Misplaced anger, or, I'd be pretty annoyed with the PSC if I were a petitioner

3 Aug

Sharyl Attkisson has recently “discovered” what those of us who have been watching the Autism Omnibus closely have known for months: Hannah Poling is not the first person with autism or autistic symptoms who has had been compensated* in vaccine court (as evidenced by Neurodiversity.com and Arthur Allen)

(*note that Ms. Poling’s case is still on going and she hasn’t been “compensated” yet.)

That said, one of the comments on Ms. Attkisson’s blog struck me. I’ll pick a bit out here, from Tim Kasemodel:

Our Government has been good at sweeping things under the rug – but the rug is no longer big enough, and great reporters such as Sharyl Attkisson are beginning to look there.

Ah, let’s see. I’ll point out, though I can’t prove, that I found other cases in the vaccine court’s history involving autism/autistic symptoms within days of David Kirby breaking the Hannah Poling story. It wasn’t hard–the government has cleverly swept these cases “under the rug” by putting them on their server in plain sight. The Chief Special Master made statements in the press about previous cases. (I need to find a good link for that, I know). My guess is that Ms. Seidel found more by doing those clever searches that got her subpoenaed (since a “mere housewife” wouldn’t be able to do computer searches, or some such nonsense).

So, we’ve established (I hope) that these were not hidden or “swept under the rug.” Given that, would you like to guess my reaction on finding this? Anger. Annoyance. Disappointment.

Yep. I was pretty pissed off. At whom? The petitioner’s steering committee (PSC).

I bet that raises some eyebrows and has a few people thinking I’m making stuff up, but it’s the cold hard truth. It bothered me. Did no one in the vast number of lawyers preparing the petitioner’s case ever do a search through the vaccine court’s cases for the keywords “autism” or “autistic”?

It’s no surprise that I think the PSC doesn’t have a case. But, I think that since the Omnibus wasn’t dismissed, the petitioner’s deserve their day in court with good representation. Missing such a simple thing as the existance of related cases doesn’t make me feel like the PSC is as good as it could be.

Hence the title–I think he anger is misplaced. The government didn’t sweep this under the rug. The PSC (petitioner’s steering committee), the autism/vaccine “advocates”, journalists (or not? I’m still trying to work that one out) like David Kirby just dropped the ball.

The fact that Sharyl Attkisson can pass this off as “news” when Arthur Allen and Neurodiversity.com have covered the idea just goes to show that the people promoting the autism/vaccine link keep dropping the ball.

As AutismNewsBeat recently noted, CBS news has discovered that people get paid for work. Actually, they seem to be demonstrating that people get paid for other people’s work. Seriously, are Arthur Allen and Kathleen Seidel getting royalty checks on this story?

Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky Endowed Chair
LBRB School of Journalism

6 Responses to “Misplaced anger, or, I'd be pretty annoyed with the PSC if I were a petitioner”

  1. Maddy August 3, 2008 at 14:22 #

    Without a rudder you’re destined to go round and round in circles.

  2. kristina August 3, 2008 at 15:44 #

    Tim & co. need to expand their reading perhaps?

  3. isles August 3, 2008 at 15:46 #

    This isn’t the only thing the PSC has screwed up. Even as a casual observer, I’ve been shocked to see them miss filing deadlines (an absolute DO NOT DO in law), pled for multiple extensions, failed to notice that Hannah Poling was an inappropriate test case, wanted to change the rules midstream, changed their minds about having any general evidence for the MMR-only cases, etc.

    Maybe they realized that they were going to lose and wanted to give their clients a chance to claim incompetent representation.

  4. Joseph August 3, 2008 at 15:54 #

    Did no one in the vast number of lawyers preparing the petitioner’s case ever do a search through the vaccine court’s cases for the keywords “autism” or “autistic”?

    Wasn’t Clifford Shoemaker actually involved in some of those cases? I think he knew. But the Hannah Poling case occurred at the right time and the causation hypothesis there didn’t sound completely crazy.

  5. Ringside Seat August 3, 2008 at 20:30 #

    Isles: I’m not sure you should assume these things to be evidence that the PSC has screwed up. Much of what you mention flows from their lack of credible science or plausible cases. I think they are doing pretty much as well as they could, under the circumstances.

  6. Patrick August 4, 2008 at 18:21 #

    Hell, I’m pretty annoyed by what PSC has and is doing and I’m Not a petitioner. I second Isles’ summary of PSC disappointments.

    /looks at that chair. Envy!

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