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Mainstream media insults the publicʼs intelligence on vaccines

There is a bitter war going on, and itʼs not over Trumpcare or immigration: it is about vaccines.

Mainstream media and medical groups, typically funded or backed by Big Pharma, cast parents, who are skeptical about vaccines, as conspiracy theorists, whose backward beliefs, put the public at risk.

Vaccine skeptics cast vaccine promoters as paid shills, hired by Big Pharma to cover up documented vaccine-related injuries.

In mainstream and progressive media coverage (Mother Jones, Alternet, Huffington Post, Truthout, Progressive, The Nation) there is zero tolerance for critical debate about vaccine safety. Question why the hepatitis B vaccine is routinely given to babies at birth – for a disease mainly transmitted through sex and intravenous drug use – and youʼre labeled “anti-science”.

Suggest that some vaccines, including those such as the highly promoted HPV Gardasil and Cervarix (both of which have been linked to adverse reactions and death) are not exactly “life-saving”, and you might as well yell “bring back polio”.

The media routinely discredits parents of vaccine-injured children, accusing them of not knowing anything about medicine (except raising their own challenged child of course) and of “imagining” or even causing their childʼs deficits.

Progressive news sites that would never defend corporate media coverage of Monsanto or GMOs drink the vaccines-are-safe Kool-Aid. Recently, Jezebel ran this headline: Robert De Niro and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Call Vaccines Dangerous, Which They Are Not. In a 2015 article, The Atlantic sneered that Vaccines Are Profitable, So What?. And the Daily Beast has gone so far as to praise Paul Offit, perhaps Americaʼs most extreme vaccine promoter.

According to Robert F, Kennedy Jr, Dr. Offit is a “thorough charlatan, a snake oil salesman and he has everyone flimflammed. That made me angry. After that, I learned that he was also venal”. Following is the short interview where he stated that.

Rita Shreffler:What do you mean ʻvenalʼ?
Robert F. Kennedy, JR: Well, my original assumption was that he was lying in service to the vaccine program. I later learned that vaccines were a lavishly profitable enterprise for Dr. Offit.

RS: How so?

RFK, JR: He is on permanent retainer to Merck to ʻright vaccine wrongsʼ. And, both Merck and the CDC have rewarded his service with extraordinarily lucrative opportunities. In 1999, the CDC allowed him to sit on the committee that voted the rotavirus vaccine onto the schedule, even though he was working on his own rotavirus patent. Electing not to recuse himself, he cast his vote to add rotavirus to the schedule. That version of the rotavirus vaccine caused so many agonizing childhood deaths from intussusception that the CDC had to withdraw it a year later, making room for Offitʼs version, a turn of events that made him a vaccine tycoon. His rotavirus vaccine patent sold for $182 million; his cut was at least $29 million. When I learned about this caper and his other money schemes, I just thought, ʻWell, heʼs a hoodlumʼ.

RS: Heʼs also a misogynist and a bully.

RFK, JR: Itʼs disturbing because the media treats him like a deity. And, like all bullies, heʼs a coward. He dismisses women who question him as superstitious hysterics. He lobs vicious bombs at the mothers of vaccine-injured children from the editorial pages and national TV shows which give him a platform for his poison. But he refuses to debate me or anyone else who knows what they are talking about.

RS: Do you think, when Paul Offit says that babies could safely be given 10,000 vaccines at the same time, that he really believes that?

RFK, JR: I donʼt feel competent to psychoanalyze Offit. Itʼs hard to look into another personʼs mind. And Offitʼs brain has got to be a really dark and scary zip code where I donʼt really want to spend time. In his defense, we all have some capacity for self-deception and itʼs possible that Offit is as gifted at deceiving himself as he is at deceiving the public. Upton Sinclair observed that, ʻItʼsdifficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.ʼ But I do think itʼs more likely that he knows that what heʼs saying is dishonest. For years, he claimed Bill Thompsonʼs 2004 study was ʻthe definitive proofʼ of thimerosal safety. Heʼs been silent about that since Thompson disavowed his own study. That suggests a purposeful mendacity. Like a lot of other people, Offit seems to have made the self-serving calculation that all of the dead and damaged children are just collateral damage – unfortunate sacrifices in a program that serves the greater good.

RS: Is that even a legitimate moral calculation?

RFK, JR: You mean to kill one child in order to save fifty? Ethicists and theologians could argue the point. But that isnʼt Offitʼs real moral dilemma. Offitʼs moral Donnybrook is his absolutist defense of the industry position that all vaccines are always safe for all people and that the safety of thimerosal is unassailable. That approach has unnecessarily damaged vulnerable subgroups that could easily have been protected and sacrificed millions of kids, not for the greater good but for the bottom line. As the vaccine industryʼs lead pitchman for thimerosal, Offitʼs been extraordinarily successful at crafting a persuasive alternative to fact-based reality and selling it like a carnival barker. He has made himself the high priest of the weird dogma that itʼs somehow safe to inject mercury into babies.”

One wants to ask these progressive sites: do you really think Pharma has never steered us wrong, just for the sake of profit? What about all the drugs that had to be pulled from the market, after Pharma insisted they were safe? Drugs like Vioxx, Baycol, Trovan, Meridia, Seldane, Hismanal, Darvon, Raxar, Redux, Mylotarg, Lotronex, Propulsid, phenylpropanolamine (PPA), Prexige, phenacetin, Oraflex, Omniflox, Posicor, Serzone and Duract?

The fact is vaccines are not all safe. Thatʼs why the National Vaccine Injury Compensation (VICP) program, established to provide monetary compensation to victims of vaccine injuries, exists. The VICP website states:

Most people who get vaccines have no serious problems. In very rare cases, a vaccine can cause a serious problem, such as a severe allergic reaction. In these instances, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) may provide financial compensation to individuals who file a petition and are found to have been injured by a VICP-covered vaccine.”

Even the very pro-Pharma Forbes reports: “Itʼs true that there have been 24,000 reports of adverse events with Gardasil” and “106 deaths”. But the author of the Forbes article rationalizes: “There have also been 60,000 reports of adverse events with the mumps, measles, and rubella vaccine, and 26,000 following vaccination with Prevnar, for pneumococcus bacteria.”

We ask: do two wrongs make a right, Forbes?

The CDC maintains a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) where people can see for themselves the adverse effects and deaths related to a particular vaccine. A search for people who have died from the measles vaccines MEA, MER, MM, MMR or MMRV revealed 416 deaths. Last summer (June 2016), the mainstream science outlet EurekaAlert submitted that reading VAERS info “may not build public trust or adherence.”
That is an understatement.

Profiteering and conflicts of interest not even hidden

There is no question vaccines are profitable. In some states, Blue Cross Blue Shield gives doctors bonuses for the vaccines they give patients. And an increasing number of drugstore chains now offer vaccines.

From the article Doctors pushing vaccines receive Merck Vaccination Service Awards on sott.net:
Where does your doctorʼs allegiance lie? Does your healthcare professional listen to your needs and wants as a parent or are they nothing more than affiliate distributors for pharmaceutical companies? It was reported by independent journalist recently that some doctorʼs offices are now demanding their patients sign an immunization contract. Whatʼs an immunization contract you ask? The contract – created outside of law and denying informed consent – requires prospective patients to agree, by signature, to allow 25 vaccines to be injected into their child over a series of visits. Also uncovered in the same investigation, doctors can receive up to $225 per service achieved in the insurance provider category of ʻchildhood immunization [combo 2]ʼ.”

There are brazen and unhidden conflicts of interest between mainstream media and vaccine makers who influence reporting and discourage healthy debate about vaccine safety. Mike Papantonio, of the Americaʼs Lawyer TV show, reports:
According to a 2009 study by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, with the exception of CBS, every major media outlet in the United States shares at least one board member with at least one drug company. These board members wake up, they go to a meeting at Merck or Pfizer, and then they have their driver take them over to a meeting at a TV station.”

The Gates Foundation is deeply entangled with vaccine makers, as are the US government agencies, including the CDC. Itʼs clearly a fox-guarding-the-henhouse situation. The vaccine industry also “gives millions to the Academy of Pediatrics for conferences, grants, medical education classes and even helped build their headquarters”, reports CBS.

In 2013, the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health reported that the seriousness with which academics portrayed the 2009-2010 swine flu outbreak was shaped proportionately by how much funding they had received from Pharma.

What does the science say?

When you read the scientific papers published about vaccine safety – and especially about links to childhood autism – it seems as if they are all written by four scientists who know each other and who work for Big Vac. Despite overwhelming evidence that the mercury used in vaccines, thimerosal, is harmful to children and to pregnant women and the elderly, the official position of pro-vaccine scientists is “it was totally safe but we took it out anyway”.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., chairman of The World Mercury Project, disagrees. Vaccines containing thimerosal are neither safe, nor is thimerosal gone from vaccines he claims. Kennedy offers $100,000 to anyone who can find a published study indexed in PubMed proving mercury levels in vaccines are harmless for infants and developing fetuses at the levels they are given.

Though they are scientists, pro-vaccine researchers use embarrassing non-logic in their vaccine defenses – they actually employ the “Raven Paradox” which many Americans learned in Logic. It declares that “all ravens are black; that bird is black; it must be a raven”. In other words, according to logic-challenged researchers: “Mercury is safe – and it doesnʼt cause autism – so all vaccines are safe.”

Meanwhile, the pro-vaccine scientists seldom, if ever, address the more complicated scientific questions surrounding vaccines – such as other metals used in them, like aluminum. Or whether the current series of multiple vaccines administered to children today could overwhelm their immune systems. Or whether live vaccines or disease antibodies could paradoxically cause the disease theyʼre intended to prevent.

According to published articles, itʼs not just the thimerosal but metals in general, such as the currently used aluminum in vaccines that are under suspicion. Such metals can cross the childʼs blood brain barrier and set off increased oxidative stress which is linked to autism, say journal reports. Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects through neutralization by antioxidants. Too many vaccines given too closely together to children that are too young also increases the stress, say those who question vaccines and vaccine schedules.

When a scientific paper appears to clearly show a link between childhood vaccines recommended in the U.S. and impaired neurodevelopment, pro-vaccine scientists savage it. A 2010 paper published in Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis, a quarterly peer-reviewed scientific journal covering neuroscience, found that “rhesus macaque infants receiving the complete U.S. childhood vaccine schedule” did not “undergo the maturational changes over time in amygdala volume that was observed in unexposed animals.”

Why does the amygdala matter? The researchers wrote:
Neuropathological and neuroimaging studies of individuals with an ASD [autism spectrum disorder]… have provided growing evidence of a central role for the amygdala.” Specifically, it is enlarged in such children “compared with neurotypical controls.”

Pro-vaccine scientists pounced. Not enough monkeys were used to establish a scientific finding, said one scientist. Opposite findings about the amygdala, have been reached, which invalidate the study, said another scientist. One angry scientist was even willing to discredit the monkey study by claiming that monkeys are not a valid model for human disease – thus annulling millions of experiments including the ones on which human drugs are approved! Of course, many in the animal welfare community have questioned the validity of animal “models”.

Insulting illogic

On behalf of Pharma, mainstream science and media set up a strawman called “vaccines cause autism”. Then they knocked it down and declared vaccines safe. It is an insult to the publicʼs intelligence, especially in light of clear injuries that exist, including those documented in the VAERS database – not to mention injured people, especially parents of injured children. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program alone has awarded more than $3.18 billion in 16,000 claims since 1988.

Do vaccine injury cases prove that vaccines are always unsafe and should always be avoided? No. But those cases do prove that vaccines are not “completely safe” as the well-funded vaccine dogma continues to insultingly tell us.


June 6, 2017