David Kirby: Impartial Journalist.

7 Jul

David Kirby’s superb, even-handed account of the investigation into this ongoing, high-stakes controversy is fascinating and compelling

Bernard Rimland, Autism Research Institute; Autism Society of America

Kirby doesn’t offer his own verdict on the debate…

Polly Maurice, The New York Times Book Review

Walking the middle line, Kirby’s book remains one of the most thoroughly researched accounts of the thimerosal controversy thus far…

Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) ***

Evidence of Harm explores both sides of this controversy…

All quotes available on EOH.

So, according to himself, David Kirby is a thorough, impartial, dedicated boy-scout of a reporter. He offers an ‘even handed account’ that ‘doesn’t offer his own verdict’ and which ‘walks the middle line’ and thus explores ‘both sides’ of the controversy.

All these things are what you would expect from a journalist with some amount of ethics – after all, what is journalism that is one sided but fancily spun propaganda? – and so it must be something of a relief to most that such an important issue as the cause of autism is entrusted to such a thorough and ethical journalist.

So it comes as something of a surprise (well, no, it doesn’t really) to find that actually, despite good PR to the contrary, David Kirby is neither ethical nor impartial in his role as a journalist. He is in fact simply a partisan hack.

David Kirby’s website is ‘designed’ (and speaking as a web designer myself I use that phrase in its loosest possible sense) by ‘Wendys Webs‘. Interested to see who had done such an, um, _interesting_ design job on Kirby’s site, I performed a WHOIS on the domain and the owner was revealed as one Wendy A Fournier.

‘Well, so what?’ , I hear you ask. For an answer to that question you’ll need to head on over to the National Autism Association but make sure to use Internet Explorer as whoever (ahem) designed and built their website made it unworkable in Gecko based browsers.

And there on the Listed Directors page you will find Wendy Fournier – the President of the National Autism Association. Lets read her brief biog:

When Wendy’s youngest daughter was diagnosed with autism, doctors gave her little to hope for. She began to research treatment options via the internet. Here she discovered that there is indeed a great deal of hope. Hope comes in the form of biomedical treatments, therapies, enlightened medical professionals, a few brave politicians and an amazing group of parents around the world who are fighting for their children.

Aha, biomedical treatments, therapies, enlightened medics and brave politicos. Sound familiar at all? These are all code for ‘mercury causes autism’. Here’s how impartial Wendy Fournier is:

Wendy Fournier (Portsmouth, RI), parent and president of NAA, asks [referring to Mercury/Thimerosal], “Why would Shih, Johnson or any parent deliberately give their child a substance that’s label contains a Jolly-Roger symbol?”


…according to Aventis, removal of Thimerosal from the flu shots may present vaccine shortages and a higher risk for a flu outbreak. Parent Wendy Fournier says when you look at all the information, you quickly realize it’s a weak excuse. “They’ve had years to create mercury-free batches. Thimerosal is cheap — that’s why they want it in there,” she says.


So, David Kirby’s (who offers an ‘even handed account’ that ‘doesn’t offer his own verdict’ and which ‘walks the middle line’ and thus explores ‘both sides’ of the controversy remember) website is designed and built by someone who blames mercury for autism. How very impartial your propaganda is turning out to be Mr Kirby.

I’m also aware that at some point in the past the domain evidenceofharm.com was listed as being owned by SafeMinds. These details have been changed now but it is another nail in the coffin of Kirby’s impartiality. I wonder how much he was paid by Safeminds for his propaganda and I wonder how much of that came from charitable contributions?

30 Responses to “David Kirby: Impartial Journalist.”

  1. Camille July 7, 2005 at 07:31 #

    Someone who was at a DAN! conference where Kirby was speaking said that he heard Kirby tell everyone that there was aborted fetal tissue in vaccines.

    Kirby talks one way to the “choir” and he talks another way to the press, but sometimes he forgets which set of “facts” he’s supposed to be dishing out and messes up, or he doesn’t realize who all is listening like when he called Atlanta the “Belly of the Beast” on the EoHarm Yahoo! group board (list?).

    Two things his book should not be called, “well researched” and “impartial”.

    Kirby himself, I believe, doesn’t care about autism in the slightest, but he wants to make the trial lawyers and whoever else is encouraging him happy while keeping the facade of “impartiality” going.

    Kirby will be speaking on some kind of trial lawyer podcast tomorrow… the group has a blog called something like “get them big winnings” or “got my payoff” … no its, “the settlement channel”



  2. Autism Diva July 7, 2005 at 08:14 #

    Orac Knows asked Autism Diva to do a meme thing about books, which Autism Diva started to answer, but got off track a bit. One thing she did when she was looking at her most recent piles of books was find a book she bought a few months back and didn’t read much of.

    The book, “The Fact Checkers Bible” by Sarah Harrison Smith, is fascinating. Autism Diva still hasn’t read the whole thing, but found this tremendously helpful in understanding the whole Kirby thing, having a publicist and all.

    “Nonfiction trade books are another matter. As David Brock confessed several years after he’d published a biography of Hillary Clinton,

    “All authors of big nonfiction books face the arduous task of

    Too often, authors
    all in the service of
    Publishing houses are notioriously lax in fact-checking. Books are rarely retracted or even corrected.”(page 36)
    (emphasis added)

    Autism Diva is not sure if someone told Kirby that his book was a “big non-fiction book” (seems more like fiction in parts), but the rest of the quote certainly has “Evidence of Smarm” written all over it.

    Autism Diva believes “HYPE & BUZZ” are the names of his publicists.

    Autism Diva was thinking that there ought to be a “TFCB Day” where everyone buys a copy of, “The Fact Checker’s Bible” and sends it to either;
    David (this is all about the children) Kirby
    or to St. (stinking) Martin’s Press
    or Don (I don’t know nuthin’ ’bout autism) Imus
    or Salon (we don’t check facts).com
    and Rolling (whuh?) Stone magazine.

  3. Rob Waring July 7, 2005 at 10:31 #

    Circular link for the National Autism Association btw.

  4. Kev July 7, 2005 at 10:48 #

    Oops – thanks Rob :o)

  5. Orac July 7, 2005 at 13:48 #

    It looks as though David Kirby might soon be another victim of the Hitler zombie (that is, after the undead Führer gets through feasting on RFK Jr.’s brain, which appears inevitable, given his increasingly idiotic statements on the controversy. 😉

    Thanks for showing evidence that Kirby is not as “impartial” as he likes to represent himsef. Also indicative of his having lost all pretense of impartiality is his recent appearance as the keynote speaker at the Autism One quackfest in Chicago in May.

  6. Daniel July 7, 2005 at 22:06 #

    Whoa. You’re telling me people PAID her to make those websites?

  7. Jeff Trelka, M.Ed. August 7, 2005 at 21:39 #

    So, what is your point? Assuming all that you said is correct, you have only attacked Kirby’s character. Somewhere ad hominem is smiling. How about reading his book, then arguing against his reports of historical events. That would put you in an awkward position, though, because anyone who actually does homework into this issue quickly becomes converted to believing that thimerosal (a known neurotoxin) caused many cases of autism (a disorder of neurological damage).

    Jeff Trelka
    Seattle, WA

  8. Kev August 7, 2005 at 22:02 #

    My point Jeff is that various people role out the ‘big pharma shill’ ad hominem at the drop of an opinion.

    This post was merely to illustrate that whats good for the goose should be good the gander.

    Why do you assume I haven’t read EoH? It may amaze you to learn that lots of people don’t swallow poor research and bad science. Love your site by the way.

  9. doug August 8, 2005 at 03:13 #

    Try explaining why there are numerous cases of one monozygotic twin being diagnosed with “autism” while the other genetically identical twin is considered “neurotypical”.
    Clearly, there is an environmental factor at play. In fact, there is mounting evidence that the environmental factor triggering what is clearly an autism epidemic is mercury, which happens to be the second most toxic substance on the planet (plutonium is number one). Who in his or her right mind would consider repeatedly injecting such a potent neurotoxin into infants? Get your head out of the sand and face the facts: this is the single greatest iatrogenic catastrophe of our generation.
    P.S. Check out a recent UPI report on mercury emissions in Texas that shows that for every 1,000 pounds of mercury spewed into the air there is a concurrent 61% rise in the rate of autism in the area.

  10. Kev August 8, 2005 at 07:36 #

    “Clearly, there is an environmental factor at play”

    Who said there wasn’t?

    “In fact, there is mounting evidence that the environmental factor triggering what is clearly an autism epidemic is mercury”

    There is? Why don’t you cite it then?

    “Get your head out of the sand and face the facts: this is the single greatest iatrogenic catastrophe of our generation.”

    Get your head out of the sand and face facts: There is no evidence thimerosal causes autism. If you believe otherwise then back it up.

    Honestly, you people are all the same – lots of hot air, nothing to actually _say_.

    “Check out a recent UPI report on mercury emissions in Texas that shows that for every 1,000 pounds of mercury spewed into the air there is a concurrent 61% rise in the rate of autism in the area.”

    PS, no, Kirby got that wrong. Professor Palmer says there’s a 17% rise. Only Kirby said 61% because he’s not very good at sticking to the truth. Professor Palmer also went on to say in that same study (this is the bit Kirby didn’t report) that:

    “Palmer is quick to point out that this kind of study does not prove mercury pollution causes autism.”


    But then you’d know that if you got our head out the sand and checked the facts rather than blindly accepting whatever Kirby threw your way.

  11. doug August 8, 2005 at 13:16 #

    How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see? The evidence is mounting, and you have not refuted any of it. Do you think that injecting the second most potent neurotoxin on Earth repeatedly into the arms of infants did not cause any damage? You remind me of a little girl who closes her eyes and covers her ears when she hears something that she doesn’t like.

  12. Kev August 8, 2005 at 13:20 #

    Thats it Doug, when someone shows you up, resort to name calling. That certainly adds weight to your argument.

    You’re right I’ve not refuted anything. Thats because you keep failing to give me anything to refute. I’ll ask you again – cite this ‘mounting evidence’ that thimerosal in vaccines causes autism because seriously Doug, your inability to do so is making you look foolish and grasping. And when (if) you do, then I’ll have something to refute. Everybody wins.

    Over to you Doug.

  13. doug August 8, 2005 at 13:24 #

    Answer the question, pussywillow…WQhy would anyone think that it is just dandy to reepeatedly inject infants with a potent neuroroxin…There are numerous studies showing the damaging effects of mercury on the developing brain…

  14. Kev August 8, 2005 at 13:37 #

    ‘pussywillow’…hmmm, pretty inventive there Doug. Any idea why you keep fantasising about me in overtly feminine ways Doug?

    I’m not debating Mercury is dangerous in large quantities and nor am I claiming its not a toxin, I’m asking you to cite your evidence that thimerosal in vaccines causes autism. Should be easy right? So why can’t you do it?

    Warfarin is used in medicines and is a known fatal toxin. Want to ban that too?

  15. doug August 8, 2005 at 13:44 #

    You obviously have some sexual insecurities…maybe your time would be better spent seeking the advice of a sex therapist. You may even want to pursue a sex-change operation judging from the snippy, feminie tone of your posts. By the way, I just checked the March 2005 UPI article by Olmstead; the rate is 61%…but don’t let facts get in the way of your cynical, illogical assertions. I wonder why anyone would attempt to defend the practice of injecting Hg into infants…ulterior motive pussywillow???

  16. Kev August 8, 2005 at 13:51 #

    “”We found that for every 1,000 pounds of mercury released by industry, there was a 17 percent increase in autism,” Palmer tells WebMD”

    You go with UPI if you want Doug, I’ll go with the guy who actually performed the study.

    “I wonder why anyone would attempt to defend the practice of injecting Hg into infants…ulterior motive pussywillow???”

    Ahhhh, here it comes…Big Pharma Shill time! I love this bit.

    Doug – for the fourth time: cite your evidence that thimerosal in vaccines causes autism. Come on – lets hear it…..

  17. Elizabeth August 8, 2005 at 16:41 #

    YOU ARE ALL WRONG. Everyone understands there is a problem but you have all failed to understand what the causative agent is. You are not suppose to know and you are to continue arguing until the end of time while our nation ‘s children are exposed to something far worse than thimerosal year after year. Here is a new long word for all of you. Go to the library and find out what it does to human beings:

  18. Kev August 8, 2005 at 17:05 #


  19. Anne August 8, 2005 at 18:03 #

    Is it “assortative mating?” Oh, no, that’s two words.

    See Simon Baron-Cohen’s op ed piece “The Male Condition,” in today’s New York Times, for another possible environmental cause of autism.

  20. Kev August 8, 2005 at 18:27 #

    Anne – I’m betting its ‘aluminium’. Or maybe ‘ice cream’.

  21. Emmanuel Schiff August 8, 2005 at 19:17 #

    I wonder if Simon Baron-Cohen is related to Sasha Baron-Cohen (Ali G).

  22. Kev August 8, 2005 at 20:49 #

    He is – they’re either brothers or cousins. Can’t remember which.

  23. doug August 9, 2005 at 05:24 #

    This cunt is bragging about a 17% correlation betwen HgP and autism??

  24. Kev August 9, 2005 at 06:22 #

    Doug – moderate your language and tone or find somewhere else to have your temper tantrums in.

  25. doug August 9, 2005 at 10:47 #

    Guess you can’t hang with the truth CUNT

  26. doug August 9, 2005 at 10:48 #

    PS never end with a preposition, CUNT

  27. Kev August 9, 2005 at 11:25 #

    For coming unarmed to a battle of wits, Doug has been barred from posting.

  28. Emmanuel Schiff August 9, 2005 at 17:48 #

    Simon Baron-Cohen’s theory is interesting. It fits my sister and her husband, who are both in mathematical sciences. What do you think about it? Does it fit your cases?

  29. Kev August 9, 2005 at 18:32 #

    Yes and no. More so in my wife’s case and not so much in mine.

  30. Linz April 26, 2006 at 11:02 #

    someone was asking if simon baron-cohen was related to ali-g – they’re cousins.

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