When the Age of Autism reported on a note written by Story Landis, they added a word that dramatically colored what was said. I am left wondering why would AoA make such an clearly detectable misquote? Read on and you will see what I mean.
Take a look at the piece titled “Dr. Story Landis: Autism not a multi-symptom disease but a money making scheme?“. That whole “money making scheme” part is what got people riled up. But is it really supported by what was said?
Here’s a little screenshot of the Age of Autism blog post, if you don’t want to click through to their site:
I know this seems redundant, but here is what they quote Dr. Landis as saying:
“I wonder if Lyn Redwood is pushing autism as a multi-symptom disorder in order to feed into vaccine injury awards.”
Emphasis added by me.
Why add emphasis, you might ask? Because “awards” is not in what Dr. Landis wrote in that first line. Go ahead and check. Here’s the note, as downloaded from the of the Age of Autism blog.
“I wonder if Lyn Redwood is pushing autism as multisystem disorder to feed into vaccine injury?
It is the second line that mentions awards:
Would be a good justification for looking at vaccine injured kids who have gotten awards.
The insertion isn’t a simple mistake–it is made twice in the same blog post. Here is the second place the mistake was made:
How could Landis imply that families are “trying to make” autism into a total body disease in order “to feed into vaccine injury awards.”
Neither section in the “quotes” is accurate. “Trying to make” isn’t in what Dr. Landis wrote, and, as we have just seen, “feed into vaccine injury awards” isn’t either.
Without the word “awards” added the meaning that the Age of Autism blog post tries to convey, heck, the title of the blog post–that Dr. Landis was speculating that this was a “money making scheme”–is unsupported.
Let’s dive into this a bit deeper. David Kirby, blogger at the Age of Autism and at the Huffington post did a very strange thing. In his piece he gets the correct quote from the note, doesn’t mention the mistake made at the age of autism, but still pushes the Age of Autism interpretation:
To many parents, it seemed that Dr. Landis suspected Redwood of “pushing” the study of these multisystem problems merely to boost the number of autism cases filed in vaccine court (the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program), and to increase their chances for victory. Judging by the comments on Age of Autism, those parents were profoundly offended by the implications of that interpretation.
I’m curious as to how Mr. Kirby came to the conclusion that Dr. Landis’ note was “merely to boost the number of autism cases filed in vaccine court” and “to increase their chances for victory”. Dr. Landis didn’t mention the court, the chances of victory…or even “awards” in the context that would support Mr. Kirby’s interpretation.
I’d be curious as to whether Mr. Kirby pointed out the mistakes to the Age of Autism blogger in question.
A casual observer might find it odd how Mr. Kirby corrected the quote and yet persisted in pushing (yes, I’ll use the term pushing) the interpretation based on the misquote. The same casual observer would find it especially odd, since Mr. Kirby was the one to publicly disclose Dr. Landis’ explanation of her comment:
The other part of my note addressed the fact that it is important for autism researchers to study the children who have been most profoundly affected by their response to vaccines. That in no way mitigates my sincere apology to the families who interpreted my note to be uncaring and disrespectful.
“The other part of my note” being “Would be a good justification for looking at vaccine injured kids who have gotten awards.”
If you can look at the quote fresh, consider this interpretation–the first sentence, “I wonder if Lyn Redwood is pushing autism as multisystem disorder to feed into vaccine injury?” is discussing the if autism as a multisystem disorder would feed into the *idea* of autism as a vaccine injury. The assertion that her comment referred to vaccine injury “awards” is at best speculation and, at worst, a pretty clear misquote. I could speculate on the motives of the Age of Autism blogger, but haven’t we just seen how dangerous it is to speculate on motives with little information?
note: I made some small edits for clarity shortly after publishing this.