Irony meter melting, must back off

I thought it was an April Fools’ joke, but it wasn’t. It was posted one day too late, but there it was staring at me:

On World Autism Day: A Plea for Better Journalism.

On the surface, who could argue with that, particularly with David Kirby’s regular carpet-bombing logic and science with unctuous and slimy speculation and prevarication? Definitely, such deceptive antivaccination-sympathetic “journalism” needs to go.

But then I noticed who wrote this article.

Dan Olmsted.

Yes, Dan Olmsted, perhaps the worst journalist ever when it comes to autism, the man who swallowed whole anecdotal and evidence-free claims from the HomeFirst practice in Chicago that unvaccinated children do not get autism, who routinely says irresponsible and stupid things about health issues, who often abuses statistics, who still champions an evidence-free claim that the Amish do not vaccinate and do not have autism, apparently without ever having actually interviewed any doctors who deal with developmental disorders in Amish country, and who regularly churns out such a load of rubbish on the Age of Autism site blaming vaccines for autism.

Yes, that Dan Olmsted.

The same one who owes me a new irony meter. I wonder if I can sue to get him to replace mine. Particularly lethal to my poor machine was this line:

They get the facts wrong, they get the nuances wrong – they just plain get the story wrong, time after time after time. I’ve said before that the big wealthy news outlets – the networks, the big papers, the newsweeklies – need to create an autism beat, and they need editors to edit this stuff who know what they’re talking about. You can’t just dispatch someone to cover autism like it’s a spectacular train wreck (which of course it is, metaphorically speaking). You’ve got to stick with it, get it right, and fix it fully when you get it wrong. You’ve got to have a lot more autism awareness, and not just on April 2.

Yes, I should consider suing. My irony meter, poor thing now sitting there melting in a pathetically bubbling pool of plastic, rubber, and copper wire, didn’t deserve this, even if it was just an inanimate object. Meanwhile J.B. Handley is crowing over how bubble-brained antivaccinationist moron Jenny McCarthy and slithering sleazeball David Kirby supposedly gave science an “all-time ass-whooping” on Larry King Live.

If I ever replace my irony meter, I’d better make sure to buy a super-duper, industrial strength, EMP-shielded version if I’m going to subject myself to J.B. Handley’s idiocy as well.


  1. #1 DanioPhD
    April 3, 2008

    Thanks for that link to JB Handley’s spittle-flecked fist-pump of a blog entry. I could almost hear the Howard Dean-esque “Yeaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!” at the end of it.

    The most chilling bit, for me:

    We’re moving at light speed now, and it couldn’t happen soon enough. I just checked the poll at Larry King’s website, and 85% of respondents believe vaccines can cause autism. If you think pediatricians were hating life last week, wait until their patients start showing up today.

    To any pediatricians who may read this, I am so, so sorry that asshats like JB, Jenny, and their ilk make your job so much harder than it ever should have to be through their public spectacles of stupidity that seem so dazzling to the credulous public. Please know that you are appreciated by many rational parents like myself.

    I need to go and give my eyeballs a good steel-wool scrubbing to remove the clinging stoopid. Ouch.

  2. #2 I am Kathleen
    April 3, 2008

    Kathleen Seidel of has been attacked by the lawyers pushing the “mercury causes autism” idea.

    Along the lines of the “I am Spartacus” meme I have begun to sign my messages as “I am Kathleen.” So they know that when they attack one of us they attack all of us.

    I am Kathleen

  3. #3 Liz Ditz
    April 3, 2008

    how bubble-brained ditz Jenny McCarthy

    HEY! don’t slander my people.

    how bubble-brained [idiot] [anti-vax loon] [any other epithet] Jenny McCarthy

  4. #4 Orac
    April 3, 2008

    Yikes. Sorry, that didn’t even register to me thanks.

  5. #5 I am Kathleen II
    April 3, 2008

    Re the subpoena– I’m listed too! Sheesh.

  6. #6 DanioPhD
    April 3, 2008

    I just watched a 10 minute excerpt of the Larry King Live debacle from last night. Ten minutes was more than enough of Jenny McBoing-Boing stridently repeating “Anecdotal Evidence IS Scientific Evidence!” and waving some photocopied vaccine schedule at the poor pediatricians who agreed to sit amongst the vultures, challenging their positions with the full weight of her Google U education. It was really just so very fucking sickening. I haven’t checked the veracity of Handleys’ “85%” claim, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were true.

    Brace yourselves for the harrowing inanity of Jenny and Jim Carrey’s *Rally* on June 4th. As the Age of Autism site trumpets, “Mid-week means better news coverage!”

  7. #7 Dangerous Bacon
    April 3, 2008

    I would sympathize with poor Orac’s melted irony meter – except that my own irony detector was reduced to a smoking cinder by the following passage in a recent online article:

    “…mainstream media journalists continue to function at a very low level of scientific literacy, lacking any skills of mental reason by which scientific studies might be assessed…the fact that so many people keep buying this dim-witted reporting just proves that this nation remains woefully deficient in basic science education.

    One point worth mentioning here is that there is absolutely no requirement to have any real understanding of science, medicine, chemistry or physics to graduate from a top-notch journalism school.”

    This person who’s bemoaning scientific illiteracy among reporters and other Americans is none other than Mike Adams of “”, a notorious altie-worshipping crank and antivaxer.

    Adams’ judgment and objectivity are revealed in this quote about a published study debunking the mercury-vaccine-autism connection:

    “Now, I don’t have any direct evidence that the researchers in this particular mercury vaccine study were corrupted or influenced by Big Pharma, but as an honest, independent think(er) who knows the truth about drug companies, the mainstream media and the profit motive behind much of the science appearing in the press today, I maintain a default position of skepticism when it comes to reading these studies.”

    Yep, that’s Mikey – fingers firmly planted in his ears, in full cranio-rectal inversion, heard chanting (in a markedly muffled voice) “Na-na-na, I can’t hear you!”.

  8. #8 I am Kathleen v4.0
    April 3, 2008

    Kathleen’s whole blogroll is listed.

    Actually on topic…does “autism awareness” even mean anything? I mean, I know I’ve been autistic a long time, but I’ve never seen awareness DO anything except scare parents.

  9. #9 has
    April 3, 2008

    Ye gods. I hope that anti-vaxers never, ever meet up with creationists and 9/11 truthers at a party somewhere, or we won’t need the Large Hadron Collider to suck the planet into a black hole of infinite dense.

  10. #10 Coin
    April 3, 2008

    If you think pediatricians were hating life last week, wait until their patients start showing up today.

    ….cause to celebrate, truly? 😐

  11. #11 Regan
    April 3, 2008

    DanioPhD said,
    “To any pediatricians who may read this, I am so, so sorry that asshats like JB, Jenny, and their ilk make your job so much harder than it ever should have to be through their public spectacles of stupidity that seem so dazzling to the credulous public. Please know that you are appreciated by many rational parents like myself.”

    Thank you for saying that. I think I will send our pediatrician, who has gone above and beyond for us many times over the years, a bouquet of flowers.

    Is Larry King surveying on whether the world is flat next week?

  12. #12 The Christian Cynic
    April 3, 2008

    I would do well never to visit the Age of Autism site ever again. I’m certain I lost IQ points just from this comment:

    I have been a special education teacher for 24 years. i have also done extensive research on Chemtrails.

    Now I’m wondering if NCLB is really the problem with our education system.

    To another point: it really is a shame that non-wacky pediatricians are going to have to deal with more rabid anti-vaxers, all because these idiots want to propagate this stupidly anti-scientific notion. If anyone got their “ass whooped,” it was Rational Thought.

  13. #13 Sullivan
    April 3, 2008

    Jenny McCarthy could have passed out on stage in the first 30 seconds and people would be crowing over what a good job she did.

    I notice that Mr. Kirby will jump up and down to correct people about the vaccine court…except Ms. McCarthy. No, Jenny, the vaccine court was not created in 2001. No, the court case is not in Atlanta.

    Your rehearsed spiels are misleading.

    Lastly, you do not represent the “autism community”. Please stop saying that. You represent a couple of organizations. Say the truth.

  14. #14 Peds lurker
    April 3, 2008

    Thanks for that boost. Fortunately, most parents trust their pediatrician. Unfortunately, we don’t see the ones that don’t until it’s a big problem.

  15. #15 Bill
    April 3, 2008

    Its the beginning of the end of mass vaccination in America. Goodbye herd immunity!

  16. #16 Badger3k
    April 3, 2008

    Considering Larry King’s audience also believes in psychics, ghosts, and other hogwash, I’m not surprised that they agree with that. Of course, you also have to count the mercury militia furiously voting and revoting to pump the numbers up.

  17. #18 Bill
    April 4, 2008

    Bertrand Russell said, “Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.”

    ~Different Bill than the one that made the herd immunity comment, btw…

  18. #19 John Best
    April 4, 2008

    Is Seidel’s deposition open to the public?

  19. #20 Raiseya
    April 4, 2008

    Herd immunity is failing in Austria, as evidenced by the current measles outbreak there. Austria strongly suggests, but does not require immunization. Viola!

  20. #21 HCN
    April 5, 2008

    I wonder how Olmsted and Kirby would react if they were told to bring all the documents pertaining to their lives to a courthouse.

    Just read this: … and substitute Kirby and Olmsted for Kathleen Seidel’s name, and then substitute “” with the AoA and GR websites. It would be amusing to see how they would react. And, of course, they really aren’t journalists anymore, they are just bloggers like Kathleen.

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