You are here

A Scandal of Epidemic Proportions: The media and government on autism - asleep at the wheel or in bed with the drug companies? by Sandy Gottstein (aka Mintz)

Daily News Navigator

In a free society, where the press also operates without constraint, but where competition is also healthy, one can expect that eventually the truth will “out”.  Those writers and publishers that do the best job of getting at the truth will simply get the most business and thrive.

Normally advertisers also flock to and pay more for advertising space where there is the most activity, but not always.  So when writers and publishers seem to not be challenging the party line, one must at least consider the possibility that there are benefits accruing from something other than free market competition, e.g., advertising money that is spent to influence what gets published and which makes it unnecessary to build such numbers. 

True, the government and medical “experts” are usually the source of the “party line”.   But one role of the media should be to take a hard look at what the government and “experts” are telling us.  Including why the government and “experts” are not providing the resources and rationale for truly independent study of this critical issue. 

Consider the following:  By most accounts, autism is skyrocketing in the U.S. and elsewhere. 

Is the apparent rise in autism due to improved diagnosis or a real change in incidence?  What is the likelihood these kids would have, could have, been missed?

Is it true that there is just a "temporal coincidence" between vaccinations and autism, that autism just happens to occur at the same time vaccines are given?  Or would we find that the never vaccinated rarely, if ever, get autism, regardless of age?  (That is, if there were ever any long-term studies comparing the vaccinated to the never vaccinated.)  

And what about "regressive autism", the new form of autism?  Did this new form of autism begin its rise around the time MMR was introduced or not? 

Kanner first described autism in 1943.   Prior to that time, there was not enough “autism” to realize it even existed.  Is it merely a coincidence that prior to whooping cough vaccine being recommended for all infants, there was so little apparent autism, or might vaccines have played a role from the beginning?  

Why isn’t the alarming amount of “anecdotal” evidence of an association between vaccination and autism being taken more seriously and being studied in depth? 

What is some of the evidence, so far, in favor of a relationship between vaccination and autism?  Why are most of the "studies" we hear about merely vindication of the MMR or other vaccines, rather than attempts to understand what is happening and why? How valid are "studies" purporting to do so?

Why are there so few properly controlled and designed studies examining this issue?  Why are credible studies challenging the safety of vaccines usually summarily dismissed, while "studies" alleging to disprove these credible studies, and which often arrive on the scene almost immediately, widely accepted? 

Why is the truth so often a casualty? 

Why isn’t the fact that mercury is a known neurotoxin, that the amount infants were getting exceeded FDA recommendations, and the symptoms of autism in many cases nearly identical to the symptoms of mercury poisoning, being treated with the respect it deserves?  How can it be that pregnant and nursing women and children, on the one hand, are being cautioned to avoid  foods and thermometers containing mercury, while on the other hand, we are being reassured that the mercury in vaccines cannot harm our children? 

Vaccines containing thimerosal were not recalled, because, we were told, the benefits of vaccinating with it still outweighed the risks.  But are such reassurances justified, given that we don’t know what is/are the cause(s) of autism?

What is the epidemic of autism going to cost society, both in opportunity lost and for lifetime care?

Why have Representative Dan Burton's  important Government Reform Committee hearings on this subject received so little attention?  

Why, with a few notable exceptions, are the media and the government letting all this slip past them? 

Sandy Gottstein

Date: 2-15-2002