Tag Archives: Rolling Stone

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 The event ran from January 13-15 right before the article was retracted on the 16th.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Rosenberg was also still contributing to Salon through 2011 when Kennedy’s piece was retracted.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.

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

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.

Forbes’ Matt Herper Cites Misleading Gardasil Press Release

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Editor’s Note: Above is the abstract of a study which was misrepresented by the drug company press release that Herper cited to endorse the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil; click to enlarge.

By Jake Crosby

Mainstream media’s coverage of the disputed safety and effectiveness of human pappilloma virus (HPV) vaccination is a shameful repeat of its coverage of the vaccine-autism cover-up.

Following Katie Couric’s recent investigative report on the safety and efficacy of vaccination against HPV, many familiar media mouthpieces of the vaccine industry came out of the woodwork to chastise Couric for her journalism. Included among those was Matt Herper, senior editor of Forbes Magazine. Using Twitter to cite a press release from Gardasil’s manufacturer, Herper challenged HPV expert Dr. Diane Harper’s contention to Katie Couric that HPV vaccine Gardasil only provides protection for five years. His tweet:

It appears that the claim on @katiecouric that vaccine efficacy wanes at 5 years is incorrect. http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/studies-demonstrate-gardasil-has-long-duration-of-protection-from-hpv-disease-182323031.html …

Herper’s tweet was retweeted dozens of times, including by vaccine industry media go-to guy Seth Mnookin. Herper also cited and linked to the drug company press release from his Forbes article attacking Couric for her program on Gardasil. According to the press release:

“The interim data, presented at the 28th International Papillomavirus Conference (IPV) in Puerto Rico, showed that young women[1] and adolescent girls and boys[2] vaccinated with Gardasil were protected from HPV-related diseases for up to eight years following vaccination.”

The press release also included quotes from Professor Susanne Krüger Kjær, lead investigator of one of the studies:

“These latest data show an encouraging trend of continued protection with Gardasil against HPV-related cervical, vaginal and vulvar disease in women through eight years,” said Professor Susanne Krüger Kjær, Danish Cancer Society. “These studies provide further evidence for the ongoing efficacy, immunogenicity, and safety of Gardasil.”

Absent from Sanofi Pasteur MSD’s press release, however, is the conclusion from Professor Kjær’s own study which reads:

“The qHPV vaccine shows a trend of continued protection in women, although there is as yet insufficient data to confirm that protection is maintained.”

If Matt Herper can go to the trouble of digging up a drug company press release from a year ago on research presented at a conference, then why couldn’t he go to the extra trouble to dig up the abstract of the actual research the press release was about? Why did he instead settle for the misleading press release written by a PR person employed by Gardasil’s manufacturer to second-guess the statements of Dr. Diane Harper – an international authority on HPV who was involved in clinical trials of Gardasil? Perhaps because the abstract would prove that the press release Herper cited is a misleading representation of research.

Herper’s use of a misleading drug company press release over actual research to push Gardasil is minor in comparison to his record of reporting on the vaccine-autism cover-up. He has endorsed Salon’s removal of “Deadly Immunity” by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (which exposed CDC’s cover-up of the dangers of mercury in vaccines) prompted by a bogus rumor spread by Seth Mnookin that Rolling Stone Magazine secretly retracted Kennedy’s article. Salon is run by the brother-in-law of Arthur Allen, Mnookin’s predecessor as vaccine industry media go-to guy who vetted and ultimately approved of Mnookin’s since-dispelled rumor. So Matt Herper has a history of promoting scientific fraud to protect the vaccine industry. Even worse, such apologists now appear to dominate mainstream media’s coverage of vaccine safety issues, Katie Couric notwithstanding. Not surprisingly, Herper has not responded when informed on Twitter of what the actual research said.

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 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.

No More Federal Research Fraud – OPPOSE HR1757!

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By Jake Crosby

Yesterday, Age of Autism ran an action alert from its sponsor, SafeMinds, urging readers to ask their congressional representatives to support HR1757, or the “Vaccine Safety Study Act.” SafeMinds describes HR1757 as follows (boldface mine):

“Also known as “The Vaccine Safety Study Act,” this bill, introduced by Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), directs the National Institutes of Health to conduct a retrospective study of health outcomes, including autism, of vaccinated-versus-unvaccinated children…”

In other words, this bill aims to mandate the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct a vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study of autism and other disorders before the NIH and other federal agencies are forced to clean up their act and stop engaging in the institutional research misconduct that causes the vaccine-autism cover-up to persist. Although the initiatives of congressional representatives like Bill Posey and Carolyn Maloney to investigate malfeasance by government agencies should be commended, HR1757 only helps to legitimize and facilitate federal research misconduct by agencies like NIH, while distracting from efforts to expose government corruption. Autism Investigated supports vaccinated versus unvaccinated research conducted by independent researchers at academic institutions, but not conducted by federal agencies that merely pursue predetermined results. NIH is one of those agencies. According to Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in his Rolling Stone article “Deadly Immunity”:

“Even in public, federal officials made it clear that their primary goal in studying thimerosal was to dispel doubts about vaccines. “Four current studies are taking place to rule out the proposed link between autism and thimerosal,” Dr. Gordon Douglas, then-director of strategic planning for vaccine research at the National Institutes of Health, assured a Princeton University gathering in May 2001. “In order to undo the harmful effects of research claiming to link the [measles] vaccine to an elevated risk of autism, we need to conduct and publicize additional studies to assure parents of safety.” Douglas formerly served as president of vaccinations for Merck, where he ignored warnings about thimerosal’s risks.”

That alone should disqualify NIH from conducting research on vaccines and autism, but there’s more. When I had an opportunity to speak to NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins at the July 2012 IACC meeting, he defended the 2004 Institute of Medicine report his agency co-sponsored for which the decision to reject autism as a side effect of vaccination was determined before the review of any scientific research. Dr. Collins also defended his agency expelling me from a talk by millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul Offit, after Offit libeled me. Additionally, NIH destroyed video footage of my removal and then ran an article in its weekly newsletter repeating Offit’s libel. Most egregiously, in 2011 BMJ editor Fiona Godlee was invited to libel Dr. Andrew Wakefield at NIH. I asked her questions during her lecture, and none of her allegations held up to questioning.

The action alert itself, written by SafeMinds’ Executive Director Eric Uram, is wrong on multiple levels. He gives his organization full credit for CDC data obtained through FOIA showing cumulative thimerosal exposure from vaccines multiplies the risk for autism and other disorders exponentially, when in fact that data was actually discovered by Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs‘ Vice President David Geier. Uram also repeats one of the vaccine industry’s major talking points – that prospectively studying unvaccinated children would be unethical. In fact, there is no way one could argue a prospective study would be unethical as long as the study investigators have no control over the exposure.

A prospective study would be more rigorous and possibly more feasible to conduct with the increasing numbers of unvaccinated patients. Yet there is data obtained through FOIA showing significant harm done by just one ingredient in vaccines coupled with the fact that the vaccine schedule as a whole has never been tested. So a randomized controlled trial would not only be ethical, but necessary and way overdue. A retrospective study like the kind SafeMinds is asking for would be much easier for NIH to manipulate than a prospective study, whether experimental or observational. It is especially unfortunate that SafeMinds has succeeded at convincing congressmen like Bill Posey that such a study is the way to go.

To ask your representatives to oppose HR1757, follow the steps below:

•    Find your House Representative: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/.

•    Call and schedule a meeting at their district office and urge them or their staff to oppose this very destructive bill, knowing the outcome of any NIH vaccine study.

•    Contact the offices of Rep. Posey and Rep. Maloney. Explain to them very politely that while you support vaccinated versus unvaccinated research, you do not support such research being done by federal agencies that have committed scientific misconduct to cover up adverse side-effects from vaccines. Ask that they work instead to expose the research fraud committed by government agencies like NIH, not ask for more research from NIH.

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.