Andrew Wakefield is a fraud. To many of you out there, this is not news at all. But today the British Medical Journal released the first of several close examinations by journalist Brian Deer that exposes Andrew Wakefield’s now retracted 1998 study published in the Lancet that analyzed twelve children as not just bad science but deliberately fraudulent.
Among many distortions, Wakefield altered the medical information of all twelve children including changing the dates their symptoms were first reported to fit his predetermined conclusions. For instance, although the children were reported in the study to show their symptoms almost immediately after receiving the MMR vaccine, their medical records show some developed their symptoms earlier while others not for many months after vaccination (not unlike Jenny McCarthy, who claimed that her son appeared to lose his very soul almost immediately after vaccination but recently admitted it was many months later that his symptoms appeared).
And suddenly this has created a media firestorm on the side of good for a change. Everyone’s talking about this and it’s being called by many to be the biggest scientific fraud of this generation. Orac is even calling it the greatest scientific fraud since Piltdown Man. Dan Harris and Diane Sawyer were harsh in their report on ABC World News tonight. Then Sanjay Gupta went on Wolf Blitzer’s show and firmly declared the study a fraud. Elliot Spitzer and Sanjay Gupta interviewed JB Handley on CNN and were pretty tough on him. Handley said they hadn’t done the research and Spitzer blunted stated, “I think we have.” It was pretty awesome.
But nothing was better than when CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta, got the exclusive privilege of interviewing Wakefield himself and just ripped him to shreds.Not since Jon Stewart was on Crossfire was there a more epic smack-down on television.
Cooper pulled no punches, reminding Wakefield mid-conspiracy that it’s not just Brian Deer calling him a fraud but the entire global medical community and chastising Wakefield for using this interview to just plug his book. Unfortunately, Cooper wasn’t able to respond to Wakefield’s now frequent claim that his research has been repeated in five other studies around the world other than to simply say that this claim is false. But for those who are curious, here are the embarrassing facts about those five studies. Then after the interview, Cooper invited on Seth Mnookin, author of the new book The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear. Cooper said Wakefield refused to be interviewed with Mnookin there to ask questions, so now he and Gupta were just going to talk to Mnookin after the Wakefield interview. And I really started to think Anderson Cooper has been paying attention to skeptical blogs because they hit on just about every point, including whether the media has played into the perpetuation of the myth that vaccines cause autism by presenting a false balance.
This may have been the single biggest nail in the coffin on the anti-vaccine movement yet. It’s just a PR disaster for them. Just look at their flimsy response.
This idea that the entire world is against them and in on an evil conspiracy is, as Mnookin says, just laughable. And this is just a slam dunk victory for good science reporting and skepticism.
- BREAKING: BMJ calls Andrew Wakefield a fraud (blogs.discovermagazine.com)
- Medical Journal Calls Anti-Vaccination Study an ‘Elaborate Fraud’ [Scams] (gawker.com)
- Andrew Wakefield Autism-Vaccine Study An “Elaborate Fraud” (oliverwillis.com)
- “Piltdown” medicine: Andrew Wakefield’s scientific fraud was worse than previously thought (scienceblogs.com)
- Retracted autism study an ‘elaborate fraud,’ British journal finds (cnn.com)
- Journal: Study linking vaccine to autism was fraud (sfgate.com)
- Vaccine, Autism Link Reportedly ‘Fraud’ (foxnews.com)
- Andrew Wakefield, the Autism-Vaccine Link and ‘Deliberate Fraud’ (psychcentral.com)
- Journal: Study on vaccine, autism a fraud (boston.com)
- Journal: Study linking vaccine to autism was fraud (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- BMJ press release: there is “no doubt” that it was Wakefield who perpetrated this fraud (leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk)
- Report Linking Vaccine To Autism Was Fraudulent, Says Lancet (huffingtonpost.com)
- Autism-vaccine study was ‘fraud,’ journal says (theprovince.com)
- BMJ Lifts Curtain on MMR-Autism Fraud – MedPage Today (news.google.com)
- Autism, vaccine study was ‘fraud’ says journal (nationalpost.com)
- ‘Fraud’ study linked autism to vaccine: report (cbc.ca)
- Report: Study tying vaccine to autism was fraud (msnbc.msn.com)