Andrew Wakefield, the British former academic surgeon who fueled the MMR scare, has turned to film making as his career. Someone chose Mr. Wakefield to manage the publicity for what they termed the “CDC Whistleblower” incident. to recap that: a William Thompson from the CDC had the extreme bad judgment to approach Brian Hooker with concerns about an old MMR/autism study. Mr. Hooker is well known for his antagonistic stance on vaccines and his bad science attempting to link vaccines and autism. Mr. Hooker published a (now retracted) study based on the information given to him by Mr. Thompson at CDC. To publicize this “CDC Whistleblower” incident, Mr. Wakefield came out with probably the most over-the-top bad video I’ve ever seen. It’s basically the Plan 9 From Outer Space of mini documentaries, complete with Mr. Wakefield’s voice over claiming that the CDC are worse that Hitler, Pol Pot and Stalin. Those dictators, you see, were at least sincere in Mr. Wakefield’s view.
Well it seems Mr. Wakefield wants to expand the “CDC Whistleblower” story to a full documentary. He has an indigogo campaign to raise funds. As of now, it has collected $2,213 of his $230,000 goal.
And now he has a trailer. It is seriously worth a look. And before you read my own commentary on this one. Here, go ahead:
Thankfully it is not as long at the Hitler/Pol Pot/Stalin video so I could manage to watch it again. Because on one view I just had to say–really? Is this for real?
We start out with a shadowy figure. Presumably an actor playing the role of the whistleblower (although, physically he looks more like Poul Thorsen than Mr. Thompson).
Interspersed with video of autistic kids in severe distress, we get images of police in riot gear. Because, that’s what one does in a documentary, splice in footage that has nothing to do with the story, right?
And, lest we forget, a helicopter. Black. Has to be black. OK, it looks like only the bottom is black, but as that quick clip went by all I could think was “really? A black helicopter? ”
And in case we had any remaining thoughts that this was a documentary, enter the image of a house as seen through a sniper scope. As the sniper scope zooms in we see that the target is an African American in a wheel chair.
Perhaps this is some sort of allusion to Mr. Wakefield’s first video, the Hitler/Pol Pot/Stalin video where he claimed that the CDC was engaging in a new Tuskegee experiment. If so, why is the image of an African American female? I ask because the alleged controversy Mr. Wakefield is trying to highlight was about African American males.
The video ends with footage of parents telling us that vaccines cause autism and an actor (presumably representing the “whistleblower”) walking up some stairs. Finally, Congressman Darrell Issa is shown banging a gavel at a congressional hearing. From the start of these events, Mr. Wakefield and Mr. Hooker and their team have been calling for a congressional hearing. I do hope they sent this video (and the Hitler/Pol Pot/Stalin video) to Mr. Issa’s office. I have a feeling that since the time that Mr. Issa accepted $40,000 in donations from people seeking a congressional hearing, he’s learned a great deal and this video will further his education.
The sad part of this is the exploitative use of autistic children seen under severe distress. This exploitation does nothing to serve the very real needs of our community. Also seen towards the end are images of Avonte Oquendo, who went missing from his school and was found dead months later. Again, exploitation which does nothing to serve our communities. Mr. Wakefield is grabbing whatever film clips he can whether they are related or not to his purported story. This is the same trick he used with a previous trailer he produced, where he spliced video from the Judge Rotenberg Center into a completely different story.
If Mr. Wakefield weren’t doing so much damage to my community, his videos would be laughably bad. I’m not laughing.
By Matt Carey