Op Ed: The Tribeca Precedent and the Framing of Vaxxed


The following Op Ed was submitted to MovieMaker Magazine by its author, Philippe Diaz of Cinema Libre Studio. As the leading magazine devoted to independent film we believe it important to allow this independent distributor to express his firsthand view of the newsworthy event that led to his company’s film Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe being pulled from the Tribeca Film Festival and Worldfest-Houston lineups, and the role played by the media. The opinions and statements are solely those of the author. MovieMaker‘s editors welcome the organizers of these festivals, organizations we deeply respect, as well as others interested in the topics and issues raised by this Op Ed, to contribute their own viewpoints.

     —MovieMaker Editors


When the call came from the heads of the Tribeca Film Festival, specifically co-founder Jane Rosenthal and Tribeca Enterprises’ Executive Vice President Paula Weinstein, to let my head of distribution, Rich Castro, and me know that they had decided to “de-select” our film Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe, I didn’t want to believe it.

I couldn’t understand how it could even be possible—when the selection had been confirmed publicly by Tribeca co-founder Robert De Niro himself the day before.

Being the distributor of the film and having received all the paperwork confirming the selection, I was in total disbelief, as I had personally advised the filmmakers to submit the film to Tribeca.

The conversation became very heated when I asked the festival executives for the reasons. The answer I received was that they had “issues” with the content of the film. I said, “Fine—let us know what issues you are having and we will give you all the back-up documentation and set you up with the filmmakers so that you can get any clarification you need.” But I got no specific answers.

Vaxxed-poster

It was clear that the actual content of the film (a documentary by Andrew Wakefield about Dr. William Thompson, a senior scientist at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who believes that crucial information was omitted in a 2004 report on the Measles-Mumps-Rubella [MMR] vaccine and its link to autism) was not the full cause of the festival’s change of heart. They had already indicated in a previous conversation that their sponsor had issues with the film—specifically, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. It became even more heated when I asked Rosenthal and Weinstein, both highly accomplished professionals, if they realized the responsibility they were assuming and the message it would send to the filmmaking world at large. They were effectively telling the festival’s sponsors that it was perfectly OK to censor a film they didn’t like. They were also telling filmmakers around the world that they should only make movies that corporate powers and sponsors alike will approve of, otherwise they will have little chance to ever have their movies seen. I told them they were setting a huge precedent, but it was clear that they could not have cared less.

Unfortunately, I was proven right. A few days later, Hunter Todd, director of WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival, which had selected the film for its documentary closing night, sent me an email saying that his festival also had to withdraw its invitation. Hunter added that he had received “very threatening calls yesterday from high government officials in Houston (the first and only time they have ever called in 49 years)… Heavy-handed censorship to say the least… they both threatened severe action against the festival if we showed it… Their actions would have cost us more than $100,000 in grants.” In another email, he said that “[the officials] went to all our major sponsors… and even the private foundations that support us… I have never been threatened so strongly before, comparing this to Hitler’s propaganda films and worse…”

“Hitler’s propaganda films?” I thought that was interesting! I’ll come back to that later. I was not as upset with Hunter, who did what he could, had no choice and told us the truth. It is a totally different situation with Tribeca. To this point—even after Robert De Niro himself reversed his stance and said in a TODAY interview that it is a movie that people should see and that he pretty much regretted having been forced to pull if from the festival—Jane Rosenthal continues to argue that in fact Vaxxed‘s “de-selection” was due to an outcry from some filmmakers.

The filmmakers? Seriously? Well, that’s even a worse excuse than claiming it’s because of the sponsors. Everybody understands the power of money, but she is trying to make us believe that if filmmakers disagree with the film selection at a festival like Tribeca, that the festival will reverse its decision. I see that as the end of festivals as we know them and, of course, the end of free speech! That is censorship, pure and simple!

Director Andrew Wakefield (left), Editor Brian Burrows (middle), and Producer Del Bigtree (Right) review the data from the CDC Autism/MMR study. Photograph by Andrew Debosz

L-R: Director Andrew Wakefield, editor Brian Burrows and producer Del Bigtree review the data from the CDC Autism/MMR study in Vaxxed. Photograph by Andrew Debosz

Rosenthal’s statement makes very little sense apart from continuing a strategy that was started months ago. The first voice who came out screaming bloody murder about the selection of Vaxxed was the director Penny Lane (Our Nixon). The problem here is that Penny Lane has made only two feature-length films and both were financed by Tribeca Enterprises, the company that owns the Tribeca Film Festival. She came out with a vitriolic paper telling Tribeca—her prestigious financier—that they “made a very serious mistake,” after having judged the film solely on its trailer (Seriously! I hoped that filmmakers had more respect for each other’s work) and, deciding that the film presented “dangerous misinformation,” labeling its director an “anti-vaccination quack” who was “literally killing people.” Not only can she be sued for defamation and libel, but it is funny to get a lesson on ethics in filmmaking from someone who made a doc portraying Richard Nixon as an upstanding human being! More importantly, she asked Tribeca to “apologize… and cancel the screening.” Really? How could a filmmaker in her right mind so virulently attack her prestigious financier for selecting a film she didn’t even see? That makes no sense, of course. I suppose it might make sense if Tribeca Enterprises asked her to start such a campaign—but that’s pure speculation on my part…

A couple of interesting articles came up exploring the relationship that Tribeca Enterprises has with the pharmaceutical industry. TruthKings.com explained that the president of Tribeca Enterprises is Jonathan Cale Patricof, son of the very powerful venture capitalist Alan Patricof. Patricof senior is the founder of Apax partners which owns a company… that specializes in vaccines! Furthermore, Alan Patricof is the brother-in-law of none other than Jane Rosenthal.

The Sloan Foundation is one of the largest and first sponsors of the festival, as confirmed to us by Rosenthal and Weinstein on the phone. As Richard Gale and Gary Null point out in an article entitled “Why is the CDC Petrified of the Film Vaxxed?”: “A bigger smoking gun is the presence of Dr. Peter Kim, former president of Merck’s Research Laboratories… and Paul Offit.” Merck’s Research Laboratories is the company that holds the MMR vaccine patent and monopoly in the U.S. Offit has been described (by Mark Blaxill, editor-at-large for the website Age of Autism) as a “Merck-made millionaire, a determined propagandist for expanding the medical industry’s vaccine profit pool and an active opponent of the need to stop the autism epidemic in its tracks.” Kim and Offit, say Gale and Null, both “sit on the [Sloan] foundation’s board of trustees.” (They also add that “vaccine fanatic Bill Gates is also a contributor” to Tribeca.)

The Hollywood Reporter indeed enlisted the same Paul Offit to write a so-called review on Vaxxed, even after we explained to them that he could not be objective for the above reasons. Based on his analysis, I personally believe that Paul Offit never saw the film, since we refused to provide him with a screener. It is tragic that The Hollywood Reporter would compromise the concept of a reviewer like that.

A still from Vaxxed The Center for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC)

A still from Vaxxed shows the Center for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) headquarters

The whole thing goes even one step further. What was very interesting to us was to watch the whole scandal unfold. All the “negative articles” use the same language, sometimes word for word, from the by-now famous Penny Lane’s article—which was probably the result she was looking for—to Steven Zeitchik’s one in the Los Angeles Times and Eric Kohn’s at Indiewire.

The message is clear:

  1. Discredit the film by calling it “anti-vaccine.” How can a movie and its director advocating for giving the MMR vaccine to children after three years of age, or for splitting the vaccine into three shots, be anti-vaccine?
  2. Discredit the film by calling it “fraudulent,” “biased,” etc. which is interesting coming from people who never saw the film!
  3. Discredit the filmmaker by bringing up his past when he was framed for daring to say that his research showed a potential link between MMR vaccine and autism and that more studies were needed.
  4. Finally, go for the kill: in case there would be any doubt, compare the filmmaker or his work to Hitler’s propaganda filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl. It is very interesting that the reference to Hitler comes back every single time, including in threats received by the director of the WorldFest-Houston.

I will not address here all the accusations against, nor the framing of, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, dating back 18 years, which have been discussed many times before and that we have made available to all. Instead, I ask why all this negative publicity is clearly originating from the same voice? Again, let’s refer to Gale and Null, who reveal the existence of the “CDC’s sophisticated public relations and media operation. Tax dollars are spent to train journalists about framing medical news and articulately contest [sic] controversial stories that challenge the federal agencies’ and pharmaceutical industry’s national health and vaccine agenda.”

This is probably the worst part of this very sad story. Whoever put out the framing of this debate was powerful enough to place it in major magazines and newspapers with the same wording, and the same irresponsible comparisons, with no objection from these publications. Of course the fact that filmmakers, and a prestigious institution like Tribeca, would participate in such a “lynching” is extremely grave, as it outlines the limitless power of mega corporations. Since the festival censorship, our ads have also been censored by The Village Voice and a positive article was censored by The Huffington Post (now owned by AOL, so perhaps that’s no surprise). These great publications did not see the film… nor did they even ask to see it.

Filmmakers beware! Most of the large festivals depend on financial support from sponsors. And with the Tribeca precedent, it is clear that if sponsors don’t like a film, they can refuse its selection or, even worse, “de-select” it. In my heated conversation with the heads of Tribeca, I also asked them if they realized the responsibility they were taking on. Not only have they risked ruining the professional lives of the filmmakers who have invested years of time and their money to make this film, but they are now risking more than that on an even greater level. Let’s suppose, for the sake of discussion, that Dr. Wakefield and the hundreds of doctors who support him are right and that there is a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Furthermore, let’s suppose that Tribeca’s actions will serve to delay the CDC whistleblower’s testimony before Congress—such testimony being the ultimate goal of the film—by so many years. How many more children will be affected? How many more families will be destroyed?

That is the power of documentaries: to make a difference in the world! Let’s support the filmmakers who dedicate their lives to such an aspiration and to the festivals that give such voices a chance to be heard (or is it now time to create a “no-sponsors” film festival?). In this digital age, do we even need reviewers and film festivals? To counter all of these false accusations and negative publicity, we rushed the film into theaters, supported only by an immense grassroots community composed mainly of families with vaccine-injured children. And in New York and Los Angeles, most of the shows sold out before the film opened!

A display at the Laemmle Monica, showing sold-out screenings of Vaxxed

A display at the Laemmle Monica, showing sold-out screenings of Vaxxed

So, to finish on a positive note, let’s remember that our grassroots support is the number-one tool for a successful film release and that we should not let ourselves be intimidated by bullies, whomever they may be. As one Vaxxed audience member put it, “they tried to suppress a movie, instead they created a movement.”

For information on Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe, visit its official homepage.



Unlike many other magazines, MovieMaker is completely independent. We are hugely dependent on our readers for support to continue providing top-quality filmmaking guidance. If you liked this article, consider tipping us $1.




133 Comments

  1. Listen Yourself at Fearless Parent

    May 3, 2016 at 10:22 am

    No Whistle to Blow? Vaxxed features the “confession” of Dr. William Thompson, a senior scientist from the CDC. Dr. Thompson initiated telephone contact with Dr. Brian Hooker and disclosed a number of specific and general concerns about vaccine safety studies and the way data was being handled in the CDC. I don’t believe there is any dispute that Dr. Thompson freely and voluntarily contacted Dr. Hooker.
    You can now listen to three of the four calls in their unedited entirety and come to your own conclusions about Dr. Thompson. He is describing a dysfunctional organization that is deliberately manipulating data and studies to suppress any negative outcomes in most or all of the studies, not simply the MMR. I cannot imagine anyone hearing these conversations and coming away with any other impression. http://fearlessparent.org/cdc-data-stranglehold-blocks-autism-vaccine-research-recording-2/
    In my opinion one can hear in Dr. Thompson’s voice that he is experiencing genuine regret, guilt and a desire to make restitution. And the sometimes nervous, other time incredulous “can you ‘effing believe this?” laughter of a professional sharing with another professional extreme, unbelievably improper conduct at work. I wish we had recordings of the other 36 or so conversations.
    If Dr. Thompson is not sincere then he is an excellent actor and was coached to do this by the CDC as a type of “dirty trick” to misdirect Dr. Hooker.
    So we have 2 issues- One is the validity of Dr. Thompson’s concerns, and the other are his actions surrounding these concerns and what they potentially reveal about his state of mind and emotional stability.
    To the first issue, it appears that Matt Carey feels that he has a deeper understanding of the MMR study than Dr. Thompson, that Dr. Thompson’s analysis of the paper he co-wrote is incorrect, and that Dr. Thompson’s concerns are unfounded. That Dr. Thompson’s criticisms are a standard run of the mill academic disagreement about inclusionary criteria that does not affect the study results. But why then did Dr. Thompson go outside the CDC with these concerns and contact a person known to him to be a Vaccine Safety Advocate?
    In order for Carey’s scenario to be true, one must assume that the CDC has had and continues in its employ a researcher, Dr. Thompson, with an intellect incapable of understanding the study is valid and accurate, and that no protocols were broken. A researcher whose communication comprehension skills are so poor that the other 4 co-authors are unable to explain to him why he is wrong, and that the study stands. A researcher that has some type of paranoid delusions where he interprets standard and customary protocol adjustments, and the routine disposal of extraneous study materials to be evidence of a cover up. A researcher who describes his employ at the CDC working on this study as the “lowest point in my career” and his relationship with his superiors as, (paraphrase) “They are telling me to lie, and I am not going to lie anymore”.
    As an observer what is more likely? Carey’s scenario of the CDC’s long term employ of a mentally unstable intellectually deficient researcher? Or is it more likely that Dr. Thompson is simply revealing the inner workings of an organization that has been identified in “Four scathing federal studies, including two by Congress, one by the U.S. Senate, and one by the HHS Inspector General, paint CDC as a cesspool of corruption, mismanagement and dysfunction with alarming conflicts of interest suborning its research, regulatory and policy making functions.” RFK, Jr.
    If Carey is correct, and that Dr. Thompson is too stupid and /or mentally unstable to do a proper study, how much credibility should the rumored reworking of data yet again to refute himself be given should he now say, “Oops, I goofed”?

  2. John Kwok

    April 25, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    The “good people” at “VAXXED” asked me to define “real science” elsewhere online. Here’s my answer:

    Real science is science that is repeatedly confirmable, whether via direct observations or experiments (or both). It is science that makes testable predictions and those predictions that are confirmed, become part of a nested body of data and predictions known as a scientific theory. I refer you and others to what Carl Zimmer – this year’s recipient of the Society for the Study of Evolution’s Stephen Jay Gould Prize at its annual meeting, which will be held in June in Austin, TX – wrote recently for The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/…/in-science-its-never-just-a…, You and others reading this should note what Brown University cell biologist Ken Miller – a prior recipient of the Stephen Jay Gould Prize – states regarding what scientific theories are: “In science, the word theory isn’t applied lightly. It doesn’t mean a hunch or a guess. A theory is a system of explanations that ties together a whole bunch of facts. It not only explains those facts, but predicts what you ought to find from other observations and experiments.”

    Based on these criteria, the findings and predictions made by Andrew Wakefield and his colleagues in the now retracted 1998 Lancet paper are not real science. Why? The findings and the predictions, especially the possibility that vaccines cause autism, were tested repeatedly by researchers from the USA, Canada, UK, Denmark, Japan and elsewhere across the globe. None found any credible scientific evidence that confirmed any of the findings in the Lancet paper or their predictions. Columbia University epidemiologist W. Ian Lipkin has tested two of the predictions made in that paper, and his research could not confirm them, having noted them respectively in a New York Times interview with Carl Zimmer (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/23/science/23prof.html) and most recently in his Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece (http://www.wsj.com/…/anti-vaccination-lunacy-wont-stop…).

    Either Wakefield is an unsung scientific genius worthy of comparison with Newton, Darwin and Einstein, or he is a liar and a charlatan guilty of promoting a dangerous form of pseudoscientific nonsense. (As for Thompson, there are apparently some issues with regards to the research design of his 2004 paper that is the subject of “VAXXED”, but not acknowledging Wakefield’s prior history as being relevant to this film is akin, as Indiewire’s Eric Kohn noted, to saying that Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will” is anti-Hitler.) Based on the evidence I have seen – and none of them from either CDC or “Big Pharma” – as a former evolutionary biologist who has worked in clinicial trials and HIV/AIDS research, I have to conclude that Wakefield is a liar and charlatan, worthy of comparison with Intelligent Design creationists, and therefore, deserving of the harsh label I coined years ago to describe Intelligent Design – and other – creationists; a mendacious intellectual pornographer.

    • Me

      April 27, 2016 at 11:30 pm

      Well, here is a scientific analysis of some of the studies you mentioned.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4065774/
      short story: from a methodological perspective they are rubbish.

      • John Kwok

        April 28, 2016 at 1:15 pm

        Brian Hooker is not a credible researcher, since he has not done work in related aspects of medicine and epidemiology. To cite his paper is absolutely meaningless.

        This is from a review article posted online today:

        Mercury and thimerosal studies
        Mercury is by far the most common vaccine component to be accused of causing autism. Therefore, it should not be surprising that 50 of the papers were specifically about it. However, I’m am not going to talk much about those papers for several reasons.

        First, many of these papers were on elemental mercury (Hg) or methyl-mercury, but the preservative used in some vaccines (thimerosal) is actually ethyl-mercury. The mercury in thimerosal does not behave like other types of mercury because it is bound to a ethyl group (just like the chlorine in table salt does not behave like chlorine because it is bound to sodium; details here).

        Second, even for the studies on thimerosal, none of them were large human trials that were capable of establishing causation. There were lots of small trials, animal trials, in vitro trials, association studies, etc., but large cohort studies were completely lacking. In contrast, remember that several of the papers in the pro-vaccine list specifically looked at thimerosal (as well as the whole vaccine) and failed to find any relationship. These pro-vaccine studies included a meta-analysis with 1.2 million children (Taylor et al. 2014), a cohort study with 124,170 children (Verstraeten et al. 2003), and a case-controlled trial with over 1,000 children (Price et al. 2010; several of the other studies also used vaccines that contained thimerosal, but they did not explicitly test that component). Additionally, we have a cohort study with 446,695 children that compared those who received vaccines with thimerosal to those who received vaccines without thimerosal (Hviid et al. 2003). These massive, high quality studies completely obliterate the small low quality studies presented by the ant-vaccers. That is how the hierarchy of evidence works.

        You can read the rest of it here: https://thelogicofscience.com/2016/04/28/vaccines-and-autism-a-thorough-review-of-the-evidence

  3. The Polemicist

    April 23, 2016 at 10:32 am

    The treatment of Vaxxed from Tribeca to Houston is an astounding example of censorious ideological discipline

    Somehow liberal-minded folks, who are properly sensitive to corporate (including pharmaceutical company) greed and corporate-government collusion, are completely buying into the idea that those concerns should never be raised when talking about one particular corporate pharmaceutical product.

    If we are even permitted to talk about such things.

    Rarely have we seen such an intense campaign in such a brief time over such a specific policy that has so effectively coaxed and browbeat people to live their compliance as the proof of their rationality.

    Somehow, there’s been issued a mandate that we regard parents, doctors and scientists who do raise doubts about any of the scores of concoctions of pathogens and adjuvants injected into the bloodstreams of their children as some combination of stupid, anti-scientific, and—by some bizarre leap of illogic—reactionary.

    Frankly, I think such an attitude is ridiculous—scientifically, ethically, and politically ridiculous.

    Vaxxed makes four suggestions on its take-away screen–let Thompson testify; make separate M, M, and R vaccines available for parents to choose; require the same testing for vaccines as for other pharmaceuticals; and abolish the liability dispensation given to Big Pharma by the NCVIA These are the entire point of the movie, and the film supports them with the strong prima facie evidence of Dr. Thompson’s revelations. There’s nothing remotely anti-science or anti-vaccination about them.

    Now, you can agree or disagree with any of those suggestions, and, really, But I vehemently deny that anything about them is anti-vaccination, anti-scientific, or reactionary. It’s those who insist that we must not discuss these issues—indeed, must not even allow them to be discussed who are taking a position that is patently, and dangerously, anti-scientific and authoritarian. That is the path to the corruption of the scientific method itself.

    See my post, Vexed About Vaxxed The Polemicist: Vexed by Vaxxed
    http://www.thepolemicist.net/2016/04/vexed-by-vaxxed.html

    • John Kwok

      April 23, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      I think Columbia University pediatrician Philip La Russa would disagree with your assessment of the film, especially your recommendations:

      http://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/apr/02/vaxxed-film-scientist-interview-vaccines-autism

      I believe Matt Carey has posted this earlier, but if he hasn’t yet, then it is worth noting (or repeating again):

      https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2016/01/04/the-william-thompson-documents-theres-no-whistle-to-blow/

      What is the genuine “corruption of the scientific method” is the ongoing refusal by you and your fellow vaccine denialists to recognize that Wakefield’s 1998 Lancet paper and its sequels did not yield credible research findings and predictions based on those findings which researchers around the globe tried unsuccessfully for years to confirm without any success. Over a million children have been tested and no link has been determined pointing to vaccines as the cause of autism. Good science has to be repeatable, ideally by independent researchers and research teams. As others have discussed here already, including Matt Carey and Dorit Reiss, what Wakefield did was to commit scientific forgery. That’s why his 1998 Wakefield et al. Lancet paper was retracted later by the Lancet’s editors. That is why his UK medical license was revoked. Either Wakefield is an unsung, “persecuted”, scientific genius worthy of comparison with Newton, Darwin and Einstein, or he is a fraud, and a most despicable liar and charlatan, who should be seen as a mendacious intellectual pornographer. My money is on him as a fraud, etc., not as the “scientific genius” that you and your fellow vaccine denialists believe about Wakefield.

    • Dorit Reiss

      April 24, 2016 at 2:23 pm

      A. It’s not censorship for a private festival to decide not to screen a movie.

      B. There’s not an issue with parents or doctors that ask questions about vaccines. There is justified, appropriate criticism of those who promote misinformation about the, misinformation that can scare people from protecting their kids from diseases (for example, describing vaccines as “concoctions of pathogens and adjuvants” is inaccurate, nor are vaccines injected into the bloodstream). Such criticism is use of free speech.

      C. Vaxxed’s recommendations are actually based on incorrect information and if anything, would decrease safety, not help. See: http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com/2016/04/wakefields-vaxxed-demands-less-safety.html

      And yes, by promoting misinformation about vaccines – for example, misrepresenting the testing process, ignoring the many studies on MMR – it is clearly anti-vaccine.

    • Michael

      April 24, 2016 at 6:09 pm

      Big Pharma and their minions (Dorit, Matt, and the usual suspects) really had no choice with Vaxxed. They simply cannot concede a reference point to the grassroots movement against a very toxic vaccine schedule.

      They can’t. Think of it from their point of view. You’ve got billions and billions of dollars invested in a worldwide vaccine agenda, (some say depopulation agenda) with a target of billions of vaccine recipients. This is a serious, big-time industry backed by the highest levels of government, national and international bureacracies (CDC, WHO), and most importantly, private elite organizations like the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) with some of the richest private billionaires in the world.

      Check the link: https://www.kfw-entwicklungsbank.de/International-financing/KfW-Development-Bank/News/News-Details_255809.html

      BIG-TIME world agenda. One that tolerates NO dissent. Kinda explains everything.

      • Dorit Reiss

        April 25, 2016 at 8:21 am

        If vaccines are part of a depopulation agenda, someone messed up seriously.

        In the U.S. alone, in past decades, as the number of vaccines on the schedule increased:
        1) Infant mortality rates have decreased – see figure 7: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr58/nvsr58_19.pdf

        2) Child mortality has decreased. http://www.hrsa.gov/healthit/images/mchb_child_mortality_pub.pdf

        3) And general death rates have decreased and health improved. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleID=2482327&utm_source=Silverchair+Information+Systems&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MASTER%3AJAMALatestIssueTOCNotification01%2F19%2F2016

        “From 1969 to 2013, the overall death rate in the United States decreased by more than 40%. In 1969, about 1279 people per 100 000 died. In 2013, this number decreased to 730 people per 100 000. These rates are age standardized, meaning they are adjusted for the fact that over the years, the US population has been getting older, so there are many more elderly Americans (in whom death is more common) now than in 1969.
        Another way of looking at the overall health of the nation is to look at trends in prematuredeaths by estimating the years of “potential life” lost. Between 1969 and 2013, the years of potential life lost decreased by more than 50%, from 135 per 1000 years to 64 per 1000 years.”

        “As a nation, the United States has made significant progress in improving overall health and lowering overall death rates. Thousands of premature deaths have been prevented each year by controlling major risk factors for heart disease, cancer, and COPD such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. However, for obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, the rates of decline in mortality have slowed in recent years. This illustrates the serious health risks that continue to be posed by the obesity epidemic in the United States. As the US population continues to age, continued efforts to control obesity, blood pressure, cholesterol, and smoking in both children and adults will be crucial.”

        And of course, world population has also been increasing, as has life expectancy, and child mortality decreasing.

        • Michael

          April 25, 2016 at 12:13 pm

          Dorit,

          Fertility rates are down across the world. World population is projected to peak in 2050 and then decline very sharply. Bill Gates knows this:

          ** Microsoft’s Bill Gates:

          “The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s heading up to about nine billion. Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent.” ….(Gates’ father was a Board Member of Margaret Sanger’s Planned Parenthood – guess eugenics runs in the family)

          Cancer under control? Surely you jest, Dorit. It’s ALREADY passed heart disease as the number one killer in 22 states (and that’s saying something given the high-fructose-GMO-corn-syrup-processed-food-fueled obesity epidemic):

          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3388828/Cancer-No-1-killer-22-states-ahead-heart-disease.html

          Don’t expect life expectancy to improve for this new generation of hyper-jabbed children; they’re already in dire straits – just ask your beloved Institute of Medicine

          https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cusp/201312/young-americans-are-sicker-ever

          Dorit, you still need to re-enter the atmosphere from outer space; you can’t convince anyone if you’re floating in lala land

      • John Kwok

        April 25, 2016 at 1:26 pm

        Michael,

        Sounds like a great scenario for a science fiction novel, and I think it’s a major theme in Harry Harrison’s “Make Room! Make Room!”, which was filmed as “Soylent Green”. But only someone as talented as Harrison could pull it off; Wakefield and Bigtree are to Harrison what the Staten Island Yankees are to the New York Yankees. That’s why I think of “VAXXED” as a crude “The X Files” parody with Wakefield and Bigtree pretending to be Scully and Mulder; I would love to see Chris Carter sue them, Cinema Libre Studio and every film festival and film theater that’s been foolish enough to allow themselves to be Wakefield and Bigtree’s useful idiots. If there’s any “conspiracy” going on here, it’s from a band of rabid anti-science zealots, led by mendacious intellectual pornographers Wakefield, Bigtree, Hooker and Tommey, who constitute “Big Anti-Vaxx” whose ongoing mission is to boldly go where no one has gone before to foster greater public ignorance and disdain for the real science and medicine behind vaccines and vaccinations.

  4. John Kwok

    April 23, 2016 at 2:59 am

    Humanity is engaged in a coevolutionary arms race with pathogens (disease causing organisms). It is for this very reason that vaccines are necessary as our “weapons” in our ongoing struggle. In his emphasis on “vaccine safety” Andrew Wakefield ignores this simple, but undeniable, fact regarding our ongoing coevolutionary arms race. Because of this simple word, evolution, vaccines will never be 100 percent foolproof. But to heed his ill-founded concerns about “vaccine safety” is akin to playing Russian Roulette with an empty six shooter pistol; empty except for the one bullet present in one of the pistol’s chambers. Moreover, I doubt that he, Wakefield, Diaz, or even Thompson, are aware of, and appreciate, the rapidly burgeoning new science of evolutionary medicine and how researchers in this science are employing our understanding of evolutionary biology – and to those who are skeptical, evolution is both a well established scientific fact and a well established scientific theory as the late Stephen Jay Gould noted on many occasions – in understanding the probable causes of autism and develop newer, better, means of treating it effectively. None of these causes have any ties to vaccines; none whatsoever.

    • Gary

      April 23, 2016 at 1:10 pm

      I must make one last comment in response to John Kwok’s latest post. When you say that “Humanity is engaged in a co-evolutionary arms race with pathogens” you sound like a cold-war era politician. Having read the bulk of what Stephen Jay Gould wrote between the mid-70’s and his untimely demise in 2001, and thus having a good sense of the wide range and depth of understanding of this extraordinary mind, I have no doubt that, were he alive today, he would regard that statement as drivel. Are you not aware of the past decade or so of research into the human microbiome? It is a nascent field, but I have little doubt that it will eventually attain prominence as the key to understanding human health and disease. All higher life forms live in sea of microbes. Microbes are far, far older than the higher life forms, that is, plants and animals, and in fact it was microbial symbionts which allowed plants and animals to leave the seas and colonize land. The mass of bacteria alone is much greater than the mass of all other life-forms combined. A few are pathogenic to humans, some are beneficial, in fact essential, but most are benign. As Bechamp argued-and Pasteur ultimately agreed with him-it is the terrain (the immune system) that is important to pathogenesis in the interaction between host and germ, not the germ itself. The long history of evolution has created in humans, and other life forms, an exquisitely tuned and highly effective immune system, fully capable of dealing with foreign invaders, since we inhale trillions of them with every breath and with every swallow, because their point of entry is the mucosal membranes. Yet we have the hubris to think we can alter this amazing system with multiple injections, entirely bypassing this innate immune system, into entirely undeveloped immune systems without unintended consequences. Astonishing and frightening. Arrogant. A sober assessment leads me to the inescapable conclusion that immunization is quackery, just as it was in 1717 when brought to England from the Ottoman Empire by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. It fell into disrepute by 1728, because it was as likely to start epidemics as stop them, and it increased the mortality rate, until that talented promoter Edward Jenner (who purchased his medical degree) came along. No, John Kwok, we simply don’t know enough about the human/microbe interaction to be mandating a medical intervention with such a sorry track record (familiarize yourself with the history of vaccination, and you will realize that it is indeed a sorry track record). Were I in charge, I would put an immediate moratorium on all vaccination.

      • John Kwok

        April 25, 2016 at 1:01 pm

        Gary,

        I’m becoming familiar with it, not least because it is a rapidly expanding field of evolutionary medicine. It’s ironic that you mention work on the human microbiome since that may provide some insights into the origin and treatment of some forms of autism, especially within autistic children that have severe gastrointestinal problems. I attended a talk by one of the pioneering researchers on the human microbiome, Dr. Christina Warinner earlier this month at the American Museum of Natural History, and she concurred with my assessment that there are coevolutionary aspects, especially an arms race, at work with regards to both our need for vaccines and some types of autism. Apparently you’ve never heard of the “Red Queen” or its importance with regards to coevolutionary arms races which many paleontologists, ecologists, and other evolutionary biologists now recognize. I am sure that if Gould was still alive, he would endorse my view, especially in stark contrast with the deadly nonsensical pseudoscience being advocated by Andrew Wakefield, Polly Tommey and others of their ilk.

    • Joe

      April 23, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      John, you need to go to an elementary school, and sit down in a 2nd grade class. American children are SICK. As in sicker than ever. Asthma, diabetes, allergies, eczema, learning disabilities, autism, juvenile arthritis, attention-deficit, depression, and anxiety.

      We rank LAST in infant mortality among industrialized nations who ALL vaccinate LESS than we do. Uh, sorry, your “co-evolution” theory is nonsense.

      • John Kwok

        April 25, 2016 at 1:07 pm

        Joe,

        I suggest you read Matt Ridley’s excellent book – which I haven’t read – on the “Red Queen” and coevolution or start with any of Carl Zimmer’s superb texts on evolution, in which his companion volume to the PBS NOVA “Evolution” miniseries – from the early 00’s no less – has an entire chapter devoted to coevolution. I am merely making these observations as the former evolutionary biologist that I am, and for those who stubbornly cling to Wakefield’s dangerous pseudoscientific nonsense, then I have some words for you; he and his associates are looking more like latter day voodoo worshippers than serious advocates for “vaccine safety” due to major advances being made in evolutionary medicine, that do reflect some of the thinking pertaining to the “Red Queen” and coevolution.

  5. DC

    April 22, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviews Dr. Jon Poling on CNN about the links between vaccines and autism

  6. John Kwok

    April 22, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    What seems to be missing in this discussion, especially from those who are fanatical in their support of Wakefield and Thompson, is any understanding that the science pertaining to autism may be changing. There is no recognition or understanding that vaccines can and should be seen as our “weaponry” in an ongoing coevolutionary arms race between ourselves and pathogens (disease-causing organisms). By stressing “vaccine safety” and ignoring the coevolutionary aspects related to vaccine development, Wakefield and his supporters miss an important reason why vaccines are necessary and why it is often necessary to be vaccination frequently, as is the case for getting influenza vaccines annually. Nor does there seem to be any understanding and appreciation for the importance of evolutionary medicine in determining potentially new explanations for autism as well as finding successful means of treating it.

  7. Kali

    April 22, 2016 at 6:55 am

    Dorit admits to her family’s owning Glaxo Smith Kline stock (She says she asked her husband.). http://articles.philly.com/2014-10-26/news/55451059_1_hpv-vaccine-hpv-shot-cervarix.

    Avatar
    DMH to Dorit Reiss • a year ago

    And what would be your conflicts of interest?

    Avatar
    Dorit Reiss DMH • a year ago

    My family owns, as part of its portfolio, stock of GSK.

    I found that out the first time I gave a talk about vaccines – when I looked into that. As a reason to speak up about this topic, from where I stand, it’s pretty irrelevant.

    What are yours?

    DMH to Dorit Reiss • a year ago

    You didn’t know your family own GSK stock?
    I have no conflicts.

    Avatar
    Dorit Reiss to DMH • a year ago

    Not until I looked into it. My husband handles our portfolio.

    No conflicts? No case before NVICP? No work in alternative medicine, making money off selling alleged alternatives for vaccines?

    Avatar
    DMH to Dorit Reiss • a year ago

    So first you gave a talk about vaccines, then you looked into whether you had stock in a company that makes vaccines, then you became interested in vaccines. Gotcha.
    In answer to your questions: no, no, and no.

    Avatar
    Dorit Reiss to DMH • a year ago

    No. First I started talking about vaccines on the internet. Then I wrote blog posts on the topic. Then I scheduled a panel on the topic with several colleagues. As preparation, I was asked if I had conflicts of interests. I knew of none. The form included “do you own stock in pharmaceutical companies”. So I asked my husband if we had stock.

    I hope that’s clear.

    Avatar

    DMH to Dorit Reiss • a year ago

    So, you really should disclose this when arguing for vaccines.

  8. MAS

    April 22, 2016 at 5:36 am

    Movie Maker, could I respectfully request there is a limit on how many comments a single person can add? Otherwise this previously interesting comments section is just going to be spammed to death by the same pro-vax totalitarians saying the same things over and over again, trying to drown everyone else out. It’s the same tactic they always use, reeking of more desperation than ever, and it drowns out legitimate and individual voices, as well as putting off new commentators.

  9. Matt Carey

    April 21, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    “The problem here is that Penny Lane has made only two feature-length films and both were financed by Tribeca Enterprises, the company that owns the Tribeca Film Festival. ”

    Let’s go through this a bit, shall we?

    So, this is only Wakefield’s second feature length film. How many for Mr. Bigtree?

    But that’s minor–Penny Lane criticizes the people who have funded her work. She risks her own future, demonstrating a great deal of independence. And that’s bad?

    Mr. Diaz in a press conference cited an Amazon.com review of one of Ms. Lane’s films. Someone, obviously angered by Ms. Lane’s courageous stand, had slimed her on Amazon claiming that she believes that UFO’s were behind 9/11.

    It was a laughable move by Mr. Diaz. He’s a distributor of documentaries and he takes a random, clearly wrong, review on Amazon and presents it like it could be fact?

    But let’s not forget–that move was insulting too. A clear personal attack on Ms. Lane. Perhaps Mr. Diaz could step up and apologize to Ms. Lane rather than continuing the attacks?

    • Joe

      April 22, 2016 at 6:49 am

      To Matt Carey,

      May I offer a few suggestions on your methods? Your rhetorical sleights are a bit pressed. You are overreaching, my friend, and this is hurting your message. This is an error. You claim you have “released” the CDC documents, while Andrew Wakefield, M.D. has failed to “release” his.

      This may not be your best move to deflect attention from the movie VAXXED. I know you want to create doubt about the documents from the CDC, because it’s those very documents that threaten a very big agenda involving many billions of dollars. You say the documents show nothing. The only problem with that tack is that the man who WROTE the documents has admitted that they DID indeed show something, and therefore had to be altered. See the difference?

      You HAVE to attack those documents. You have to. It’s critical. Because William Thompson is ashamed of what he did with those documents. As in William Thompson the senior researcher of the Atlanta paper that showed strong evidence of a link between MMR and autism. Yes, THOSE documents. The ones that created this whole problem.

      Your enthusiam for the vaccine program with all its toxic ingredients such as formaldehyde, aluminum, and mercury (yearly flu vaccine) doesn’t fit the ZEITGEIST. I’m surprised at you, Matt.

      Go to Wal-mart today. Go to the snack aisle. They’re selling ORGANIC Tostitos, for heaven’s sake. At Wal-Mart. The toxic brew of vaccines just doesn’t fit today’s zeitgeist, Matt. People want to be healthy, Matt, and I’m sure you want to, as well.

      I encourage you to eat home-cooked, organic, non-GMO food. This will reduce your risk of cancer. Avoid statins like Lipitor, acid-blockers like Prilosec, anti-histamines like Claritin, tranquilizers like Xanax, bipolar meds like Depakote, diabetic neuropathy drugs like Lyrica and Neurontin, et. al. Why? Because they’re all linked to dementia and Alzheimers. Being the researcher you are, you know there is strong scientific evidence against the toxic American diet, and all these Pharma drugs. It’s in so many medical journals. It’s all in the New York Times, Matt, for heaven’s sake.

      Matt, please protect yourself. I’m serious. I don’t wish Alzheimer’s on anyone. I don’t wish cancer on anyone. Nor autism. So join us. Take care of yourself. Eat well and exercise. And skip the flu vaccine from now on. You don’t need the mercury.

      • Dorit Reiss

        April 22, 2016 at 12:55 pm

        Not a matter of claim. Matt released the documents several months ago, after we recieved them from Congressman Posey’s office.

        Wakefield had them since August 2014 and has not released them. Matt put the documents publicly so anyone can see that his analysis is accurate – which it is. Note your inability to point to any problems with Matt’s analysis. There is no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the researchers in the documents.

        I can’t account for Thompson’s thoughts and actions. But the documents really don’t show anything to be ashamed of.

        • Dorit Reiss

          April 22, 2016 at 12:55 pm

          As to ingredients – none of the ingredients in vaccines are there in large enough amounts to be an issue. To remind you, our body produces formaldehyde, aluminum and mercury are in our water and food.

          There is no real evidence of health benefits from organic or non-GMO foods. Eating healthy is great, but it’s not clear that that’s where the focus should be. Nor is eating healthy a substitute to vaccinating and protecting yourself from disease. The better approach is to eat healthy, exercise, and vaccinate.

          • Joe

            April 22, 2016 at 3:44 pm

            Your next comment: “As to ingredients – none of the ingredients in vaccines are there in large enough amounts to be an issue.”

            WRONG. First of all, please tell me you realize the difference between aluminum and mercury in food (that thereby passes through the alimentary tract and first-pass liver metabolism/detox) and INTRAMUSCULAR injections of heavy metals that pass directly into the bloodstream, cross the blood-brain barrier, and are never examined by the liver.

            You need to see the movie TRACE AMOUNTS, Dorit. 25 mcg of mercury in a flu vaccine is injected into children EVERY YEAR, Dorit. By the age of ten, a child in the U.S. will have received at least 250 mcg of mercury, if not more. Is that still safe, Dorit? This stuff is cumulative, is undeniably a known neurotoxin (check Lewis Carroll’s Mad Hatter in addition to dozens of medical studies) and 25 mcg exceeds EPA limits with a single dose. So your off-handed comment that “it’s not an issue” is untenable. You just can’t dismiss reality, because YOU decide to. You lose your credibility Dorit with your magic wand of dismissal. No one’s buying it.

            Next comment: “There’s no real evidence of health benefits from organic or non-GMO foods.”

            Dorit, please tell that to the millions of people in the EU, who insist on GMO labeling. Now why would they do that? Shouldn’t they all listen to Ms. Dorit? Your magic-wand dismissal of concerns about Monsanto-glyphosate foods is thankfully, NOT shared by many millions.

            Ms. Dorit, shooting down your arguments is like shooting fish in a barrel (hopefully low-mercury fish, haha).

            In any case, I do wish you well, and encourage you to eat organic, kosher, non-GMO (c’mon be a little European),and home-cooked meals.

            Your immune system will thank you.

          • David Eirescott

            April 22, 2016 at 9:43 pm

            @Dorit Reiss…”none of the ingredients in vaccines are there in large enough amounts to be an issue…” What a load of sh*t. I urge anyone reading this disinformation to view two youtube videos:

            1) “The Vaccine Panel: The Insider’s Report” by Joshua Coleman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8uradn98Ls
            and
            2) “Astroturf and Manipulation of Media Messages w Sharyl Attkisson” by TEDx Talks

            The first will offer some truth from experts; the second will explain the attacks on the truth through internet media resources exactly as you will find peppered throughout this set of comments.

          • Dorit Reiss

            April 24, 2016 at 2:37 pm

            A. Yes, I do realize that injection and ingestion are different. But amounts still matter. The question is which amount gets into our blood stream and what happens then. For the injected aluminum salts in vaccines, for example, the VEC at CHOP addresses that:
            Q. What happens to aluminum after it enters the body? A. Most of the aluminum that enters the body is eliminated quickly. Though all of the aluminum present in vaccines enters the bloodstream, less than 1 percent of aluminum present in food is absorbed through the intestines into the blood. However, once aluminum is in the bloodstream, it is processed similarly regardless of the source. Approximately 90 percent is processed by binding to a protein called transferrin, and about 10 percent is bound by citrate. Once bound, the majority of aluminum will be eliminated through the kidneys, a small amount through bile, and a small amount is retained in tissues of the body. About half of the aluminum in the bloodstream is eliminated in less than 24 hours and more than three-quarters is eliminated within two weeks. The ability of the body to rapidly eliminate aluminum accounts for its excellent record of safety.
            (url: http://media.chop.edu/data/files/pdfs/vaccine-education-center-aluminum.pdf)

            Similar facts are true for other ingredients.

            B. I have not only seen, I reviewed Trace Amounts. It’s as bad and misleading propaganda as Vaxxed is, by all reliable accounts. http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/review-of-trace-amounts-bad-science-and-conspiracies/

            C. The fact that Europe chose to label GMOs is a political decision. People want to know. It’s not a reflection on the science. People can also want to know if their food was picked at midnight and politicians may require it on the label. Nothing to do with science.

            D. I’m not sure why a YouTube Mr. Joshua Coleman, who has no scientific qualifications and a troubled history is a good resource on this.

            E. “We shouldn’t listen to the man who was involved in actually writing (and fraudulently altering) the CDC documents themselves, but instead, we should listen to you, who had nothing to do with study, and are not a epidemiologist.”

            I would suggest people read the documents. Thompson claimed he preserved the original documents and they show wrongdoing. That’s a testable claim. You can read the documents. They don’t.
            I suggest people don’t take Andrew Wakefield’s version of what Thompson’s documents showed as true. It’s not.

        • Joe

          April 22, 2016 at 3:04 pm

          Ms. Dorit,

          You state, “I can’t account for Thompson’s thoughts and actions. But the documents really don’t show anything to be ashamed of.”

          OK, let me get this straight. We shouldn’t listen to the man who was involved in actually writing (and fraudulently altering) the CDC documents themselves, but instead, we should listen to you, who had nothing to do with study, and are not a epidemiologist.

          Dorit, you really need to re-enter the atmosphere from outer space.

  10. Keith

    April 21, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    How about giving the people and parents the right to vaccinate there child with single doses rather than this ramped up mmr jab that could or could not cause autism….. Maybe it is coincidence that my sons speech and brightness suddenly stopped not long after the last mmr jab! But guess what…. I’m entitled to my opinion and I do believe there’s something in the mmr jab. Just give us back the rights to vaccinate our children the way we want to…. Let’s open the discussions on whether or whether not the cdc fudged the data. The more people want to block this and alienate us parents with autistic siblings the more red flags are going to fly…. Many doctors wouldn’t want to give there children the mmr vaccination let alone the flipping flu jab…..

    • Joe

      April 22, 2016 at 10:48 am

      Kieth my son spoke clear as a bell before the MMR the next day he was having difficulty speaking and we knew something was wrong. He suffered for a while and he eventually regained his speech but we knew something was wrong with the MMR 18 years ago. Thank you for posting and yes I do believe they need to separate the shots into 3 instead of 1. That is not a cure but it is a start to this mess we are in over greed. I was fortunate enough to have seen the film in NYC yesterday there is a problem people have to understand there is so much money involved that the power of these big pharmacy companies are limitiless….thank you again Keith…

    • Dorit Reiss

      April 22, 2016 at 12:58 pm

      The MMR jab is not connected to autism. Studies in millions show that. You can believe what you want, but you do not have a right to your own facts.

      I don’t think the manufacturers are going to go back to single vaccines anytime soon. I wouldn’t object to it, for the few parents who reject the evidence and are moved by fear, but I just don’t think it’s going to happen.

      • David Eirescott

        April 22, 2016 at 9:48 pm

        @Dorit Reiss – You are a paid shill troll – for anyone reading her nonsense; view this youtube video that will explain everything this douche and trolls like her are all about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bYAQ-ZZtEU

        It is titles “Astroturf and Manipulation of Media Messages” a TEDx Talks lecture.

        Once you understand the lies trolls like “Dorit” espouse; you can view some truth from actual experts – not paid trolls – here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8uradn98Ls

        That wealth of information is a start. It is titled ““The Vaccine Panel: The Insider’s Report” by Joshua Coleman

        Be informed – learn the tricks and lies of the trolls; then get the knowledge you need to make your own decisions; not those of paid internet trolls/shills.

  11. Nat

    April 21, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    This started off as a great article followed by several intelligent and informed comments. So sad to then see the comment section slowly turn into a Ministry of Truth troll playground.

    Just adding my voice to say Thank You to Phillipe Diaz and to MovieMaker Editors for standing tall.

    • Maurine Meleck

      April 21, 2016 at 5:30 pm

      and I second that thank you to Mr. Diaz amd to Movie Maker Editors. This op ed is brilliant. I do hope it appears in many more publications. Vaxxed will now be shown in many many large cities all over America and also in other countries. Our vaccine injured will no longer be silenced. We are never going away.

    • John Kwok

      April 21, 2016 at 8:51 pm

      This is rather risqué, self-serving nonsense from Mr. Diaz. He chooses to ignore legitimate science and medicine and seems interested only in placating delusional vaccine denialists, like many who are posting here.

      • David Eirescott

        April 22, 2016 at 9:58 pm

        @John KwAk rears his ugly head again. John Kwok (I prefer Kwak) is a paid shill troll who attacks the truth with disinformation.

        To understand this better (he knows what he is) watch thisTEDx Talks video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bYAQ-ZZtEU

        Take a walk Kwok; you offer nothing of value. You are a disgusting troll paid to pollute the internet…what a legacy.

  12. Leah

    April 21, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    Thanks for a great piece on this troubling event. I would like to see this Op-Ed distributed widely as it really exposes a number of interesting and disturbing issues.

  13. Matt Carey

    April 21, 2016 at 11:26 am

    There is so very much wrong in the above op-ed that it is difficult to decide where to begin.

    First off it is ironic that those promoting vaxxed wrongly claim they were censored, and then resort to bullying tactics like the threat against Penny Lane

    “Not only can she be sued for defamation and libel, but it is funny to get a lesson on ethics in filmmaking from someone who made a doc portraying Richard Nixon as an upstanding human being!”

    Andrew Wakefield is known for using the courts and threats of legal action to attempt to quiet critics and obtain publicity. A judge in the UK noted that Wakefield “wished to extract whatever advantage he could from the existence of the proceedings while not wishing to progress them”. Wakefield threatened an autism parent with legal action for her writing.

    As an aside–one has to question whether Diaz watched “Our Nixon” or, if he has, how someone in the documentary business can so misunderstand a film.

    The idea that Wakefield was framed is ludicrous. As someone who has not only read the hearings from the General Medical Council (the body that rightlfully stripped Wakefield of his medical license), but also the transcripts of those hearings, it was clear that there were multiple unethical acts by Wakefield that were worthy of delicensure.

    I find it ironic that Diaz and others decry the “lack of due process” in having their film pulled when it appears that the film was selected outside of the usual process. De Niro’s statements indicate the film was in Tribeca based on his influence, not on merit.

    Diaz decries people discussing the film without seeing it, but has not even responded to requests for screeners. I know this because I have personally requested a screener. As perhaps the one person who has looked closest at the events discussed in this film, I would be in a perfect position to review a screener. I found another way.

    Vaxxed is seriously flawed. I have followed Andrew Wakefield’s actions for over 10 years. I have closely followed the story of William Thompson since it became public. I requested and was granted access to the documents William Thompson provided to Representative William Posey and I provided not only an analysis of these documents, I made the documents public.

    Andrew Wakeield to this day has not made public the documents he has obtained.

    The documents tell a different story than does Mr. Wakefield. Where in the film we hear Del Bigtree state, “There’s a whistleblower from the CDC who is going to come out and say that the CDC had committed fraud on the MMR study and that they knew that vaccines were actually causing autism”. While in a statement by William Thompson he has clearly stated that the study in question does not show a causal connection, “The fact that we found a strong statistically significant finding among black males does not mean that there was a true association between the MMR vaccine and autism-like features in this subpopulation.”

    The claims about references to Hitler are also highly ironic. Search YouTube for Wakefield’s first film on this topic and you will find one where he states that the CDC researchers are worse than Hitler, Pol Pot and Stalin. Because, get this, those dictators were at least “sincere”. The video accuses the CDC researchers–including an African American civil rights pioneer–of engaging in a new Tuskegee experiment. I wish this were exaggeration. It really is that bad. But now Diaz feels that invoking the Nazi’s is uncalled for. Where is his statement distancing himself from Wakefield’s first film?

    Diaz notes that one of the people in the film (and one of the backers of the film) Mark Blaxill writes for the blog, The Age of Autism. The founder of that blog (and also a backer of the film) famously wrote a few years ago about their efforts:

    “With less than a half-dozen full-time activists, annual budgets of six figures or less, and umpteen thousand courageous, undaunted, and selfless volunteer parents, our community, held together with duct tape and bailing wire, is in the early to middle stages of bringing the U.S. vaccine program to its knees.”

    They are working to “bring the U.S. vaccine program to its knees”, but don’t dare call them “anti-vaccine”?

    The sad thing here is the real damage of this film is never discussed–the damage to the autism communities. Parents convinced to live a life of guilt and shame for having supposedly taken part in rendering their child disabled. Disabled children subjected not only to a life of being considered broken and of less worth than they should be, but also subjected to a barrage of fake “cures” for vaccine injuries. The main selling point behind most, if not all, of the worst fake cures is “you did this to your child, now fix him/her”. One has only to read the forward to Jenny McCarthy’s book to see that sentiment almost word for word.

    • John Stone

      April 21, 2016 at 1:52 pm

      Matt Carey also enjoyed the patronage of Dr Offit’s Autism Science Foundation and was a member of US Government Interagency Autism Coordination Committee.

      https://autismsciencefoundation.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/autism-science-foundation-announces-imfar-stakeholder-travel-grant-recipients/

      Of course, guilt does not lie with parents – unless of course they knew what they were doing.

      • Dorit Reiss

        April 24, 2016 at 2:42 pm

        Really? You begrudge Dr. Carey having his travel expenses to get to IMFAR and IACC reimbursed and getting a small stipend for the IACC meeting time? Do you feel the same about Ms. Lyn Redwood’s travel reimbursement?

        You do realize Dr. Carey put in the cost, time and effort to travel and also lost work time? It’s not exactly that he got a huge windfall.

        This is even weaker than your usual attempts to delegitimize people. And it’s certainly does not make up for your inability to address the content of Dr. Carey’s comments.

    • Maurine Meleck

      April 21, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      blah blah blah. get over it cause we aren’t listening to you!

  14. MAS

    April 21, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Thank you Movie Maker and Phillipe Diaz for publishing this powerful and eloquent review. I know only too well the abuse and likely threats you will receive from the the pharmaceutical industry and their lackeys as a result of this brave decision, so it is encouraging indeed to know there are still some real journalists left.

    All I would say to anybody reading this is, see the film for yourself and come to your own conclusions. If it is indeed nonsensical propaganda full of liars and frauds, clearly that will be obvious and you’ll be able to dismiss it out of hand. What are the critics so afraid of?

    Well, of course we all know what they’re so afraid of. That Vaxxed is telling the verbatim truth, and exposing perhaps the biggest medical scandal of all time.

    • Dorit Reiss

      April 21, 2016 at 10:56 am

      Well, a talented con can mislead people – especially those not familiar with the material. For example, it’s nto clear many of those who see the movie will then bother to read the Thompson documents and discover that their content was misrepresented.

      I’m sure most people realize why it makes sense to be concerned about misrepresentations that may trick people into not protecting their children from disease. It may lead to kids and others getting sick.

      • John Stone

        April 21, 2016 at 12:00 pm

        We must have open discussions about the vaccine program in order to make sure that people are not being mislead. Money and reputation are more certainly involved than concern about the welfare of our children. It is just denialism and propaganda. Standing up to such powerful interests is not the easy option.

        • Dorit Reiss

          April 21, 2016 at 1:26 pm

          The claims of those claiming vaccines cause autism have received extensive media attention for years. Claims that they are silenced or ignored (denialism) simply don’t match the years in which they made headlines. Since then, dozens of studies showed they are incorrect, and they were rejected in a judicial forum and those decisions upheld on appeal.

          The media is less attentive because it’s become clear there is nothing supporting those claims. Not because they are silenced. Promoters of these claims can still make them in a dozen forum.

          For example, the recent conspiracy theory has been making rounds in the alternative media since August 2014. CNN and other outlets looked at it – and found nothing there. Since there, the Thompson documents have been made public – not by Wakefield or Hooker, mind you – were examined, and nothing found there.

          You are not silenced. It’s just that your incorrect claims have been thoroughly disproven. Even Wakefield’s extensive efforts to misrepresent the evidence in this affair failed.

          We are making sure people are not misled by responding to your claims. And most people realize that Wakefield’s claims don’t hold water:
          There is no link between MMR (or other vaccines) and autism.
          There is no grand conspiracy to hide the link.

          There is a small, dedicated but misguided group of people who believe in the link and the conspiracy against the evidence and try to scare others from protecting their children from disease. As passionate as they are, their actions can do nothing but harm children and society. There is no upside to them.

          • DC

            April 22, 2016 at 7:44 pm

            Dr. Sanjay Gupta CNN links between vaccines and autism

          • David Eirescott

            April 22, 2016 at 10:43 pm

            Dorit Reiss is a paid shill troll: To fully explain what she is all about, simply watch this short TEDx Talks piece: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bYAQ-ZZtEU

            No need to comment Reiss; we know who you are.

      • Maurine Meleck

        April 21, 2016 at 5:19 pm

        please tell us about all the misrepresentations you are speaking of. Without examples, your point is meaningless.

        • Dorit Reiss

          April 22, 2016 at 12:59 pm

          To give a few examples –
          A. Hooker claimed the data of the non-birth certificate was removed from the paper. It’s in the paper.
          B. The final protocol is dated September 2001. Data analysis started November 2001, after the protocol was finalized.
          C. Segments of Thompson’s comments were put together and taken out of context.

          Matt Carey provided a thorough analysis of this since the affair started. I recommend going back and reading it.

          • Faith Moore

            April 23, 2016 at 12:16 am

            Not true, Dorit.

            Statement by Dr. William Thompson:

            “‘My primary job duties while working in the immunization safety branch from 2000 to 2006, were to later co-lead three major vaccine safety studies. The MADDSP, MMR autism cases control study was being carried out in response to the Wakefield-Lancet study that suggested an association between the MMR vaccine and an autism-like health outcome. There were several major concerns among scientists and consumer advocates outside the CDC in the fall of 2000, regarding the execution of the Verstraeten Study. One of the important goals that was determined up front, in the spring of 2001, before any of these studies started, was to have all three protocols vetted outside the CDC prior to the start of the analyses so consumer advocates could not claim that we were presenting analyses that suited our own goals and biases. We hypothesized that if we found statistically significant effects at either 18 or 36 month thresholds, we would conclude that vaccinating children early with MMR vaccine could lead to autism-like characteristics or features. We all met and finalized the study protocol and analysis plan. The goal was to not deviate from the analysis plan to avoid the debacle that occurred with the Verstraeten thimerosal study published in Pediatrics in 2003.

            ‘At the Sept 5th meeting we discussed in detail how to code race for both the sample and the birth certificate sample. At the bottom of table 7, it also shows that for the non-birth certificate sample, the adjusted race effect statistical significance was huge.

            ‘All the authors and I met and decided sometime between August and September 2002, not to report any race effects from the paper. Sometime soon after the meeting, we decided to exclude reporting any race effects. The co-authors scheduled a meeting to destroy documents related to the study. The remaining four co-authors all met and brought a big garbage can into the meeting room, and reviewed and went through all the hardcopy documents that we had thought we should discard, and put them into a huge garbage can. However, because I assumed it was illegal and would violate both FOIA and DOJ requests, I kept hardcopies of all documents in my office, and I retain all associated computer files. I believe we intentionally withheld controversial findings from the final draft of the Pediatrics paper.’

          • Dorit Reiss

            April 24, 2016 at 2:53 pm

            “‘All the authors and I met and decided sometime between August and September 2002, not to report any race effects from the paper. Sometime soon after the meeting, we decided to exclude reporting any race effects. ”

            As Matt Carey pointed out, following the Thompson documents, the early documents show that the end treatment of race was exactly as was planned in the original, SEptember 2001 protocol: as a control variable, not exposure, and from the birth certificate group. That data is in the paper. See:
            https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2016/04/02/movie-review-vaxxed/
            https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2016/01/04/the-william-thompson-documents-theres-no-whistle-to-blow/

            “Note that this draft analysis plan is from April 3, 2001. Well before the final version, the “protocol”, which was September 5. More importantly, this is a long time before a race analysis was started. But even more, notice how there’s an annotation “I would include race as a covariate, not as an exposure variable.” That’s critical–they decided against using race as an exposure variable from the start. Before they did a race analysis. Another point: they were already planning on using birth certificate data right from the start.

            William Thompson certainly should have known this, it’s very probable that he did know this. Wakefield and Hooker likely knew this. They showed documents from this collection in their video and elsewhere. But they told us the opposite.

            Whether they knew or not, they were wrong. Wildly irresponsibly wrong.”

    • Matt Carey

      April 21, 2016 at 11:28 am

      Why would someone be afraid that Vaxxed is “telling the verbatim truth”.

      It doesn’t. I’ve checked. I have come to my own conclusions.

      Have you? What did you think of the Thompson documents? People who rely on Andrew Wakefield *can’t* come to their own conclusions because Wakefield hasn’t released the documents.

      I did, though. I read them, analyzed them and made them public so people can decide for themselves.

  15. Joy B

    April 21, 2016 at 9:21 am

    For Dorit:

    “This is problematic.”

    Perhaps your most honest statement, to date. In an ironic bent of course.

    The rest is the same old mold. The Sloan Foundation’s involvement was revealed by Deniro himself. You can’t just go around calling eveything a conspiracy theory, it turns boy-who-cried-wolf fast, when done often enough. Propaganda pro-tip.

    • Dorit Reiss

      April 21, 2016 at 10:55 am

      Thank you for acknowledging that this misleading editorial is problematic.

      Where are you basing your claim that the Sloan foundation’s involvement came from De Niro on?
      The article mentions that the Sloan foundation had concerns. Then it goes on to suggest an elaborate conspiracy theory involving the foundation, even though the editorial itself highlighted there were other reasons for the withdrawal of the movie. That doesn’t work so well.

      When you claim “these people conspired against me to harm me”, pointing to a lot of independent actors that are not linked as working together on the issue by any real evidence, what would you call it if not a conspiracy theory?

    • John Kwok

      April 21, 2016 at 8:57 pm

      Joy B, it’s your observations that are problematic, so pregnant in their breathtaking inanity to assume that there are sinister forces at work from the “evil” Sloan Foundation. No, Dorit Reiss and Matt Carey have looked at the relevant documents and have noted how Andrew Wakefield opted to misrepresent them. This is behavior I have seen all too often from evolution denialists, especially Intelligent Design creationists. IMHO Wakefield is the one who is corrupt and fraudulent, in a manner consistent with fellow science denialists who are Intelligent Design creationists.

      • Joy B

        April 22, 2016 at 10:55 am

        “Behavior”? This smear-by-association thing reeks of Central Planning! If it’s not “Creationists”, it’s “9/11 Truthers” Pathetic. The Skeptical Raptor crue needs new writers. The lizard brains you’re going for with this level of propaganda aren’t even reading this, hth.

  16. Dorit Reiss

    April 21, 2016 at 8:44 am

    It’s very distressing to see distributor Diaz buy into anti-vaccine claims to this degree. Among the problematic claims in this op-ed:
    A It is not censorship nor problematic for film makers to criticize the selection. Tribeca is a private festival and has a choice of whether to listen or not. The personal attack on Penny Lane, who criticized the film, is troubling.
    B. The conspiracy theory behind the movie’s withdrawal: it must be the Sloan Foundation! Tribeca may have asked Penny Lane to start a campaign against the movie. Really.
    C. Calling the movie anti-vaccine is not incorrect. The creators did not directly call for not vaccinating, but they went out of their way to scare people from vaccinating – with scary images, false claims vaccines are not tested, claims vaccines cause autism, appeal to emotion against vaccine by using parental anecdotes to claim vaccines harm.
    D. If you have read the Thompson documents you would see that Wakefield and Hooker did engage in misrepresentations of them. As analyzed by Matt Carey, the film’s trailer also misrepresented Thompson’s points. By the way, the “biased” description is repeated in reviews. and was admitted by Jay Gordon, who is sympathetic to the film.
    E. Describing Andrew Wakefield as “framed for daring to say that his research showed a potential link between MMR vaccine and autism and that more studies were needed.” Andrew Wakefield was found, after a lengthy process, guilty of serious ethical violations, among other things, for hiding conflicts of interests. There is documentation suggesting research manipulation if not outright fraud. He was not framed. He stands discredited by his actions. His repeated misrepresentations in this affair further show his lack of credibility.
    Downplaying the credibility problems with the film maker – like not including his license revocation in the biography on the film – is problematic. His credibility is directly relevant to assessing the film he directed.
    F. Repeating a set of anti-vaccine tropes about Dr. Paul Offit, such as falsely describing him as an industry pawn and an opponent of preventing autism.

    This op-ed is trying to white-wash a movie that is very clearly an unreliable piece of anti-vaccine propaganda and trying to delegitimize its critics with attacks and conspiracy theories. It’s very problematic.

    • Linda

      April 21, 2016 at 8:51 am

      I do hope that all readers will do their own research. I, too, am a member of the medical community, now retired. I used to see how my large, fortune 500 company would routinely hire writers, scientists, and researchers to send out volumes of “data” to prove our inadequate research results. The public is gullible. Our boardrooms resembled those of the tobacco companies doing damage control.

      Readers: investigate, read, research, and come to your own conclusions. You cannot take at face value those who claim to be impartial and especially those with vested interests, such as I once had.

      • Matt Carey

        April 21, 2016 at 11:32 am

        “I do hope that all readers will do their own research. ”

        How can they do that? How can people check on Wakefield’s claims?

        Has Wakefield made the William Thompson documents public? No, he hasn’t. He’s kept them and released bits and pieces (and changed the wording).

        I did release those documents.

        Check them. Check them against Wakefield’s claims. For example, Wakefield’s claim of fraud was that the CDC changed their analysis plan (protocol) after finding results they didn’t want to report.

        That’s the claim. The facts are quite different.

        The first analysis was done in Oct 2001, about 2 months after the analysis plan was finalized. Wakefield’s claim was clearly false, as the documents show.

        But he didn’t let you “do your own research” and find out.

    • John Stone

      April 21, 2016 at 9:47 am

      Wakefield was framed.

      http://www.ageofautism.com/2016/03/the-lies-about-andrew-wakefield.html

      Wakefield was framed above all because he listened to parents about vaccine events and if you do that in the UK there is automatically fishing expedition against you and no one expects to keep their license. Of course, he was also framed because the industry was banking on multivacs and Wakefield suggested single vacs split up over time (not of his own design btw and within the UK schedule of the time)). Now we watch the disgraceful attempt by Dorit and her like once again to shut down legitimate discussion:

      http://davidhealy.org/the-couric-incident-hpv-vaccine-mass-bullying/

      The CDC changed the protocol and burnt the evidence. They did this stuff all the time but this time there was a whistleblower.

      • Dorit Reiss

        April 21, 2016 at 11:07 am

        A. Wakefield’s guilt is documented with extensive documentation and was examined in a large scale quasi-judicial proceeding. He stands discredited as a scientist and doctor by his own actions. http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/wakefield-tribeca-film-festival-old-claims-new-package/

        B. Wakefield doesn’t seem to be listening to the majority of parents of children with autism who don’t believe his claims.

        C. Criticism is not an attempt to shut discussion. It’s participation in the discussion. Seeing criticism as illegitimate is not an indication of supporting free speech.
        People deserve to know that this movie misrepresents the facts.

        • Dorit Reiss

          April 21, 2016 at 11:17 am

          And looking at the documents shows that the protocol was not, actually, changed. Similarly, looking at the documents suggests that if any documents were destroyed, there was no harm in that.

          https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2016/01/04/the-william-thompson-documents-theres-no-whistle-to-blow/

          Andrew Wakefield chose not to make these documents public. Matt did, after he and I requested them from Congressman Posey’s office. They do not support Wakefield’s claims. In this, too, his word cannot be relied on.

          • John Stone

            April 22, 2016 at 8:36 am

            Omitting inconvenient data sets is just fine with Dorit (an Matt). They absolutely advise it!

          • Dorit Reiss

            April 22, 2016 at 1:01 pm

            “Omitting inconvenient data sets is just fine with Dorit (an Matt). They absolutely advise it!”

            To remind you, no data was omitted. The analysis of the full cohort is in the paper. And Hooker used the same data in his retracted, fatally flawed analysis. Where was data omitted?

        • John Kwok

          April 21, 2016 at 9:19 pm

          I am in full agreement with you here, Ms. Reiss, and I greatly appreciate your legal analysis of the transcripts of the conversations between Dr. Hooker – who does not have a background in medicine or epidemiology – and Dr. Thompson that you have reported on extensively elsewhere.

      • Matt Carey

        April 21, 2016 at 11:36 am

        “The CDC changed the protocol and burnt the evidence. ”

        Thank you for repeating that. Even Wakefield was smart enough to downplay that claim by the time he made Vaxxed. So I take it you didn’t see the film.

        Tell us all what was changed in the protocol. We have all the drafts to check now. Here’s a hint–Wakefield’s claim was false.

        What in the documents needed to be kept? Page after page of meeting agendas? Thompson’s statement that the CDC team “all have good intentions”?

        • John Stone

          April 21, 2016 at 2:02 pm

          OK, we can settle this. William Thompson has asked to give evidence to Congress – he applied for whistleblower status long the tapes were made public – but its bought out politicians don’t seem to be so keen to here him. He did not take an easy course, and unlike Matt Carey he was there. So what is wrong with letting him give his testimony. Everybody should be anxious for the truth, but some people don’t want Thompson to talk.

          Deciding to omit part of the data set without explanation is clearly an alteration of plan. I am sure it fits in with normal level of Matt Carey’s research integrity.

          • Matt Carey

            April 21, 2016 at 3:57 pm

            Explain to me why the U.S. taxpayers should pay for this?

            He didn’t “apply for whistleblower status”. All federal employees are given whistleblower protection.

            Nice conspiracy theory going there–it’s because the politicians are bought that the topic hasn’t come to congress? Your evidence being?

            We have all his information. He provided his documents and a lenghthy statement to Representative Posey. Those are now public. And they don’t show anything that warrants a congressional investigation.

            Wakefield’s claim of fraud is clearly false. I should say his claims, because he changed his claim from his initial horrific YouTube video to now with Vaxxed.

            Shall we go over them?

            First claim–that the CDC altered the analysis plan after they analyzed the data. Altered it so that they wouldn’t have to report on certain findings. This also forms the basis for the statement that Brian Hooker provided to Posey (that was included in the documents provided to me).

            Except that the the analysis came about 2 months after the analysis plan was finalized. That’s not only clear from the documents available when Wakefield first made his claim, it’s now in Thompson’s statement.

            So, we move on to Vaxxed. At about 45 minutes in, Wakefield claims that the CDC moved from using education records for race to using birth certificates for race. Leaving aside the fact that this is a red herring (it doesn’t really change the result), the analysis plan clearly states that race and other confounders would come from the birth certificates.

            He shifts his goalposts but in both cases his claims are verifiably wrong.

            Mr. Stone, which of my over 100 publications are you referring to? Please, let’s discuss it. If it sounds like I’m calling your bluff, I am. You have clearly never read nor understood my work, much less been in a position to judge the integrity of it. You are just throwing out personal attacks to cover your lack of a sound argument.

          • Dorit Reiss

            April 21, 2016 at 8:04 pm

            What an unwarranted attack on Matt Carey, an autism dad and scientist.

            As Matt pointed out, he had made the Thompson documents public. Something Andrew Wakefield failed to do. That doesn’t shout “anxious for the truth” to me. Matt, in contrast, transparently made everything available. People can see for themselves what the evidence shows. The fact that Congress isn’t interested is probably because looking at the evidence suggests there’s nothing there.

            No part of the data set was omitted, as Matt pointed out. First, the analysis of the full group is in the paper. Look at Table 2 there. Second, Hooker performed an analysis on the same data said that, as his paper said, he got from the CDC. I really do urge you to read the documents.

          • John Stone

            April 21, 2016 at 11:55 pm

            OK. This comes from Dorit Reiss who has argued in an academic article that it is a good thing if government agencies are taken over by commercial interests.

            http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1904023

          • John Stone

            April 22, 2016 at 12:36 am

            This comes from Dorit Reiss who has argued in an academic article that it is a good thing if government agencies are taken over by commercial interests.

            http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1904023

          • Dorit Reiss

            April 22, 2016 at 1:05 pm

            “OK. This comes from Dorit Reiss who has argued in an academic article that it is a good thing if government agencies are taken over by commercial interests.”

            I realize you are not an expert in public administration and lack background, but I do suggest re- reading the paper – that comment suggests a very high level of misunderstanding of it. The paper did not suggest it’s good if government agencies are taken over by anyone. It explained that some collaborations between government an private actors are good, others bad. Whether the collaboration has benefits or problems depends on the details. Instead of shouting capture, we should work to understand which collaborations provide benefits and which lead to abuses, and work to promote the first and limit or avoid the second.

            It’s not such a hard concept.

          • John Stone

            April 23, 2016 at 2:07 am

            While the paper acknowledges the principle of risk in close relations between regulator and regulated it proposes that in practice we should be more relaxed about it. It is patently an attempt to open up doors. In practice I have never heard you, for instance, condemn Julie Gerberding’s appointment as Vice-President of the vaccine division of Merck, months after she resigned as Director of the CDC (would you like to tell us this is wrong?). There is also a big difference between say an aeroplane manufacturer cooperating over the causes of an accident (since there has obviously been an accident) and a vaccine manufacturer denying injury (which involves taking out the parents as witnesses – a game as far as I can see you have been involved in in the media and are here). The agency which has lax relationship with industry and is pre-disposed to recommend and even mandate products also has its own reputation to defend. The CDC have partnerships with industry through such non-profits as Task Force for Global Health, parent body of V4V, the CDC Foundation. It is also a partner with Kaiser Permanente which bank-rolls your institution, Hastings Law School. At what point would you say any of this is inappropriate?

          • Dorit Reiss

            April 24, 2016 at 3:37 pm

            A. “While the paper acknowledges the principle of risk in close relations between regulator and regulated it proposes that in practice we should be more relaxed about it. It is patently an attempt to open up doors.”

            Hmmm, no. It’s a scholarly attempt to suggest reframing a discussion in a more useful way to help distinguish between collaborations that work and those that don’t. To remind you, calling a collaboration “capture” doesn’t mean it will go away. But understanding what leads to good results or bad can help put in place mechanisms to reduce the risks.

            B. Gerberding: I think the U.S. should, as several countries do, adopt chilling requirements across the board – limits on the ability of someone to work for a regulated industry for a period after working for the regulatory agency. That’s in spite of the fact that research on revolving door effect is at best mixed. If only for appearances.

            But that said, until the system changed, I’d want evidence that someone acting within the current rules was acting corruptly before assuming that. Just like the U.S. desperately needs campaign finance reform, but until we have that, taking contributions is not corruption: it’s kind of built in. In this case, Dr. Gerberding worked for years as a civil servant and researcher. I haven’t seen any evidence her move was a quid pro quo: while I’ve seen criticism of her work in CDC from non-anti-vaccine sources (and my experience with anti-vaccine sources leads me to treat their claims cautiously), it’s mostly about management style, not about corruption. So if you’re going to claim her move is wrong, when there are no chilling requirements in place, please provide evidence of it. Otherwise, it feels like singling out one person when the problem is the system.

            C. Your comparison of airplane accident and vaccine injury misses the point of my FAA example. Again, I suggest rereading the paper. The collaboration there is not after accidents. It’s disclosure of violations when there is no evidence of them. Or when the evidence is unlikely to come out. Self-reporting.

            D. Your claim that “manufacturer denying injury (which involves taking out the parents as witnesses – a game as far as I can see you have been involved in in the media and are here),” is another ugly untruth. I’ve certainly not been involved in taking out parents as witnesses. Parents can claim their children’s problems stem from vaccines even when, as for the claim vaccines cause autism, the claim is clearly incorrect, since the evidence shows vaccines don’t cause autism. Nobody is stopping parents from saying that.

            You seem to be under the impression, however, that parents have the right to make such claims without being countered. Not only is that not true, but it’s a bad idea. Not only do I have the right to point out that these claims are incorrect, I see it as a responsibility. When people use counter-evidence claims of vaccine injury to try and scare others from protecting their children from disease or to attack vaccines generally, they need to be countered. Because letting these untrue claims stand puts kids at risk of disease. Someone needs to speak up for the unimmunized kids which anti-vaccine misinformation puts at risk.

            You can’t expect to make claims that can lead to kids getting preventable diseases with their risk and stand unchallenged. Whether you like it or not, my right to free speech extends to countering your misinformation. Deal.

          • John Stone

            April 25, 2016 at 11:56 am

            Dorit

            At the end of the day it is just a repressive bureacracy too closely tied to the industry and determined to get its own way over everything. There is no truth value in the statement that vaccines do not cause autism, you just prefer to believe whatever you want (and you always decide in favour of the products). The Katie Couric episode was a particularly nauseating exercise in intimidation.

            http://davidhealy.org/the-couric-incident-hpv-vaccine-mass-bullying/

            In order to market the products you have just got to shut everyone up about their shortcomings. That is the reality.

    • Gary

      April 21, 2016 at 3:36 pm

      Dorit Reiss: You are the pot calling the kettle black. Everything I’ve ever read that you have written, as well as the “testimony” you gave in the Judiciary Committee hearing sure sounds like pro-vax extremist propaganda to me, and little different than what the pharma advertising arm known as newspapers and TV print and broadcast with revolting regularity. Pro-vax extremist propaganda is what it is. Do you receive a stipend for this? I am an entirely unpaid patriotic, thinking American citizen who’s been around quite a bit longer than you, and I’ve seen plenty of lies spoken by government and media, but never have I seen anything as pervasive as this nonsense. You folks know you have a great deal to lose when the truth of vaccine damage comes out, so your voices become shriller and shriller. Truth has a way of coming out, though, and as Vaxxed continues to open with sell-out crowds in city after city, the citizenry of this nation will demand a subpoena for Dr. Thompson, and Congressional hearings. One last question: Are you up to date on all your vaccines? I’m not. In fact, I have signed an advance medical directive refusing all of your snake oil.

      • John Kwok

        April 22, 2016 at 4:06 am

        Gary, I’m a “patriotic, thinking American citizen”. I’m also a former evolutionary biologist by training. Nothing Wakefield or Thompson have proposed has withstood ample scientific scrutiny and the Wakefield et al. Lancet paper was retracted years later by the Lancet’s editors, after teams of researchers around the globe could not confirm any of that paper’s findings or its predictions. “Truth has a way of coming out” and indeed it has based on years of peer-reviewed scientific research from researchers as far afield as those in Denmark and Japan, as well as in the USA, Canada and the UK that have yielded results far removed from anything reported in the Wakefield et al. paper. If anyone is guilty of the “pot calling the kettle black”, it is you and the rabid few fellow vaccine denialists who are not only as unreasonable as the evolution denialists – especially Intelligent Design creationists I have dealt with for years – but are also racist too in thinking that I must either be paid by the People’s Republic of China on behalf of “Big Pharma” or a Chinese troll, when I just happen to be a native New Yorker, born in a hospital next to the former location of my high school that is depicted on the cover of the hardcover edition of Frank McCourt’s “Teacher Man”. (Frank was my favorite teacher in high school and I am sure if he was alive now, would denounce Andrew Wakefield for being the dangerous liar and charlatan that he is now.)

        • Joy B

          April 22, 2016 at 10:41 am

          You can’t just go around calling everyone Creationists for seeing your shill for what it is. Also, isn’t the more hard hitting aspersion “9/11 Truthers”, or is it currently “Flat Earth believers”? I haven’t been keeping up.

          • John Kwok

            April 22, 2016 at 11:15 am

            Joy B, your antics and those of other vaccine denialists here are exactly the same as evolution denialists, in other words, creationists, especially of the Intelligent Design flavor. Nor am I alone in recognizing this. So too does Academy Award nominated screenwriter and producer Shawn Lawrence Otto, co-founder of Science Debate (http://www.sciencedebate.org). So too does an organization I belong to, the National Center for Science Education (http://www.ncse.com). I make no apologies for comparing you with creationists since you act exactly like them.

        • Joy B

          April 22, 2016 at 10:47 am

          And bringing Mr McCourt into this is just vile. I get that you were trying to impart some humanity onto your persona, but fyi you’ve achieved the opposite effect.

          • John Kwok

            April 22, 2016 at 12:36 pm

            No, bringing Frank McCourt into this discussion isn’t vile, since I knew him and knew him well enough to know that he would reject the lies and gross distortions of truth that Andrew Wakefield and his equally delusional acolytes – I will include Del Bigtree and now Philippe Diaz among them – have been spreading about vaccines, not least because he counted among friends, colleagues, and former students, those who had sufficient knowledge of the science and medicine behind vaccines and vaccinations. I know he had no patience with anything that would have adverse impacts on children’s education, and that would include endorsing medically unsound pseudoscientific nonsense regarding “vaccine safety” that the liar and charlatan Andrew Wakefield has been preaching for nearly two decades now. What is vile Joy B, is that you would choose to believe Andrew Wakefield, Del Bigtree, Philippe Diaz and their associates over the evidence and well reasoned arguments stated by yours truly, and especially, by Dorit Reiss and Matt Cherry. Moreover, like it or not, science has passed by both Wakefield and Thompson, in the sense that evolutionary medicine may be offering newer – and much better – insights on the causes of autism and how best to treat them than anything Wakefield or Thompson could have imagined over a decade ago. To remain obsessed about Thompson’s work and especially Wakefield’s own fraudulent “research”, I regard as far more vile than referring to my favorite teacher in high school. Again, if he was still alive, I am certain Frank would agree.

        • Gary

          April 22, 2016 at 5:15 pm

          The late, great, Stephen Jay Gould, among many others, long ago, forcefully and elegantly relegated “creation science” to the realm where it belongs: religion. Religion is all well and good; it can be a positive force in the lives of believers. But it has nothing whatsoever to do with the practice of science; in some ways they are opposites. You likely know this; your conflation of those who believe in creationism with those who question vaccine policy is a ploy, and is typical of those who unquestioningly accept and defend orthodoxy against all contrary evidence, and post their beliefs on the internet. You say your training is in evolutionary biology, but I’m not certain that you understand the nature of science. Science is not a collection of facts, a body of received wisdom from on high. Nor is it static. Science is a way of evaluating evidence. And the imperative is falsification. Unfortunately, much of what is called science today is religion masquerading as science. Dr. Ioannidis has clearly shown that little of what is published today has value as science. A real scientist first and foremost attempts to falsify his or her own hypothesis, but much of science today is designed to be confirmatory, to yield the results the researchers were hoping for. Nevertheless, there is now a large body of evidence from biochemistry, immunology, and toxicology, and much clinical evidence that vaccination carries real risks for a subset of children. Nor is there any biologically plausible pathway for an injected antigen to confer immunity; an injection entirely bypasses the innate immune system. Thus a very high percentage of measles cases in the vaccine era are among the fully-vaccinated; this is also true of pertussis infection, in which most of the cases are fully vaccinated. It is undeniably true that there is no scientific basis for the claim of the safety or efficacy of vaccination in the prevention of the acquisition and transmission of infectious diseases. All the papers on the CDC website are population studies. You should know, as a trained scientist, how easily these are manipulated (If you’ve forgotten, reread the Ioannidis paper). Not a single controlled study, except the DeStefano paper, which we now know clearly showed a causal link between the MMR given before 36 months and autism. You can bet they won’t be doing any more. But the edifice is rapidly crumbling. The tide is turning. Justice will be done.

          • John Kwok

            April 23, 2016 at 3:46 pm

            Gary, my friend vertebrate paleontologist Donald Prothero – who was a dear friend of Steve’s – recognizes that vaccine denialism is a form of science denialism as vile as evolution denialism, of which the most virulent “flavor” now is Intelligent Design creationism. Read his book “Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future”. So too does another friend of mine, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and producer (“House of Sand and Fog”) Shawn Lawrence Otto, co-founder of Science Debate (http://www.sciencedebate.org), who has written about the anti-vaccination movement, most notably in his book “Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America”. So too does an organization I belong to, the National Center for Science Education (http://www.ncse.com). Only a fool who claims to understand Stephen Jay Gould would conclude that vaccine denialism isn’t as much a science denialist movement as creationism, which, contrary to your expectations, those whom I have cited recognize that both are science denialist movements.

          • Dorit Reiss

            April 24, 2016 at 4:46 pm

            A. Vaccine epidemiological studies are generally well controlled. I’m not sure why you think they’re not. Nor is the De Stefano study the only case control study around. Here is one more example. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25562790 This is a Japanese study of MMR and thimerosal that found no link to autism. I hope you don’t suggest the Japanese are part of some conspiracy.

            B. Vaccine studies come from all around the world. From different independent teams. One study can be manipulated. Two. When it’s dozens from different directions, that claim loses its power.

            C. Yes, vaccines have real risks for some children. Some are known; that’s what contraindications are. The most serious ones not known are severe allergic reactions – about 1 per million. Vaccines adverse reactions are real, but very rare – and don’t include autism.

            D. Of course there’s biological plausibility to the fact that if you introduce your immune system to antigens and teach it to create anti-bodies to them it will be better able to respond to the germ from which the antigens are from, mount a quicker defense, and fight off the disease. It’s very straightforward.

            Here is a helpful pamphlet on how vaccines work, to help you understand: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/vaccines/Documents/undvacc.pdf

            Here is a list of studies showing that rates of diseases are much higher among the unvaccinated, consistently: http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p2069.pdf

            I hope that helps.

        • Gary

          April 22, 2016 at 8:41 pm

          John Kwok: You have a wild imagination. Putting thoughts into my head? In what way did I indicate in my comment that I thought you “must either be paid by the Peoples Republic of China on behalf of Big Pharma or a Chinese troll . . . “? This is a truly bizarre accusation. I did ask Dorit Reiss if she received a stipend for her blog posts, since the CDC does fund, using our tax dollars, Public Relations firms such as Megan Media to hire people to make comments favorable to their policies on blogs. Are you and Dorit Reiss one and the same? You make some sweeping claims about research “around the world.” List this research. Show me the evidence. Otherwise, your claims are mere words, signifying nothing other than the ability to utilize a keyboard. I suspect your beloved teacher would’ve sent you to the time-out corner for the utter lack of an ethical compass in denouncing a man you do not know from the anonymity of the internet.

          • John Kwok

            April 23, 2016 at 3:48 pm

            Gary,

            I am saying that your breathtakingly inane reasoning is just as bizarre as those Wakefield fans posting elsewhere online who have accused me of being a “Big Pharma” paid shill or a Chinese troll being paid for by the People’s Republic of China. (I happen to be a native New Yorker, but those delusional fools don’t wish to recognize this.)

        • Gary

          April 23, 2016 at 6:32 am

          I shall make one last comment. There is no point in anything further since you trolls or astroturfers, or whatever you call yourselves are impossible to engage, and appear not to have a sense of humor. I must say, in further response to John Kwok, that I was using the phrase “patriotic, thinking American” in jest. This is, after all, the political season when all manner of silliness and appeals to mom and apple pie see the light of day.
          Those of us who still remember the difference between right and wrong outnumber you folks by a considerable margin. We are now fully awake, and we’re not going away. A populace outraged by the perfidy of government and industry is a powerful force. Anyone who would advocate the poisoning of every infant on the day of birth not only has no moral or ethical standing, no character as we ordinarily understand it, but richly deserves our contempt and revulsion. This particularly applies to those who profit handsomely from their explicit official participation in the codifying of such horrors, like Paul Offit. And by extension, to virtually all newspapers and television networks, and most magazines, who give them a forum to promote this madness. Vaccines and the majority of pharmaceuticals are nothing more than modern-day snake oil, dressed up in fancy packages and sold for a princely sum.

          • John Kwok

            April 23, 2016 at 3:52 pm

            Gary,

            By “modern-day snake oil, dressed up in fancy packages and sold for a princely sum” you really mean Andrew Wakefield, Polly Tommey and Del Bigtree. More than nine years ago I coined the term “mendacious intellectual pornographers” to describe the bizarre conduct of Intelligent Design creationists, and that is an apt description for Wakefield and his merry band of pathetic, quite delusional, fools. BTW, I am that rarity of rarities; a native New Yorker who is a Conservative Republican.

          • Dorit Reiss

            April 24, 2016 at 4:48 pm

            Dr. Offit isn’t profiting from speaking up and educating people about vaccines. He does it because he cares about children, in the face of abuse, personal attacks, and various harassment from anti-vaccine sources.

            And comparing heavily tested vaccines to snake oil suggests some basic misunderstandings of how they are tested.

      • Kali

        April 22, 2016 at 6:39 am

        I read an article where Dorit Reiss disclosed that her family owns stock in GSK. So she profits from the pharmaceutical industry.

        • John Kwok

          April 22, 2016 at 1:01 pm

          Kali,

          What do you think of Andrew Wakefield having a commercial stake in a single shot vaccine while he was conducting his “research” for the now retracted Wakefield et al. 1998 Lancet paper? I think that was a far more serious conflict of interest, and, if I’m not mistaken, one noted in both the decisions to retract the Lancet paper and have him stripped of his UK medical license than Dorit Reiss and her family owning stock in GlaxoSmithKline. All of the serious ethical lapses lie within the anti-vaccination movement, with Andrew Wakefield, the worst culprit. I would be wary of casting stones at those of us like Reiss and myself, who are interested in alerting others to the real truth behind Andrew Wakefield and his filming of “VAXXED”, unless you want to read more of his sordid personal history here in the comments section of Diaz’s pathetic,and quite absurd, defense of what has been dubbed correctly by Indiewire’s Eric Kohn as a “pro anti-vaccination propaganda film” and what I regard as a “sterling example” of cinematic mendacious intellectual pornography.

      • Dorit Reiss

        April 24, 2016 at 4:27 pm

        I do not receive a stipend for speaking up for protecting children from disease, no.

        I note you have pointed to nothing specific I said that you criticize, while I pointed out specific problems with this film. I’ll leave it to readers to decide whether non-specific generalizations are equivalent to specific, detailed critiques.

        But I don’t have anything to lose when it comes to vaccine safety, one way or the other. Since I vaccinate both my young kids, if vaccines were unsafe, I’d want to know. They’re not. The truth is out. Vaccines don’t cause autism.

        And I doubt most people would change their mind about protecting their children because of Andrew Wakefield’s propaganda film. But speaking up and pointing out the errors is important for that reason, to help minimize the chances. I’m gratified to see so many sources speak up and point out the movie’s many inaccuracies and its misleading nature.

        And I’m up to date. I’m sorry you’ve chosen not to protect yourself. I hope you stay safe in spite of that.

  17. Linda

    April 21, 2016 at 8:40 am

    Very much appreciate your presentatiion of “the other side.” which it seems the media is pressured NOT to present to we, the public. Wish there were more we could do to stop big pharma, but its a juggernaut that will crush one.

    • John Kwok

      April 22, 2016 at 4:10 am

      There’s more like a “Big Vaccine Denial” threat than one from “Big Pharma”, judging from the ample breathtakingly inane comments I have seen from you and your fellow vaccine denialists.

  18. Agntology

    April 21, 2016 at 8:30 am

    Congress is aware of the charge of fraud since US Rep Bill Posey (FL) took to the House floor and pleaded with members of Congress to do something back in October, 2015, but our legislators seem to be overwhelmingly not interested in hearing what Thompson has to say.

    Posey: “Considering the nature of the whistleblower’s documents, as well as the involvement of the CDC, a hearing and a thorough investigation is warranted. So I ask Mr. Speaker, I beg, I implore my colleagues on the Appropriations committees to please, please take such action,”

    • Matt Carey

      April 21, 2016 at 2:31 pm

      What do you understand the charge of fraud to be based upon?

      Wakefield’s original argument was that the CDC team changed the analysis plan. That they saw a result they didn’t like and revised the analysis plan so they wouldn’t have to report it. You can see that in his earlier videos and his and Hooker’s online discussions.

      Except that is clearly false.

      In the film he changed it. He claims that the CDC plan was that they would use the race variable from the school records, but changed to the birth certificate records. His argument muddled as to what this was exactly doing, but he claims that this resulted in a smaller, less statistically powerful, population. That’s at about 45 minutes into the film.

      Except he’s wrong again. The analysis plan clearly states that

      “For the subset of children with Georgia birth records, sub-analyses will be performed in which potential confounding variables from the birth certificate will be used to adjust the estimated association between the MMR vaccine and autism. The variables that will be assessed as potential confounders will be birth weight, APGAR scores, gestational age, birth type, parity, maternal age, maternal race/ethnicity, and maternal education.”

      That’s the nice thing about having the documents and being able to go over the film in detail. One can check facts.

  19. Agntology

    April 21, 2016 at 8:27 am

    Big picture wise. It’s probably better to cover up a little autism for the good of the program. We can’t have people flocking away from vaccines.

    So it makes sense to want to kind of sweep the autism link under the rug. I mean, I can definitely see the strong desire to do so and a perfectly understandable rationale for keeping the general population in the dark.

    • What?

      April 21, 2016 at 9:30 am

      Please tell me you are joking.

  20. Agntology

    April 21, 2016 at 8:21 am

    . As documented here, the “Vaxxed” trailer splices excerpts from two different phone calls together and then inserts a narrator giving an interpretation of those calls that is not supported by the facts. ”

    Really? Have you spoken to Thompson?

    Perhaps he needs to make a statement to clear things up.

    • Matt Carey

      April 21, 2016 at 11:38 am

      “Really? Have you spoken to Thompson?”

      No, but we have the transcripts of the phone calls.

      So, you can check the transcripts against the trailer–and the film—and see where his statements are edited, spliced and taken out of context.

      And they are.

      • Matt Carey

        April 21, 2016 at 11:43 am

        We also now have the film.

        Del Bigtree was the narrator. Even his comment in the trailer is edited.

        In the trailer we hear that a CDC whistleblower is going to come forward and tell us vaccines cause autism and the CDC knows this (paraphrased–I’ll get you the exact quote if you need it).

        So we are led to believe that’s what the film is about.

        But that’s not what Bigtree said. He said he got a phone call telling him that a CDC whistleblower…

        See what they did there? they cut out the “I got a phone call” part and made it seem like the film would be all about this supposedly big event.

        Which itself was bogus–Thompson has stated that the study doesn’t show a true association betweeen the MMR and autism (or autism-like symptoms as he says in the statement).

        Vaxxed is selling itself on a bunch of bogus premises.

        • LindaRN

          April 21, 2016 at 7:46 pm

          “Thompson has stated that the study doesn’t show a true association betweeen the MMR and autism (or autism-like symptoms as he says in the statement)”

          No he didn’t. Thompson clearly said that he is ashamed when he sees children with autism because he knows that he has been part of the problem. He clearly said that his boss asked him to lie. He clearly said that his superiors wanted to hide damning data that linked the MMR to autism and that he can’t believe that he went along with it. For every second that this fraud goes uninvestigated millions of children worldwide are put at risk. By lying and trying to distort the facts and defending criminals you are an accessory to a horrific crime. How do you live with yourself Matt Carey?

          • Dorit Reiss

            April 22, 2016 at 1:07 pm

            “Thompson clearly said that he is ashamed when he sees children with autism because he knows that he has been part of the problem. He clearly said that his boss asked him to lie. He clearly said that his superiors wanted to hide damning data that linked the MMR to autism and that he can’t believe that he went along with it.”

            Nobody can speak to why Thompson feels anything he feels, but in his statement he said – correctly – that what he is concerned about doesn’t show an association. Please read the statement.

            Reading the documents really doesn’t show a valid link to be hidden, or any concealment of data.

  21. Andrea

    April 21, 2016 at 7:30 am

    I won’t waste my time arguing with internet trolls screaming “science”… But I do want to applaud Phillipe Diaz for so eloquently presenting the facts of this dire situation.
    As a mother who has vaccinated my child, I still demand transparency and the highest standard of medical ethics. I was at the front lines of the SB277 fiasco in California trying to preserve my right to choose, and I encountered too many vaccine injured children to turn a blind eye.
    And these are not Autistic children I’m referring to. Even if you took Autism completely out of the equation, parents need to have the right to evaluate when and how many shots would be right for their individual child. Not all children are the same and no child should be considered “collateral damage” for the good of all.

  22. Gary

    April 21, 2016 at 6:47 am

    Philippe Diaz: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this timely, essential, and truly fine call to action. I am in my seventh decade, and I cannot recall a time when a subject was completely censored by the entire media, when the public was not allowed to question a government policy. As Dr. Thompson said in one of the phone calls to Dr. Hooker, “They are paralyzed.” They are paralyzed, in part, because they know they will be going to jail, in part because they, like all of us, learned at their mother’s knee the difference between right and wrong, what was once called conscience. They still retain a modicum of that, but fear of the unknown suppresses it. As for the media, the only applicable word is cowardice. They are nothing more than an advertising circular for corporate interests. As for our President and Congress, it is cowardice all the way around. They know that the CDC (with help from the FDA, EPA, and USDA) has created the autism epidemic, yet they act as if it doesn’t exist. This is simply the most shameful time our nation has experienced in my lifetime. The filmmakers and you deserve honors and awards for bringing greater public awareness to this, the greatest crisis our nation has ever faced.

  23. Frankie

    April 21, 2016 at 5:47 am

    As a doctor and academic and as a mother with children damaged by vaccines, it is shameful to see this issue not being aired.

    Doctors are terrified of speaking out or even doing research on this issue as it would be effectively the end of their careers if they dared to find anything vaccine related which was linked to autism.
    Interestingly vaccines used on babies (the triple) have autism as a possible vaccine linked issue on the piece of paper which comes with the vaccine!!!

    Alternatively if you don’t mind not knowing what causes autism then this is fine. But don’t come crying to doctors or anyone if your child or grandchild ends up with autism. You will be on your own, and so will the poor kids stuck with this awful problem.

    We despirately need filmmakers who are brave enough to take on these issues. Well done Wakefield!

  24. John Kwok

    April 21, 2016 at 5:23 am

    Not once has Philippe Diaz acknowledged the legitimate concerns expressed by filmmaker Todd Drezner whose film, “Loving Lampposts” is distributed by Cinema Libre Studio.

    I am reposting that open letter now for the benefit of all to see:

    Cinema Libre Studio and “Vaxxed”

    Todd Drezner·Wednesday, March 30, 2016

    .
    Dear Cinema Libre,

    I’m writing to explain why I’m so disappointed in your decision to distribute “Vaxxed.” I have three main objections:

    1) Perhaps of most relevance to Cinema Libre is that Andrew Wakefield has assembled his film using unethical and dishonest editing techniques. As documented here, the “Vaxxed” trailer splices excerpts from two different phone calls together and then inserts a narrator giving an interpretation of those calls that is not supported by the facts. And this is merely one example from a brief trailer. Who knows how many misleading edits Wakefield has made in the full film?
    Given Cinema Libre’s commitment to the idea that documentaries can make a social impact, I would think you would want to be associated with filmmakers who follow ethical practices and journalistic standards when making documentaries. When a dishonest filmmaker like Wakefield receives distribution and a theatrical release, it undermines all documentary filmmakers. We depend on the trust of our audiences. Your decision to support a dishonest film like “Vaxxed” destroys that trust. Documentary filmmaker Penny Lane outlines these issues nicely here.

    2) Cinema Libre’s blog post about “Vaxxed” refers to “the suppression of medical data by a governmental agency that may well be contributing to a significant health crisis.” This is, I’m sorry to say, no more than a fever dream. First, as you will remember from watching “Loving Lampposts,” the autism “epidemic” can be explained by a combination of changing diagnostic criteria, increasing awareness of autism, and the benefits of receiving a diagnosis (in terms of the access to services and support the diagnosis provides).

    Secondly, the CDC “whistleblower” around whom the trailer (and I assume the film) revolves did not reveal anything nearly as sinister as the trailer suggests. It is true that William Thompson of the CDC revealed to Dr. Brian Hooker that a 2004 study of the possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism supposedly found an association between the vaccine and autism in African American males.

    Before I say anything about that finding, let’s note what that finding rules out: any association between the MMR vaccine and any other group besides African American males. Even if Thompson’s assertion were true (it’s not), it still doesn’t support the idea that the MMR vaccine causes autism in the many people who are not African American males.

    But what about the supposed link between the vaccine and African American males? It’s nothing. Basically, the original study of the association between the vaccine and autism did not leave out African Americans on purpose. Rather, it did so to eliminate “confounders” — that is, any factor other than the vaccine that could have been associated with autism. The authors of the study wanted to be sure that any effect they saw was caused by the MMR and not something else. Dr. Hooker’s “re-analysis” of the study does not account for confounders properly and even if it did, the population of African American males in the study is too small to support any broad conclusions. And one more time, even if the supposed link between African American males and the MMR vaccine were significant, it still rules out any link between the vaccine and all other groups. You can read about these issues in much more detail here and here.

    It’s well known that Andrew Wakefield’s research into the MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent. His film is based on equally poor science.
    3) Despite Richard Castro’s statement on your blog that the Tribeca Film Festival succumbed to “pressure to censor” “Vaxxed,” there was no censorship. As I’m sure you’re aware, the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech prohibits the government from restricting speech. The Tribeca Film Festival is not government. It is a private organization that is free to screen, or not screen, any film it chooses for any reason. Indeed, Tribeca rejects the work of thousands of filmmakers every year. I’m sure Cinema Libre rejects many filmmakers as well. Are they being censored? Of course not.

    On the “Vaxxed” website, Andrew Wakefield and Producer Del Bigtree claim that they were “denied due process” when Tribeca decided not to screen “Vaxxed.” This is absurd. There is no such thing as due process when it comes to the decisions of a film festival selection committee. Nor should there be. If such a thing existed, every prestigious film festival would spend all its time sifting through complaints from unhappy filmmakers. There will always be unhappy filmmakers who are denied admission to film festivals. Andrew Wakefield is now one of them. But he is not a censored filmmaker.

    On a personal note, I was and remain grateful for the work Cinema Libre did to promote “Loving Lampposts” when it was released. You got the film screened at venues I could not have and publicized it through news coverage I did not have access to. I hoped and believed that along the way, you came to appreciate the film’s message that autistic people can thrive when they are accepted and when they receive the support they need to function in a world not built for them. Apparently, and much to my dismay, this message did not sink in.

    By releasing “Vaxxed,” Cinema Libre is actively harming thousands of autistic people. While we should be discussing ways to best support autistic people and help them lead fulfilling lives, you would instead have us follow a discredited scientist and dishonest filmmaker down a rabbit hole that leads only to long debunked conspiracy theories. I am profoundly disappointed.

    I don’t expect that Cinema Libre will change its decision. But given our long business relationship, I felt I owed you this explanation of where I stand. I hope that sometime in the future you may find ways to undo the damage you are about to cause.

    You can see the text, including the links posted here:

    http://www.thinkingautismguide.com/2016/03/todd-drezners-open-letter-to-cinema.html

  25. rholden

    April 21, 2016 at 2:07 am

    LindaRosaRN, did you actually read the article?
    Have you witnessed the effect of regressive Autism in a baby before?
    I have. My son has autism, he is now 7 years old, he wears a diaper, he has limited language, his motor skill is restricted. His future is not the same as other young boys.
    5 years ago my son was diagnosed with Autism, then it was was 1:200 or 1:100 and the same reasons were given for the rise in numbers. We just spot more Autisic kids these days. Now years years on, its 1:50, and the same reason is give, we just spot more kids these days. Nonsense.
    My son’s development flat lined for 5 years. His immune system collapsed (+20 rounds of antibiotics in 5 years after diagnosis), he developed Epilepsy, he developed Gastrointestinal problems. For a 12 months, he woke every time screaming. I would have to hold him for 10-30mins until he stopped. The answer to al of this = oh that’s just Autism.

    What caused this?
    We don’t know. We suspect, immuno-compromisation brought on by viral/bacterial load possibly caused by toxicity from multiple vaccines.

    WE ARE NOT SAYING THIS IS THE CAUSE, WE ARE SAYING IT MIGHT BE.

    THE FILM SAYS THE SAME. THE FILM IS NOT ANTI-VACCINE. YET EVERYONE IN THE MEDIA SAYS IT IS. WHY IS THIS? ASK YOURSELF THAT QUESTION.

    Here’s another question. Why can’t i give my son a decongestant until he is 6 years old, but i can give him multiple viral loads, on the same day, without even checking to see if he is unwell at the time of inoculation.

    We only want more exploration to see if there is an answer in there, and maybe another child might not be robbed of their future.

    My advice, see the film and make your own mind up. Then post.
    Don’t form an opinion from reading the ‘press’.

    R

    • Matt Carey

      April 21, 2016 at 11:45 am

      “WE ARE NOT SAYING THIS IS THE CAUSE, WE ARE SAYING IT MIGHT BE”

      Wakefield *is* saying it is the cause.

      Wakefield is wrong.

      Wakefield’s own words about the film show it’s based on a bogus premise. But we can’t comment?
      https://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2016/04/21/why-do-people-have-to-see-vaxxed-to-criticize-it-wakefields-own-description-of-us-tells-us-vaxxed-is-bogus/

      Good thing I know what’s in the film then.

      • John Stone

        April 21, 2016 at 2:21 pm

        Wakefield is not saying it is the cause he is saying it is a cause, and he is not alone (give or take a little bureaucratic doublespeak). Here is Julie Gerberding before she took the revolving door to Merck’s vaccine division on CNN:

        “Now, we all know that vaccines can occasionally cause fevers in kids. So if a child was immunized, got a fever, had other complications from the vaccines. And if you’re predisposed with the mitochondrial disorder, it can certainly set off some damage. Some of the symptoms can be symptoms that have characteristics of autism.”

        http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0803/29/hcsg.01.html

        And here are HHS HRSA officials talking to journalists Sharyl Attkisson and David Kirby on different occasions:

        “The government has never compensated, nor has it ever been ordered to compensate, any case based on a determination that autism was actually caused by vaccines. We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease. Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures.”

        http://web.archive.org/web/20101106061707/http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-20016356-10391695.html

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-f-kennedy-jr-and-david-kirby/vaccine-court-autism-deba_b_169673.html

        • Matt Carey

          April 21, 2016 at 3:48 pm

          “Wakefield is not saying it is the cause he is saying it is a cause”

          He’s wrong. And he’s saying it’s a major cause, a driving force behind the so-called epidemic.

          But you already know that.

          Wow, David Kirby. PR man for the thimerosal causation idea. Funny how as that idea became obviously false he faded away. If he had guts he’d have apologized for the harm he caused. But courage is something distinctly lacking in your movement. And honesty. And integrity.

  26. LindaRosaRN

    April 20, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    The film “Vaxxed” is a public health menace. Its false information puts the health and lives of children at risk.

    Would you show a film today that claims AIDS is caused by the oral polio vaccine? I doubt it. But that would be the same thing.

    • Angel Scott

      April 21, 2016 at 6:36 am

      Of course you have not seen the film.
      There is an autism epidemic of drastic proportions, children and their families lives ruined.
      And you spend your time helping Pharma make more money.
      Shame

      • Matt Carey

        April 21, 2016 at 11:46 am

        “Of course you have not seen the film.”

        What do you want to know about it? What specifically? Have you seen it? Bring up a scene and let’s discuss?

        Or is it just “no one but Wakefield supporters can discuss the film”?

    • BBTracy

      April 21, 2016 at 6:42 am

      Linda, Your ignorance is evident in your response. DID YOU EVEN READ THE ARTICLE???? Just an FYI, it is not false information, and it is not a public health menace. It is a movie about the CDC falsifying data that affects every child in this country and beyond. The false information does not come from the film, it comes from the CDC. Do you even care that the CDC is lying to the American people???? And the RN by your name, not impressed. Just one more health professional educated by the pharmaceutical industry who repeats what they were taught. I am also a health professional, but thank God I learned how to think for myself and question the “truths” that were sold me to as education by corporations.

      • Matt Carey

        April 21, 2016 at 11:49 am

        ” DID YOU EVEN READ THE ARTICLE???? ”

        I did. Also gone over the film in detail. Also gone over the transcripts of the calls between Brian Hooker and William Thompson. Also gone over the documents Thompson provided to Representative Bill Posey.

        the film is bogus. It’s largely a vehicle to try to exhonerate Wakefield, and it’s not very good at it.

        So, what in the Thompson documents did you find particularly troubling? You wouldn’t be so vehement in your comment if you hadn’t gone through them, would you?

    • LindaRN

      April 21, 2016 at 6:53 am

      LindaRosaRN,
      You are the public health menace. You have not seen this film. Let me fill you in: The film is about a whistleblower in the CDC Immunization Safety Division whose conscience motivated him to contact scientist Brian Hooker to confess that he and his colleagues had falsified vaccine safety research going back more than a decade, covering evidence of a link between the MMR and autism in children receiving the vaccine before the age of 36 months, with the highest number of cases among black boys (although there were many among previously normally developing children of other races). Dr. Thompson has official whistleblower status and Congress is IGNORING the fact that he has turned over 1000’s of documents to Florida Congressman William Posey, who has begged his colleagues to call a formal hearing for Thompson to testify. It is biologically plausible that the MMR could cause severe damage in some children. It is a combination of 3 live attenuated viruses that was never tested as a combination drug before being approved for use. As just one possible explanation: The CDC acknowledges that about 5% of children that receive the MMR will not mount an immune response. That’s why a second shot is recommended between age 4-6, to catch the ones who didn’t respond the first time. LindaRose, what do you think happens to those 3 live viruses (that the vaccine manufacturer admits in the package insert COULD cause disease in the immune compromised) in the body of a child that does not mount an immune response? Let me help you – the vaccine strain of the measles virus has been found (by many investigators and physicians going back almost two decades) in the intestines of autistic children presenting with severe bowel disease. The vaccine defending medical community says – so what? Sound right to you? Wild measles is most serious in a young child, so it is not at all far fetched to find that the live vaccine strain, especially combined with two other wild viruses (and many other vaccines that children get at the same time as the MMR – see the ever expanding vaccine schedule) could cause the same type of serious sequelae (or worse) than the wild infection. And about polio vaccine, it was contaminated with monkey viruses, the most famous being the one that the medical community named, simiam virus 40 (SV40). Upon discovery I believe in the early 1960s, the scientific community decided without scientific basis that the virus was harmless in humans and didn’t stop the vaccine from being given to millions of Americans. SV40 is still turning up in cancerous tumors generations later (the virus apparently can be passed from mother to child). True story. The fact that SV40 contaminated polio vaccines was reported to the public on the CDC site. That page has been taken down. Educate yourself and do your job in being a patient advocate. You should see this movie and find out what is wrong in the CDC and their corrupt relationship with Pharma. If you don’t, you should lose your license to practice, because you are a menace to society. Every day that Congress and the media and the medical and nursing professions turn their back on this whistleblower is another day that thousands of innocent children are put in harms way. And since this one study is known to be fraudulent, it is clear that no research that comes out of the CDC can be trusted. The validity of all vaccine safety research is now in question. Wake up and do your job.

      • Linda

        April 21, 2016 at 8:45 am

        Pretty easy to see through your arguments. You are part of the established medical community with billions of dollars at stake when the truth comes out. It would cost the pharma industry loss of revenue and they are busy hiring medical professionals now to hush up the evidence.

        Do hope you have received enough compensation to sooth your conscience.

      • Matt Carey

        April 21, 2016 at 11:57 am

        “You have not seen this film.”

        How do you know? Do you know this individual? Have you followed that individual around?

        ” Let me help you – the vaccine strain of the measles virus has been found (by many investigators and physicians going back almost two decades) in the intestines of autistic children presenting with severe bowel disease.”

        No, it hasn’t.

        Wakefield made that claim. Wakefield buried data from his own group that showed this wasn’t the case. The same researcher (Nicholas Chadwick) showed that the results Wakefield did publish were bogus.

        Wakefield had another paper, with a lab in Ireland. That lab was later shown to be so flawed in it’s methodology that it was impossible for it to detect measles virus (they weren’t changing RNA measles into a DNA before doing the DNA amplification). That was shown clearly by Stephen Bustin, perhaps the world’s foremost expert on the methodology.

        Later, once that lab (O’learly’s Unigentics lab) cleaned up their lab and methodologies, they were used in a multisite test of Wakefield’s ideas. Even Wakefield’s own colleague found that Wakefield was wrong.

        http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0003140
        Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study

    • Gary

      April 21, 2016 at 7:01 am

      LindaRosaRN: Have you seen the film? What false information does it contain? I suspect you haven’t seen it, for the bulk of the information it presents are official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention documents. These documents indeed show falsification of data to hide a strong signal showing that the timing of the MMR is critical to avoid the worst adverse events from it, and a cover-up of this crime, something that every honorable person in the nation should be deeply concerned about, and has every right under our hallowed Constitution to know about.

      • Matt Carey

        April 21, 2016 at 12:02 pm

        ” I suspect you haven’t seen it, for the bulk of the information it presents are official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention documents.”

        I suspect you haven’t seen it because that’s not the bulk of the film. Heck, even the parts about Thompson aren’t really about the documents.

        “These documents indeed show falsification of data to hide a strong signal showing that the timing of the MMR is critical to avoid the worst adverse events from it, and a cover-up of this crime”

        Have you read the documents? I have. I made them public. Wakefield didn’t. Doesn’t that strike you as odd? If they are so damning, why didn’t he make them public?

        I can’t explain the why, but I can say that the documents don’t say what Wakefield has claimed.

    • PQ

      April 21, 2016 at 7:15 am

      I’m making an educated guess here and saying that you haven’t watched the movie, so actually have no idea what it’s about.

      The movie is about potential cover-up and corruption at the CDC.

      But, let’s ignore what it has to say because it could “harm public perception in the CDC and the vaccination program.”

      Hey…maybe we should have ignored all of the cover-up and corruption of President Nixon during the Watergate scandal because it may have harmed the public’s perception of the presidency…

      • Matt Carey

        April 21, 2016 at 12:04 pm

        “I’m making an educated guess here and saying that you haven’t watched the movie, so actually have no idea what it’s about.”

        Have you seen it? Which scene(s) in particular did you find most prove your point that “the movie is about potential cover-up and corruption at the CDC”.

        I’d be willing to discuss that with you. In detail. With quotes from the film.

    • Linda

      April 21, 2016 at 8:42 am

      LindaRosaRN: my daughter, too, is a nurse who has seen the damage caused too many times. You have a vested interested, as does she, but she is heartbroken over the choices she is going to have to make having seen the real damage that happens immediately after children are vaccinated.

    • cpeeples

      April 21, 2016 at 11:55 am

      How is this a public health menace? It is not anti vaccine. They have all said many times that they are pro vaccine. This movie is about corruption at the CDC and how they falsified data in a study. Why don’t you see it and then comment.

  27. Martes

    April 20, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    Witnessing the complete rape of culture by corporate globalists is like that awkward post-apocalyptic moment of watching a herd of goats eat a Van Gogh. The Bill of Rights, freedom of speech, freedom of the press? Munch, munch, munch.

    I find the vaccine controversy interesting from the perspective that the issue is the perfect emotional hostage taker. They’re “saving little children” after all, protecting life as we know it. What offense or assault on basic rights couldn’t be rammed through by using that heroic tagline as the opening wedge? It’s a tephlon gimmick, like the “war on terror.”

  28. Achsel

    April 20, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    I had never heard of a movie being censored like this. But it turns out this may be a new trend in corporatocracy. A movie called “The Syndrome” accepted at a Minnessota film festival where the festival was pressured to pull it. This festival stood firm and did not pull it. The documentary follows a group of medical experts who are proving shaken baby syndrome does not exist and there are over 1,000 people in prison for a made up syndrome that can actually be explained by numerous other condition.

    You are right…such a dangerous precedent.

    • Skeptic

      April 20, 2016 at 11:02 pm

      That’s an interesting comparison and I’m glad you mentioned it because I’m going to look up that film now. I have been keeping up with that topic for some time now and am baffled by the lack of skepticism of the medical profession toward shaken baby syndrome. They are putting parents in jail and/of taking away their parental rights on children with broken bones or brain bleeds who have absolutely no external bruising. The situation is not unlike what we are seeing here with the censorship of this movie…the willful disregard of evidence and the unwillingness to consider alternative explanations. These issues are far from settled. Obviously if people actually read Wakefield’s original paper in question they would be disabused of the beliefs instilled in them by the media of what he allegedly did but actually didn’t do. Likewise, if they would actually see the film Vaxxed and consider the evidence they might consider the notion that those who control our media, the medical industry, and our government often do not have the best interests of the people and our children at heart.

      • Matt Carey

        April 21, 2016 at 12:09 pm

        “These issues are far from settled. Obviously if people actually read Wakefield’s original paper in question they would be disabused of the beliefs instilled in them by the media of what he allegedly did but actually didn’t do. Likewise, if they would actually see the film Vaxxed and consider the evidence they might consider the notion that those who control our media, the medical industry, and our government often do not have the best interests of the people and our children at heart.”

        I’ve read the paper. I know the film. Gone over it multiple times.

        I’ve also checked Wakefield’s claims, from his papers, his public statements and his film. I’ve read the transcripts of the hearings where he (rightfully) lost his medical license. In those hearings they went over in great detail how unethical Wakefield was in his original paper.

        All I can say is anyone who has any experience with Wakefield should be checking every single statement he makes.

        Of course, Wakefield doesn’t let people do that. He doesn’t release the William Thompson documents. He doesn’t provide critics with screener DVD’s.

        And, to be blunt, his supporters don’t seem to ever check his claims.

    • Angel Scott

      April 21, 2016 at 6:39 am

      Sudden Infant Death Syndrome as well, can be caused by the poisonous adjuvants in vaccines.
      Keep in mind the fight is for accountability and safe vaccines. Allowing it to be framed as “anti-vax” is the danger.

    • Matt Carey

      April 21, 2016 at 12:05 pm

      “I had never heard of a movie being censored like this. ”

      Let’s see. Wakefield pulled strings with De Niro to get the film into Tribeca outside of the usual approval process.

      De Niro and others pull the film, that shouldn’t have been there anyway.

      Wakefield shows the film publicly.

      What in that is censorship?

      • MAS

        April 21, 2016 at 1:10 pm

        Hahaha, Wakefield pulled strings with DeNiro?! Pray tell, what clout has one of the most vilified men on the planet with zero connection to Hollywood got with a hugely successful movie star? Matt, your slip is showing. You just keep parroting the same nonsense over and over and over again. How many comments have you left here saying the exact same thing, ten? Give it up! ONE comment inviting people to your site would be fine, your obsessive trolling just makes you look desperate and is obvious damage control. Give. It. Up.

        • Matt Carey

          April 21, 2016 at 2:38 pm

          My slip is showing?

          De Niro stated that he was the one who put the film into Tribeca. De Niro wanted people to see it so he put it in.

          De Niro’s wife knows Wakefield. Here’s a discussion of recent email exchanges between them

          http://justthevax.blogspot.com/2016/04/paging-de-niro-and-hightowerwakefield.html

          Wakefield had an in with De Niro’s wife.

          And the source of those emails is a site that Wakefield has chosen in the past to use release information.

          So, yeah, pulling strings to get into Tribeca.