Brian Deer talks back to Andrew Wakefield

7 Jul

I was copied in to the following:

Date: Mon, 06 Jul 2009 18:12:00 +0100
To: “Joanna Bower”
From: Brian Deer
Cc: Thoughtful House

Ms Joanne Bower,
RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP

Dear Ms Bower,

Your client, Dr Andrew Wakefield, has published, and caused to be published, on his website, thoughtfulhouse.org, and on other sites, false claims that the Press Complaints Commission has issued an “interim order” concerning my investigation into his conduct. Dr Wakefield claims that The Sunday Times has been ordered by the PCC to remove my stories about him from its website.

I understand that the PCC has written to your client to point out that these claims are untrue. In fact, all of my stories concerning him are available at the Times Online website.

thoughtfulhouse.org is unquestionably controlled by Dr Wakefield, and his publication there has caused similar untruths to be published on websites either directly controlled for his interests, such as cryshame.org, which, as you may know was set up by Mrs Isabella Thomas, the parent of two of the children anonymised in the now-infamous Lancet MMR paper, or indirectly controlled for his interests, such as ageofautism.com, operated to promote and profit from concern over children’s vaccines.

It is, of course, nothing new for Dr Wakefield to mislead the public, and especially the parents of autistic children. He has faced the longest ever proceedings before a General Medical Council fitness to practise panel, following the GMC’s reinvestigation of my journalism. In due course, I’d expect he will face a hearing of the PCC, covering much of the same ground on a significantly different evidential base.

However, you may feel it advisable to explain to your client that either he accepts the untruth of his latest claims and takes them down, or he maintains them in publication, in which case his conduct would not merely be wrong, but would be dishonest.

With best wishes,

Brian Deer

http://briandeer.com

10 Responses to “Brian Deer talks back to Andrew Wakefield”

  1. Mike Stanton July 7, 2009 at 16:47 #

    The offending press release is still up on the Thoughtful House website maintaining their usual standards of accuracy

  2. Sullivan July 7, 2009 at 21:01 #

    It is clear that the press release was in error. There was no “interim order”. It would be the right thing for Thoughfulhouse to pull the press release.

    I won’t place any bets on it, though.

  3. age-of-ignorance July 7, 2009 at 23:13 #

    There can be no question that the anti-vac liars are upset with this. John Stone had to torture logic, and twist words, to blame The Times and Deer putting up the articles.

    As for Thoughtful House removing the press release, why should they, when their lemmings and the collective all adore it?

    • Sullivan July 7, 2009 at 23:29 #

      As for Thoughtful House removing the press release, why should they, when their lemmings and the collective all adore it?

      I recall the press release Thoughfulhouse did on the Hornig MMR study. Through strange and twisted logic, they managed to claim a victory out of the very study which showed directly that Dr. Wakefield’s results could not be replicated.

      They are “press releases”. The intent is clearly not accuracy, but to promote the “vision” of Thoughtfulhouse in the press.

  4. FreeSpeaker July 8, 2009 at 21:44 #

    Over at that idiot blog, Child health Safety, one commentor claims that the PCC did order the Times to withdraw the articles, but the PCC is too chicken to actually post the order.

    These slime will do and say anything to avoid admitting that Wakefield violated an agreement when he posted the press release on the un-Thoughtful House website.

    • Sullivan July 9, 2009 at 00:43 #

      Over at that idiot blog, Child health Safety, one commentor claims that the PCC did order the Times to withdraw the articles, but the PCC is too chicken to actually post the order.

      Did the commenter explain why the Times is defying this mythical order?

      There is a lot of intentional confusion going on in the Wakefield story. Dr. Wakefield is guilty of this himself, with his very twisted press releases.

  5. FreeSpeaker July 9, 2009 at 15:23 #

    No, the commentor did not mention that. The comment was to trash the Times and Deer. Nothing more.

    Just in case Wakefield is reading LB/RB (as he should, on a daily basis)…Andy, when you dig yourself into a hole, there is a time to stop digging. You have passed that time.

    • Sullivan July 9, 2009 at 16:19 #

      He may think that he is closer to digging through to China than he is to climbing out of his hole.

  6. Prometheus July 10, 2009 at 03:06 #

    I’m not a lawyer, but Mr. Deer’s letter to Dr. Wakefield’s solicitor sounds a lot like laying a “paper trail” for a libel suit.

    As I read it, Mr. Deer is informing Dr. Wakefield, through his solicitor, that (1) the information on his website is untrue, (2) Dr. Wakefield knows it is untrue and (3) that Dr. Wakefield is capable of removing that information and has not done so.

    All it lacks is “harm” – and what greater “harm” could there be for a journalist than to have his honesty impugned? Thus we have the full diagnostic triad of libel (in the US): (1) a published untrue statement, (2) knowledge that it is untrue (or willful disregard of whether it was true or not) and (3) harm resulting from the untrue statement.

    Dr. Wakefield seems ignorant of the adage that the best way to keep from digging yourself deeper into a hole is to put down the shovel.

    Prometheus

  7. FreeSpeaker July 10, 2009 at 17:46 #

    Wakefield and libel suits….he will learn that when it comes to defamation, it better to neither give or receive.

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