Another hit job from AoA

21 Jan

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.”

Vaccine rejectionists have dished out similar abuse to freelance writer Amy Wallace, and MSNBC medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman.

Why do anti-vaccine activists resort to attacking reporters?  Stephen Barrett, M.D., a retired psychiatrist who operates, 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.

62 Responses to “Another hit job from AoA”

  1. Dedj January 23, 2010 at 20:36 #

    Well done Tony. You’re satisfied.

    However, you have failed – on all levels and at all attempts – to justify your methodology, the reliability of your data, and the conclusions you have drawn from your data.

    You can dodge the question and harp on about not being able to prove a negative, but if you can’t even justify that your methods – much less the reliability of the data, much less your conclusions drawn from the data – are sound, then there really is no reason for anyone to trust your conclusion.

    You have given enough information for it to be firmly concluded that your data was limited, yet you’ve drawn a firm conclusion anyway.

    Please take your accusations of personal and professional misconduct and misbehaviour elsewhere.

  2. Dedj January 23, 2010 at 20:42 #

    “This is my final post on this subject because it is obvious that since nine out of ten of you (would someone check that) hide behind absurd names I can see no value at all in continuing”

    Given that you’ve freely made wide sweeping accusations, and that you’ve shown willingness to ‘insist’ on visiting people in their place of work to demand access to information, I for one am glad that I am anonymous.

    If there’s anything the opening post has shown (assuming you’ve actually read it) is that being known to the vacc-skeptic community carries risks that extends to family members and associates both present and former.

  3. Science Mom January 23, 2010 at 21:07 #

    Lastly you know to your satisfaction, no doubt, that is not possible to prove that something doesn’t exist but on my wholly inadequate but nevertheless substantial observations I am satisfied that autism does not exist amongst unvaccinated individuals. Responses to these postings have suggested there are three! Three! There are I believe thrre millions unvaccinated! But the commonality of responses leads me to conclusions, researchers never reply at all to these questions I mean by the hundreds they don’t reply. They are terrified that their name might appear on the same sheet as ‘unvaccinated’ and they would lose their 80% funders the pharmaceutical industry.

    Mr. Bateson, repeating does not make it true. You haven’t even satisfied the requests for evidence to show that there are 3 million completely unvaccinated in the UK, let alone that you have conducted the requisite data collection and analyses to claim that not a single one, oh whoops, 3 now, has an ASD.

    I can’t imagine why a legitimate researcher would want to participate in the amateurish, agendised endeavours of a crank. This should come as no surprise to you and is certainly not out of fear of losing funding, but rather being associated with the likes of you.

  4. Laurentius Rex January 23, 2010 at 21:14 #

    Well Tony me old pal me old beauty I am not hiding behind any pseudonym, you can google me up and you will know who I am as most people who blog here do.

    Computer science, well Ok that is not exactly research, it can be a multitude of things I am sure, but philosophy of science it is not it does not teach critical thinking so far as I am aware and what troubles me is that most current researchers have forgotten what they learnt when they started out, so I am as critical of the practice as you maybe are.

    You can name drop all you like, two can play at that game. The last neurologist I consulted has recently retired, I am not surprised, he asked me if I remembered Muffin the Mule. I have to say that there were some areas of neurology where I nearly started lecturing him, especially regarding Marr’s thery of vision, because he seemed to be unaware of all that. I do indeed debate philosophy with neurologists they have only a clinical perspective and sometimes behave rather absurdly with regard to what they suppose the patient understands in a conventional sense of collective subjectivity. I love Dicken’s instance of Mr’s Gradgrind where she declares there is a pain in the room but she cannot be sure it is her own, a phenomenon of referred pain you can only understand if you have actually experienced that phenomenon, which leaves most neurologists up the creek without the proverbial paddle.

    Don’t try pulling intellectual weight on me, it won’t work. Had dinner with Sir Brian Follet once, he did have a fair grasp of the statistics of risk, you don’t.

  5. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. January 24, 2010 at 23:03 #

    “Furthermore my friend who is a senior neurologist (no name dropping) says that right brain/left brain is nonsense and that the brain is more like a jumble of wires squeezed into a sponge bag than anything else.”

    Tony, now I can tell that you’re a lying arse. Because I don’t know of a neurologist that would say the brain was that crudely ‘assembled’. Certainly not a good one. As for the comment on LBRB from someone who’s supposed to be such a highly respected neurologist… fuck off. I don’t buy that at all.

  6. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. January 24, 2010 at 23:08 #

    “Given that you’ve freely made wide sweeping accusations, and that you’ve shown willingness to ‘insist’ on visiting people in their place of work to demand access to information…”

    Absolutely… all the more reason to use pseudonyms or noms de plume. What he’s doing by insisting on visiting people at their work to demand access to information when he has no court order or other warrant is basically harrassment. Glad that he doesn’t know where I work. Mind you … we have a psychiatrist who would trust my judgement if he turned up there; where I live, things are more – er – serious if that should happen, since it would be a clear sign of mental disturbance… he’d be held in closed ward for assessment and observation for anything up to a month.

  7. Dedj January 25, 2010 at 14:24 #

    Even nom de plume are not that safe to use.

    I recently had a scare where a person appeared to be saving my comments from other websites to disk and then using them out of context in unrelated conversations several months after.

    Needless to say, not only did this person ‘somehow’ fail to refer to my comments in context, they also indicated a total lack of understanding of both the initial conversation and the one they brought the comments up in.

    People have shown willingness to trawl through years of comments to get little titbits, and others have shown willingness to collate and mass-distribute personally identifying information.


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