January 15, 2011

Deer's MMR Wakefield "Fraud" Story Not Playing in the UK, Deer's Wheels Coming Off His Cart

The Bash Wakefield crew seems to finally have overplayed its hand in the UK. And Deer... well... true colors are showing.

For the last two weeks, the US media has been pounding Deer's fraud allegations. The UK media has ignored them.

In the US, a CNN blogger is calling for Wakefield to be brought up on criminal charges (ironically... even outright mentioning Galileo in his piece). In the UK.... no calls for new investigations, no interviews with prosecutors, no pitchfork wielding mobs calling for Wakefield's head.

Because in the UK, they have been following this story for a decade, they know what is up with it, they know what a weaselly figure Brian Deer is and they are not falling for it. The lapdog media there is not even falling for it. The US media apparently was handed a press release, saw that the British Medical Journal's name was on it, and having no understanding of the case or the players, or what making actual fraud allegations would mean legally, just parroted it.

Child Health Safety reports today that Brian Deer is angry that the only coverage he could get there was the Guardian allowing him to write a blog, which could well have been titled, "Someone Please, Please Pay Attention To Me." And even the blog piece is not being received by the readers it is getting.

In it, Deer recounts his glorious MMR protection and declares that, "13 years passed before I slayed the MMR monster." I get the sense that he is disappointed that he has not been hoisted on the shoulders of a teeming mass of mothers and carried triumphantly through the streets of London.

Shockingly, Deer lashes out against the medical establishment for... get this... PROTECTING Andrew Wakefield! He chastises Ben Goldacre and Paul Offit for not being hard enough on him!

I don't even know what to do with Deer's reference to "a single, severed hand may yet come crawling across the floor."

I am sure this column in the Guardian must have been met with a flurry of text messages betwixt board rooms hither an yon saying, "someone tell Deer to shut up before this whole thing falls apart". (Update: CHS now reporting that Deer has actually shut up.)

And I wonder why his blog was not run in the Sunday Times and if the BMJ is cringing at their endorsement of him.

These charges of fraud are based on the word of Brian Deer alone, as none of us has access to the children's records or interviews with the parents to confirm his claims. And these claims are coming from a man who believes he can be a journalist AND the complainant in the GMC trial, lied to the Lancet 12 parents about his name, calling himself "Brian Lawrence", to get interviews with them and who not only writes very self-aggrandizing pieces (to put it mildly) but posts a page of 36 pictures of himself on his journey from babe to "MMR Monster Slayer" on his journalism blog.

I feel that I am being kind in characterizing Brian Deer as someone whose honesty and judgment one might be wise to question.

Bottom line, it is not being covered in the UK, because there is no fraud. If they cover it, they have to interview prosecutors for interviews and prosecutors know there is no crime here. Worse... the media would have to start asking... "Hey... I know I can't get access to, or publish, private medical records... how 'come Deer can?"

And GSK has to be a little concerned about calls in the UK for criminal proceedings... God Forbid that the parents of these kids are allowed to testify, which they would have to be, and the news carries the fact that the 12 children in the study went in sick and came out better! Then its heads on a platter for the GMC who took away the licenses of doctors who heal very sick children, and a decade and millions in work on the End Wakefield project goes right out the window.


Josh Day said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teresa Conrick said...

Awesome post, Ginger! He is unraveling more and more. His page of pictures of himself will be in the DSM under Narcissism. Some may say he has shades of sociopathic features. Either way, he is not mentally reliable and all of his actions against Wakefield show his instability. Yep, those folks who have endorsed him in many ways are probably freaking out about now.

Anonymous said...

After a bit it came to me that the media blast in the US bore an uncomfortable resemblance to the James O'Keefe/ACORN fiasco -- the huge volume of articles and comments released through a surprisingly well-coordinated horde of parrots, somehow trying to convince the world that the MMR-Vaccine link could now be placed to rest. Notice how quickly the "news" dies away. Sadly, I think that the counter-wave of sane voices speaking truth to power are drowned out by their subtlety and need for more than 15-second attention spans. If nothing else, at least the issue of vaccine refusal has gotten some inverse publicity, hopefully putting some fence-sitters over to the vaccine safety side. And it's funny that Brian Deer's very own obsession is doing him in. A true gift.

Anonymous said...

You don't seem to understand what a peer-review process is. Not only are you making potentially libelous accusations about Brian Deer without presenting a single piece of evidence that he is incorrect or fraudulent in his report, but by extension, you're libeling at least dozens of fact-checkers at the Sunday Times, BMJ, and around the world who have verified his findings. And if Andy doesn't like it, he can always sue Deer, the BMJ, and the Sunday Times for libel under the plaintiff-friendly UK libel laws. But of course he won't do that because he can't afford to dig himself any deeper.

Ginger Taylor said...

So if Deer and the BMJ (a doctors union) make a (CYA) claim, a quite unbelievable one, that I cannot substantiate (because again... I can't get access to kids files) my choices are believe their claim or sue them?

That is reproducible science from earnest medical professionals acting in good faith? Yes clearly... the scientific method is held as the highest standard there at the BMJ and in your skeptic world.

If the word of Deer and the British doctors union is good enough for you, then by all means, vaccinate your children the way they recommend. I am a mother and a vaccine consumer and I do not find them credible. And I don't have to. I get to cal shenanigans.

And as you might notice, people looking for good, solid information on what is best for their children, are not buying what Deer/BMJ/Merck/You et al are selling.

Especially when Deer is putting his... well... nonjournalisticishness on display for all to see. Severed hands and all.

I know this gets a mite personal, but I just don't understand how you call yourself a skeptic. This is the kind of report an actual skeptic would be skeptical of. You merely act as a contrarian.

Bottom line, the only place this story is being flying is in your echo chamber. It is not passing the public's sniff test.

This extended media push was to sell Mnookin and Offits books. Mnookin has not broken 1000 on Amazon and Offits is below 10,000.

Vaccine Epidemic hit 1,500 on Amazon the day it was announced, and it has not even gone on sale yet.

So by all means. Keep pushing these manufactured stories and keep pounding on Wakefield. He was never the issue, no one in the US ever heard of him, and the straw man tactics are not convincing anyone.

Because real scientist, when their work is questioned, explain the details and what their work can and cannot show. When someone claiming to be an arbiter of science says, "if you don't like it, you can sue me"... that is not someone you take medical advice from for your children. That is someone you give a polite, 'good day' to and walk quickly away from.