Salon retracts Robert Kennedy’s “Deadly Immunity”

16 Jan

One of the worst pieces written claiming that mercury caused an autism epidemic was the piece “Deadly Immunity” by Robert Kennedy Jr. and Rolling Stone co-published the piece. It was immediately met with criticism and corrections: multiple correction pieces were published.

Salon has decided to review the piece and decided that corrections were not enough. They’ve pulled the piece from their site. Here’s the statement.

Correcting our record
We’ve removed an explosive 2005 report by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. about autism and vaccines. Here’s why

In 2005, Salon published online an exclusive story by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. that offered an explosive premise: that the mercury-based thimerosal compound present in vaccines until 2001 was dangerous, and that he was “convinced that the link between thimerosal and the epidemic of childhood neurological disorders is real.”

The piece was co-published with Rolling Stone magazine — they fact-checked it and published it in print; we posted it online. In the days after running “Deadly Immunity,” we amended the story with five corrections (which can still be found logged here) that went far in undermining Kennedy’s exposé. At the time, we felt that correcting the piece — and keeping it on the site, in the spirit of transparency — was the best way to operate. But subsequent critics, including most recently, Seth Mnookin in his book “The Panic Virus,” further eroded any faith we had in the story’s value. We’ve grown to believe the best reader service is to delete the piece entirely.

“I regret we didn’t move on this more quickly, as evidence continued to emerge debunking the vaccines and autism link,” says former Salon editor in chief Joan Walsh, now editor at large. “But continued revelations of the flaws and even fraud tainting the science behind the connection make taking down the story the right thing to do.” The story’s original URL now links to our autism topics page, which we believe now offers a strong record of clear thinking and skeptical coverage we’re proud of — including the critical pursuit of others who continue to propagate the debunked, and dangerous, autism-vaccine link.

26 Responses to “Salon retracts Robert Kennedy’s “Deadly Immunity””

  1. Kristjan Wager at 22:20 #

    Interestingly enough, as Chris Clarke was kind enough to point out to me, it seems like Rolling Stone has, at some stage, quietly removed the article from their website as well. I tried to find it on their website, after being told this, without success.

  2. Amack at 17:04 #

    This piece is completely biased, from an obviously pro-vaccine website (just look at the books that are being promoted). Hence, it is neither objective, nor reliable.

  3. Amack at 17:06 #

    PS The article, pulled from Rolling Stone, can be read in it’s entirety at JFK Jr’s website. I highly recommend reading the article:
    Scroll down articles on left to “Deadly Immunity.”

  4. Chris at 17:30 #

    Amack, did RFK, jr include all of the corrections that were required in the Salon and Rolling Stone versions? Or did he just put up the one with all the idiotic mistakes?

    Oh, yes, biased for science.

    If you have any real evidence that the DTaP vaccine is worse than diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis please present it. Just make sure that it is real evidence and does not come from a lawyer.

    • Erwin Alber at 20:06 #

      I suggest you stick this in your pipe and smoke it:

      Professor Gordon Stewart’s views make him unconventional among medical men but his opinions and advice are of great importance to the parents of children who are candidates for whooping cough vaccine. Vaccination to Professor Stewart spells one word:


      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) at 20:19 #

        THe refusers are a bad garage band and is a crank site which also hosts racist denialism. I would ask you (and by that, I am telling you as the owner of this site) not to cite them again.

        Your comment is trolling. Plain and simple. It lacks substance and you are attempting to inflame. Please draw attention for yourself elsewhere. People like you have caused enough harm to the public at large and to the autism communities.

        Again, as owner of this site, “please draw attention to yourself elswhere” is as nice as I am going to be in saying goodbye.

      • Chris at 20:42 #

        Especially since he chose to post on an article that is almost two years old. But I do have to comment on poor Dr. Stewart. He used very bad science to boost his career. He stopped being an expert witness after he said that a study had been done on American children, when it had been done on mice. From page 35 of Dr. Paul Offit’s Deadly Choices.

        Also Dr. Stewart is an HIV/AIDS denialist.

  5. Geo at 11:45 #

    Actually, Rolling Stone did NOT retract or remove the article. From their website, here’s what Rolling Stone says:
    February 9, 2011 11:34 AM ET
    Editor’s Note: The link to this much-debated story by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was inadvertently broken during our redesign in the spring of 2010. (We did not remove the story from the site, as some have incorrectly alleged, nor ever contemplated doing so.) The link to the original story is now restored, including the corrections we posted at the time and the subsequent editorial we published about the ensuing controversy.

    • Erwin Alber at 20:07 #

      Thank you!

  6. sharon at 12:50 #

    Thanks for that clarification Geo. Can you provide the link as well as the quote?

  7. Sniffer at 13:45 #

    Dear Chris

    I am not a lawyer ,but everyone knows beyond a shaow of doubt that SIDS is linked to vaccines such as the DTAP..



  8. Chris at 16:44 #

    Oh, this is very funny! Here is where the statement Geo quoted is found:

    But to see the story you have to log in. Which is why the link goes no where except to a “Pay us to read the archive” page. So in a sense, it is now gone.

  9. Dave Seidel at 18:46 #

    Sniffer: “everyone knows beyond a shaow of doubt that SIDS is linked to vaccines such as the DTAP”

    Not according to PubMed Health[1] or the American SIDS Institute[2]. Who is this “everyone” you speak of? Any citations?


    • Erwin Alber at 20:13 #

      Vaccines don’t cause cot death or SIDS. Vaccines however do kill babies which are then routinely and very conveniently (mis-)diagnosed and dismissed as “cot death” or “SIDS”.

      The medical profession jokingly refers to this sorry state of affairs as “evidence-based science” and parents’ accounts of their baby having died after the shots as “anectodal evidence.

      Which is why I refer to vaccination as an organised criminal enterprise dressed up as disease prevention by means of junk science.

  10. Chris at 19:32 #

    Dave, I have already pointed a paper showing that vaccines reduce the risk to SIDS to Sniffer when he tried to pull that fallacy before. He is another one of those commenters who will be assumed to pull statements out of thin air unless he supports them with real documentation.

  11. Sniffer at 21:20 #

    Dear Chris and Dave,

    I could fill this page with non gov,non pharma,proven studies(Chris can`t) proving vaccines lethal.For the sake of this debate your very own NVIC.

    “The computer records from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, obtained by Gannett News Service using the Freedom of Information Act as part of a four-month study of federal immunization policy, reveal: Of 253 infant death cases awarded more than $61 million by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in the 1990s under the compensation program, 224, or 86 percent, were attributed to vaccination with DTP, the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough) shot. In these cases, mortality was originally attributed to SIDS in 90, or 40 percent, of them. Of 771 total claims filed by parents from 1990 through mid-1998, 660, or 86 percent, contained assertions that DTP was the cause of death. And 43 percent were classified by medical authorities at time of death as SIDS cases.”




  12. Julian Frost at 12:27 #


    could fill this page with non gov,non pharma,proven studies(Chris can`t) proving vaccines lethal.For the sake of this debate your very own NVIC.

    Are you serious? Despite its name, the National Vaccine Information Center is an antivaccination organisation masquerading as an information provider. That you use them as a data source speaks volumes.

  13. Erwin Alber at 19:36 #

    Vaccination is an organised criminal enterprise dressed up as disease prevention by means of junk science. The authorities know full well that vaccines cause autism but decided to deny everything and admit nothing. I guess it’s understandable, because if I had caused a 6000% increase in autism I would probably be tempted to lie about it as well.

    Vaccination has been a failure and a fraud right from its beginning in 1796. The entire vaccine industry needs to be shut down for good to protect ourselves and our children against the predatory activities of the medical-pharmaceutical mafia.


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