Threats Prove Cartoonist Right About Vaccine McCarthyism


Editor’s Note: After two years, The Epoch Times’ blog section is now closed as the site is undergoing a redesign. All Epoch Blogs from Autism Investigated are still archived. There is exciting news to come about The Epoch Times pertaining to Autism Investigated.

By Jake Crosby

Above is a cartoon originally published on DailyKos by Keith Knight, author of the K Chronicles. Knight drew the above cartoon to bring attention to what he called the “New McCarthyism” – the hypocrisy and double-standard surrounding discussions about vaccines.

As anyone could have predicted, the thread was soon awash in nasty comments including threats so bad he eventually caved and removed the whole cartoon – proving Knight right about Vaccine McCarthyism.

“I took it down myself. A few comments crossed the line with me, so I took it down,” he reportedly said of the cartoon. “I can take the personal threats…but once it goes beyond that — ”

Making clear how inflammatory the vaccine issue was even when compared to other inflammatory subjects, he said:

“I may do a follow-up at some point, but for now I’ll stick to less inflammatory subjects like abortion, Israel/Palestine, and gun control.”

Abortion clinics have been bombed, a member of Israeli parliament has been called a “war criminal” at an academic panel discussion, and the National Rifle Association’s famous slogan is “I’ll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands. Yet in Knight’s own experience, the vaccine issue is even more inflammatory than these other inflammatory issues.

The Daily Cartoonist weighed in on the situation with the following commentary:

“Expressing unpopular opinion is not for everyone. Side affects vary but may include pissing off people who think of themselves as tolerant, inflaming internet comment sections or receiving unwanted threats to oneself or family.”

Such threats were apparently fair game to one blogger who deeply despised Knight’s cartoon:

“The only heartening bit is how most of the commenters contribute to giving Knight a new sphincter.”

Direct those same kinds of threats at that very blogger, and watch the incitement turn to self-pity.

While the DailyKos took no apparent action against the trolls making the threats before the entire post was taken down, it has its own unique style of censorship like those of other left-wing, big government sites. The Huffington Post enforces censorship by removing articles without any explanation or warning. “Throwing a writer to the wolves” is what Salon did by retracting Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s “Deadly Immunity” article, according to the site’s own founder. But the preferred method of censorship at DailyKos is banning any commenter who argues vaccines cause autism.

If DailyKos was not directly involved in the removal of the post or even in the incitement of trolls (both of which I have a hard time believing), the site certainly created the perfect environment for the New McCarthyism Knight denounced to take root by banning people who would otherwise support him in the comment thread. Unlike at DailyKos, expressing different views will not get anyone banned from commenting at Autism Investigated; making threats will get a commenter banned.

So the cartoon is now posted here, and is here to stay.

Addendum: After one commenter’s reported experience with having comments censored at DailyKos, a decision has been made to not allow any comments that link to that site. If DailyKos will shut down discussion about topics routinely discussed here, then there is no reason to link any readers to that site only to be banned from commenting. Unless DailyKos overturns its policy of censorship, any submitted comment that links to DailyKos will be deleted. No exceptions.

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50 Thoughts on “Threats Prove Cartoonist Right About Vaccine McCarthyism

  1. This is just gag-worthy. The “pro-vaccine-no-matter-what” side is just so quick to play the pity card and yet any criticism or questioning we might have about vaccines is silenced by most media . I love the drug ad comparisons! Very good point; the truth hurts. As someone whose relative was injured by a vaccine I find this treatment gutless.

    • Just look at this gem from the blogger who incited the attacks:

      “When it comes to public health (or children’s welfare), there is no choice. Should Typhoid Mary have had a ‘choice’ about whether she was quarantined? What about people with Ebola?”

      Never mind the lack of harmful side effects that sets vaccines apart from quarantining, but I guess that’s the kind of mentality that led to Dr. Nancy breaking her Ebola quarantine after telling people to “get your damn vaccine.” Yet only after she appeared drunk on TV did she finally leave NBC.

      The bizarre behavior of these people is mind-blowing.

    • The truth of the matter is that the big pharma companies tell the media outlets that they will sue them out of existence if they don’t take the postings off. They also ‘own’ many of the companies that provide ‘click advertising’, so they threaten to remove ALL advertising from their site, putting them out of business. Big money wins.

  2. Keith Knight I have always LOVED your work. It was the main reason I would get Seven Days, our local Burlington, Vermont paper. Now it is gone and I think they are totally stupid to have switched to something else.
    Now I like you even better. I make the same point about the pharma manufacturers all the time. Everybody knows they are as corrupt as all get out yet why do they get a pass on vaccines? And it is the leftist intellectuals who are the worst on this. Almost as though medicine is some kind of stealth organized religion that they have unknowingly given their heart and soul to, with vaccinations THE holy sacrament. A sacrament that is looking more an more like human sacrifice, alas.

    • The term “leftist intellectuals” has become an oxymoron, and your state is perhaps the best example of this after California, Rebecca. Vermont and California are two of just seven states in the country to have Democratic Party-dominated legislatures and governors aligned with the same political party. Those same two states are also the only states to eliminate personal choice exemptions to vaccination – Vermont eliminated its secular choice exemption whereas California eliminated its religious choice exemption as well. If that doesn’t tell us what political party to vehemently oppose, I don’t know what does. Sorry to hear about the elimination of secular choices to opt out of vaccination in your state, Rebecca Lee.

      • I should add that although I regret my generalization of liberals, two of the three states that had secular choice exemptions, Democratic governors and Democratic-dominated senates and assemblies no longer have those exemptions. Swift, decisive action and a very compelling documentary saved Oregonians’ secular right to opt-out of vaccination without having their children barred from school. California was a different story.

    • Elisabeth on July 11, 2015 at 5:09 pm said:

      I dislike labels because I am a “leftist intellectual” as are many of my pro-vaccine-choice friends. I urge everyone to stay united under this important issue and try not to let politics divide us all. I am agnostic, believe climate change is human made, support abortion rights, worked in medical labs, have a bachelors of science degree, listen to NPR and BBC, am a feminist, had midwives for my births, and do not vaccinate. Even if the only thing we have in common is not vaccinating, we are a team! I think that there are many on the left who are quietly questioning vaccines, as the pressure is greater, since we don’t generally have religious reasons to stand behind, and we are supposed to “believe” in science. I do believe in science, but I know a lot of it now is junk and I do my best to think critically about any studies or “facts.” I also know that science is ever changing, even without the big companies publishing misleading and bad studies. Sorry for the long post about ME, I just want to point out that we are here, liberals who do get the vaccine issue.

      • Sorry Elisabeth, I should have been sensitive to the fact that policies endorsed by the Democratic Party don’t necessarily reflect liberal voters. I don’t identify with that political persuasion, but I have to admit that there is no stronger advocate for safer vaccines than Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

      • I agree with you whole heartedly, Elisabeth! Let’s not make this a left-right issue. We need to unite in the name of choice of what we inject or ingest. The corporate powers who are steering this ship count on people fighting with each other (left-right, demo-republican, skin-color, religion, etc) in order to disempower the people and create fear. I tend to think “liberally” and stopped vaccinating my kids after I realized it was harmful and did a lot of research. Although a lot of my peers disagree with me, many do agree and question the trends of taking away exemptions. I have friends who vaccinate but are totally pro-choice in terms of vaccinations. It doesn’t seem to matter in my community if someone is religious or not in terms of how they see vaccines. It doesn’t seem to matter if someone “believes” in science or not in terms of how they see vaccines. I love science and am deeply spiritual and the vaccine pushing makes no sense to me. The science that promotes it makes little sense and I see the corrupt influences. This issue is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of all of our institutions crumbling. The back lash from them is a symptom of a panicked dying unsustainable system that must collapse and allow the new way to grow.

        • Kari Aist on July 24, 2015 at 4:18 pm said:

          I wholeheartedly share your ways of identifying and appreciate that you put into words pretty much exactly what I have been thinking, Elisabeth and Rita. Just wanted to lend support for your statements.

  3. Eddie Unwind on July 10, 2015 at 11:38 am said:

    I think it very likely that with regard to such ‘toxic’ issues, satire in the form of cartoons is the best way to go. The good ones are piercing; they ridicule the hypocritical standpoint of the power-hungry, the puerile character of the enslaved, and the pomposity of the social-Darwinist type all at once, and hence strike at the very essence of the debate. A little humour – despite that it may offend – often provides the only common ground for any understanding between such opposed viewpoints.

  4. Danchi on July 10, 2015 at 1:09 pm said:

    Keith Knight has got to know that most, if not all of those threats and vulgar comments are coming from the CDC/Pharma industry paid online militia. That’s how they prevent people of good conscious from asking and posting questions about the “science” of vaccines on online comment boards. Daily Kos is a terrible site. They would have articles about vaccines and I would post comments that not only questioned the contents of the article I provided direct contradictory information with sources from the CDC’s website and the comments never showed up. My comments were thoughtful, polite but most importantly demonstrated what the author of the article wrote was wrong but, that’s not how they rolled. If my comments did happen to slip by their moderator I was attacked viciously by the pharma troll train. There would be 5-7 replies to my comment calling me all sorts of name like “baby killer’, ignorant, murderer etc. I’ve learned over the last few years these astro-turf sites are told to allow excessive troll activity. When I commenting on Huff Post my comments all fell within the posting guidelines so they had no reason not to post them or other commenters who had more “science’ than the writers of the article, they would post the comment but delay posting it for a day or two in the thread. This way any counter arguments were lost in the mix because the threads would have a couple of thousand comments. I also read that Ariana Huffington encouraged trolls to infest the site because she felt that the site had gotten to liberal, especially when it came to President Obama.

    The good news is, the MSM has been revealed for what it is, unreliable, bought and paid for. Alternative news sites are not considered legitimate news sources by most of the public. The Vaccine issue is being talked about. It is being exposed and people who were silent or unaware this debate existed are waking up.

    • It’s yet another example of the other side’s hypocrisy that they would post personal threats all over someone’s comment threads but censor their own.

      UPDATE: Your comment has inspired me to make some changes to how comments will be moderated. See the addendum at the bottom of this post for details.

  5. This is an emotional issue for many people. Both sides of the fence are equally guilty of personal threats of this caliber. All the more reason to set aside emotion, claims of “parent’s intuition,” accusations of shilling and selling snake-oil, claims of hypocrisy and double-standards, and focus on the science. Science is the candle in the dark here.

    • Science is the candle in the dark because of the very hypocrisy, double-standards and flat-out lies of the vaccine industry. If they were honest, there would be no issue here. It’s perfectly reasonable to question someone’s integrity where necessary. Threats against someone’s life or the lives of family members, however, is completely unacceptable.

      • I question whether it can be demonstrated that anything the vaccine industry has done has been blatantly dishonest to the degree that one can suggest the medical orthodoxy is wrong with respect to the science of vaccines.

        • Well when you find a connection to autism and other disorders from mercury in vaccines as CDC did for example while telling the public its perfectly safe, that makes your message both wrong and dishonest.

          • A draft of an abstract of one phase of a two-phase study isn’t hard evidence that the CDC lied. What was wrong with the final results of the study, which neutral in nature?

            • They denied ever finding an association with autism, and the lead investigator privately concluded to his colleagues that the substance did harm.

              • But if the association was preliminary and eventually eliminated by controlling for multiple confounders, is that really considered “denial?”

                Keep in mind thimerosal was removed from most childhood vaccines as a precautionary measure regardless, so even if Verstraeten et. al were mistaken or overly-optimistic with their assessment of thimerosal the CDC still erred on the side of caution with their recommendation. I don’t see what point there would be for them to cover up an association.

                If you’re referring to the email, I seem to be interpreting it differently than you are.

                • No, because their claim that adjusting for covariates eliminated the risk is another lie. They simply omitted the results for the highest exposure category of thimerosal that they were studying. It’s not unlike what Thompson said the CDC did to results implicating the MMR in causing autism in African-American children.

                  Mercury exposure from childhood vaccines was (and still is) so high that a member of the CDC’s advisory committee cried over it. Verstraeten said so himself that he and his colleagues were tempted to “disprove an unpleasant theory.” So it’s not even a question of whether CDC would want to.

                  Verstraeten concluded in the email that thimerosal caused harm, including autism and other disorders.

                  • Where’s the evidence that they eliminated the results for the highest exposure category? The CDC’s decision on the MMR study was questionable, but not necessarily damning. It would merit follow-up on the association regarding African-American boys but it also suggests seemingly no association with all of the other strata. And if the other strata point universally towards no association, I’d hesitate to think the association with African-American boys is anything but a statistical outlier. This seems to be the line of thinking the CDC followed, though Thompson disagreed.

                    Where did Verstraeten say this? I don’t recall him making that statement.

                    If you’re referring to the email linked in your post on Emily Willingham, again I seem to have interpreted it differently. It looks like a mere discussion on the data analysis of the first phase of a two-phase study. I don’t see any reason the language in the email should suggest an attempted cover-up, especially considering the CDC released this email in the first place.

                    • All draft manuscripts that followed omit the risk for greater than 25 mcg of mercury exposure in the first month of life. The risk for MMR was also present in children with a diagnosis of ASD, but no other comorbid diagnoses.

                      He said he would conclude all the harm is done in the first month of life. This was before CDC decided to break the study up into “phases.”

        • Shannon on July 11, 2015 at 2:38 pm said:

          The pharmaceutical industry is rife with chicanery in its research. The Vioxx fiasco, the current case Merck against at the DEpt. of Justice with the MMR where African American boys did not support the intended outcome for the vaccine testing so the entire subset was just not included. Merck has paid out millions for fraudulent research. Why is THAT not all over the mainstream media… We know why. Because the vast majority of their ad revenue comes from pharmaceuticals.

          Also, the conflict of interest within the FDA and big Pharma as well as the payouts/donations to various representatives is sickening ex. Dr. Pan, who received something along the lines of $95,000 in campaign contributions. How could anything they say be trustworthy enough that I would put my child’s life and Heath at risk.

          When looking at the science, people need to look at who is paying for the science instead of just reading headlines about the science.

          • Looking at the people who pay for the science is one thing to keep in mind, of course, but if the science itself is robust, stands up to scrutiny, and can be replicated then the funding sources are irrelevant to the results. You can make the argument that conflicts of interest would compel people to cover hide data, but that argument requires evidence of this occurring.

            • Yes, we can replicate useless studies endlessly is what you’re saying. People like you are not worth discussing the issue with. Your mind is made up that there is apparently no problem whatsoever with the vaccine research and any harm done is more than justifiable over actual illness. Sure Ben, but we know that money is involved in all of this in a rather huge way. You never answered on how you like the Danish studies. Not surprising in the least.

              • I can hardly comment on the Danish studies when I am not yet familiar enough with them. But I give you my word I will give them an honest and open-minded look-through.

                I am completely open-minded to the possibility that vaccine research is lacking with respect to adverse reactions. But my views on these issues tend to go where the evidence goes, so for the time being it doesn’t seem like an issue that warrants this much attention. For a person to accuse someone else of “having their mind made up,” I hope that you’ve honestly considered the possibility that that applies to yourself as well.

      • (continued from bottom)

        I’ll have to take another look at the study to see if that was the case regarding the high exposure group. Don’t know what you’re referring to with respect to MMR.

        Well according to him the study was always planned to be a two-phase study. Idk, I’m just not convinced that there’s anything sketchy about that comment since it was with regards to the first phase.

        • See above table for isolated subgroup.

          Then the first phase would have been the abstract, but there is a later draft manuscript dated February 29th, 2000 labeled “VSD Phase I.” From that, we can safely conclude that it was decided the study would be two-phased AFTER the incriminating results tying thimerosal to autism and other disorders.

          • Let’s say for the sake of argument that only one phase was planned from the beginning.

            What, exactly, is wrong with a follow-up phase? Is it not the rational thing to do to follow up on the results with further analysis, especially when the results are concerning? Just because the results went from positive to neutral doesn’t mean something shady went on; it is a possibility that there actually isn’t an association, which was revealed by more intensive analysis.

            What are your qualms with the phase 2 study anyways?

    • The fox is guarding the henhouse as they say. I believe even someone at the BMJ has pointed this out. COI, do you understand that? The science you speak of is mostly weak epidemiological study rather than physiological study. Cochrane collaboration meta analysis show flu vaccine to be not so effective and I believe they found MMR vaccine to be needing more scrutiny. You think the Danish study is legit? All science is not created equal, unfortunately.
      I also believe in parents’ anecdotal reporting although this should have been followed up by now by more physiological studies looking at bio markers and response to vaccination.
      What is very obvious is that many people have lost faith in the program.

      • Why do you think epidemiological studies are weak? What physiological studies do you propose be done? What “biomarkers” regarding vaccination are you referring to?

        • There would be persons much more qualified than I to discuss physiological/bio-marker studies, so I’m not biting. Obviously there are many scientists and doctors themselves who aren’t impressed by a vast majority of the epi studies. You like the Danish study?

          • Try “studies,” it’s more than one such publication orchestrated by the fraudster Poul Thorsen and his henchmen.

          • If you don’t consider yourself qualified to discuss the need to research biomarkers of potential vaccine adverse reactions, then how do you know if the requests by doctors for studies that locate such biomarkers have any merit? To be brief, it would be a very complex and expensive undertaking, and many are right to question the necessity given that other lines of study suggest there is no need to pursue the avenue of vaccine adverse reactions to this degree.

  6. Had the CDC come clean when they first discovered the vaccination-autism connection, we would have made major progress in halting the epidemic and perhaps curing some of its victims. Since they did not, they are now criminals and will never admit their culpability for this disaster voluntarily (the honorable Dr Thompson excepted). It would mean disgrace, prison and immense monetary liability for the guilty parties in government and business. Now it is war, which is why you get the sort of attack Mr. Knight endured. The revelations by Dr. Thompson must be used by Congress to break the conspiracy and punish the guilty.

  7. Regardless of Ben’s defence and deflections on the pharmaceutical industry here, the unavoidable fact remains; censorship in science is the order of the day and a little cartoon like this terrifies them.

  8. Heather Kovac on July 12, 2015 at 9:45 pm said:

    Thank you for posting this excellent cartoon! I unsubscribed to The Daily Koz when they started being a mouthpiece for big pharma’s vaccines. They must a lot of staff whose relatives work for pharma or get the majority of their ad money from pharma.

  9. Hans Litten on July 14, 2015 at 7:06 am said:

    Jake – what has changed here ? Where have all these people come from ? all at once ?
    Smacks of orchestration .

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