GMC) saying they would consider his application for restoration and “any further supporting evidence” he provides. He then drew criticism from Autism Investigated after saying in a text message that re-licensure still was not a priority for him.

But on the night of May 28th, Dr. Wakefield had a well-received change of tune that couldn’t have come a moment too soon. He was gracious for being reminded earlier that day that it was approval from an ethics committee of the National Health Service (NHS) that the GMC claimed he needed but lacked when he arranged for blood to be taken from children at his son’s birthday party. However, those rules did not apply to those children because they were not patients. So the birthday party allegations are totally nullified.

All the GMC findings that caused Dr. Wakefield’s medical license to be revoked and his papers retracted have really been overturned four years ago. Unfortunately, it is because his medical license remains revoked and his papers remain retracted that he continues to be dismissed. Winning back his medical license would take away those excuses to dismiss him once and for all.

When the audience was done clapping for Dr. Wakefield after he expressed his renewed interest in restoration, he concluded, “If I am vindicated it will give credence to the parents’ story”. Then someone from the audience rose up and said, “the world needs more doctors like you. You need your license back.”

Addendum: Embedded link replaced with embedded video footage of Q/A following Dr. Wakefield’s excellent documentary.

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.

Brian Hooker’s Findings Are Confirmed By CDC’s Results

ORtable

By Jake Crosby

Above is a table of omitted results from the original CDC study of age at MMR vaccination according to a video put out by the Autism Media Channel, and below is a table of results from Brian Hooker’s reanalysis of that study – since retracted by the publisher in breach of policies it claims to follow. In particular, note the boxed results of each showing risk from MMR vaccination before age 36 months in African-American children – both are significant, and the strength and precision of each are almost identical to one another.

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This would eviscerate critics’ claims that Brian Hooker’s findings are invalid because his reanalysis did not employ the same statistical methods as the original CDC study. Within Dr. Hooker’s paper itself, it is also stated that his “results were also confirmed using a conditional logistic regression design similar to the DeStefano et al. [14] (CDC) study.” Another common criticism of Brian Hooker’s paper that it did not account for low birth weight children is easily refuted by another table of results showing a greater than two-fold risk for African-American boys even when low birth weight children are excluded.

Yet Dr. Hooker’s paper remains retracted in breach of the guidelines the publisher claims to follow when considering retractions. Even before the retraction, the publisher BioMed Central (BMC) had deleted the paper online in breach of its own policies on article removal. BMC has never offered any explanation concerning these issues in response to emails from Autism Investigated. Also yet to comment in response to Autism Investigated’s inquiries about the retraction is the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), whose guidelines BMC claims to follow when considering retractions and breached when it retracted Dr. Hooker’s study.

Meanwhile, CDC is pretending that its own study results were different from Dr. Hooker’s when they were clearly not. In a statement to ABC News insisting “There was no cover-up,” CDC said of Dr. Hooker’s findings, “it is hard to speculate why his results differed from CDC’s.”

Except they didn’t.

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy and a 2013 graduate of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology. He currently attends the University of Texas School of Public Health where he is studying for a Ph.D. in Epidemiology.

BioMed Central Breaks Policy by Retracting Brian Hooker’s Study

retraction guidelines

By Jake Crosby

Above is a summary of the reasons that justify a possible paper retraction, according to Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)’s retraction guidelines that are also used by BioMed Central (BMC). However, none of the above reasons were even mentioned in BMC journal Translational Neurodegeneration’s below justification for retracting Dr. Brian Hooker’s study, “Measles-mumps-rubella vaccination timing and autism among young african american boys: a reanalysis of CDC data”:hookerretraction

 

Clear evidence of unreliability, duplication, plagiarism and unethical research are all valid considerations for retracting a paper, but “concerns” are not according to the very retraction guidelines BMC says it follows. Such considerations do not include “undeclared competing interests” either. Although alerting readers to such non-disclosures may serve as a purpose of a retraction according to COPE, they are not justification for a retraction.

BMC’s retraction of Dr. Hooker’s paper is only the latest of policy breaches by the publisher after it deleted his article from its website in breach of policy on the permanency of articles. Citing a then-pending investigation, BMC refused to comment on that violation when contacted by Autism Investigated. Now with the paper retracted in breach of yet more policies supposedly followed by BMC, the publisher has even more explaining to do.

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy and a 2013 graduate of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology. He currently attends the University of Texas School of Public Health where he is studying for a Ph.D. in Epidemiology.