Printable PDF of the letter below here.
March 4, 2018
Ron Waksman, Vice President, Digital Global News
Executive oversight of Global News editorial standards and practices.
Re: Concerns About Editorial Standards at Global
Dear Mr. Waksman
I am writing in response to Ms. Katie Dangerfield’s February 27, 2018 Global News story – Measles outbreak: How a decades old, fraudulent anti-vaccine study still affects public health. (https://globalnews.ca/news/4047765/measles-anti-vaccine-autism-study)
Ms. Dangerfield and Global News continue to spread inaccurate information about the Wakefield study. How is it that twenty years after the publication in the Lancet, and six years after the ruling by the High Court in the UK, Global News is still getting the facts wrong?
Global News fails miserably in honoring its own Journalistic Principles and Practices. Specifically, Global News fails to provide:
- Integrity, fairness and transparency in its newsgathering process.
- Reporting news without distortion or misrepresentation.
- Getting it right.
- News content free of own personal cultural beliefs, opinions, or corporate influences.
While I assume Ms. Dangerfield is well intended in her efforts to understand the increase in measles and the growing movement of vaccine hesitancy, she fails on a number of counts. It is clear that Ms. Dangerfield has never read the Lancet paper of which she writes, and is simply regurgitating false statements, promulgated by a misinformed and compliant media.
If Ms. Dangerfield had actually read the Lancet paper she would have discovered that Dr. Wakefield never claimed that the MMR vaccine causes autism, nor was this the intention of the case study. Additionally, Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues were never charged with, nor found guilty of fraud. To describe the Lancet case study as “fraudulent and anti-vaccine” is pure distortion and a misrepresentation of the facts. Ms. Dangerfield and her “vaccine experts” make a number of statements that are not supported by the evidence. The article appears to be an intentional effort to distort the facts and deceive the public.
Ms. Dangerfield begins her post with a number of assumptions/opinions unsupported by facts. She states: “A measles outbreak is spreading across Europe and health experts say it’s because of a steadily growing anti-vaccination movement.” What evidence is provided to support the claim that the measles outbreak is due to the anti-vaccination movement rather than the failure of the MMR vaccine to prevent contraction and contagion? None.
These same experts claim – “the reason parents may not be vaccinating their children could be due to a widely discredited research paper that was published 20 years ago this week.” Again, what evidence is provided to support this claim that the retraction of the Lancet paper has anything to do with the reduction in parent’s willing to subject their children to this medical product? None.
Ms. Dangerfield makes other unsubstantiated claims – “The publication of the study led to a widespread increase in the number of parents choosing not to vaccinate their children for fear of its link to autism.” Again, what evidence is provided to support the claim that the reduction in the rate of vaccination is due to the Lancet study? None.
None of these statements reflect Global’s Journalistic Principles and Practices. They fail to have integrity, fairness and transparency in its newsgathering process. They are replete with distortion and misrepresentation. They have the facts wrong. And it is clear this post contains personal cultural beliefs, opinions, and corporate influences.
In Defense of Wakefield
With regard to Dr Wakefield, Ms. Dangerfield erroneously claims – “his findings were widely rejected.” Ms. Dangerfield seems unaware or chooses to ignore the facts.
The findings of Dr. Wakefield and 12 other researchers in the Lancet case study were never “rejected” as many media pundits claim. The purpose of the Lancet case study was to examine the relationship between bowel disease and regressive developmental disorders. The findings have been replicated by dozens of laboratories around the world and this relationship is now accepted medical science. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/130/Supplement_2/S160
Dr. Wakefield never claimed that their case study of 12 children proved vaccines cause autism; nor was this the intent of the case study. Dr. Wakefield’s own statement in the Lancet paper is: “We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described.” Dr. Wakefield concluded that: “Further investigations are needed to examine this syndrome and its possible relation to this vaccine.”
How can Ms. Dangerfield state that Wakefield’s findings (“we did not prove an association between measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described”) were rejected, and then make the very same claim herself?
When asked by the media, Dr. Wakefield recommended parents continue to vaccinate using the single dose vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella rather than the MMR vaccine product until the risk of injecting three live viruses at once was better understood. This is hardly the action of an “anti-vaxxer” or the claim of an “anti-vaccine study”. To describe Dr. Wakefield and the Lancet case study in this way is factually inaccurate and pure distortion.
Ms. Dangerfield seems unaware that it was the UK government’s decision to withdraw the license for the single measles vaccine, and Merck’s decision to stop producing single dose vaccines in the US and Canada that gave parents no choice but to accept the triple live-virus vaccine or not vaccinate. It’s clear the government’s intention was the protection of the triple live-virus vaccine product rather than the protection of children. Any reduction in the rate of immunization for measles is the responsibility of the UK government and Merck. Blaming Dr. Wakefield and his co-authors is dishonest and factually false.
Ms. Dangerfield and Global News also seem unaware that a 2012 UK High Court ruled that the verdicts of professional misconduct and ethics violations by the British General Medical Council “were unsupported by the evidence.” Vera Sharav conducted an extensive review of the Wakefield charges. She summarized her report as follows:
“All of the documented evidence and testimonies submitted to the General Medical Council, upon which GMC issued its guilty verdicts against Dr. Wakefield and his two co-defendants in 2010, were subsequently forensically assessed by the UK High Court in March 2012, in the appeal of Professor John Walker-Smith, the senior clinician and senior author of the Lancet case series. The High Court determined that the verdicts of professional misconduct and ethics violations were unsupported by the evidence.”
In rendering the High Court decision, after thorough assessment of all the evidence, testimonies and verdicts by the UK General Medical Council (GMC), Justice John Mitting overturned the verdicts and excoriated the entire GMC proceedings as: “not legitimate,” “perverse,” “unsustainable” and “untenable.”
The following is a link to the entire in-depth report: http://ahrp.org/laffaire-wakefield-shades-of-dreyfus-bmjs-descent-into-tabloid-science/
Vaccine – Autism Link
Ms. Dangerfield quotes autism researcher, Dr. Sunil Mehta. Dr. Mehta is either being dishonest and deceptive or is incredibly uninformed when he states, “We can say with almost as much certainty than anybody could ever say that vaccines don’t cause autism.”
It is unscientific and perilously misleading for anyone to assert that vaccines and autism have been exhaustively studied and that no connection has been found. While there are 16 or so industry-funded studies that are regularly cited by critics of the vaccine-autism hypothesis, these studies examine only one vaccine product (MMR) and only one vaccine ingredient (Thimerosal). It is illogical to exonerate all vaccines, all vaccine ingredients, and the total vaccine program based on a handful of epidemiological studies of just one vaccine product and one vaccine ingredient.
These studies include the 2004 CDC study that senior CDC scientist Dr. William Thompson revealed the CDC fraudulently withheld data with the express intention of misleading the public about the vaccine-autism link. Numerous other CDC studies conducted by Dr. Poul Thorsen have also been found to be fraudulent. Thorsen is now a wanted felon in the United States.
The remaining studies have been widely criticized in the scientific community for their lack of statistical power and design. None of the studies compares the rate of autism in an unvaccinated population with a vaccinated population. It would appear these studies were intentionally designed to not find a vaccine-autism connection. This is not science. This is dishonesty.
A finding of no connection does not mean there is no connection. It only means these particular researchers, using the particular research design of their study, did not find a connection. In no way do these findings support making the claim – “vaccines do not cause autism”. To make such a claim is unscientific and irresponsible.
Substantial Evidence of Vaccine-Autism Link
It appears Dr. Sunil Mehta is either unaware or chooses to ignore the substantial body of evidence that has found a connection between vaccine-induced brain injury that resulted in an autism diagnosis.
The body of evidence of a vaccine – autism link includes the following:
- A report in the Pace Environmental Law Review Journal reviewed 83 cases of vaccine-induced brain injury that resulted in an autism diagnosis, which were compensated by the U.S. Federal Vaccine Injury Compensation system https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/pelr/vol28/iss2/6
- There are now more than 142 independent research studies that show a relationship between vaccination and autism.
- William Thompson, a Senior Scientist with the Vaccine Safety Division of the CDC and the lead statistician and co-author of the 2004 CDC study that is used by vaccine proponents to deny a link between the MMR vaccine and autism took whistleblower status in 2014 to reveal CDC scientists colluded to commit scientific fraud in order to obscure the link between the MMR vaccine and autism.Dr. Thompson claims the federal agency ordered him and his colleagues to destroy study findings that confirmed a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Representative Bill Posey read Dr. Thompson’s statement into the Congressional record. https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4546421/rep-bill-posey-calling-investigation-cdcs-mmr-reasearch-fraud
This alarming disclosure is the basis of the 2016 documentary Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe. The medical industry, to its discredit, has actively tried to censor this film, refused to inform the public of this significant disclosure, and has failed to advocate for a full investigation of Thompson’s claims.
- Award-winning journalist, Sharyl Attkisson investigated the vaccine-autism link and compiled an extensive list of studies that show a vaccine-autism link. What the News Isn’t Saying About Vaccine-Autism Studies – updated November 27, 2016. https://sharylattkisson.com/what-the-news-isnt-saying-about-vaccine-autism-studies Attkisson concluded –
“The body of evidence on both sides is open to interpretation.
People have every right to disbelieve the studies on one side.
But it is disingenuous to pretend they do not exist.”
- Bernadine Healy, the former head of the National Institutes of Health, stated that the vaccine-autism link is not a “myth”. Dr. Healy disclosed that her colleagues at the Institute of Medicine did not wish to investigate the possible link between vaccines and autism because they feared the impact it would have on the vaccination program. This failure to fully investigate the vaccine-autism link is politics, not science.
There is an abundance of evidence that a vaccine-autism connection exists. It is dishonest and irresponsible to make the claim there is no connection between vaccines and autism. Anyone who makes this claim is offering propaganda, not science.
Thimerosal in Vaccines
With regard to the use of Thimerosal in vaccines, does Ms. Dangerfield not see the contradiction in Dr. Mazer’s statement: “Now there aren’t any childhood vaccines that contain thimerosal as a preservative (except for flu vaccines in multi-dose vials).” The thimerosal containing influenza vaccine is recommended at least annually and occasionally twice annually for children and even for women who are pregnant. The undisputed fact is children regularly receive vaccinations that contain thimerosal. To make the claim that “there aren’t any childhood vaccines that contain thimerosal” is blatantly dishonest.
It is also an undisputed fact that mercury is recognized as the most toxic substance on the planet that is not radioactive. The acceptable limit of mercury in drinking water in Canada is 1 part per billion. A liquid with 200 ppb is considered toxic waste. Several brands of the infant influenza vaccine have 25,000 ppb. Many of the regular influenza vaccines have 50,000 ppb of mercury. It is scientific fact that human brain neurons permanently disintegrate in the presence of mercury. There is no evidence injected mercury is safe in any amount.
The Canadian Medical Association does not agree with the position of the CDC that the doses are so small that the substances are not considered toxic.
In fetuses, infants and children, low-dose exposure to mercury can
cause severe and lifelong behavioural and cognitive problems.
At higher exposure levels, mercury may adversely affect the
kidneys, the immune, neurological, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal,
and haematological systems of adults.
~ Canadian Medical Association
With regard to Dr. Maser’s many stated opinions (rather than facts), the only accurate statement made by Dr. Mazer is – “we really need to work on better addressing what patient’s concerns are and improving trust”. On this matter, the medical establishment is failing miserably.
As long as the medical industry continues to ignore and marginalize parents of vaccine injured children, deny vaccine injury, and fail to conduct independent, vaccinated vs. unvaccinated studies to prove vaccine safety and effectiveness, no fear mongering, propaganda, education sessions, or pseudo-science will convince these parents to expose their children to the unsubstantiated claims of the financially conflicted medical industry.
Global needs to be an honest broker of medical information and work to safeguard and protect the rights and freedoms of Canadians including the right to informed consent and the charter rights to security of the person. Their failure to do so undermines the trust of consumers in both the medical industry and the media.
The facts in this matter are:
- The “Wakefield case study” was not fraudulent or anti-vaccine.
- The UK High Court overturned the verdicts and excoriated the entire GMC proceedings pertaining to the Lancet case study as: “not legitimate,” “perverse,” “unsustainable” and “untenable.”
- It is scientific fact that human brain neurons permanently disintegrate in the presence of mercury.
- There is no evidence injected mercury is safe in any amount.
- Canadian children regularly receive vaccinations that contain mercury.
- Until the cause of autism is known, to make the claim – “vaccines do not cause autism” is unscientific and irresponsible.
- There are two active US Federal Court actions against the manufacturer of the MMR vaccine. Merck is being charged with fraud in their claims of the safety and effectiveness of the MMR vaccine.
It is my expectation Global News will retract the dishonest and deceptive opinions made by Ms. Dangerfield, Dr. Mehta, and Dr. Maser and make a public correction.
I look forward to your considered response.
Ted Kuntz, Parent of a Vaccine Injured Child
Vice President, Vaccine Choice Canada
Canadian Broadcast Standards Council
PO Box 3265 Station D, Ottawa, ON K1P 6H8
National Online Journalist, Global News
Vaccine Choice Canada