Kirby blows another irony meter

11 Feb

I need to find a source for militaryp-spec irony meters.

David Kirby has posted a piece on the Brian Deer investigation of Dr. Andrew Wakefield.

Here’s the comment that blew the irony meter:

Imagine if a US journalist sued a doctor for libel or misconduct, and then went to the NY Times and asked to be hired as a freelancer to cover the trial that they themselves had instigated in the first place. It wouldn’t happen.

So, David, you wrote “Evidence of Harm”, massively fanning the flames of the mercury causation theory.

You are now blogging on the Age of Autism blog.

Are you paid for that effort?

I haven’t seen a lot of non-vaccine/autism bylines for you in the past few years. So, if AoA is paying you, it would be a sizable fraction of your “journalist” salary.

If so, couldn’t it be well argued that you created your own “journalist” job?

Ironic, eh?

Ah well…as long as we are discussing Mr. Kirby, here is another of his comments:

In his writing, Deer claimed that Wakefield had made up results about severe MMR reactions in the children just days after receiving the shots, had ignored signs of autism in some kids before they received their MMR vaccine, and changed lab reports on the gut biopsies – among other alleged infractions that have been covered in the two year trial in London of Wakefield et al.

The accusations printed in the Sunday Times are, frankly, outlandish. And they are false.

Hmmm, false? Do you have the facts to back that up? Have you seen the medical records that Mr. Deer has reported on? It seems highly unlikely to this observer.

Let’s look at some of Mr. Deer’s claims:

Supposedly, Dr. Wakefield found measles RNA in the guts of his subjects. From Mr. Deer’s report, the father of child 11 from the Lancet study has stated that he had no fewer than 3 separate tests for measles RNA from the same gut biopsies that Wakefield tested. Three negative results.

Dr. Wakefield claimed that the children were developing normally before the MMR. According to the Deer article, another child from the original 12’s story:

The boy’s medical records reveal a subtly different story, one familiar to mothers and fathers of autistic children. At the age of 9½ months, 10 weeks before his jab, his mother had become worried that he did not hear properly: the classic first symptom presented by sufferers of autism.

Dr. Wakefield claimed that the 12 study subjects were presented sequentially to his hospital, indicating that they were randomly selected. And, yet, none of them were in the Royal Free Hospital’s catchment area–or even the greater London area. That’s one fact that doesn’t take access to the GMC’s records. And it demonstrates a clear non-random nature to the subject choice.

How about the report by Dr. Wakefield that the subjects had regressions shortly after their MMR shot? Again, from Mr. Deer’s article:

This was Child Two, an eight-year-old boy from Peter-borough, Cambridgeshire, diagnosed with regressive autism, which, according to the Lancet paper, started “two weeks” after his jab.

However, this child’s medical records, backed by numerous specialist assessments, said his problems began three to five months later.

A pretty major disconnect between Dr. Wakefield’s story and the medical records.

How about the measles-in-the-gut theory? Dr. Chadwick, working in Dr. Wakefield’s own hospital, testified in the Omnibus proceeding that he told Dr. Wakefield pre-publication that the PCR data directly contradicted the results Dr. Wakefield was publishing. Dr. Wakefield knew when he published that there were good data that showed he was incorrect. How did you sweep that under the rug, Mr. Kirby?

Did Dr. Wakefield fabricate results or is there another reason why he got a lot of very important facts wrong? I don’t know, but I do agree with Dr. Fitzpatrick who asked why Dr. Wakefield’s papers have not been retracted. They should be.

(And I thought Dierdre Imus wrote the worst blog post of the day!)

post-publication note: Dr. Mike Fitzpatrick has written an excellent article on Dr. Wakefield’s studies, including the recent information from Mr. Deer.

17 Responses to “Kirby blows another irony meter”

  1. daedalus2u February 12, 2009 at 00:54 #

    Kirby got some facts wrong too.

    Brian Deer didn’t file a libel suit against Wakefield, Wakefield filed against Brian Deer. Filed against Brian Deer and then settled rather than going to trial. Settled and paid Brian Deer’s legal costs in full.

  2. Joseph February 12, 2009 at 01:24 #

    This one will need to be explained to me as well. Again, consider Watergate. In that case, the Nixon administration was exposed by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

    There are several books about the case written by Woodward and Bernstein. I would think they wrote countless articles about it as well.

    Was that unethical and wrong too?

  3. ThoJ February 12, 2009 at 01:57 #

    Here’s a comment I left on Kirby’s blog.

    Somehow it looks like they didn’t approve it.

    So, David,

    you have created much of the controversy about mercury in vaccines and autism.

    Wouldn’t now be a good time for full disclosure. Are you being paid by any of the autism/vaccine organizations, either directly or through an intermediary like the Age of Autism blog?

    Were you paid for your time to visit the UK with your vaccine/autism message?

    Were you paid for your time to present your ideas to the US legislature?

    Basically, did you create your own job?

  4. Dedj February 12, 2009 at 03:40 #

    “It wouldn’t happen.”

    Yes, because no journalist has ever been paid to cover stories that happen to themselves.

    No journalist has ever written about thier own battle against cancer.
    Or their own time in prison.
    Or gained employment at a place accused of abuse/fraud/whatever, then written about it.

    Nope, journalists only report stories from the outside. There has never been an ‘insider’ story ever. Nope, never. Not even ones about the ‘autism controvesy’ from a journalist who is an authour of major publication that added to the autism controversy.

    As a sidenote – am I the only one who finds it utterly sad that a coffee-table book is one of the anti-vax movements greatest publications?

  5. Brian Deer February 12, 2009 at 03:55 #

    There’s so much in what’s going on at the moment to disturb right-thinking people.

    (1) It has become clear in recent days that networks of anti-MMR “campaigners” now quote each other’s website falsehoods, so as to create the impression that these have substance. Ultimately, with regard to me, these can be tracked to two or three cranks and malicious liars, who spread disinformation much as do those people who create trojans and viruses intended to harm other people’s computers. That children’s health could potentially be impacted by such disordered obsessives is a matter of great concern.

    (2) David Kirby’s role has become extraordinary. In one day, today (I’m in the US, and it’s still my today!), he asserts that my latest findings are false, even though he has no access to any of the data upon which my investigation rests; and he also asserts as fact that Michelle Cedillo was injured by MMR. I suppose we should regard him as some form of psychic paediatrician who can determine the medical conditions of children he has neither met nor seen records of. Maybe he learnt that craft from Dr Wakefield, who honed that skill to a fine art.

    (3)The cranks and malicious liars assert that I am the “complainant” in the GMC case against Wakefield, even though they know I am not. The GMC’s case was initiated following a concurrence between Wakefield and the health secretary John Reid, that such an investigation should be held. I was subsequently approached and asked for my cooperation, which, as a matter of public duty I was bound, and indeed anxious, to give. I have a letter from the GMC’s lawyers, which was also supplied to Wakefield, stating that I am not the complainent, but that I am an “informant”, like, say, a health authority. Were I the complainant, I would have been entitled to legal representation at the GMC. The haters furthermore allege that I have a “conflict of interest” in my role in supplying material to the GMC and in continuing to investigate the Wakefield matter. It would plainly be contrary to common sense and the public interest were journalists who supplied evidence to a statutory regulator to then be disbarred from continuing to pursue their stories. Were such a principle to be accepted, journalists would not supply their findings to regulators (as they do all the time), and so the public interest would be damaged.

    I believe that Dr Wakefield himself knows that the game is up, which is why he broke with the guidance of his lawyers and published this weekend what I say is a false and mendacious statement. He now has no chance of claiming that he wasn’t given an opportunity to respond, or that he couldn’t because of the GMC, since he plainly did respond.

    Strange business.

  6. isles February 12, 2009 at 05:44 #

    Olbermann was completely incomprehensible. I’m pretty sure he had no idea what he was talking about. That was just weird.

    Wakefield pays kids for their blood, causes a kid’s colon to get ripped up for no good reason, knowingly uses data from polluted lab samples, rewrites case histories to fit his story, takes money to do all of the above while claiming to be a self-sacrificing saint…and Brian Deer is the bad guy?

    Makes me pessimistic for humanity, not for the first time.

  7. anonimouse February 12, 2009 at 06:30 #

    Olbermann got it spectacularly wrong, simply for the sake of getting in a few potshots at Rupert Murdoch, complete with crappy pirate imitation.

    Giving him the major benefit of the doubt, he parroted what some clueless producer fed him. Worst case is that he decided his vendetta against Fox was more important than the welfare of kids who are being left unprotected against measles and getting sick.

  8. Tsu Dho Nimh February 12, 2009 at 16:52 #

    JUST IN!

    Omnibus hearings: The judges in the cases said the evidence was overwhelmingly contrary to the parent’s claims — and backed years of science that found no risk.

    I’m looking for the full text.

  9. Patrick February 12, 2009 at 17:14 #

    Thanks for the heads up Tsu,
    At least those folks have helped to get the Awareness up that there Really is a need for support for Autism beyond what US Gov’t/States currently provide.

  10. _Arthur February 13, 2009 at 02:31 #

    If I recall correctly (my sources would be Brian Deer articles), the 12 subjects of Dr. Wakefield study were ALREADY plaintiffs in a vaccines lawsuit when Wakefield “selected” them to be part of his “research”.

    That’s a whole gaggle of ethical red flags.

  11. John Stone February 16, 2009 at 18:23 #


    I believe it was entirely reasonable to raise a single issue that arose ouut of this blog (my other thoughts on the matter are available alsewher).

    I quote the editor of ChildHealthSafety in response to ‘CS’ (possibly even yourself):

    [ED: How do you know what he printed or says is true? The Judge stated his letters were letters of complaint. He denies that but does not publish the letters to prove they were not letters of complaint. Which account is going to be the more accurate – his or the Judge in a legal judgment binding on him in a case in which he was a party and which was just setting out the facts which were uncontested.]

    As a journalist he is obliged to be independent objective and impartial, so the public can have some confidence in what he writes. If he wrote letters of complaint, that means he is not impartial, is directly involved, has a personal interest in the outcome of the case and therefore should not be reporting.

    Deer keeps on asking us to take an absurd amount on trust. Where are the letters, so we can see for ourselves?

  12. John Stone February 16, 2009 at 18:42 #

    My above post was posted on this blog in error.

  13. Sullivan February 16, 2009 at 18:46 #


    I would say that citing ChildHealthSafety’s “editor” as though it is anything more than just another blog of opinions was an error.

    Perhaps you would like to address the issues as put forth in the recent post here, Brian Deer, Not a complainant.

  14. Sullivan February 16, 2009 at 18:52 #

    How do you know that what Dr. Wakefield says is true? We know that many of his co-authors think that the conclusions of his paper was not true.

    “Deer keeps on asking us to take an absurd amount on trust. Where are the letters, so we can see for ourselves?”

    Dr. Wakefield keeps asking us to take on a super absurd amount of trust. I have not taken on that trust–no child of mine will be “treated” at Thoughtful House.

    I could say that no child of mine will be treated by Dr. Wakefield, but is he even allowed to treat in the US?

  15. Joseph February 16, 2009 at 20:01 #

    As a journalist he is obliged to be independent objective and impartial,

    Are we to infer from this that David Kirby and Dan Olmsted are not journalists?


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