Autism News Beat

An evidence-based resource for journalists

Autism News Beat header image 2

Get the junk out

June 7th, 2008 · 20 Comments · Easy marks, Useful idiots

The low point of last week’s Green Our Vaccines rally in Washington, DC, came early in the day, before the 2,000 or so anti-vaccine parents began their one-mile walk down Constitution Avenue to the Capitol grounds.

Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey had just spoken with the media, then walked down the line of marchers, stopping to say a few words. McCarthy gave a brief, energetic pep talk, thanking everyone for coming, then handed the loudspeaker to her boyfriend. Carrey, appearing uncomfortable, told the crowd “You are a shining example of unconditional love.”

“Thank you, Jim!” shouted someone unfamiliar with the word “irony”.

Vaccines are the greatest medical discovery of the last 200 years. They have saved millions of lives around the world, and have flushed smallpox down the memory hole. The case against vaccines is based on a shared mass delusion whose moment in the sun cannot end too soon.

The eventual demise of the anti-vaccine movement will not end well for Mr. Carrey, whose physical comedy translates wonderfully into any language. McCarthy, whose toxic D-list soft-porn comedienne shtick has made her immune to disgrace, will mutate into a less virulent form of celebrity, attaching herself to mall openings in Fargo. Carrey’s fall will be much, much harder.

But Jim Carrey and the anti-vaccine movement are safe as long as the news media remain willfully blind to the science that McCarthy has claimed as her own. On the Capitol grounds, she claimed that scientists once assured us that cigarettes are good for us, “proof” that she knows more about immunology, toxicology, neurology and epidemiology than those pesky, E-list scientists.

Reporters yawned. Diane Sawyer gushed. A tiny-minority of parents cheered their hero and cursed a medical miracle.

Arrogance, it is said, is a kingdom without a crown. McCarthy and her acolytes, drunk on imaginary power, challenged reporters to investigate the “autism epidemic”, and to expose a purported decades-long conspiracy to hide the deliberate poisoning of a millions. One of these days a reputable journalist will take McCarthy up on her challenge. And that reporter will learn that vaccines do not contain anti-freeze or aborted fetal tissue, as McCarthy and her minions claim. The reporter will learn that “dose makes the poison”; that vaccines are not toxic; and that although thimerosal has been gone from scheduled pediatric vaccines since 2002, the rate of autism among today’s three to five year olds has not declined.

And if we’re really, really lucky, the reporter will write that D-list Hollywood celebrities are not a reliable source for medical advice.

Share

Tags:

20 responses so far ↓

  • 1 kristina // Jun 7, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    The autism mocku-drama is being written (and filmed) even as we type.

  • 2 Ms. Clark // Jun 8, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    “The case against vaccines is based on a shared mass delusion whose moment in the sun cannot end too soon.”

    I hope they end up as shining examples of Hollywood airheads who act like they know something, full of arrogance but who know nothing. I hope they become proverbial of Hollywood egotism so far out-of-bounds that it endangers lives of vulnerable children. One day people will say, “Oh look, so and so is doing a Jim and Jenny,” and “I bet those two end up like Jim and Jenny.” That is something like the Japanese soldiers left behind on islands who thought the war was still going years after it had ended, like those guys are iconic and proverbial.

  • 3 autblog // Jun 8, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    As in “Give me a break – that is so Jim and Jenny.”

  • 4 Ms. Clark // Jun 9, 2008 at 1:25 am

    Teenagers will roll their eyes and express disgust or disapproval with, “That’s so Jenny McCarthy!” or, “OMG! Stop being so Jim Carrey!”

  • 5 isles // Jun 11, 2008 at 7:43 am

    It just goes to show how powerful a convenient delusion can be. People who may otherwise be competent adults have started taking science lessons from Jenny freaking McCarthy. The only thing she’s qualified to lecture on is the long-term durability of silicone.

  • 6 Alisa Terry // Jun 20, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Speaking of delusionment, I’d like everyone who visits this website to actually read a vaccine package insert sometimes, since every one of them lists such pleasures as Guillain-Barre syndrome (paralysis), asthma, diabetes, deafness, and SIDS as potential side effects.

    You also have the issue of allergies – my son is extremely allergic to dairy and so of the vaccines contain casein. Injecting that directly into his body would definitely put him in the hospital. My own nephew did end up in the hospital after a flu shot – he is severely allergic to eggs.

    Non-vaccinating parents aren’t chasing after delusions, they are trying to balance the care of their children in a rational manner and reject the “one schedule for everyone” mentality that can put our children’s health in even greater jeopardy. Humiliating parents who want to preserve their children in this way is not helpful and discredits your website.

  • 7 HCN // Jun 20, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    Alisa Terry:

    Could you tell me what the risks of the vaccine are compared to the actual disease?

    Like to this child:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2166778/Teenager-dies-of-measles-as-cases-continue-to-rise,-Government-officials-say.html

  • 8 Patrick Smith // Jun 23, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    I just find it silly. What are you trying to prove? What is your motivation?

    It seems you are just trying to belittle people who are wanting nothing more than to do their best to care for their children. Is that what your goal is?

    For the most part, people want to vaccinate their children from disease. At the same time, they want to be cautious and find as many facts as possible before making what could be a terrible and life-changing mistake.

    I just don’t see much productive going on here. I don’t think you are being very fair to people who are concerned about the well-being of their children.

    Maybe if you presented some argument about how these people were just trying to swindle the government out of money, or how they were trying to get the general populace to stop taking vaccines so that everyone would die off and they could control the world. Maybe then, as far-fetched and stupid as that sounds, at least then I might understand your overall motivation. As it is, you just seem like a bunch of mean-spirited assholes without much else to fill your time.

  • 9 HCN // Jun 23, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    “I just don’t see much productive going on here. I don’t think you are being very fair to people who are concerned about the well-being of their children.”

    So those of us who have children that must depend on herd immunity are just subject to the whim of your “research”? I had a baby who was not vaccinated against pertussis because of seizure disorder… and at a time when the county was having a pertussis epidemic. An epidemic of a disease that still kills over a dozen babies a year in the USA.

    Come ON! Show us that the DTaP is worse than pertussis, diphtheria and tetanus! Give us real evidence!

  • 10 Patrick Smith // Jun 24, 2008 at 8:25 am

    I’m sorry, did I use the word “research” in my comment? Did I say that I had done any “research” whatsoever? Please don’t put words in my mouth.

    My questions were, “What are you trying to prove? What is your motivation?… It seems you are just trying to belittle people who are wanting nothing more than to do their best to care for their children. Is that what your goal is?”

    Feel free to address those before you start asking me new questions or demanding that I give you hard evidence. I have made no claims that I have any fact-based evidence. But then, neither have you.

    I am only wanting to understand where you are coming from and what your agenda is. Right now, I don’t understand it and I can’t see a reason for your attack on people who think that there might be some linkage between autism and some vaccinations. I never said there absolutely was a link. I don’t think that the majority of people would say that there is absolutely a link.

    Why should I have to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that there is a link? Can’t I question for the sake of questioning? I believe the quote is, “Trust, but verify” – Reagan. I don’t think there are many people that are running down the street screaming, “NEVER VACCINATE!”

    Shouldn’t the burden of proof be just as heavy on the pharmaceutical industry and government to show that these vaccinations are not causing other things go wrong? I am sure you understand what a side-effect is. Do you think that they know what all of the side-effects are? Vaccinations are a pretty recent thing. It isn’t like there is this abundant body of knowledge on the subject. It takes years a tons of clinical trials to understand all of the higher-order effects of a drug on a person’s biological system. Even then, people are not even close to having the same biological make-up. What may have no effect on one person may be fatal to another strictly because of their genetic make-up. And that is not in any way an exaggeration.

    No one is saying they want children to come down with any disease that can be prevented through vaccination. I think what is being said is that they want to make sure that this is the best possible thing for them. And, for the most part, the rational argument is that there is no good reason to give a child multiple vaccinations all at one time.

    I never said I had the answers. I was simply making the point that the arguments you are making seem like they are more targeted at the people and not the problem. Is you agenda to truly search for truth or is it to bash the people promoting the opposing side?

    No one said that the effects of pertussis, diphtheria and/or tetanus where not horrible in their own respect. No one said don’t ever vaccinate. People are just saying, MAYBE there is a connection. They are saying, “Trust, but verify.” And for people that have been directly affected (i.e., their kids have autism), they are much more apt to say that there is a connection.

    I can’t fault them for that. I just can’t understand what your motivation is.

  • 11 HCN // Jun 24, 2008 at 11:33 am

    I explained where I come from… I had a kid who depended on herd immunity (due to a history of seizures). Unfortunately due to bad information from those who claim to do “research” there was a pertussis epidemic. It also turned out that the DTP did not really increase the level of seizures, so perhaps my kid would have been fine with it.

    Look up the word “epidemic”.

    So I had a baby vulnerable to a disease that is a known killer of babies (still kills over a dozen babies per year in the USA:
    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/pertussis/dis-faqs.htm ). So I had to be very careful who he came into contact with.

    Now explain exactly where it is documented that the DTaP is more dangerous than pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria. Try looking it up on PubMed, there is plenty of efficacy and safety research on there. Tell us which one of the pages and pages of studies on vaccines shows us that the DTaP is more dangerous than pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria.

  • 12 HCN // Jun 24, 2008 at 11:36 am

    When you are doing your vaccine research on PubMed, be sure to look up what happened with measles between1987 and 1992 in the USA.

  • 13 Patrick Smith // Jun 24, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    No one said that DTaP was worse than those diseases.

    I am fully aware of what “epidemic” means.

  • 14 HCN // Jun 24, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    Ah… but Carrey did! He said that he would remove the tetanus part of the vaccine when asked which part of the vaccine schedule should be changed. See:
    http://www.washingtonindependent.com/view/celebs-rally-for … ““So what’s a vaccine they shouldn’t get?” I asked. “A lot of parents of autistic children would have opted not to get the tetanus shot,” he said.”

    That is the “T” part of DTaP (oh, and there is no such thing as herd immunity to tetanus, it lives in soil, and has been known to be passed through bug bites… an infection uses two neurotoxins, tetanospasmin and tetanolysin; and the death rate is 1 in 10 infections).

    Do you think that is a smart thing to say?

    Or do you think I am just silly thinking that my child only getting the DT vaccine would be perfectly safe going out and about town in a county where pertussis was at epidemic levels? Do you think we should decide on vaccine schedule based on “experts” like Jim Carrey?

    Come on! Show us what research has been missed by those who actually research disease and vaccines! Show us what is missing from the 163481 papers found on PubMed with the search term “vaccine”!

  • 15 HCN // Jun 24, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    Left out a word… I meant to say:
    Or do you think I am just silly thinking that my child only getting the DT vaccine would NOT be perfectly safe going out and about town in a county where pertussis was at epidemic levels?

    … Personally I think that if you are going to avoid the vaccines, it is your duty to public health to make sure that you stay quarantined away from everyone else. This is especially true if you decide to avoid the MMR (measles is very contagious, and one is infectious at least a week before symptoms!).

    So, go ahead… skip vaccines. Just make sure that you do not go out. Just homeschool the kids, get your groceries delivered and telecommute. That could work!

  • 16 HCN // Jun 24, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    PS: the paper count on http://www.pubmed.gov for “vaccines” (plural) is 139414.

    For “vaccine safety” it is 6846 …

    and for “vaccine efficacy” it is 12333 …

    and for “Carrey J” it is 3.. and they are all in a Physics journal, and all on research done in either France or Spain, not Canada. So it is not the Jim Carrey of this blog posting. sorry

  • 17 Patrick Smith // Jun 25, 2008 at 7:56 am

    Okay, so I understand your reasoning now, HCN.

    I am not sure about everyone else, but I do understand yours.

    What I was looking for was, “… Personally I think that if you are going to avoid the vaccines, it is your duty to public health to make sure that you stay quarantined away from everyone else.”

    Look, I am not following or hanging on every word Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy are saying. I believe that I am intelligent enough to take them for what they are. Poster children for a possible link between autism and vaccines.

    What I am focusing on is their message and the intent of that message. To me, they are trying to get a message out about vaccines. And a lot of what they have said, I have not found to be false based on other reputable sources. One such source is “The Vaccine Book” by Dr. Robert Sears. It provides a lot of information about vaccines.

    At least now I can understand where you are coming from. You are understandably worried about the spread of disease. It had honestly not hit me until you said it.

    The point still remains that I don’t think the argument is “Don’t Vaccinate”. I think the argument is “Make sure your child is healthy before you do and don’t do multiple vaccinations at once.”

    Is there a chance that in the time you delayed vaccination your child could contract a disease? Yes. Was there not just as much a chance though (or at least only a slightly lower one) that that disease could have been contracted earlier prior to the normally scheduled vaccination? Yes.

    I am going to be pretty blunt in the next few sentences so my apologies to those who have sensitivities to my presentation.

    I think that autism is a scarier disease to a lot of people for some pretty simple reasons.

    1) Due to the fact that for the most part vaccinations work, people aren’t dieing from the diseases they are getting vaccinated against. These diseases don’t put much fear into people when they don’t kill anyone.

    2) Since most people are getting vaccinated against these diseases the thought is that the chances of contracting the disease are lower.

    3) In the case of autism, you child will be effected for the rest of their life. There is no known cure and, deep down, a lot of people are so scared of their child growing up and never being able to fully communicate or interact with them, they they would much rather take what they consider to be a relatively small risk with delaying vaccinations if there is even a small chance there might be a link.

    I think what we have is actually a case of two alarmists camps. I didn’t realize it before, but now I do. You have people who are really worried about there being a link between autism and vaccines on one side. Then, on the other, you have people who think that everyone will contract every disease in the book if they aren’t vaccinated appropriately.

    I think I am a moderate. I don’t know if there is a link between autism and vaccines. But I also don’t know if taking the alarmist position on how quickly your child would contract a given disease is appropriate either.

    Naturally, HCN, you have been personally affected by pertussis and I can understand you viewpoint being that it is hitting much closer to home for you. I do sympathize with you.

    I am only trying to look at everything objectively and from the start of reading this blog and others, I was very surprised to not see fact-based arguments being made, but attacks on the proponents of the opposing argument.

  • 18 HCN // Jun 25, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    “I was very surprised to not see fact-based arguments being made, but attacks on the proponents of the opposing argument.”

    Some selected reading, I have to mung the URLs to get past the spam filters… if you desire some actual science this is it:

    “Impact of Specific Medical Interventions on Reducing the Prevalence of Mental Retardation “…. archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/160/3/302

    “Economic Evaluation of the 7-Vaccine Routine Childhood Immunization Schedule in the United States, 2001 “… archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/159/12/1136

    “Health Consequences of Religious and Philosophical Exemptions From Immunization Laws “… jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/282/1/47

    “Nonmedical Exemptions to School Immunization Requirements “… jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/296/14/1757?

    “Acute measles mortality in the United States, 1987-2002.” … w w w. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15106092?

    “Pediatric hospital admissions for measles. Lessons from the 1990 epidemic.” … w w w. pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pubmed&pubmedid=8855680

    Some suggested books:
    Unstrange Minds by RR Grinker
    Not Even Wrong by Paul Collins
    Vaccine by Arthur Allen
    Vaccinated by Paul Offit

    There is also a more complete list (several pages worth, there is a link on the bottom of each page for papers between 1999 and 2003) here:
    w w w. immunize.org/journalarticles/conc_aut.asp
    w w w. immunize.org/journalarticles/conc_aut.asp
    w w w. immunize.org/journalarticles/conc_thim.asp

    These have been the basis of my arguments over the past ten years (started to deal with it almost 20 years after having a newborn with seizures). I confess to attacking the character of one person, but he deserved it (he claimed that satanic black lines burned his bum!), see:
    scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/06/the_nuttiness_that_is_whaleto.php

  • 19 AutismNewsBeat // Jun 25, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    I don’t think there are many people that are running down the street screaming, “NEVER VACCINATE!”

    I was in Washington DC on June 4, and saw people walking down Constitution Ave. screaming “Don’t vaccinate!”

    Does that count?

  • 20 AutismNewsBeat // Jun 25, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Let me get this straight – your research, which you deny doing, includes reading The Vaccine Book, and you only now realized that vaccines prevent disease?

    I think what we have is actually a case of two alarmists camps. I didn’t realize it before, but now I do. You have people who are really worried about there being a link between autism and vaccines on one side. Then, on the other, you have people who think that everyone will contract every disease in the book if they aren’t vaccinated appropriately.

    I’ve never heard anyone say “everyone will contract every disease in the book.” I’m not sure that would be medically possible, and as some diseases will kill you before the other diseases even have a chance. If there were two camps, the clearest dividing line would be one resorts to magical thinking and alarmist rhetoric, and the other side depends on real evidence.

    There is, quite simply, no credible evidence linking vaccines to autism. But since you haven’t done any research, I won’t belabor the point.

Leave a Comment