Smear! Smear at all costs!

You know you’ve made it big in the anti-vaccine circles when they start attacking you personally, calling into question your integrity, and calling you names like “Pharma Whore.” Before that, you’re just another cog in the Big Pharma machine. After that, you’re a rock star. Take the recent example of “the daily web newspaper of the [non-existent] autism epidemic” and their recent blog post smearing a law professor. Instead of posting all of it, I’ll just post for you the objective portions of the 1,097-word screed (of which 627, or 57%, are quoted words). See if you can make out what the writer is going on about:

“Dorit Reiss, associate law professor Hastings campus University of California, first came to my notice the other week commenting on Rabbi Handler’s article about vaccination in the Jewish Press.”

And:

“Then I discovered that she had responded in Harvard Law Review to Mary Holland, advocating that parents of unvaccinated children should be made liable for infection.”

And:

“Reiss is on the Parent Advisory Board of ‘Voices for Vaccines’ , the Scientific Advisory Board of which includes Alan R Hinman, Paul A Offit, Stanley A Plotkin and Deborah L Wexler . The website states that Voices for Vaccines was re-launched in 2013 and is “an administrative project” of the Task Force for Global Health. The Wiki entry for Task Force reads :”

And:

“Finally, the immunizations and vaccines section of Task Force for Global Health entitled Task Force for Vaccine Equity was according to its 2012 accounts funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Merck Company Foundation and Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Inc.”

That’s it. Those are all the objective sections of that post, 161 words. The rest of it is nothing more than one accusation after another that Dorit Reiss is a pharma shill. Or, as someone put it, a “pharma whore”:

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To smear some more, the author of the piece wrote that “most of her papers appear to be unpublished.” Let’s examine that. If you go to Dorit Reiss’ website, you’ll see that she has several papers on there. Three of them are “unpublished”: “The Benefits of Capture”, “No Innocents Here: Using Litigation to Fight against the Costs of Universal Service in France”, and “Account Me In: Agencies in Quest of Accountability”. It was the first one that the AoA author took offence in. These papers are “unpublished” in that they’re under an “unpublished” tab. Using the power of Google, which is the same power that has given Jenny McCarthy her degrees in immunology and biology, one can see that “Benefits” was published in the Wake Forest Law Review, “No Innocents Here” was published in the Creighton International and Comparative Law Journal, and “Account Me In” was published in the Brooklyn Law School Journal of Law and Policy. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Anti-vaccine activists don’t let facts get in the way of their theses.

Furthermore, for the anti-vaccine activist, there are numerous monsters under the bed. If someone is an expert in vaccines, God forbid he or she gets paid to be an expert. Why, that would be a conflict of interest. When Julie Gerberding went from being the head of CDC to working for Merck on vaccines, the anti-vax crowd almost blew a collective aneurysm. According to them, the job, which probably pays very well, was a “reward” to her for her stance on vaccines as head of CDC. It couldn’t have possibly been because she knows her stuff when it comes to vaccines and policy. No, no, no. It’s a conspiracy. See, she did all those things at CDC just knowing that she was going to be rewarded with a good-paying job by Merck, even though she advocated for the use of vaccines under strict scientific recommendations and of vaccines made by different manufacturers (not just Merck). But all pharmaceutical companies are in it together. They must have all pitched in to pay Gerberding’s salary now.

The same accusations are leveled against Dorit Reiss. See, she’s on the parent advisory board of “Voices for Vaccines“. VfV is an administrative project of the “Task Force for Global Health.” The task force gets funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Merck Company Foundation and Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Inc. But note that the words “administrative project” are used to describe VfV. Why? For that, you have to go to the source, Karen Ernst:

“Voices for Vaccines has as its fiscal agent The Task Force for Global Health. They take in our donations and cut checks for us. Many non-profits who are too small to handle their own 501(c)3 status use fiscal agents in this way; it’s quite common. We have absolutely no access to their money, nor do we benefit from their money. Voices for Vaccines is not tied to any pharmaceutical corporation or to any government organization. Thus far, all of our donations have been small and have come from individuals.”

Read that again. Money doesn’t go from Bill Gates’ checkbook straight to VfV. No. The task force takes the donations from individuals and does the bookkeeping. Remember what I wrote about facts?

How many words in this blog post are in statements of opinion, by the way?

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5 thoughts on “Smear! Smear at all costs!

  1. I went and took at look at the “age of autism” page, and read the article. I wondered what their point was so went to the front page and there it was .. the donate button. They’re in it for the cash.

    • They are in it for the cash…and they have the nerve to call us “Big Pharma Shills”. Look at all the advertising space they sell; for compounding pharmacies, for hyperbaric oxygen chambers, for stem cell “treatments” for autism in filthy, unregulated off-shore clinics, vitamins and supplement companies and for touting the books authored by their editors and other crank authors.

      They slime and libel every respected physician, scientist, science blogger and mainstream media journalist, who isn’t in lockstep with their “theories” and conspiracies, while supporting disgraced and discredited former medical doctors (Andrew Wakefield and Mark Geier). Their understanding of basic science is nil and their attempts to understand and interpret scientific studies is laughable. Is it any wonder then, why AoA is a running joke in the science community?

      • Now, now. Compounding pharmacies are of great utility to the *real* medical community (aka mainstream medicine).
        Suffer from the bends, you’ll *love* a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. They’re of great utility with an air/gas embolism as well (for those thinking of the bends, remember that there are other ways that gas can be introduced into the bloodstream). Any acute ischemic injury can benefit from hyberbaric oxygen as well. Burn patients can benefit from hyperbaric oxygen as well.
        Stem cell treatments are increasing in use, as well as gaining great diversity as evidence based medicine finds efficacy in their use for our various ills.
        My wife and my father take vitamin and calcium supplements to protect their bones and from deficiencies, such as B-12.

        Of course, all of the above are prescribed by competent, licensed physicians who follow evidence based medicine.
        You know the type, the ones who would only prescribe chelation therapy for such things as heavy metal toxicity that was verified by diagnostic testing.
        Anyone who would accept the guidance of a physician who prescribes chelation therapy or hyperbaric oxygen for an autistic patient is either mentally incompetent or morally bankrupt, as neither has been proved by evidence based medicine, indeed, they’re contraindicated as they provide no relief from any symptom. Might as well was the patient with water that someone chanted in Latin over for a cure. Or wave wood and bone over the victim whist uttering gibberish.

        But, some of the above, when prescribed by a physician following evidence based medicine are quite invaluable in treating those suffering from acute, life and limb threatening injury or disease.
        Of course, one also has to test the products of compounding pharmacies, as a somewhat recent outbreak of fungal infections amongst many states has shown. (That case really blew my mind, as if one is compounding injectables, one should take the utmost of care to ensure sterility of the product!)

  2. Here’s the guest blog written by Mary Holland, that Dorit Reiss responded to:

    http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/billofhealth/2013/06/21/guest-post-crack-down-on-those-who-dont-vaccinate-a-response-to-art-caplan/

    I “managed” to get a few questions past moderation that questioned Mary Holland’s undeclared conflicts of interest…and a few good points through moderation when Dorit Reiss responded to Mary Holland, before the comments sections were closed…no doubt because of the vicious, libelous attacks on Dorit Reiss and other pro-vaccine, pro-science commenters:

    http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/billofhealth/2013/06/24/guest-post-no-liability-for-failure-to-vaccinate-the-case-has-not-been-made-a-response-to-mary-holland/

    They are a vile lot of nasty columnists at AoA, only matched by the cranks who post comments there.

  3. Wow! I’m in good company! I’ve countered some of the fallacious spew of antivaxers out there and was also conferred the title of “Big Pharma Whore”. I mentioned that I worked for a contracting firm, providing information security for large clients meant nothing.
    But, when I mentioned my witnessing Polio and Measles epidemics in small villages in places that they could never manage to pronounce, they pounced. For then, I was a baby killer.
    I prodded them along a bit, which then set the Vietnam veterans about upon them, as they remember that particular epithet all too well. 🙂
    One counters fictions and fallacy with fact. Emotion with reason.
    But, there are times that one should not resist the urge to be a dick.
    For, in that exchange, they quickly turned on many who were initially sympathetic, but objected to classifying veterans as “baby killers” and those made sure every other reader understood how the pinhead would attack anyone who disagreed in any point that they wished to make, regardless of its invalidity.

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