Well, I've finally seen it. The things I do for my readers, the pain to which I subject myself by watching neuron-apotosing levels of pseudoscience, misinformation, and lies as antivaccine propaganda, in order to deconstruct them for your amusement and, I hope, education! Yes, I've finally seen Andrew Wakefield and Del Bigtree's "documentary" VAXXED: From Cover-up to Catastrophe. Now, having watched Wakefield and Bigtree's "masterpiece," I can quite confidently say that it's every bit as accurate and balanced a picture of vaccine benefits and risks as Eric Merola's two movies about the quack…
J.B. Handley is an antivaccine activist, founder of the mercury militia "autism biomed"-loving group Generation Rescue, and apparent discoverer of the original clueless antivaccine celebrity Jenny McCarthy, who became president of the organization he had founded. It was a position from which McCarthy proceeded to do her best to drive down vaccination rates by publicly spewing antivaccine misinformation, all the while parroting the standard talking point that antivaccine activists like to trot out to counter charges that they are antivaccine. Indeed, it was arguably she who made this talking…
Celebrities who support pseudoscience and quackery are worse than regular, run-of-the-mill believers because they have a much larger soapbox than any of us do. I have a pretty healthy blog traffic for a medical blog, but even I don’t reach more than maybe 10,000 people a day. Even at my not-so-super-secret other blog, we only reach four or five times that in a day on average. Compared to the millions that someone like, for example, Oprah Winfrey used to reach on a daily basis or that someone like Dr. Mehmet Oz reaches on a daily basis today, the reach of the entire science blogosphere is…
Nearly two weeks ago, a story that I had been blogging about almost nonstop for a week reached its conclusion when Robert De Niro decided to pull the antivaccine movie Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe from the Tribeca Film Festival, of which he was one of the co-founders. Before that, he had revealed that it was he who had bypassed the festival's regular selection procedures and asked that the film be shown. All of this happened after an uproar over a film so full of antivaccine quackery, conspiracy theories about William W. Thompson (a.k.a. the "CDC whistleblower" in antivaccine circles…
Whenever a story like Robert De Niro's decision to choose an antivaccine film by Andrew Wakefield for screening at his prestigious Tribeca Film Festival followed by his decision to drop the film like the proverbial hot potato upon being shown just how full of misinformation, distortions, and pseudoscience the film is shows up, I not infrequently feel as though the topic takes over the blog. And so it often does. It's been the main topic here for the last week. That's why I thought I'd move on to something else, but then, seeing the reaction of the antivaccine crankosphere yesterday to the…
I knew it wouldn't take long. I just knew it. The moment I learned that Robert De Niro had reversed himself and decided to pull Andrew Wakefield's dishonest antivaccine propaganda "documentary" from his Tribeca Film Festival after having admitted that he was the one who had greased the wheels to get it accepted for screening there, I knew the conspiracy theories would fly fast and furious. And so they have. So agitated by De Niro's decision are antivaxers that the chief antivaccine loon at his very own wretched hive of scum and quackery, Mike Adams, wrote not one, not two, but three posts in…
Over the last three days I've been complaining about how the Tribeca Film Festival selected for screening Andrew Wakefield's antivaccine propaganda- and conspiracy-laden quackfest of a documentary entitled Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe. I also took TFF to task for its extremely disingenuous response about its being about "discussion and dialogue." You might also recall that I speculated, based on Andrew Wakefield's having bragged to the faithful that Leonardo DiCaprio was promoting his film (and then, just as fast, denying that he had ever said any such thing) that perhaps Leonardo Di…
Ever since I mentioned on Tuesday that the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival had taken a massive dump on reality and science by selecting for screening Andrew Wakefield's antivaccine propaganda "documentary," Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe, dedicated to the so-called "CDC whistleblower," the topic has taken over, as topics sometimes tend to do here. In response to the mounting criticism for featuring a film by a scientific fraud clearly intended as an "I'll show you all" moment to persuade viewers that Wakefield was right after all about his long discredited claim that the MMR vaccine…
I wasn't sure if I was going to write about this again so soon, because one post seemed adequate to describe the massive dump that the Tribeca Film Festival just took on reality by announcing the screening of a pseudoscientific antivaccine propaganda film by The One Antivaccine Quack To Rule Them All, Andrew Wakefield. Any skeptic with an interest in medicine and vaccines knows that he's one man most responsible for creating the myth that the MMR vaccine can cause autism. As a result, MMR vaccine uptake plummeted in the UK, and the measles came roaring back. I speculated why this might have…
When last we left Andrew Wakefield, hero to the antivaccine movement, he was a headliner on the Conspira-Sea Cruise, a cruise filled with conspiracy theorists, crop circle chasers, cranks, quacks, and antivaccine activists. It was a huge come down from his formerly exalted position as chief spokesman and "scientist" for the antivaccine movement, a position he enjoyed for many years before he was struck off (i.e., had his medical license stripped from him) in the UK and later had his scientific fraud documented so thoroughly by investigative reporter Brian Deer. Since then, it's all been…