The News You Didn’t Read: MMR Safe

February 13, 2010 at 12:56 pm (Anti-Vaccination, Media) (, , , , , , , )

Andrew Wakefield wrong? No connection between measles vaccination and autism? Not the kind of story the mainstream media are interested in. It doesn’t matter what quality of evidence you put before the press – what matters to them is the kind of story that the evidence can be claimed to support.

Unpublished research of unknown quality that purports to show a link between vaccination and autism is seized on and promoted by the press (for example, the work of Krigsman). Published research that finds no link is ignored.

This paper (PDF) found evidence against the association of autism with either MMR or a single measles vaccine and, of the sites indexed on Google News, has been covered by Top News, Business Week, and One India. Nothing in the Mirror, Independent, Mail, Observer, Telegraph, or any of the other mainstream UK press.

In contrast, the mainstream media were all over Arthur Krigsman’s unpublished research. Ben Goldacre contrasted the media’s silence over a paper by paper by D’Souza et al with their coverage of Krigsman’s unpublished study:

Journalists like to call for “more research”: here it was, and it was ignored. Did the media neglect to cover these stories because they were bored of the story? Clearly not. Because in 2006, at exactly the same time as they were unanimously refusing even to mention these studies, they were covering an identical claim, using identical experimental methodology: “US scientists back autism link to MMR” said the Telegraph. “Scientists fear MMR link to autism” squealed the Mail.

What was this frightening new data? These scare stories were based on a poster presentation, at a conference yet to occur, on research not yet completed, by a man with a well-documented track record of announcing research that never subsequently appears in an academic journal. […]

Two years after making these claims, the study remains unpublished.

The mainstream media’s coverage of research into subjects such as this is biased to the point where the truth is distorted. Unpublished work of unknown quality is promoted via headlines that scream of a link. Published work – that can be examined, prodded, and replicated – is ignored.

This distortion is entirely of the media’s making and serves not only to distort the truth, but also to endanger public health. With a consistently dishonest press, and a toothless regulator in the PCC, it’s difficult to be optimistic that this will change.


  1. Cybertiger said,

    What is truth? Does jdc523 really know the truth? I rather think not!

  2. Colin said,

    Very philosophical, Mr. Tiger. I’d go with ‘stuff that’s correct’. Stop being so obtuse.

  3. Cybertiger said,

    Rchrd Hrtn s dck … s s nr t trth s trth gts,

    Admin: this comment has been disemvowelled due to abuse. I’ve asked before that commenters avoid abusing other people. I don’t mind so much if it is me who is being abused but I do not want to see comments aiming abuse at others. Please desist from submitting such comments.

  4. Cybertiger said,

    “Rchrd Hrtn s dck … s s nr t trth s trth gts”

    I jus luv the disemvowelled comment … brilliant … hilarious stuff!

  5. jdc325 said,

    ‘m gld y apprv cybrtgr.

  6. Cybertiger said,

    There is something really rotten in the state of Denmark … but the stench really emanates from the US. A Danish ‘autism’ researcher has gone AWOL with a big bag of swag …

    And this ‘scientist’, one of jdc523’s ‘special’ kind of stuff and nonsense folk, wrote a couple of ‘influential’ papers denying mercury or MMR were wot done it … ie caused a rise in the number of autistic kids.

    1. Thimerosal and the occurrence of autism: negative ecological evidence from Danish population-based data. Madsen KM, Lauritsen MB, Pedersen CB, Thorsen P, Plesner AM, Andersen PH, Mortensen PB, Pediatrics. 2003 Sep;112(3 Pt 1):604-6.

    “Conclusions. The discontinuation of thimerosal-containing vaccines in Denmark in 1992 was followed by an increase in the incidence of autism. Our ecological data do not support a correlation between thimerosal containing vaccines and the incidence of autism.”

    2. A population-based study of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and autism. Madsen KM, Hviid A, Vestergaard M, Schendel D, Wohlfahrt J, Thorsen P, Olsen J, Melbye M., N Engl J Med. 2002 Nov 7;347(19):1477-82.

    “Conclusions This study provides strong evidence against the hypothesis that MMR vaccination causes autism.”

    Pure crap! There is a nasty smell coming out of Atlanta, fanned by the rotteness out of Denmark. We live in shitty times … but I hope for the science fraudsters, life is about to become a whole lot more so. Whaddya say, jdc352?

  7. The Daily Mail and Mr Andrew Wakefield « Stuff And Nonsense said,

    […] The Mail have also quoted Carole Caplin’s mum (“for a tiny child, the MMR is a ridiculous thing to do. It has definitely caused autism”), reported on unpublished research under the headline “Scientists fear MMR link to autism”, (Dr Arthur Krigsman), brought us the views of experts such as Beezy Marsh, Jackie Fletcher, and Carol Vorderman, reported on single cases as if they were proof of a link, and failed to report on published research that had findings contrary to the Wakefield-as-martyr line they have fairly consistently pushed – the news you didn’t read. […]

  8. Andrew Wakefield and the GMC: A Badly Argued Defence « Stuff And Nonsense said,

    […] the association of autism with either MMR or a single measles vaccine” – but this was the news you didn’t read. Because newspapers like the Telegraph didn’t think it worth […]

  9. A History of Anti-Vaccine Campaigns « Stuff And Nonsense said,

    […] unaware of the evidence against the hypothesis (evidence that the mainstream media have often failed to mention to their readers), but exposed to scaremongering stories in the media, to believe that […]

  10. The News You Didn’t Read: Flu Vaccines And Guillain–Barré syndrome « Stuff And Nonsense said,

    […] 2010, I wrote a similar blogpost on the safety of the MMR vaccine: Unpublished research of unknown quality that purports to show a link between vaccination and […]

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