U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., created a firestorm on Capitol Hill recently when he presented evidence the Centers for Disease Control destroyed data linking the MMR vaccine, (measles, mumps and Rubella) and autism.
Posey based his indictment on the allegations of Dr. William Thompson, a 17-year veteran of the CDC, who became a whistleblower and charged in a report by Robert E. Kennedy Jr. that was published on WND his superiors pressured him to manipulate data in order to conceal possibly harmful side effects of the MMR vaccine.
It was in August 2014, Thompson alleged, the CDC hid data which revealed the MMR vaccine caused an increased risk of autism when administered to children younger than three years old, with an even greater risk for African-American children.
Thompson stated he led or co-led three major vaccine safety studies while working for the CDC. After finding the risks for autism and the disproportionate impact on black children, Thompson charged:
"All the authors and I met and decided sometime between August and September 2002 not to report any race effects from the paper. Sometime soon after the meeting, we decided to exclude reporting any race effects. The co-authors scheduled a meeting to destroy documents related to the study.
"The remaining four co-authors all met and brought a big garbage can into the meeting room, and reviewed and went through all the hardcopy documents that we had thought we should discard, and put them into a huge garbage can.
As we pointed out when Newsmax peddled this story, Thompson's claims have been discredited. As Forbes notes, reanalysis of the data Thompson claims was thrown away -- Thompson claims to have made his own copies, and the CDC kept it as well -- does not draw the same conclusion Thompson did, undermining his conspiracy theory.
Unlike WND -- whose editor, Joseph Farah, nevertheless delusionally insists his "reporters and editors are always encouraged and required to seek out multiple sources and contrary viewpoints in news articles" -- Forbes reached out to the main figures in the story for comment: Thompson, Posey and the CDC. Thompson refused to comment, the CDC says it's reviewing Thompson's claims, and Posey's office insisted it was directly quoting Thompson.
Instead, WND reached out of one its favorite anti-vaxxers, the right-wing-fringe-associated Dr. Lee Hieb. And she doesn't disappoint, calling everyone who opposes exemptions for children to receive vaccines Nazis. No, really:
"Look, there is no reason to give an infant a hepatitis B vaccine, for example. This is the government imposing an unneeded medical procedure, one that has risks, unnecessarily, on small children whose bodies may not be ready for it. And then they tell us we are not even allowed to discuss the data surrounding these issues. Indeed, the CDC may have actually destroyed the data.
Hieb is lying. The data were never destroyed -- the CDC always had a copy of it outside of Thompson's possession. As Forbes points out:
The events described in that quote occurred between “August and September ’02.” In 2002—and well before that time—data and analyses weren’t retained only in hard copy versions. Indeed, hard copies of anything were and are fairly irrelevant for record-keeping, and scientists tend to rely on well-backed-up digital versions for archiving.
The idea that a group of scientists working for the US government in 2002 would somehow think that they could conceal data by discarding hard copies of anything defies belief and makes no sense given that the data were still available from the CDC. This isn’t fiction film noir–it’s a multilevel bureaucracy with multiple levels of data backup, archiving, and storage. Digital copies of data are absolutely critical for protecting data integrity, per the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Research Integrity.
But WND's not interested in the truth if there's a conspiracy that can be perpetuated.