Sunday Times Ordered ‘Remove Wakefield MMR “Data Fixing” Story’

[ORIGINAL ARTICLE FOLLOWS THIS EDITORIAL UPDATE 21 MAY 2020]:

When the article which follows was first published in July 2009, The Sunday Times of London had failed to substantiate their published claims that Dr Andrew Wakefield had “fixed the data” in a 1998 Lancet paper about children with autism and bowel disease which some parents had associated with MMR vaccine.  The Press Complaints Commission required the Sunday Times to remove them by the until they had.

Even today in 2020 The Sunday Times of London has still failed to substantiate those claims.

So it seems that:

1) The Sunday Times published false stories on Dr Wakefield making serious allegations which did not stand up and which have not been substantiated by them to this day;

2) in 4 months following the 2009 complaint The Sunday Times had still failed to substantiate them to the UK Press Complaints Commission so they were required by the Commission to remove them;

3) all they had to do was produce the evidence they relied on for their fact-checking before publication but they could not even do that;

4) they had to call in their defamation lawyers [which seems defensive that for an international flagship newspaper title];

5) they misled by presenting the stories as the work of independent professional journalism whilst failing to disclose that the journalist who wrote them was the complainant in the General Medical Council proceedings against eminent gastroenterologists Professors Walker-Smith, Simon Murch and Dr Andrew Wakefield;

6) that journalist had created [seemingly obsessively] a website which in 2009 had hundreds of pages and subjected Dr Wakefield to many years harassment – even to the extent of publishing pictures on the website of the inside of Dr Wakefield’s London England home;

7) one example of an accusation which did not “stand up” was the false allegation Dr Wakefield took out a “measles vaccine patent” to compete with the MMR vaccine. That was typical of the allegations which did not stand up. The patent was for treatment of measles infection and not prophylaxis [immunisation against future infection] so could never compete with MMR;

It was a treatment for clearing the measles virus from the body of someone already infected. Unlike a vaccine it was not to prevent future infection. There was no such vaccine – just a theoretical possibility which, if it worked, would take years to develop.

So the false allegation Dr Wakefield wanted to knock the MMR out of the market for his “vaccine” to take over never had any chance of standing up just like the other claims made by The Sunday Times.

8) Now in 2020 there is a body of sound evidence linking vaccines to autism. Even in 2009 CHS was publishing some of it: Some Science on How Vaccines Can Cause Autism – Rebuttal of Autism Fraud Claims in British Medical Journal – NAA UK NEWS RELEASE

All of the papers used to claim there is no evidence of a link between vaccines and autism have been shown to be seriously defective. A detailed critique here on one of them which shows it is invalid science:-  “Japanese Data Show Vaccines Cause Autism“].

Here are some other examples of CHS publishing information on the evidence including over a decade ago:

Vaccination Causes Autism – Say US Government & Merck’s Director of Vaccines

Japanese & British Data Show Vaccines Cause Autism

Secret British MMR Vaccine Files Forced Open By Legal Action

MMR Causes Autism – Another Win In US Federal Court

US Government In US$20 million Legal Settlement For Vaccine Caused Autism Case

Autism Increase Environmental Not Genetic – Says New Director of USA’s $30.5 Billion Health Research Budget

Autism In Amish Children – 1 in 10,000

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THE ORIGINAL CHS JULY 2009 ARTICLE NOW FOLLOWS:

[ News Release]

UK Press Complaints Commission Orders Sunday Times “Remove MMR Journalist’s Stories” on Dr. Wakefield from Paper’s Web Site

Work by Reporter Brian Deer is at Center of Investigation Being Conducted by Medical Regulators

July 2, 2009, Contact: James C. Moore, Thoughtful House – Center for Children

512.300.9232

media@thoughtfulhouse.org

(Austin, Texas) – The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) of London, an independent body that oversees journalism fairness in the UK, has issued an interim order calling for the Sunday Times to remove stories written by Brian Deer about Dr. Andrew Wakefield from its web site. Dr. Wakefield had filed an extensive complaint with the PCC regarding errors of fact in Deer’s reportage on the MMR vaccine and its possible relationship to autism. The General Medical Council (GMC) in the UK is presently hearing evidence involving Dr. Wakefield and two of his colleagues following a complaint to the GMC by Deer himself. The PCC decision today appears to indicate there are questions about the accuracy of the Deer stories.

The PCC complaint by Dr. Wakefield provides clear evidence that Deer’s allegations of “data fixing” by him are false. The complaint also accused Deer of an undisclosed conflict of interest since Deer also failed to reveal in his articles that he was the person who made the original complaint to the GMC, misleading the newspaper’s readers over the accuracy of his reporting.

Given the ongoing nature of the dispute,” Stephen Abell of the PCC wrote, “the articles should be removed from the newspaper’s website until this matter has been concluded.  This would not be an admission of any liability on the part of the newspaper.”

Although media are expected to respond promptly to complaints through an informal process, the Sunday Times took more than three months to answer detailed issues raised by Dr. Wakefield, and called upon legal representation to write the paper’s response. Despite this the paper’s management have failed to produce any evidence of “data fixing” by Dr. Wakefield. In its letter to Dr. Wakefield regarding his complaint against Deer, the PCC “expressed concern at the initial slowness of the newspaper’s response.” The PCC said it delayed a complete ruling until it has a fuller accounting of all information submitted to the GMC, but that the outcome of the GMC hearing is notrelevant to a final decision by the PCC.

My contention has always been,” Dr. Wakefield explained, “And it always will be that journalism, before it is published, must stand on its merits with good documentation, sources, and corroboration. Deer’s stories fail on every count. I see no connection between the GMC’s hearing and a decision by the PCC. If the Sunday Times cannot defend the information today, which it can’t, then it was unable to do so at the time of publication.”

Wakefield has been one of the subjects of the longest GMC hearing in history. Although the hearing was expected to be concluded in August 2009, information from attorneys involved in presenting evidence indicate the case is not likely to be decided upon by the panel until December and may not conclude until early 2010.

About Thoughtful House: Thoughtful House advocates a multi-disciplinary treatment approach to treating autism and supports a ’safety-first’ vaccination policy. The research program at Thoughtful House is dedicated to understanding the biological origins of childhood developmental disorders and establishing best practices in treating children affected by these disorders. www.thoughtfulhouse.org