Gardiner Harris Infects Forbes With Herper Virus

Matt Herper
Matt Herper, Senior Editor of Forbes

By Jake Crosby

Forbes Magazine has shamelessly given a platform to vaccine industry talking heads such as Emily Willingham and “Science”Blogger Peter Lispon. Its senior editor – Matt Herper – routinely writes articles pushing pharma talking points, while censoring the science CDC has tried to bury that utterly contradicts its party line. Ironically, when Herper first entered the debate, he seemed to hold promise as an inquisitive reporter. That, however, did not last long. So what influenced him? The probable answer: The New York Times’ ethically bankrupt reporter Gardiner Harris.

Matt Herper first came to this debate in 2007 when the CDC released a heavily biased study that sought to absolve thimerosal of causing neurological harm, using information from the CDC’s Vaccine Safety Datalink Project (VSD). Its lead author, William Thompson, is a former Merck employee and its senior author Frank DeStefano was already caught trying to bury proof that thimerosal was causing neurological damage. In spite of the fact that the 2007 study cut 70% of its participants, it replicated earlier research by DeStefano and colleagues associating thimerosal exposure with tic disorders and speech delays. Furthermore, the 2007 study never examined autism as an outcome. In fact, it never studied unvaccinated children.

As a result, Dan Olmsted, formerly of, asked CDC why the lack of study of unvaccinated children. After receiving many long, circuitous answers, Olmsted tried to ask a follow-up question but was cut-off. Fortunately, there was another reporter who shared his concerns, and whom Olmsted quoted as asking:

“So I was just wondering in a follow up question about why not compare to unvaccinated kids. And you – if I understand right, you included all children from several managed care organizations in order to enroll?”

Olmsted thanked Matt Herper for asking the question, but did not follow up on how Herper actually covered the CDC’s study. That was a whole different matter.

The title of Herper’s article speaks for itself: “Fear Factor.” Herper coauthored the article with Forbes’ then-senior editor Robert Langreth. The third sentence speaks volumes:

The overwhelming consensus among scientists that vaccines don’t cause autism or learning problems is getting a boost today from a government study of 1,000 children that showed no evidence at all that receiving vaccines containing a mercury-containing preservative, thimerosal, caused any problems for children at all.”

Neglecting special populations such as unvaccinated Amish, Herper and Langreth simply cited CDC’s simplistic excuse as to why no unvaccinated children were studied:

Researchers couldn’t compare kids who got vaccines with those who didn’t, because almost all children are vaccinated. Only three kids out of every thousand in the United States don’t get at least some vaccinations.

Forbes was not the only mainstream publication that covered this study in such a deceptive way, however. Over at The New York Times, the conflicted “journalist” Gardiner Harris wrote an article that predictably began:

Yet another study has found that a controversial vaccine preservative appears to be harmless.”

However, if the preservative appeared to be “harmless,” then the CDC wouldn’t have replicated past research associating it with speech delays and tic disorders. The CDC study would have also included autism among its outcomes, but did not. Harris did not even address the fact that no unvaccinated children were studied, as Herper and Langreth did.

Why would different reporters from different publications report on this story from the same dishonest perspective? Perhaps because Robert Langreth and Gardiner Harris were old colleagues who cowrote articles for The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) – a newspaper whose editorial bias predates both Forbes Magazine and The New York Times. WSJ has published unsigned editorials supporting the rider in the Homeland Security Bill that sought to shield Eli Lilly from thimerosal litigation. After Langreth left Forbes for Bloomberg News, Herper became senior editor. In other words, Herper took over Langreth’s job, but still manages Forbes’ content on the vaccine-autism issue exactly like Gardiner Harris’ former colleague Langreth did – by backing the government’s cover-up of vaccine injury through censorship and propaganda.

We can almost certainly thank Gardiner Harris for infecting Forbes Magazine with the Herper Virus. Veteran public health reporter Harris is now in India where he came down with travelers’ diarrhea for not washing his own mango.

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 is completing his candidacy for an MPH in epidemiology from The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.

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9 Thoughts on “Gardiner Harris Infects Forbes With Herper Virus

  1. Think Thrice on August 24, 2013 at 2:53 pm said:

    “Veteran public health reporter Harris is now in India where he came down with travelers’ diarrhea for not washing his own mango.”

    A great way to end this article Jake!

    I enjoy your thorough coverage in making sense of all this and the fact that when like minded zombies go from tabloid (these publications hardly rise to the standards of “tabloid,” I know I’m being too nice) to tabloid, there is no “conspiracy” that is needed. These monsters are all the same, the only difference is maybe the odor of their diarrhea.

    All the best!

  2. It seems there are no end of people willing to sell their souls for money. I mean if they really researched the issue they would see the bogus research for what it is.

    • Herper knows enough about this issue to really know what is going on. He knows about Kennedy’s article “Deadly Immunity” and of the damning quotes by NIH, CDC, WHO, IOM and AAP officials proving they buried evidence and created “research” to come to the conclusion they want. In fact, Herper supported the article’s retraction by Salon – run by vaccine industry mouthpiece Arthur Allen’s brother-in-law – based on a bogus rumor spread by Allen’s successor Seth Mnookin that Rolling Stone secretly retracted the piece.

      As far as I’m concerned, Herper, Mnookin, Allen, Langreth and Harris are no better than the people who sought to bury evidence in the first place.

  3. Victor Pavlovic on August 25, 2013 at 2:26 am said:

    Thanks Jake, I love your story of the Herper virus, it seems that it is an epidemic and has been for some time now , many reporters are repeating the same tired old stories without reading the actual studies that might convince them otherwise. There are very few good reporters today that actually do their research, especially when it comes to vaccines, and Herper is not one of them, perhaps it is the difficulty in the material and understanding it enough to take on those that would oppose them, such as hired guns from the drug companies, and their cronies.

  4. White Rose on August 27, 2013 at 5:19 pm said:

    Message to Matt Herper : Make sure you keep all your own vaccines & those for your entire family fully up to date …… Its only fair after all the nonsense you have spouted .

  5. Pingback: Forbes' Matt Herper Cites Misleading Gardasil Press Release - Autism Investigated

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