Barry Farber begins his April 12 WorldNetDaily column by likening what he's about to write to Woodward and Bernstein taking down Nixon and Lech Walesa defeating communism. But then he writes about ... an anti-vaccine film:
Can you believe our beloved America has degenerated into a place where media are perfectly free to write what follows – but nobody does? Or, better said, nobody did until a controversial film implicated Big Pharma and the Centers for Disease Control in lying and falsifying the figures that show shocking connections between the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella) administered to infants as young as 18 months – and autism! The documentary, “Vaxxed: From Coverup to Catastrophe,” was viewed by Robert De Niro, who has an autistic child, praised repeatedly by Robert De Niro, and finally withdrawn from the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival by Robert De Niro under pressure from some very stupid tyrant-types, who are apparently too stupid to realize their censoring days are over thanks to a sleepless Freedom Fighter known as the Internet!
I was taken by my investigative-reporter-daughter Celia Farber to the New York premiere. You will have a chance to see “Vaxxed” despite the frantic efforts by Big Pharma and the Centers for Disease Control to make sure you don’t. Children yet unborn will thank you.
Uh, yeah. Farber continues:
Here’s what’s known, incontrovertible, stomp-down truth beyond contradiction. In the 1950s autism was almost unknown. There was a clinic in California with maybe half-a-dozen cases. Then along came one case of autism for every ten thousand children who’d undergone the MMR vaccine. Then came one such case out of every 250. The latest figure is one out of 50!
And the proud defenders of Big Pharma and the CDC still refuse to yield a centimeter. And that’s what interests so many of us non-doctors and non-scientists. There’s the pungent fragrance of “body-panic” as more and more anguished parents and alarmed Americans ask what’s going on here. The CDC’s cooking of the books has befouled the air thousands of kitchens away. Dr. Andrew Wakefield, distinguished research gastroenterologist, had his license revoked for the high crime of suggesting the MMR vaccine needed more study! CDC internal whistleblower Dr. William Thompson has more and more frightened onlookers hopeful that truth will prevail. The MMR loyalists, however, defend it like the fanatical war-time Japanese defended their Emperor Hirohito. The cause of this skyrocketing surge in autism, Big Pharma and the CDC assure us, “cannot be vaccinations, must not be vaccinations, will not be vaccinations!”
Hoo boy. Where to begin:
First, the reason there were so few autism diagnoses in 1950 is because it wasn't recognized as its own disorder then. The word "autism" itself wasn't coined until 1943, and until the 1970s it was considered a form of schizophrenia.
Second, the autism rate among children is not "one out of 50": it has leveled off at 1 in 68, and increasing diagnosis rates in previous years likely had much to do with a "learning curve" among doctors when it came to properly diagnosing autism spectrum disorders, not necessarily an increase in the disorder itself.
Third, Andrew Wakefield (who made the film Farber watched, though Farber doesn't tell his readers that), is not a "distinguished research gastroenterologist," nor did not have "his license revoked for the high crime of suggesting the MMR vaccine needed more study." He conducted the study published in the medical journal The Lancet claiming that MMR vaccines cause autism -- a study that has never been replicated by other researchers and which the Lancet itself retracted and renounced as a fraud. He lost his medical license in Britain because he behaved unethically in conducting the experiments , testing a vaccine on a child without consulting the child's doctor and bribing children to provide blood samples.
Fourth, as we've noted, Thompson's claims have been discredited. He claimed that the CDC hid and/or destroyed evidence that the MMR vaccine caused increased rates of autism in African-American children; in fact, the data were never destroyed, and they don't show what Thompson claims they do.
Fifth, Farber invokes a weird form of Godwinism by likening vaccine defenders to "the fanatical war-time Japanese defended their Emperor Hirohito." Actually, vaccine defenders are defending science.
Nevertheless, despite the facts being against him, Farber insists they are actually on his side, with a dash of more classic Godwinism:
Big Pharma and the CDC will dismiss all of us who demand truth as “those lunatics who want to stamp out vaccinations altogether!”
Nice try. They’ll claim we’re medical primitives who seek the end of all vaccinations. How about a moratorium on the MMR “triple-header” vaccine and a return to the single “M” injections (measles), followed after a suitable interval by the second “M” (mumps) and later the “R” vaccine (against rubella)? Then let’s have an honest count of autism results.
You’d think after the autism rate soars from virtual zero to one per 250 the Big Pharma and CDC folks themselves would have said, “Come, let us reason together. Something is clearly wrong here!”
That’s a bit like hoping Heinrich Himmler would call upon his aides to improve the menu for the upcoming Jewish High Holy Days at Auschwitz!
The key tenet of Godwin's Law is that you've lost the argument when you invoke Nazis (or, we'd add, the World War II version of Hirohito). Farber apparently doesn't know that.
Oh, and reviews have dismissed Wakefield's film as "a grab-bag of charts, theories and anecdotal evidence that would never pass muster by the editors of any major scientific journal" that "too often resembles the kind of one-sided, paranoia-stoking agitprop that political activists construct to sanctify true believers and assault infidels." Farber has fallen in line with Wakefield's intent.