Vaccine rejectionists have long resorted to insulting and intimidating investigative reporters they can’t fool or charm, but the latest example kicks things up a notch. The fringe anti-science website AgeOfAutism has identified the sister of the Chicago Tribune reporter, in apparent retaliation for a scathing article about diet supplement entrepreneur Prof. Boyd Haley.
The AoA post reports that the sister of Tribune reporter Trine Tsouderos “worked for a company that did multi-center NIH-funded health studies.” An unholy alliance, according to the writer, between the newspaper, the NIH, and other sinister organizations, helps explain “the current Chicago Tribune obsession with autism treatments.” Still not getting the picture? Maybe this will help:
For those who do not know, there are many groups who have been fighting hard to suppress the fact that vaccines can cause autism. They are people in the media, in public health, in medical organizations, in vaccine development and patents, in universities with autism gene chasing grants, in the public sector (NIH, CDC, AAP, et al) in the private sector, (pharmaceutical companies) and many in between.
Triple bank shot conspiracies are nothing new to the anti-vaccine crowd, and rejectionists have never been shy about naming names. What’s relatively new, and of no small concern to journalists, is the targeting of non-public inviduals – science writers and news reporters – and the unfounded allegations of corruption and professional malfeasance.
Alienating editors and reporters is an odd tactic for a special interest group that is paranoid about how it is portrayed in the nation’s media. Odder still when the group’s mission includes exposing children to dangerous infectious diseases – doesn’t it seem these people would want allies in the media? But here is AoA attacking veteran New York Times science writer Don McNeil in December, 2008, over a book review that was published a month later. The title of the post was Some New York Times Reporters are Just Ignorant:
He’s simply ignorant of this topic, and his preconceived notion that he understands what’s going on leads him down a certain path of who to trust and what to write. Did I succeed in changing his understanding? I doubt it. Expect a glowing review on False Prophets soon.
The same post refers to another science writer at the Grey Lady, Gardiner Harris, as “unquestionably the biggest jackass I have ever encountered.”
Why do anti-vaccine activists resort to attacking reporters? Stephen Barrett, M.D., a retired psychiatrist who operates quackwatch.org, says, “I can’t speculate about motivation, but I can tell you that critics of health misinformation and quackery are typically accused of being biased, close-minded, and/or having an economic motive.”
Time is running out for vaccine rejectionism, as the evidence, already plentiful, further mounts against a link between vaccines and autism. As more and more reporters get the story right, rejectionists are sure to step up their campaign of intimidation and innuendo.