One of the great things about America has been the First Amendment, particularly the right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. These are rights allow us to gather together to protest when we see something that we don’t think is right and want to change. Unfortunately, there is one downside to these freedoms, and that is that cranks, quacks, and outright twits have just as much right to free speech as anyone. Fortunately, my right to free speech allows me to ridicule these twits for annoying people, endangering public health, and in general making publicly making idiots of themselves. Among the most obnoxious and ignorant cranks and quacks out there are antivaccinationists. We’ve seen it time and time again, dating all the way back to Jenny McCarthy’s “Green Our Vaccines” march on Washington and including such “high points” as last year’s “#CDCTruth rally,” in which antivaccinationists hilariously thought that a poor guy just trying to do his job power washing a wall was actually a CDC agent sent to spy on them.

There is, however, one characteristic of antivaccine activists, and that’s that they love to harass and stalk people whom they view as their enemies, which generally include the CDC, vaccine scientists (legitimate ones not vaccine pseudoscientists like Andrew Wakefield or Mark Geier), and any media figure that criticizes antivaccinationists. Indeed, online, the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism has its very own troll team led by its “media editor” Anne Dachel, who, whenever she sees an article about vaccines, particularly one criticizing antivaccine views, she activates the crank signal, and hordes of antivaccine commenters will swoop down on the comment section like flying monkeys flinging poo. Meanwhile, before he became an alt right misogynist Donald Trump supporter, Jake Crosby gained plaudits from his fellow antivaccine kooks by stalking vaccine scientists Paul Offit, who, to antivaccinationists, represents a combination of Voldemort, Sauron, and Darth Vader, all rolled into one. As a minor minion of the dark lords of pharma myself, I, too, have been stalked. Yes, I’m hard-pressed to think of a group more dedicated to harassing those whom they perceive as their enemies than antivaccinationists. Indeed, they harassed random people on the street whom they thought to be CDC employees last month during their 2016 “CDC Truth” protest at the CDC, apparently unconcerned over whether the victims of their harassment were in fact CDC employees or not.

So it was not surprising that when NYU Langone Medical Center hosted a conference yesterday, Confronting Vaccine Resistance: Strategies for Success, it was like catnip to a cat, waving a cape in front of a bull, or whatever cliched simile you want to use. After all, Paul Offit was was going to speak. So was Richard Pan, the California state senator who co-sponsored SB 277 as a bill. SB 277 is now a law that bans nonmedical exemptions. So was bioethicist Arthur Caplan, a strong advocate for vaccines. So was Dorit Reiss, who over the last couple of years has become a favored target for the antivaccine movement. Add to that Bernard Dreyer, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and it was as though the greatest enemies of the antivaccine movement were all concentrated in one place. It was thus utterly irresistible to antivaccine cranks, who yesterday morning on AoA urged their followers to show up:

Please plan on attending a demonstration against an event entitled “Confronting Vaccine Resistance” which will be coming to the New York University Langone Medical Center this Monday, November 21, 2016. Please meet at 11 am at 550 First Avenue in Manhattan to greet the speakers and attendees. The meeting is closed to the public but will feature three of America’s leading proponents of forced vaccination: Paul Offit, California State Senator Richard Pan and anti-vaccination rights Internet troll Dorit Reiss.

FB PanJoining the Demonstration will be leading health advocate Gary Null, and VAXXED producers Polly Tommey and Del Bigtree. Bring friends, families and cameras. And bring a poster with a picture of any vaccine-injured loved one, along with their name, the date they were injured and the vaccine(s) that injured them printed on the poster.

Oh, goody. They attracted the VAXXED bus, you know that RV Del Bigtree and Polly Tommey, along with a rotating cast of antivaccinationists who actually believe the propaganda contained in the movie VAXXED, showed up! And they were as obnoxious as ever. For instance, they managed to send a cameraman into the cafeteria to bother Paul Offit as he was having breakfast and getting ready to present. Offit gave the VAXXED guy the response he deserved:

Not surprisingly, it turns out that this is cherry picked in order to make Dr. Offit look as bad as possible. Dr. Offit has explained his side of the story on Facebook in a comment:

Let me explain what happened yesterday. Dorit Rubinstein Reiss sent me an email stating that the VAXXED crowd would be protesting before the symposium in front of NYU-Langone. So I took the early morning train (6:30am) from Philly so that I could get to NYU before they gathered. I don’t like having to walk through crowds like this for obvious reasons (I had to do this once at the CDC and it wasn’t fun.) I entered the main building where I was met by a security guard. I told him that I was one of the speakers and he directed me to go to the cafeteria for breakfast where “I would be safe.” After sitting near the window for about 15 minutes (not imagining this would ever be a problem) I noticed Polly Tommey filming me from the street and another woman gesturing for me to look at their VAXXED truck. It was unnerving. I felt ambushed. At the same time that I noticed this, a man claiming to be “the cameraman for VAXXED” came up behind me and asked me to come in to the VAXXED truck to be interviewed. He had what looked like a camera which was around his neck but now I know that he was actually recording me. I asked him if he was recording me and he said that he wasn’t. I declined his request politely several times but he persisted. Frankly the guy was a little frightening (now I know that this was Josh Coleman, who has a criminal past). So I cursed at him. Not terribly proud of this, but I’m human. I also can’t stand the way that the “VAXXED team” denigrates children with autism and scares parents away from vaccines. Frankly, I think their “quest” is a dangerous one. Now I’m just trying to deal with the fallout, primarily from our hospital’s PR team who are concerned that the video of me keeps showing up on their Facebook page. And so it goes.

Typical antivaccine behavior, and very much of a piece with what I’ve come to expect from Del Bigtree and his minion.

Of course, Mark Blaxill also couldn’t resist regurgitating deceptive antivaccine attacks on Offit, in which Offit’s earnings from being the inventor of the Rotateq vaccine are portrayed as evidence that he is evil personified and hopelessly compromised.

Not surprisingly, on the VAXXED Facebook page, there are videos of the “protest”:

I found it hilarious that Del Bigtree claims to be for the science and the first person he interviews on the video is Gary Null, who, by the way, doesn’t look that healthy to me, his claims otherwise that his supplements will lead to excellent health notwithstanding. (Maybe he overdosed on them again.) He claims to have been fighting “this fight” (i.e., against vaccines) since 1966. Given that he would have been 21 years old then, I suppose it’s possible, but I consider it unlikely and am tempted to call BS on this. After all, we know that according to Null himself he says he became interested in nutrition in his 20s while working as a short order cook in New York.

Of course, Null’s paranoia is epic. At one point he asserts that antivaccine groups that claim to be pro-vaccine safety, that insist they are not antivaccine, are in fact agents provocateurs because they say we need “safer” vaccines, not the elimination of vaccines. He invokes Wikileaks (of course) to justify this assertion.

Even more hilarious is how Null claims to have spent 1,400 hours himself personally studying all the available science on vaccines and claims later that between him, Toni Bark, Sherri Tenpenny, and Suzanne Humphries, each one of them has 10,000-15,000 hours of research. Just to give you an idea, 1,400 hours is 175 eight-hour days, by the way; and Null is claiming that they’ve all done roughly three times that. I’m sorry, but I call BS on this as well.. The question he asked: What studies show that every single ingredient of every single vaccine has been proven safe and effective for every child it’s given to? All I could think when hearing that, after I finished laughing at Null, was that he clearly has no clue about how medicine works. (Obviously that’s true, but remarks like this just nail it.) Yes, it’s the sort of statement that sounds reasonable if you don’t know that there is no such thing as a medicine that is safe and effective for every single person to whom it’s administered; so right away you know that Null is pulling the usual antivaccine trick of demanding impossible standards of vaccines, when in fact by any reasonable standard vaccines are effective and incredibly safe. His remark about “every ingredient” is nothing more than a variation of the “toxins gambit.” Null does discuss how he would like ot see the end of all vaccines; so at least he’s honest about being antivaccine. Be that as it may, the scientific ignorance on parade here is epic, as he repeats multiple times that he could not find science showing that there is “such a thing” as a safe vaccine.

His failure just goes to show how clueless he is by claiming that immunologists and toxicologists are “not involved in the discussion,” as he mocks the very concept of “vaccinologist.” Idiot. It’s immunologists who help design, produce, and test vaccines. He also advocates a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials of the vaccine schedule involving 5,000 children in each group. Of course, besides being completely unethical because it fails to provide clinical equipoise, leaving the control group unprotected against vaccine-preventable diseases, such a study would be woefully underpowered to detect a difference in autism rates. I’ve explained in detail why 5,000 subjects per group would not be anywhere near enough subjects for such a trial. It goes along with Del Bigtree’s general scientific cluelessness, his claim elsewhere that VAXXED is a “pro-science” movement notwithstanding.

Near the end of the video there is a woman who claims that her children’s religious exemptions were rejected by the Catholic school in which she enrolls her children. Of course, if the woman is Catholic, which presumably she is, she should know that there is no religious objection to vaccines in Catholicism. Yes, it’s true that the church doesn’t like the use of cell lines created from aborted fetuses 40 or 50 years ago to grow the viruses used to make some vaccines, but the Catholic Church still promotes vaccination as the greatest good. Of course, the whole conversation takes place in the context of complaining about “forced vaccination” by the government, and I can’t help but point out that the government had nothing to do with this. A Catholic school is a private institution. If her children were in a public school, it would have had to accept her religious exemption if valid.

Finally, there’s Suzanne Humphries, who somehow managed to attend the conference:

Right off the bat she characterizes the conference as the “social engineering” of medical students. She also notes that one recommendation to medical students was that they should be passionate and “go down swinging” when dealing with vaccine-averse parents. My thought was: “Gee, she says that as though it were a bad thing.” Of course, medical students who go into primary care should be trained how to deal with vaccine-averse parents and what methods have the best chance of persuading them. It’s just good medicine.

Unfortunately, good medicine is the farthest thing from what Bigtree and company are promoting.

Comments

  1. #1 Dorit Reiss
    November 22, 2016

    According to people who saw the protest there weee about 30-40 people there.

    And the fact that they opened the day by harassing Dr. Offit, and then posting that video, really doesn’t go with the claim some of they make that they just wanted a dialogue.

  2. #2 Anonymous
    November 22, 2016

    I only want to comment to say thank you to Dr’s Gorski and Reiss. As a Ph.D in immunology I am grateful to have people like you from outside my specialty as an immunology researcher, defending what we all mutually care about. I am often at a loss to know how to respond to these sorts of paranoid, cynical, scientific illiterates. You do it well. This is thankless but necessary work. Don’t think it goes unnoticed by the people in my and our shared community.

  3. #3 Can't remember my nym
    or where I am
    November 22, 2016

    We are looking for a new practice nurse for our clinic. One applicant, who we interviewed today, had some alt-med leanings and gave a wishy-washy response when asked about vaccination. Anything less than “The science is clear – vaccines are safe and effective” is the wrong answer. Before we know it she’d be telling parents to ‘space the shots out’ and ‘do your research’.

    • #4 Orac
      November 22, 2016

      Yep. You have to watch out for this. Of course, any sort of CAM or alt med leanings are a definite tell, because such leanings are highly associated with susceptibility to antivaccine pseudoscience.

  4. #5 Jessika
    November 22, 2016

    Well apparently Gary Null has produced a documentary called Vaccine Nation and he has written a few articles about vaccination as well. I couldn’t find a book of his on vaccination, so his claim is still in dispute.

    Fourteen-thousand hours is a long time. I think you should be able to read all of the studies on vaccination in that that time, yes?

    You might even have time left-over to read toxicological studies on aluminum and mercury as well.

    I read about his poisoning. Apparently the supplement company formulated too much Vitamin D by a factor of 1,000. I am amazed that he survived. This vitamin is recommended on the scale of micrograms, and some pharmacist probably measured in milligrams instead.

    It this was with Vitamin A and he would be dead.

    It would be nice to see what his bone density is when he dies…

    He probably set an all-time record for cholecalciferol ingestion.

  5. #6 Chris Preston
    Australia
    November 22, 2016

    Over in the slum Anne Dachel is speculating about Barron Trump having autism. In doing so, she is showing her usual regard for accuracy.

  6. #7 Dorit Reiss
    November 22, 2016

    Dr. Offit said, on a public post, and gave permission to share:

    “Paul Offit Let me explain what happened yesterday. Dorit Rubinstein Reiss sent me an email stating that the VAXXED crowd would be protesting before the symposium in front of NYU-Langone. So I took the early morning train (6:30am) from Philly so that I could get to NYU before they gathered. I don’t like having to walk through crowds like this for obvious reasons (I had to do this once at the CDC and it wasn’t fun.) I entered the main building where I was met by a security guard. I told him that I was one of the speakers and he directed me to go to the cafeteria for breakfast where “I would be safe.” After sitting near the window for about 15 minutes (not imagining this would ever be a problem) I noticed Polly Tommey filming me from the street and another woman gesturing for me to look at their VAXXED truck. It was unnerving. I felt ambushed. At the same time that I noticed this, a man claiming to be “the cameraman for VAXXED” came up behind me and asked me to come in to the VAXXED truck to be interviewed. He had what looked like a camera which was around his neck but now I know that he was actually recording me. I asked him if he was recording me and he said that he wasn’t. I declined his request politely several times but he persisted. I felt ambushed and frankly the guy was a little frightening (now I know that this was Josh Coleman, who has a criminal past). So I cursed at him. Not terribly proud of this, but I’m human. I also can’t stand the way that the “VAXXED team” denigrates children with autism and scares parents away from vaccines. Frankly, I think their “quest” is a dangerous one. Now I’m just trying to deal with the fallout, primarily from our hospital’s PR team who are concerned that the video of me keeps showing up on their Facebook page. And so it goes.”

    https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1701505100160226&id=100009022566852&comment_id=1701760640134672&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R%22%7D

    • #8 Orac
      November 22, 2016

      I’ve added the Dr. Offit’s version of events, which obviously I trust far more than anything coming out of the lie factory that is the VAXXED crew, to my post. Thanks. I didn’t see that last night.

      • #9 Dorit Reiss
        November 22, 2016

        You couldn’t see it last night. It just went up.

  7. #10 Anonymous Pseudonym
    In Your Head
    November 22, 2016

    Now if only they could run this conference once a week in a different state each week, preferably on an opposite side of the country. The idiots would continue to protest, but I think that their staying power would drop off radically after the first couple of months. With enough media attention, maybe the public perceptions could be altered to give the anti-vaccine morons the attention and public opinion they so richly deserve.

  8. #11 Michael Finfer, MD
    Edison, NJ
    November 22, 2016

    Too bad. If I had known about that conference in advance, I might have attended.

  9. #12 Zach
    United States
    November 22, 2016

    I feel bad for the misguided parents who simply want someone or something to blame for their child’s diagnosis, but that’s no reason to give into hysteria. Conversely, I do not feel bad for the profiteers, and hope that pigeons flying overhead relieve themselves all over Bigtree, Wakefield, etc at their next protest.

    There is no such thing as a 100% safety guarantee in medicine, hell that’s why there are recognized medical reasons to not vaccinate a child. The nutbags are putting the actual sick kids at risk. Then, when their child lives through measles “oh see she didn’t need the vaccine she is strong and healthy, it must be those vitamin c tablets and organic produce!” All the while the parent ignores the boy in the playground who has permanent damage from being infected by their kid.

  10. #13 Chris Hickie
    November 22, 2016

    As a pediatrician, I commend Dr. Offit for saying what needed to be said to anti-vaxxers. Those AVers would have ambushed any/all of the speakers, and knowing that the cameraman who confronted Dr. Offit has a record of child abuse ( http://fox40.com/2015/10/30/roseville-anti-vaccination-campaigner-charged-with-willful-cruelty-to-children/ ) makes it even scarier.

  11. #14 Stacy Herlihy
    United States
    November 22, 2016

    I was there. Bigtree told three lies to my face in about two minutes. He said we have the highest infant mortality rates in the world, that vaccines contain toxic ingredients like formaldehyde and that Wakefield did NOT patent a separate MMR vaccine. Polly Toomey, his co-producer, called me selfish for vaccinating my kids and told me I was lucky my daughter wasn’t damaged.

  12. #15 Stacy Herlihy
    November 22, 2016

    FYI, the entire conference was very educational. Dr. Pan left me feeling very inspired. I am going to contact my local reps and let them know this issue is important to me. We all need to do that. He pointed that those who are anti tend to vote on this issue alone while we who aren’t tend to ignore it. This means it gets more credit from legislators who otherwise feel free to ignore our side as we are not as vocal.
    So contact your local reps and let them know this is important to you!

  13. #16 Stacy Herlihy
    November 22, 2016

    I also learned a lot from Dorit about the legal implications of any legislation on this issue. She pointed out that there’s very little the new president can do on this issue even if he’s not on board.

    Dr. Offit made a good point in the sense that the movement has hitched their wagon to Wakefield much to their detriment. I was pleased that he called out the head of the AAP and asked him to call out Dr. Sears. Sears is using the AAP to promote an anti-vax agenda. That’s another thing to that needs to be changed.

  14. #17 Chris Hickie
    November 22, 2016

    Thanks for that update, @Stacy Herlihy #16. I’m glad the AAP got called on their inexplicable (and offensive) allowance of anti-vaccinationists in their membership.

    The AAP needs to clean their house of those very publicly profiteering anti-vaccine pediatricians Bob Sears, Jay Gordon and Paul Thomas. Then the AAP needs to publicly call out anti-vaccine groups by name, such as Vaxxed/Wakefield, NVIC, etc. Finally the AAP needs to have state AAP chapters very publicly file medical board complaints against anti-vaccine physicians (such as Tenpenney, Mercola, Humphries, Bark, Wolfson, etc) requesting that those physicians be stripped of their licenses for the harm they are doing to public health. This is what the AAP should be doing if it is truly “Dedicated to the Health of All Children”.

  15. #18 Wzrd1
    November 22, 2016

    I entered the main building where I was met by a security guard. I told him that I was one of the speakers and he directed me to go to the cafeteria for breakfast where “I would be safe.”

    I’ve attended and even spoke in some rather tight knit conferences on information security within a counterterrorism operation. While attending, we’ve received very similar instructions for safe areas to relax in.
    It’d have been a major breach, the likes of which would ruin the reputation for physical security for attendees and participants, had someone from the street showed up in that ostensibly secure area and shove anything in our faces.
    As some of our conferences have been held at various NYU venues in the past, an expression of concern shall be sent, via official channels, as to concerns over the viability of continued conferences at their establishments, due to an abundance of concern over the lack of physical security for participants and presenters.

  16. #19 Stacy Herlihy
    United States
    November 22, 2016

    Chris, the dude from the AAP said they need to change their bylaws. Dr. Offit was like just change them already. I don’t see why they can’t do it and do it quickly. Sears needs to be censured for his lies to parents.

  17. #20 Eric Lund
    November 22, 2016

    It’d have been a major breach, the likes of which would ruin the reputation for physical security for attendees and participants, had someone from the street showed up in that ostensibly secure area and shove anything in our faces.

    I have to agree that NYU dropped the ball here. OTOH, Dr. Offitt should have followed the advice of David Byrne on the subject:

    You oughta know not to stand by the window
    somebody might see you up there

  18. #21 Stacy Herlihy
    United States
    November 22, 2016

    Security was very tight. You had to be on a list and present ID. They wouldn’t take my driver’s license because it has a slightly different name than the one Dorit gave them. I had to show them my passport. And then it took place in an out of the way space that felt very safe.

  19. #22 Delphine
    need more coffee
    November 22, 2016

    Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly love Paul Offit more than I already do…

  20. #23 sirhcton
    November 22, 2016

    . . . The question he asked: What studies show that every single ingredient of every single vaccine has been proven safe and effective for every child it’s given to? All I could think when hearing that, after I finished laughing at Null, was that he clearly has no clue about how medicine works. (Obviously that’s true, but remarks like this just nail it.) Yes, it’s the sort of statement that sounds reasonable if you don’t know that there is no such thing as a medicine that is safe and effective for every single person to whom it’s administered; so right away you know that Null is pulling the usual antivaccine trick of demanding impossible standards of vaccines, when in fact by any reasonable standard vaccines are effective and incredibly safe. His remark about “every ingredient” is nothing more than a variation of the “toxins gambit.” . . .

    Ah, yes the “toxins of the gaps” argument. If we don’t know every last detail of every possible interaction, such as a vaccine given on a Thursday, after a glass of avocado juice, but before stepping outside to look at the moon in a high pressure zone, then let’s toss the whole thing out. I am sure Null’s recommended dietary and supplement schedule have withstood that level of scrutiny.

  21. #24 Yvette
    November 22, 2016

    The behavior of the anti-vaccine protesters was a perfect microcosm of the “vaccine-debate.” While real doctors and scientists were working on making new discoveries and preventing/treating illnesses, anti-vaccine loons were standing on the street yelling at them, completely sure they knew more about vaccines than the actual scientists who research them.

  22. #25 Delphine
    November 22, 2016

    I love the fact that the woman whose children’s exemptions were refused by their Catholic school whines, “and now my kids can’t go to school.”

    It’s like the entire notion of consequences doesn’t apply to these folk. They are very, very, very special, and their children will pay.

  23. #26 G
    November 22, 2016

    I cheered Dr. Offit’s comments–after what he’s been through, I thought he was pretty restrained–but I’m distressed that it’s being used against him. Damn.

    While you are listing stalking of provaccinationists, don’t forget stalking/doxxing/harassing the wrong guy entirely:
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-07/anti-vaccination-campaigners-target-wrong-person/8001202?sf41380570=1

  24. #27 J
    November 22, 2016

    Not-a-lawyer and I’m not sure how the laws are in the state where the conference was held, but in a lot of places recording people outside of public areas is a crime.
    A quick google-fu session got me here: http://www.rcfp.org/reporters-recording-guide (check the PDF).
    Not sure how reliable or applicable it is, but it indicates that while New York doesn’t need consent from all parties it DOES have hidden camera laws. Since dr Offit was inside and security was in place, this would obviously fall under the hidden camera aspect and not ‘public areas’ which aren’t protected.
    Sadly I couldn’t figure out how it would work in New York when people are expected to have privacy but the recording isn’t made for sexual purposes as was explained in the PDF. You’d probably have to dig into the actual laws for that and this stuff is really not my area of expertise.

    Tl;dr, maybe I’m seeing this wrong, but isn’t there a good chance you could drag this loon to court over making that recording?

  25. #28 Dangerous Bacon
    November 22, 2016

    I enjoyed the irony of Gary Null complaining about “agents provocateurs”.

    Good that NYU Langone Medical Center hosted this conference. It partially makes up for their repeated endorsement of woo.

  26. #29 Lawrence
    November 22, 2016

    Given the abuse that Dr. Offit has suffered over the years, I thought the response was entirely justified.

  27. #30 darwinslapdog
    November 22, 2016

    It needs to be said that no matter how many hours you spend reading scientific papers, you will learn little if you do not have the educational background to understand and interpret what you are reading. This is the great problem with “do your own research”. Why bother with doctors/scientists/experts at all? Let’s all just “read up” and do our own appendectomies.

    The same applies to other areas of life–like politics, as we have so recently seen.

  28. #31 Michael J. Dochniak
    Minnesota
    November 22, 2016

    I recently asked Dr. Paul Offit if he could write a blurb for the Nova Science book titled, Autism Patents and Beyond.

    In a very kind and thoughtful way he declined. Dr. Offit emphasized that his expertise was in vaccines not autism patents.

    In my opinion, Dr. Offit is a great inventor, scientist, and a truly honest person.

  29. #32 Chris Hickie
    November 22, 2016

    @ Stacy # 19:

    The AAP has the ability per their current bylaws to expel (“terminate”) the membership of AVers like Sears, Gordon and Thomas:

    Section 8. Termination of Membership.

    B. Discipline

    The Board of Directors may terminate, suspend, or otherwise restrict the membership of any Academy member if two-thirds of the members of the Board of Directors find that the conduct of the member in question has been in knowing violation of the Bylaws or other lawful rules or regulations adopted by the Academy, or has been otherwise prejudicial to the best interests of the Academy. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the following shall be considered to be examples of conduct or conclusive evidence of conduct that is prejudicial to the best interests of the Academy and therefore subject to disciplinary action:

    (1) Conviction of a felony or any crime relating to or arising out of the practice of medicine, or involving moral turpitude;

    (2) Limitation or termination of any right associated with the practice of medicine in any state, province, or country, including the imposition of any requirement for surveillance, supervision, or review, by reason of a violation of a medical practice act or other statute or governmental regulation, disciplinary action by any medical licensing authority, entry into a consent order, or the voluntary surrender of the license to practice;

    (3) Improper financial dealings, including but not limited to fee splitting with another physician, or the payment or acceptance of rebates of fees for services or appliances;

    (4) Medical incompetence;

    (5) Grossly immoral, dishonorable, or unprofessional conduct;

    (6) Failure or refusal to cooperate reasonably with an investigation by the Academy of a disciplinary matter;

    (7) Participating in communications to the public that convey false, untrue, deceptive, or misleading information through statements, testimonials, photographs, graphics, or other means, or that omit material information without which the communication would be deceptive.

    The disciplinary actions that may be taken by the Academy against any member shall be set forth in greater detail in the Academy’s rules and regulations adopted by the Board of Directors from time to time, provided that no disciplinary action may be taken against any member unless the notice and hearing procedures set forth in the Academy’s rules and regulations are also followed.

    Sears, Gordon and Thomas are all easily shown to have violated sections (4), (5) and (7) with their anti-vaccine activities, and I see no reason why currently AAP by-laws need to be changed to kick them out. (bylaws can be downloaded at http://www.evernote.com/l/AA99cKpUtYdEh5bulRGb19VGOITlsETB2SU/ . ). I hope other pediatricians will call on the AAP to get off their duffs and do this now.

  30. #33 Lawrence
    November 22, 2016

    It really surprises me that the AAP puts up with doctors who actively advocate against the very tenants of their profession…..

  31. #34 Helianthus
    November 22, 2016

    @ Stacy Herlihy #14

    Polly Toomey, his co-producer, called me selfish for vaccinating my kids

    ???
    OK, I’ll need dear Polly to explain me this one. Of all the things she could have called you…
    I think I get it, but it’s convoluted. Something on the line, “stop inflicting vaccines on your children because you are a vaccine proponent”.

    AVers want to “keep their right” to be the ultimate judge about their children’s medical treatments; apparently, that “right” doesn’t extend to us.
    I’m all for freedom as long as you do as I do.

    @ Jessika #5

    Re: Gary Null’s OD on Vit D

    some pharmacist probably measured in milligrams instead.

    He got his overdose after eating one of his special, vitamin-enriched, ready-to-eat “Ultimate Power meal”.
    The vit D content was 2000 times the recommended daily dose (1000-U back then), instead of just 2 times.
    From that a reader told us about the manufacturing of this type of meals, a big bucket is prepared with a melange of vitamins/minerals/fairy dust. A technician walk along a row of boxes, each containing each individual component in bulk. He adds to the bucket one little spoon of the powder in box 1, 3 big spoons of box 2, 5 medium spoons of box 3… And then mix thoroughly the collected powders before sending it down the production line and starting again with the now empty bucket.
    The tech must have used the wrong spoon in the wrong box.

  32. #35 Stacy Herlihy
    United States
    November 22, 2016

    Dr. Offit points out that Dr. Sears actively touts his membership in this organization as a means of shoring up his credentials with parents. So he’s literally using the AAP to advance goals that are contrary to the goals of the AAP. It’s outrageous.

  33. #36 Eric Lund
    November 22, 2016

    AVers want to “keep their right” to be the ultimate judge about their children’s medical treatments; apparently, that “right” doesn’t extend to us.

    It’s a familiar refrain, and not limited to anti-vaxers: Freedom for me but not for thee.

    The tech must have used the wrong spoon in the wrong box.

    “Wrong spoon in wrong box” only gets you, at most, about an order of magnitude. To get a thousandfold overconcentration, something had to have gone wrong in the preparation of whichever powder contained the vitamin D. Most likely, whoever prepared that box used milligrams instead of micrograms; or possibly, depending on the scale of the operation, grams instead of milligrams.

  34. #37 Sarah A
    November 22, 2016

    It needs to be said that no matter how many hours you spend reading scientific papers, you will learn little if you do not have the educational background to understand and interpret what you are reading.

    Nonsense – scientists just need to write papers so that anyone with an undergraduate liberal arts degree can understand them.

  35. #38 Sarah A
    November 22, 2016

    ^ I put the word “sarcasm” in formatting tags but it didn’t apear

  36. #39 Liz Ditz
    Great State of California
    November 22, 2016

    Dorit Reiss, who was the third speaker at the conference, had the presence of mind to live-tweet Dr. Pan and Dr. Offit’s remarks. I’ve made a Storify of her tweets:

    https://storify.com/lizditz/confronting-vaccine-resistance-richard-pan-paul-of

  37. #40 MarkN
    November 22, 2016

    Thanks for that tweet rundown, Liz.

  38. #41 MarkN
    November 22, 2016

    It’s good to see Orac point out the overall health program from the Catholics. Amazing effort in humanitarian aid and promoting community health that doesn’t get near enough social media or mass media support. I guess the day to day work it takes to fight disease on a community level is just not that sexy.

  39. #42 ToxinFree Revolution
    USA
    November 22, 2016

    Fascinating that in a country founded on Freedom of Speech, you have yet to post an opposing view. I saw the video and read Dr. Offit’s explanation and it doesn’t seem plausible to me given the timeline of the video. But by all means, only post YOUR “truth”… Censorship is alive and well in aMercka.

  40. #43 MikeMa
    November 22, 2016

    Drs Offit & Pan are doing splendid work to promote vaccines and healthy children. Dorit is on most of the threads I comment on. I am unsure if she is just one person or has very capable clones. Well done either way.

  41. #44 Chris Hickie
    November 22, 2016

    Dr. Offit points out that Dr. Sears actively touts his membership in this organization as a means of shoring up his credentials with parents. So he’s literally using the AAP to advance goals that are contrary to the goals of the AAP. It’s outrageous.

    Bob Sears, as Robert Sears, MD, FAAP, has scared many parents into not vaccinating since publication of his book in 2007 (and even before that though in a much more geographically restricted manner). Refuting his book when parents bring it into my office is extremely difficult, especially given his FAAP credential, which the AAP has allowed to continue now for almost 10 long years. All the AAP had to do was denounce him and expel him. That is all they had to do…but they did not.

    What is the legacy of Bob Sears? The return of vaccine preventable diseases to the US, inlcuding two measles outbreaks localized to Orange County (where he practices) in 2014 and 2015. “Dr. Bob” owns those measles outbreaks and should be fined every cent he’s made on his book to help pay the medical expenses of all those who were hospitalized with measles from those outbreaks. Neither the AAP nor the Medical Board of California saw fit to intervene in his shameless promotion of his dangerous, untested “alternative vaccine schedules”, and to this day and with no remorse, “Dr. Bob” continues to scare parents out of vaccinating.

    Gee, thanks AAP for helping to make this possible (s/o).

  42. #45 Narad
    November 22, 2016

    Over in the slum Anne Dachel is speculating about Barron Trump having autism. In doing so, she is showing her usual regard for accuracy.

    Not to mention basically hoping that the child is autistic. And using a “news” source that is so low-rent that I’ve never even heard of it. (Apparently, the “reporter,” Roz Zurko, also freelances for examiner-dot-com.)

  43. #46 Orac
    November 22, 2016

    I’ve seen this speculation before. There is some interesting timing here. The first time I encountered Donald Trump spewing antivaccine misinformation was in December 2007. According to Wikipedia, Barron Trump was born March 20, 2006, which would have made him around 21 months old at the time Trump first started spewing antivaccine nonsense.

    No, I don’t take “Roz Surko” seriously and highly doubt that Barron Trump is autistic, but the timing does make one wonder.

  44. #47 rs
    November 22, 2016

    “And bring a poster with a picture of any vaccine-injured loved one, along with their name, the date they were injured and the vaccine(s) that injured them printed on the poster.”

    They must have looked silly out there waving around their blank placards.

    “Null does discuss how he would like ot see the end of all vaccines”

    So do we all. But the best method of getting there is to vaccinate so well that the disease will only be found in history books.

  45. #48 Eric Lund
    November 22, 2016

    I put the word “sarcasm” in formatting tags but it didn’t apear

    You have to use the special escape codes for the angle brackets. Use &lt; and &gt; to get < and >, respectively.

    You also need to use the escape code if you want to use a literal less than sign in a post (rarely an issue on RI but occasionally arises with the more math and physics oriented blogs as SB). The software on this site assumes that a less than sign is the beginning of a tag, and if it doesn’t recognize the tag, it strips out everything from there to the next greater than sign (or the end of the post, whichever comes first).

    • #49 Wzrd1
      November 22, 2016

      I always did wonder if perhaps, in the about page, a sub-page called “Gotyas” or something similar, a reference to the escape characters.
      I forget them on occasion as well. Something odd, as I write raw html quite proficiently. I suspect it’s due to responding in multiple blog venues, using multiple software types that typically don’t do html well.

  46. #50 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    November 22, 2016

    Fascinating that in a country founded on Freedom of Speech, you have yet to post an opposing view.

    Perhaps nobody with an opposing view bothered to write a comment before you did. However, I will present my opposing view: I believe the general rule is that is a strange man with a camera comes up to you and asks you to get into his van, you should go! He might have puppies or candy – or both!

    I saw the video and read Dr. Offit’s explanation and it doesn’t seem plausible to me given the timeline of the video.

    I don’t suppose it’s possible the video might be edited? Nah, that’s not a thing.

    But by all means, only post YOUR “truth”… Censorship is alive and well in aMercka.
    I could point out that as a blogger Orac has no obligation to post anything other than what he wants on his site. However, I see that your post got through. So if there’s censorship then either it failed, or your viewpoint was picked of all the opposing view submitted to represent the opposition. Why would that be?

    • #51 Wzrd1
      November 22, 2016

      I believe the general rule is that is a strange man with a camera comes up to you and asks you to get into his van, you should go!

      Not to be excessively contrarian, but I’ll respond with Culture vessel names.
      Hand Me The Gun And Ask Me Again. *

      I saw the video and read Dr. Offit’s explanation and it doesn’t seem plausible to me given the timeline of the video.

      Bother me in an ostensibly secure area, while I’m eating food or even having a cup of coffee…
      Experiencing A Significant Gravitas Shortfall**

      *Look to Windward

      **Running gag in series and also mentioned in Matter.

  47. #52 Rob
    November 22, 2016

    Stupidity isn’t hereditary it’s contagious….

  48. #53 Delphine
    viva bobby moore
    November 22, 2016

    Who cares that the good doctor’s work saves countless lives (particularly children) it’s way cooler to spout terms like aMercka and rage against the “toxins.”

  49. #54 Delphine
    November 22, 2016

    I love this coddled twits who bleat here about censorship. Pretty sure there are followers of this blog who live or have lived in countries where it’s more than precious whine from behind a keyboard.

  50. #55 Narad
    November 22, 2016

    I’ve seen this speculation before. There is some interesting timing here.

    Ahem.

    I’m in something of a rush, but the first mention of it that I could quickly turn up was from 2014. There’s also the 2015 item from People,* but L-rd, this sh*train seems to have started falling hard. The Dachelbot’s hypocrisy, I take it, goes without saying; I cut her no slack for being a doddering old bat.

    * h[]tp://people.com/celebrity/donald-and-melania-trump-dont-use-nannies/

  51. #57 Helianthus
    November 22, 2016

    @ M o’B

    if a strange man with a camera comes up to you and asks you to get into his van, you should go! He might have puppies or candy – or both!

    Ah. I was about to go for a paranoia check and ask if this sort of proposition is customary from journalists, or if I should start yelling “Help” if it happens to me.

    So that’s option B, then. Despite a decade reading here about the AVers’ antics, I’m underestimating how far some of them seem willing to go.

    I wanted to post something to compliment Stacy Herlihy, Dorit Reiss, and in absentia Paul Offit for daring to go public and taking the risks of meeting their angry opponents. I know I’m really not good at public confrontations, especially when people are yelling at me.
    Now, knowing I could meet the likes of camera guy, I would be scared sh!tless in these situations.

    • #58 Wzrd1
      November 22, 2016

      I know I’m really not good at public confrontations, especially when people are yelling at me.

      I’m likely worse, although in an entirely different way.

      Now, knowing I could meet the likes of camera guy, I would be scared sh!tless in these situations.

      Yeah, well, I’ve noticed that hospital cafeterias tend to be rather close to the hospital trauma centers, not sure why it is, but it seems to be a rule, rather than exception.
      Handy in my case, as my cane and that camera wielding dweeb would be introduced for a Frank Exchange of Views.*

      *Excession

      • #59 Orac
        November 22, 2016

        Trauma centers are usually the emergency room, and it makes sense to have the cafeteria close to the ER and the operating rooms, because lots of people will be waiting for their loved ones to be seen in the ER or for their loved ones’ surgery to be over.

        At my hospital, though, the cafeteria is actually pretty far from the ER. It is fairly close to the same day surgery unit and the main ORs.

        • #60 Wzrd1
          November 22, 2016

          @Orac, that is an old hospital joke. Complaining about the food is traditional in both the military and hospitals (even at TUH, which had exceptionally good food in the employee cafeteria). 😉

          • #61 Orac
            November 22, 2016

            Oh, I know. And I did my fellowship at a hospital where the cafeteria was in the basement, literally right across the hall from a hallway that led, after a short distance, to the morgue.

          • #62 Wzrd1
            November 22, 2016

            Heh, when at TUH, I had to work on a computer in the morgue. Well, nobody else wanted to work on it, as an autopsy was going on. The pathologist in charge didn’t mind someone working on the computer, as he’d not be using it while working up the patient, so I took the call.
            I did tell the pathologist that I’d only remain if the patient did not object, which generated some mutual mirth.
            I finished fixing the computer before the liver was fully sectioned.
            Then, I went down the hall, took a turn and went to lunch.

  52. #63 Narad
    November 22, 2016

    Fascinating that in a country founded on Freedom of Speech

    You apparently are having trouble not just with the general concept, but also with the meaning of the word “amendment.”

  53. #64 Denice Walter
    November 22, 2016

    Unfortunately I tuned into Null’s noontime woo-fest and heard his own account of his… er.. contribution.( It’ll probably be posted at prn.fm)

    re age and appearance
    Holy mackerel!
    This is a person who sells woo to forestall aging and claims that people tell him he hasn’t changed in 30 years! He has photos to prove it at his eponymous website. He sells anti-oxidants, dried/ powdered vegetable and fruit powder and other nostrums as well as skin creams and hair products
    He claims that he can reverse hair loss and greying : the infamous “hair study”.

    And seriously, as a dedicated user of hair dye, I see the telltale signs ** –
    – black hair has a red cast ( due to how the product works)
    – unrealistically even tone ( real people have more than one tone unless they are small children from Thailand)
    – uses lots of other products to give the appearance of thicker hair.
    As a health loon, he should beware the dangerous cancer causing chemicals in ( esp) balck hair dyes.

    ** believe me, mine doesn’t look like that.

    • #65 Wzrd1
      November 22, 2016

      And seriously, as a dedicated user of hair dye, I see the telltale signs **

      I chose long ago to not hide my gray hairs, I earned each and every one of them! 😉
      Besides, my mustache is now salt and pepper, running toward white (my beard is largely white). That beats the mixed hair colors that originally were in my mustache, to the point where it quite literally appeared green.

  54. #66 Denice Walter
    November 22, 2016

    That should be BLACK

  55. #67 Narad
    November 22, 2016

    Now, knowing I could meet the likes of camera guy, I would be scared sh!tless in these situations.

    I wouldn’t, but I remain pseudonymous because I don’t want people harassing people I know. You can f*ck with me, but not with “mine,” as it were.

  56. #68 Murmur
    UK-ia
    November 22, 2016

    “However, I see that your post got through. So if there’s censorship then either it failed, or your viewpoint was picked of all the opposing view submitted to represent the opposition. Why would that be?”

    Please sir! Please miss! I know! Please sir! Please miss!

    It involves the writer of the other bit bearing a startling resemblance to a character in a UK-ian comic, Viz, who went by the name Terry…I can’t fill in the rest of his epithet as I would get moderated…

    If only there was a handy way of tracking down such a thing…

  57. #69 Denice Walter
    November 22, 2016

    Correction:
    The dismally self-congratulatory photo collection at Null’s eponymous site seems to have disappeared – however , it is a totally new site so perhaps the dreck will show up somewhere ( he likes to post photos of himself posing)

  58. #70 Denice Walter
    November 22, 2016

    Wrzd1:
    My own tresses are a diverse blend of several shades of Android Gold/ light brown/ dark blonde.

    • #71 Wzrd1
      November 22, 2016

      My own tresses are a diverse blend of several shades of Android Gold/ light brown/ dark blonde.

      Now, *that* sounds like a pain to color!
      I tend toward dark brown for head hair that isn’t facial, although I did have one patch with every hair color known to man in it.

  59. #72 herr doktor bimler
    November 22, 2016

    The tech must have used the wrong spoon in the wrong box.

    Is that like using the wrong wrench to hammer in the wrong screw?

  60. #73 has
    November 22, 2016

    “Antivaxers lose it.”

    How could you tell the difference?

  61. #74 herr doktor bimler
    November 22, 2016

    If I can be permitted a brief off-topic question — does anyone have institutional access to the Springer “Encyclopedia of Cancer, 3rd Edition” (ed. Manfred Schwab)? Specifically, the 2015/2016 version (my university has paid the license to access to the 2011/2012 version, but not the latest update). I am trying to work out how one particular entry evolved from one version to the next, and what dubious additions the author has snuck in during the revisions.

    This is relevant to my interests.

  62. #75 Narad
    November 22, 2016

    It was 2007. See:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2007/12/29/latest-celebrity-vaccine-moron-donald-tr/

    Never question the almighty Orac when it comes to something like this.

    Well, sure, but I’m not seeing anything about Barron in there, the speculation about whom is what I was referring to.

    • #76 Orac
      November 22, 2016

      Oh, please. I never said that there was speculation about Barron in that post. I only just thought of the timing recently. I merely linked to this because you sounded as though you didn’t believe that Trump’s antivax statements date back to 2007, as I asserted they do.

  63. #77 NumberWang
    November 22, 2016

    Wzrd1, I hope other commenters get your Culture references too. Excession was one of my favourites. That and Player of Games.

    • #78 Wzrd1
      November 22, 2016

      @NumberWang, I loved Excessions and Use of Weapons.
      It’s a shame that Ian returned to GCU Arbitrary, but it was the prive to pay for The State of the Art. 😉

      Hey, there’s a Culture fan in every crowd.

  64. #79 Narad
    November 22, 2016

    And I did my fellowship at a hospital where the cafeteria was in the basement, literally right across the hall from a hallway that led, after a short distance, to the morgue.

    Mitchell? I remember when that cafeteria was open 24 hours a day; it was great. You could get there underground from 56th & Ellis if you had the code to the basement door between LASR and HEP.

    There was an episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker filmed in those corridors, but I can never remember which one it was.

  65. #80 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    November 22, 2016

    @Murmur – 🙂

  66. #81 Panacea
    November 22, 2016

    My jaw dropped when I heard the “cameraman” address Dr. Offit as “Paul.”

    Call me old fashioned, but that is just rude as hell. You address a person you do not know, and who has not been introduced to you informally, by their formal title. It’s Dr. Offit to you, you smarmy git. It just goes to show they didn’t want to show him any respect or really interview him.

  67. #82 Stuartg
    November 23, 2016

    Denise @ #70

    I used to claim I plucked the grey hairs…

    Now I claim to polish, because the few residuals have turned grey (or gray if I was in North America)…

    • #83 Wzrd1
      November 23, 2016

      @Stuartg, personally, I’ve been known to refer to it as “turning blonde”. 😉

  68. #84 Ligthhorse
    November 23, 2016

    Referring to Gary Null: “The question he asked: What studies show that every single ingredient of every single vaccine has been proven safe and effective for every child it’s given to?” Not that he would, but had he put the same question to me in reference to foods and medicinal plants, whether consumed by children or adults, the truthful answer would be no.

  69. #85 Chris Preston
    Australia
    November 23, 2016

    On the subject of anti-vaxxers doing harassment, I may have mentioned this before, but the Australian anti-vaxxers recently used their finely-honed research skills to out and harass the wrong person . You would have thought the difference in spelling of the surname would have been a dead give away, but no.

    The response of the anti-vaxxers to being shown they had the wrong person, was to simply not believe it. It was some sort of conspiracy apparently.

  70. #86 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    November 23, 2016

    # 37 Sarah A

    Nonsense – scientists just need to write papers so that anyone with an undergraduate liberal arts degree can understand them

    Given the standard of some scientific writing this sounds like a good idea. Some scientific writing is far too convoluted (mangled?). But then, I don’t remember any science student taking a good scientific writing course though I suppose they exist.

    # 82 Stuartg
    (or gray if I was in North America)
    Well, “grey” is more accepted in Canada

  71. #87 sadmar
    November 23, 2016

    @ jrkrideau

    Sarah’s meant-to-be-sarcasm comment was meant to bust my chops in relation to a bit ‘o disagreement on another thread.

    Given the standard of some scientific writing this sounds like a good idea.

    Yessir! Thanks! How ’bout them apples Sarah! [wink, wink]

  72. #88 Jenora Feuer
    November 23, 2016

    @wzrd1:

    I did tell the pathologist that I’d only remain if the patient did not object, which generated some mutual mirth.

    I knew a coroner’s assistant who, when asked what he did for a living, would look around furtively and then stage-whisper, “I see dead people.”

    There’s a certain strain of black humour that seems really common amongst such people…

    • #89 Wzrd1
      November 23, 2016

      @Jenora Feurer, not only in pathology. Ya outta catch EMS, ED and oncologists humor some time.
      All, rather serious gallows humor. It helps preserve what little sanity remains. 😉

      Although, I’ve failed have ever observed humor of any sort with the folks from NICU. Only a high burnout rate.

  73. #90 Liz Ditz
    Great State of California
    November 23, 2016

    I feel very strongly about this. Happily, somebody who is a better writer, with a louder megaphone, has written on the issue.

    When writing about Trump’s anti-vaccine views, leave his minor child, Barron, out of the discussion. Rebuke anyone who brings him in.

    David M. Parry on the issue:

    “My simple take is this – Do not politicize Barron Trump. Do not try to out people – anyone in any context – as disabled. Do not be ableist or spread stigma to serve political agendas…..

    Reminder: There is no autism epidemic. We diagnose differently now. Vaccines do not cause autism. ”

  74. #91 Denice Walter
    November 23, 2016

    @ Lighthorse:

    But the hoary old woo-meister would NEVER question the safety or efficacy of medicinal plants and of foods – provided that they are organic, GMO-free and vegan.

    Actually, he views them as freaking MAGIC! The cure to all ills- chock full of delicious and nutritious phyto-nutrients which are of course natural medicine, products of g-d’s green earth/ Gaia/ whatever. There are natural anti-virals, antibiotics and anti-coagulants to mention a few alternatives to medicine. I have documented a few of his fantasies as they occurred via prn.fm. He discussed programmes to conquer MRSA . hiv. Ebola. gangrene.

    I swear I am not making this up.

  75. #92 Denice Walter
    November 23, 2016

    Wrzd1:

    To clarify:
    the diverse tones are not a product of Nature but of artifice.

  76. #93 JP
    November 23, 2016

    But the hoary old woo-meister would NEVER question the safety or efficacy of medicinal plants and of foods – provided that they are organic, GMO-free and vegan.

    Actually, he views them as freaking MAGIC!

    This madness runs quite rampant among fungi enthusiasts, as well. A lot of people in the online fora I frequent are fond of making “medicinal” tinctures from otherwise inedible polypores. Some people even claim magical anti-cancer properties from the red-belted conk, which I find around here regularly.

    I’ll stick to boletes and chanterelles and so on, myself. (I found a nice mess of chanterelles the other day and finally found a huge, bug-free King bolete (porcini) yesterday. Linguini ai funghi tonight.)

  77. #94 Denice Walter
    November 23, 2016

    @ JP:

    You’re right!
    One of RI’s ( semi) regulars believes in anti-cancer/ therapeutic qualities of various Japanese mushrooms as well esp the Turkeytail IIRC.

    Actually, the woo-meister extends this beliefs system to most fruits and vegetables- each has some magickal substance which cures illness or extends life, Thus his pharmacopaeia Is limited to what most of us refer to as food and supplements.

  78. #95 Narad
    November 23, 2016

    David M. Parry on the issue

    Link’s broken, Liz.

  79. #96 shay simmons
    November 23, 2016

    There’s a certain strain of black humour that seems really common amongst such people…

    Back when I was doing the public health bioterrorism thing, my elevator speech for people who asked me what I did for a living was “I get paid to think the unthinkable.”

  80. #97 Lynn Eggers
    United States
    November 23, 2016

    From the article: “Meanwhile, before he became an alt right misogynist Donald Trump supporter, Jake Crosby …”

    I suggest that we ditch “alt-right” in favor of a more accurate term. My preference would be, “racist jerk.”

    • #98 Orac
      November 23, 2016

      I don’t necessarily disagree, but it was convenient shorthand last night when I was writing this.

  81. #99 JP
    November 23, 2016

    My preference would be, “racist jerk.”

    I lean toward “neo-Nazi” myself. Or even just “Nazi.” Might as well say it like it is.

  82. #100 Liz Ditz
    Great State of California
    November 23, 2016

    thanks Narad. I also misspelled his last name:

    David M. Perry:

    Do Not Politicize Barron Trump

    http://www.thismess.net/2016/11/do-not-politicize-barron-trump.html

  83. #101 Narad
    November 23, 2016

    I suggest that we ditch “alt-right” in favor of a more accurate term. My preference would be, “racist jerk.”

    I don’t know that the “racist” bit applies to Jake, but I don’t really check in on him frequently, nor am even close to an expert in abnormal psychology. He just seems to be angry, have a persecution complex, and to have jumped on this bandwagon as some sort of refuge. (Still waiting on that Thompson PNAS paper, Jake – might want to consider the possibility that Hooker was full of sh*t, as well as reconsidering your declared trust in him.)

  84. #102 Chris Preston
    Australia
    November 23, 2016

    Not to mention basically hoping that the child is autistic.

    Yes I noticed this as well. Given the way Anne Dachel and the others over in the slum described autistic children as “damaged” I was appalled*.

    *I should note that I am often appalled by the comments of anti-vaxxers, so this is nothing new. It just goes to demonstrate once again how appalling this particular group is.

  85. #103 EG Gordon
    November 23, 2016

    “Each one of them has 10,000-15,000 hours of research.”

    To put this into a different perspective than Gorski’s article, most accounting practices allow for 2080 hours in a typical work year. The 10,000 hour figure comes to 6.73 years at 40 hours a week. Taking the upper estimate of 15,000 hours (7.21 years) times the four claimants and you get 28.84 years spending 40 hours a week reviewing vaccine research. Anyone else wish to call BS?

    • #104 Wzrd1
      November 23, 2016

      @EG Gordon, I dunno. I could give credence for one, possibly two in that rather largish group, considering my own life history.
      Spending four hours of sleep per night, for a month or three at a time, then crashing for a day, rinse and repeat.
      The difference is, I am both conversant with multiple and disparate specialties *and* converse on a regular basis with such specialists and am evidence based in supreme preference.
      Aw, hell, it’s not a preference, it’s a requirement.

      But then, when I was in school, “the new math” was taught, the scientific method was also drummed in hard. We were also taught about other cultures, beliefs, societies, etc.
      So, my advantage is somewhat different from many readers here, both due to a low sleep schedule, when on a “project”, due to multiple generations of military service requirements and due to my own habituation of being an infamous information sponge.
      To the point where, many an S2 and even a couple of G2 shops banned me from their office, as my dyslexia allows me to read upside down as easily as I can upright and mirrors are only a modest obstacle.

      That said, from a guy who spoke in person with a Company Commander, who was a microbiologist by trade, I spoke, to his immense surprise about murine papillomavirus induced cancers. It was a wonderful experience for both of us.

      So, I’d give a salt mine of pinch of salt for one or possibly two people, three, well, there…
      Three chances.
      Slim, fat and none.
      And bluntly, I’d be astonished at two agreeing, despite the very real evidence. I’d be more inclined to view such a massive agreement with undiagnosed mental illness.

      Just an opinion, from a somewhat bright chap. An opinion that’s otherwise scathing of their viewpoints in the extreme.
      Or more simply, anything’s possible, how probable is it?
      For three, I’d estimate it as equal to all mercury in one of my last remaining antique mercury thermometers turning into gold, via cosmic radiation.*

      *Look up transmutation gold neutron bombardment for a hint on that really ugly viewpoint.

  86. #105 sadmar
    November 23, 2016

    Here’s my documentary filmmaker, documentary film teacher, media studies theory person etc. etc. commentary on the Offit clip and the reactions to it. It’s long, but I think the substance warrants the bandwidth.

    GOOD:
    Dr. Offit handled the ‘interview request’ perfectly. The target of an ambush interview doesn’t have a lot of good options, and instinct will usually lead them to the poorer choices. Even if the interviewers are ‘legit’, would like the subject to talk, and would be willing to have a fair discussion (e.g. Michael Moore), they’re ambushing you because they think you’re a weasel, guessing you’ll decline, and hoping you’ll behave in a way that makes you look guilty, visualizing the character traits they think you have. So the no-no list includes walking/running away, ignoring the crew in haughty silence, getting immediately aggressive and putting your hand over the lens or the like.

    Offit’s behaviors, though, are contrary to expectations of responses from a guilty man. He shows no defensiveness. He just calmly says ‘No’. Then he expresses the illegitimacy of the encounter with “Are you kidding me?”This is a key step, as it supplies the rationale for the following dismissal. The he ‘owns’ his refusal by looking right at the camera and saying, “Get the f*** out of here.” He’s annoyed (–> illegitimacy) but not aggressively angry (–> defensiveness). Finally, he refuses to take the bait of arguing about not talking, and just ends the encounter with a simple ‘Out!’. Textbook. if i was teaching people how to respond to this sort of situation, I’d show them this clip.

    Analysis: Dr. Offit probably got lucky here, in part because Josh Coleman was clueless on how to get what he wanted. Offit is grossly misleading in saying, “He had what looked like a camera which was around his neck..” suggesting it was just hanging against his chest. The specific jiggle and the fact Offit is mostly properly in frame could only result from Coleman holding it in his hand in some position where he could see the viewfinder display. But with the camera near his face, Offit appears to be looking and talking straight at it when he’s actually looking and talking at Coleman. Makers who know what they’re doing go in with a two person crew, a passive camera operator and a ‘correspondent’ who does all the talking (and holds the mic, if there is one).

    The other sub-optimal thing Coleman did that worked to Dr. Offit’s advantage was approaching him as he was sitting down in a restaurant. There’s a expectation of privacy while eating, but it’s also a situation where the target isn’t distracted by being in the middle of something. Also, with Offit sitting and Coleman standing, the camera looks down, which hardly makes Dr. Offit look like a bad guy, and increases the impression he’s being imposed upon by the camera itself. A pro would have dropped to a knee, getting Offit at eye level to start, and so he’d loom over the camera menacingly if he stood up.

    If Tommey and Coleman had been smart, they would have waited until Offit was on his feet, walking away from the table. Not only would camera and subject be on the same level, but Offit would have been far more likely to just ignore Coleman and continue past, yielding the ‘money shot’ of his back walking away from the lens.

    Folks, especially Liz: If you or anyone you know — e.g. Dr. Pan — ever find yourself camera-ambushed, no matter what the conditions, do exactly what Dr. Offit did, with one addition: First, turn, face the ‘interviewers’, give a wry ‘you have to be joking’ smile, calmly pull out your own cell phone, and start recording them, just in case they turn out to be yahoos. Then, look right into their camera (even if the person trying to talk to you is off to the side) keeping your incredulous grin, and say, calmly but firmly; ‘No. C’mon you know this is BS. I’m not going to talk to you. Go. Away… Away.’ Keep it short, don’t argue. (Mild expletive-modifiers OK, but not required.) I guarantee you the crew will go away disappointed.

    BAD:
    A. Dr. Offit’s written response to the clip has several key errors.

    First, he frames the recording as surreptitious, when it clearly is not. I mean, Coleman is holding a camera, lens toward Offit, and identifies himself as “the camera guy.” Worst, Offit claims, “I asked him if he was recording me and he said that he wasn’t,” when no such interaction is in the clip, which is clearly continuous action and begins before Offit is even aware of Coleman. “Who are you?” being his first words, 17 seconds in. (Mercy me, MOB. “The video might be edited’? Give me a break. As in a break in the clip, which there isn’t. At all.) I won’t suggest Offit is knowingly prevaricating on these details. He could have just remembered the incident wrong. My guess is that he thinks he came off badly, especially in dropping the f-bomb, and is unconsciously or consciously spinning to justify what might be taken as poor behavior. [Again, he comes off great, actually, and the way he deplored the curse word is no problem at all.] No matter, with this kind of thing you need to look at the clip carefully and respond in a way that’s consistent with, uhh, the empirical reality captured. So, if Dr. Offit had asked, after the out point of the clip, if Coleman had been recording and Coleman had said “No.” that sequence would need to be crystal clear in his account.

    Second, the reference to Coleman’s “criminal past” is totally unacceptable, and a very bad rhetorical ploy. Coleman’s past would only be relevant if Offit had recognized him and known about any troubling incidents, and only if the details of those incidents would have led a reasonable person to feel threatened by that knowledge. And what is Coleman’s ominous “criminal past”. He was arrested in October of 2015 for keying a car parked in a handicapped space at his wheelchair-bound son’s elementary school, and leaving the lad alone when he ran away from police responding to the report of vandalism. He was found hiding in a garbage can in a nearby back-yard. I couldn’t find any record online of what, if anything, became of the charges. Yes, be very afraid of men who hide in garbage cans…

    Third, Dr. Offit should not have acknowledged that he was getting ‘fallout’ from his hospital’s PR team about the video showing up on their FB page. It sounds whiny, and opens a reading that the hospital is unhappy with him. If they were, that’s totally their bad (very, very bad). But Dr. Offit could, and should, have just left that whole issue alone.

    B. The responses from Dr. Offit’s allies, as exemplified by this thread, are harmfully off base.

    First, while Dr. Offit is no doubt subject to a pattern of harassment from anti-vaxers, it’s ludicrous boy-that-cried-‘wolf!’ hyperbole to use that word to characterize the encounter between Offit and Coleman, even if there’s an argument it meets the legal definition of the term. Coleman was polite, non-aggressive, and went away quickly after being directed to. Only someone who has never seen news clips on TV or the Web would fail to recognize that professional broadcast journalists are much, MUCH more aggressive and persistent in seeking statements from public figures. Remember, Don’t Appear Defensive! It raises suspicions. Moreover, showing thin-skinned sensitivities to your opponents only encourages them to goad you into deeper trouble. You might as well plunge a mildly bleeding paper-cut finger into a pool of piranhas.

    Finally, J #27, see Delphine #54. The last thing you want to do is speak up for laws restricting image recording, or bringing up the specter of dragging people with cameras into court. Not that long ago NYC was set to introduce regulations on camera use that would have all but destroyed street photography and independent documentary production in the city. I think the city walked that back after the artists screamed bloody murder, but that sort of move remains a constant threat. You do realize what this would mean for any kind of investigative journalism into corruption, yes? Romney’s 47% gaffe. Hallie Jackson’s cell phone recording of Trump telling the cheering 1%-ers at Club 21 that he would slash their taxes when he ditched the press pool and went there for dinner. Put the shoe on the other foot. You’re walking down the street, you look through a restaurant window, and see Andy Wakefield lecturing and handing over documents to an enthusiastically nodding Steve Bannon, over their lunch plates. Do you just walk by because the restaurant is private property and you haven’t secured written permission from Andy and Steve and the management of the eatery. If you walk in, stand near them like you’re waiting for someone, and hold your cell phone so they can’t tell you’re recording, do we take you to court on a law created to keep unsuspecting private people wind up in porno videos on the Internet?
    No. Just no…

    BETTER
    It’s not just that nobody should apologize for or fret over Dr. Offit’s reaction. They should own it, celebrate it, and show it off with pride (damnit!). I’ll lay the big fail here on the PR department at Dr. Offit’s hospital, their fraidy-cat, CYA, back-peddling response being SOP for institutional flacks. They should have posted the clip on their FB page, with a strong endorsement. (I wouldn’t be surprised if the PR folks helped shape the errors in Dr. Offit’s written comment. Ugghh.) It’s not just that Coleman shouldn’t have been demonized and doxed. Dr. Offit and the hospital should have made an affirmative statement on press freedom. [This is still America. You don’t get to decide who is and isn’t a legitimate journalist. You have an absolute right to refuse talk to anybody, but you don’t get to tell anyone they can’t ask.] Most importantly, turn the discussion away from the clip, and back to the issue of the harms of antivax. Dr. Offit was on track to hit this with the perfect point, but it came too late, and too weak, and then was scuttled by ending on the PR fallout thing. Here’s a rough draft of the kind of statement every lesson I’ve learned in 45 years of media work tells me Dr. Offit should have made:

    I make no apologies for a little cursing, because I believe their “quest” is a dangerous one. It’s not just that the ‘VAXXED team’ tries to scare parents away from the vaccines that protect every vulnerable child in their communities. It just breaks my heart the way they denigrate and exploit children with autism. Frankly, they feed bigotry against against special-needs kids. What else can I saw about parents who think autism spectrum disorders are worse than death? Yes, that makes me angry, and I’ll probably show that again when these fringe extremists confront me. However, I understand the science isn’t simple, the public discussions are filled with noise, and good people will still have questions about vaccines because they don’t know all the facts about vaccine safety, and the harms that can come to kids from vaccine refusal. So I shall continue to try to speak to these good people, calmly and with compassion, about the truth verified universally by the community of responsible medical scientists, and about the love, respect and care all our children deserve.

    • #106 Wzrd1
      November 23, 2016

      @sadmar, allow me to introduce you to something very, very real.
      White list: Those essential to national security. Protect at all costs.
      Gray list: Of questionable, probable friendly. Protect, as necessary to team survival, preferred to see individual escorted to command for adjudication.
      Black list: Terminate on sight. Arrest on sight, as mission dictates. See point #1, combat is a busy business. See the fate of OBL for a prime example.

      That’s a real world National Security Assessment terminology.

      Dr Offit would be white listed. Vaccines saves lives, hence, save work force, hence, save a nation.
      Camera dude, not so much, indeed, he’d go from innocuous to black list due to his activities with Dr Offit.

      Your advice to the harmful side suggests your entry quite well.
      Advising those who would cause our nation harm isn’t considered a good thing and dead babies is totally considered a double plus ungood thing to consider.

      Just a suggestion. As, if the SHTF today, you’d be toast.
      So, a gentle suggestion.

  87. #107 sadmar
    November 23, 2016

    ‘Alt-right’ is more accurate than ‘racist jerk.’ The alt-right hate spreads well beyond race. There are ‘The Jews’, of course. And the feminists. And the intellectuals (including, especially, those freedom-hating scientists shilling for redistribution of wealth via the ruse of ‘global warming’*). But there’s also the disabled. I’m sure you all saw the spots from the Clinton campaign trying to sell the ‘temperment’ argument to GOP women in the burbs via interviews with parents afraid of what will become of their disabled kids under Trump. This clip has one of those followed by a commentary that it just plays to Trump’s followers’ bully-boy ethos. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6QCdqlXBh8

    In short, it’s not just Trump who’ll look at ASD kids as a ‘blight’. It’s the whole alt-right crew, And you what brownshirts do with blight, right? They burn it off. In ovens.

    The best way to prevent future holocausts, I believe, is not to forbear from Holocaust comparisons; instead, it’s to make sure that those comparisons are meaningful and substantive. — Mike Godwin

    Third Reich propaganda labeled people with disabilities “life unworthy of life” or “useless eaters”, highlighting their burden upon society. Between 1940 and 1941 approximately 70,000 Austrian and German disabled people were exterminated by the Nazis, most via large-scale killing operations using poison gas. (This methodology served as the precursor to the streamlined methods of the “Final Solution.”) — adapted from US Holocaust Museum

    Jake should watch his back.
    _______

    * “Donald Trump is poised to eliminate all climate change research conducted by Nasa as part of a crackdown on “politicized science”, his senior adviser on issues relating to the space agency has said.” The Guardian, 11/23/16

  88. #108 Lynn Eggers
    United States
    November 23, 2016

    “‘Alt-right’ is more accurate than ‘racist jerk.’”

    It sounds too innocuous; we need something that indicates how extreme and dangerous this attitude really is.

  89. #109 Chris
    November 23, 2016

    Lynn Eggers: “It sounds too innocuous; we need something that indicates how extreme and dangerous this attitude really is.”

    Neo-Nazis would be appropriate:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/11/richard-spencer-speech-npi/508379/

  90. #110 JP
    November 23, 2016

    “Dear Media: please stop calling them the ‘alt-right’: just call them Nazis. They won’t be offended. Nazis are super hard to offend, unless you call them Jews.”

    -Andy Borowitz

  91. #111 Delphine
    November 24, 2016
  92. #112 Narad
    November 24, 2016

    Yes I noticed this as well. Given the way Anne Dachel and the others over in the slum described autistic children as “damaged” I was appalled*.

    There was at least some pushback from the commentariat, both against the Dachelbot and Cynthia Parker.

  93. […] hospital (and explain why), write to your state representative opposing naturopathic licensing, stand up for vaccination, and for all the myriad other ways you support the rational application of science to health […]

  94. #114 Denice Walter
    November 25, 2016

    @ EG Gordon:

    ” Anyone else…….”

    Sure. He has been perseverating upon the 10K .. sometimes 14K… meme for a while. Usually, he applies it to Drs Humphries, Bark or the African American doc whose name I cannot recall at present ( she has a clinic in Mexico IIRC). Sometimes he applies it to himself.

    Thus you can see how fast and loose he is with numbers as well as facts.

    If one has a career as a doctor, working long hours as I’m sure most do, where does one get the additional hours per week that could feasibly lead to the 10 or 14K?

  95. #115 Denice Walter
    November 25, 2016

    Re alt right:

    I would reserve it for specifically web based crap. I don’t know if they’re all N-zis but I’m sure some are. I heard some horrible material from Spencer on television :
    the US is European-based, the only worthwhile contributions are from Europeans, the culture is Euro…etc.

    Where has this guy lived ?

  96. #116 Helianthus
    November 25, 2016

    @ Denice Walter

    Where has this guy lived ?

    In his navel.

    The material you are bringing up was all there in the interview Delphine #111 linked to.

    He and his pals are currently up there, not despite but thanks to their sick opinions.
    I and many other people who just try to be decent human beings are down below.
    This guy makes me feel like a loser.

  97. #117 Denice Walter
    November 25, 2016

    @ Helianthus:

    Actually, I’ve met a few people ( mostly men, unfortunately) with those beliefs. One (from a family of them) went so far as to reject evolution of human because it included an African genesis!
    ( Right: the ‘races’ evolved SEPARATELY on different continents!! Yeah sure, draw me a diagramme or something)).
    They also called themselves Christians

    I enjoy being quite European-looking ( i.e. white as a sheet**) and be able to loudly dismiss ideas like that .
    I usually add that there are people with ‘Jewish’ names in my ancestry- that really adds fuel to the fire***.

    Although I am trained to help people deal with emotional turmoil OCCASIONALLY I like to create some if the cause is important enough.

    ** remember when sheets were mostly white?.

    *** DW: providing grist for mills and fuel for fires since… well, a long time ago

  98. #118 Narad
    November 25, 2016

    the US is European-based, the only worthwhile contributions are from Europeans, the culture is Euro…etc.

    It’s not often that one encounters a full-on attack against the banjo per se (as opposed to the plenitude of jokes about banjo players).

  99. #119 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    November 25, 2016

    @sadmar – On first viewing and reading Dr. Offit’s account, I could believe that the tape was started after the encounter started (whether the encounter was filmed beginning to end and shortened, or whether the initial contact was not filmed I could not say). The man came up to Dr. Offit, invited him down to the van, and once rejected (and having annoyed Dr. Offit) walked away, allowed him to start eating again, framed his shot as though approaching the first time, and filmed what we say, hoping to get a reaction. Thus my comment on editing.

    I cannot say for sure that is what happened on repeat viewing.

  100. #120 Narad
    November 25, 2016

    remember when sheets were mostly white?

    No, and I’m no spring chicken, either.

  101. #121 sadmar
    November 25, 2016

    @ MOB:
    Dr. Offit wrote:

    A man claiming to be “the cameraman for VAXXED” came up behind me and asked me to come in to the VAXXED truck to be interviewed… I asked him if he was recording me and he said that he wasn’t.

    This is a narrative account, so he’s saying he asked Coleman if the camera was running AFTER Coleman identified himself as ‘the camera guy’, which does not fit with his ‘who are you?’ query at the beginning of the clip.

    What I wrote about the need for temporal clarity if Dr. Offit had asked about whether Coleman was recording at a time point after the clip end applies if he somehow asked before the clip starts. Either way, ToxinFree’s observation — ‘Dr. Offit’s explanation doesn’t seem plausible given the timeline of the video’ — is true, and the onus for that is on Dr. O., (or his PR dept.) not ToxinFree. The larger problem, the unwarranted defensiveness, probably would still hold, if to a somewhat lesser degree, to even a rigorously accurate account of the encounter.

    All that said, for the record, it sure looks like something happened before the beginning of the clip. The clip starts with Coleman bringing the camera up to his eye from a position near his waist pointed at the floor. Then Coleman walks behind a man who appears to be some kind of security person toward Dr. Offit’s table. This suggests ‘security guy’ had been speaking with Coleman near an entrance to the dining area. ‘Security guy’ appears unaware that Coleman is behind him, as he and Offit are looking out the window at a small group of people on the other side of the street. Presumably, these were other members of ‘the Vaxxed team’, also with a camera pointed at Dr. Offit, as ‘security guy’ is wagging his finger at them. Coleman’s first words in the clip — “They wanted to see if they could get an interview with you, Paul.” — clearly indicate he is elaborating on a situation of which he thinks Dr. Offit is already aware.

    The clip also suggests that regardless of what may have occurred earlier, ‘security guy’ wasn’t too worried about Coleman. When Coleman is speaking to Offit, he’s standing within arm’s reach of ‘security guy’ for 14 seconds before security guy says, “You know you can’t do that here, right?” After Offit tells Coleman to ‘GTF out’ Coleman makes one more weak attempt to engage Offit, is rebuffed, and is already turning away from Offit when ‘security guy’ says “I’m going to have to ask you to [unintelligible]’, in about the least-firm and concerned tone you’d guess a security guy would ever use.

    I can imagine a couple scenarios of the ‘before’ consistent with all the evidence, but neither square with the impression presented in Dr. Offit’s narrative account. But, again, my point is that being clear on the precise details would still be a poor choice, as it still deflects from ‘what matters’. Another bad move in Dr. Offit’s comment I didn’t address specifically before: even mentioning the security guard, much less the promise he “would be safe”. Perhaps I’ve been too understated in calling the comment “defensive”. What Dr. Offit wrote amounts to: ‘I’m soo sorry I made a verbal boo-boo, but I couldn’t help it because I was just so afraid of Polley Tommey and her super-scary camera guy!!” … with his assigned security guard standing right next to him,; in broad daylight, in a cafeteria with at least a dozen other customers sitting nearby… Not a good look.

    So here’s how I would have had Dr. Offit describe the encounter:

    I was eating breakfast in the cafeteria, minding my own business, I noticed Polly Tommey filming me from the street and another woman gesturing for me to look at their VAXXED truck. A man claiming to be “the cameraman for VAXXED” came up behind me and explained they wanted me to go out to the VAXXED truck to be interviewed. He was pointing his own camera at me, and now, obviously, I know he was actually recording me. As you can see, he asked me if I was “up for” an interview in the truck, and I calmly replied “No.” Anti-vaccine crusaders have hassled me without mercy or let-up in the past. So when the Vaxxed ‘camera guy’ persisted after that, I wanted to be clear in no uncertain terms that I wasn’t “up for that” from him.

    I had no reason to think the Vaxxed team wanted to engage me in a polite ‘conversation about our differences of opinion’ and plenty of experience leading me to think they had something quite different in mind. The Vaxxed team knows full well I’ve had these phony requests to “just talk about differences of opinion” tossed in my face more times than I can count over more years than I care to think about. So I bristled: First at the thought this ‘camera guy’ was feeding me the same-old-same-old in a smarmy and blatant passive-aggressive act; and second at the idea the issue here is “just differences of opinion” rather than one of well-established scientific consensus on questions of fact. Doubly annoyed, then, by the way camera-guy expressed his persistence, I instinctively added a curse word modifier in telling him to go away.
    [insert text from comment #105]
    I admit I felt a bit embarrassed at first, hearing my profanity played back on the Web. But, taking a step back now, I have no regrets for having an honest reaction to the persistence of zealots who fostered the conditions for the measles outbreak that occurred in California last year. They have now seen the concrete consequences of their quest. And they want more. To them, I say this:

    Forget I told your ‘camera guy’ to get the bleep out of a cafeteria. I’m telling you to get the bleep out of public health policy. And you might want to spend the time you’ll save in showing your kids some acceptance and love, instead of presenting them to the world as a “blight” of sub-human freaks.

  102. #122 Chris Hickie
    November 26, 2016

    @Sadmar #121 and 105 — Consider you did everything you could to avoid confrontation with these anti-vax loons, and then you still wind up being ambushed by them (with a camera that’s recording) while a so-called security guard stands right by you cluelessly doing nothing. That is not the time to carefully weigh and choose a measured response, especially if you’re feeling you’re all on your own against an AV freak who was smart enough to get past security/find you/get in your face during a meal/call you by your first name. Also, Dr. Offit has previously had death threats from AVers and needed a security guard in the past ( http://www.newsweek.com/dr-paul-offit-debunking-vaccine-autism-link-91933 ), so try and understand why he might not care too much about choosing the response PR experts would suggest.

  103. #123 sadmar
    November 26, 2016

    @ Chris Hickie:

    Please understand I’m looking at this from a media communication perspective, and talking about ‘best responses,’ with all the caveats that term suggests. It’s not that I’m not personally sympathetic to Dr. Offit’s feelings. It’s that if we actually believe anti-vaxers are a serious threat to public health, Dr. Offit’s personal sensitivities are not my primary concern.

    Anyway, who said anything about taking time for a measured response to the camera guy? I said Dr. Offit’s response was perfect. My critique was directed at his written response to the clip being posted on FB, which was measured and did have input from his hospital PR people. And was awful.

    Anyway, Dr. Offit has been hassled by folks like Polley Tommey more than enough times, and been subject to anonymous attempts at intimidations enough times, that he should know the difference between the two, and be prepared for both. And ‘know’ it seems he did. He doesn’t appear afraid in the clip at all. Certainly he knows that Tommey and ‘the Vaxxed team’ have every motivation NOT to hurt him. Polly’s not about to trade her cushy lifestyle for a jail cell. She’s just trying to get more material for propaganda pieces she and Andy can use to bilk more money out of well-heeled anti-vax true believers. Newsweek unhelpfully offers no information at all about the death threat Dr. Offit supposedly received.

    Asked how he ranks the intensity of the vitriol aimed at him, Offit says simply, “Abortion, doctors who perform abortions.”

    Sorry, but ‘hell the bleep. No.’ Offit is not George Tiller, and the Vaxxed team isn’t The Army of God. It’s also bogus special pleading to describe the mild-mannered Coleman as a ‘freak’. [Here’s a pic of him. http://tinyurl.com/z4e2vhh Mr. Intimidating he’s not] If Dr. Offit was ‘feeling all on his own’ with the security guard standing within arm’s reach of Coleman, that’s his problem. Except, of course, he showed no sign of being afraid of Coleman in the clip, and only patently over-exaggerated the ‘threat’ afterward, as grounds for his frankly foolish apologia.

    Nor, for that matter, can you accuse the security guard of “cluelessly doing nothing”. He does seem to be unaware that Coleman was following behind him, but he might have been handling the whole scenario with professional aplomb. He might well, per MOB’s point, spoken to Coleman before the clip starts, sized him up, concluded he wasn’t any kind of threat, and exercised due discretion in gently making sure he left Offit’s table at the end of the clip, so as not to escalate the situation and cause trouble. What did you want him to do? Act like Herk on The Wire and slam Coleman spread-eagle against the window for a pat down? With Polly Tommey recording the whole thing from across the street?

    Again, Chris, it really doesn’t matter whether Dr. Offit felt threatened or to what degree. What we’re talking about here is how the incident was represented for public consumption. Consider, for a minute, who needs to hear pro-vax messages, and to hear anti-vax countered effectively – the ‘swing vote’ if you will. It matters how they assess Dr. Offit’s credibility and his assessments of ‘reality’. That he over-exaggerated was bad enough. Far worse, he made far to much of his response about him, and too little about the reason he was there for his talk in the first place. Now, you’re in here tripling down, presenting Polly Tomey’s crew trying to get Offit on tape in terms more appropriate to Muslim-American school kids walking home being stalked by a gang of Trumpers in a 4×4.

    Frankly, I think this all makes Polly Tomey very, very happy.

    • #124 Wzrd1
      November 27, 2016

      @sadmar, one thing that security should *never* do is let *any* stranger close with a VIP. Period.
      Ever.
      Strangers are to be kept away from a VIP, not allowed to follow a security team member, not close within a couple of meters of the VIP. That’s how one gets a VIP shot to death.

      The only thing that security guy did right was call in on the radio, once he realized that he had an intruder within proximity of a VIP.

      If that’s the epitome of security at that hospital, I shudder to consider how many code pinks they have a year!

  104. #125 Narad
    November 26, 2016

    Oh, dear, I look at one comment at AoA, and I feel dumber already. Cynthia Parker, lecturing on immunology:

    And the killed pathogen vaccines HAVE to have an adjuvant or they wouldn’t work. Once the pathogen is killed, it’s now longer worthy of notice by the immune system.

    IPV says hi.

    Why don’t we just forget about vaccines and try the homeopathic nosodes on a large scale to prevent those diseases people think need preventing?

    How these are “worthy of notice by the immune system” is not explained. Given that homeopathy is by definition purely symptomatic, one presumes that this would represent some sort of innate activation, viz., the “inflammation” that she abhors in general.

  105. […] the antivaccine movement; and Bernard Dreyer, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. As I put it at the time, it was as though the greatest enemies of the antivaccine movement were all concentrated in one […]

  106. […] the antivaccine movement; and Bernard Dreyer, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. As I put it at the time, it was as though the greatest enemies of the antivaccine movement were all concentrated in one […]

  107. […] was up at minute 66:34. Joshua is the person who recently ambushed Dr Paul Offit at breakfast and video recorded him without permission.  Joshua began to talk about Del Bigtree showing the film to Senator Ben Allen, but Karen […]

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.