1/04/2010

The Lawsuit Heard Round the Blogosphere

Liar Liar Pants On Fire Tantrum in the Schoolyard. No wait, It's Barbara Loe Fisher Suing Offit and Wallace!

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                                       --the NVIC website


The above is Fisher's disclaimer on her website that all her crap could be wrong and if it is and you followed her advice and something bad happens, it's not her fault. At all. So there.
 
Apparently, Fisher doesn't like it when reporters and infectious disease experts point out she's wrong, so she's suing Amy Wallace, Paul Offit and Conde Nast Publications.
 
It's already been covered ably by several blogs, which I'll catalog here, and they do a fine job of detailing the silliness of the suit.
 
Autism News Beat covers the suit ably and is an excellent place to start your blog journey into the coverage of Fisher getting her panties in a knot over the Wired article. I would imagine by the end of the week, she'll be a bit more knotted at the coverage her action gets.
 
The filing itself can be found at Ratbags, with the accompanying blog.
 
Rainbow Chaos also blogs on it, as does Maggie at The Skeptics’ Book of Pooh-Pooh .
 
Orac at Respectful Insolence covers it, as well. So does Abel Pharmboy. Novella also covers it.
 
So, there are your pro-science and skeptic blogs covering the attention-diverting lawsuit by Fisher. I am sure more will follow.
 
But what about those concerned with "vaccine safety" and "greening our vaccines"? Those concerned with making sure people have "full informed consent" (code word for not vaccinating)?
 
Where are their blogs?
 
Let me run over to that bastion of pro-safe vaccines (as if those of us who denounce the pseudoscience spewing forth over there are against safe vaccines), Age of Autism. Surely they are covering it? Nope. They're all about the autism numbers, which they've been going on about for months upon months. You'd think their beef would be that the CDC still doesn't acknowledge the numbers they believe to be more accurate rather than arguing the fluffernutter nonsense they go on about.
 
Okay, what other "pro-safe vaccine activist" can I look at? Ginger's always good for that kind of thing. Nope, she's still stuck on Julie Gerberding's hiring at Merck.
 
Hmmm. Okay, let's go look at Fisher's site again. Maybe it's in all her video footage? I can't find any reference to the suit, which you would think she'd be all over, right?
 
I did find them taking blame, though, for the anti-vaccine movement: "The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) is a national, non-profit educational organization founded in 1982. The oldest and largest consumer organization advocating the institution of vaccine safety and informed consent protections in the mass vaccination system, NVIC is responsible for launching the vaccine safety and informed consent movement in America in the early 1980's."
 
There you go, when you want to know where to hang the hat of blame when more children die of vaccine-preventable diseases, you need look no farther than NVIC. Of course, their disclaimer at the top of this blog absolves them from any responsibility. Hey, maybe we should all put those sorts of disclaimers on our sites?
 
Found another nugget while searching Fisher's site looking for her coverage of her lawsuit:
 
"The discrimination begins, always, with the majority in a society pointing the finger at a minority for somehow endangering the public health and welfare. Individuals in the minority group are singled out as different - ethnically, biologically, spiritually, morally - from the majority. The human impulse to fear, judge, marginalize or eliminate those different from the rest has left a blood soaked trail winding throughout the entire history of man from the Great Inquisition to the Holocaust; from the killing fields of Cambodia to Rwanda, Serbia and Tibet; while the persecution of those with leprosy, TB, AIDS, mental illness, and handicaps continues in every society".


How can you not stand in awe at a martyr complex so large that she equates her work spreading fear informed consent with the Holocaust and other atrocities? Hey wait, is this the same Fisher who is all over the holocaust-denying whale.to site? Wow. Won't Scudmore be surprised? Maybe he doesn't require complete allegiance? After all, the holocaust may not have really happened according to whale.to, but the antivaxers never fail to employ the holocaust gambit every chance they get.
 
If the above quote wasn't enough hyperbole, how about this:
". . . If the State can tag, track down and force citizens against their will to be injected with biologicals of unknown toxicity today, there will be no limit on which individual freedoms the State can take away in the name of the greater good tomorrow."

                                                 --from Fisher's blog



Fisher would like people to believe that she is unbiased:
"If you want to support unbiased, scientific research into the health effects of vaccination and be part of this historic grassroots movement to defend truth in science and the informed consent principle, become a donor supporter of the consumer-led non-profit (501c3) National Vaccine Information Center. The world’s largest and oldest vaccine safety and informed consent organization is funded by donations from individual citizens and foundations, including Dr. Joseph Mercola and the Albert and Claire Dwoskin Family Foundation. NVIC takes no pharmaceutical industry or government funding."

Oh well, then completely unbiased and totally scientific. You had me at Mercola!

For fun, and because whale.to is a really good place to go, sort of like a clearinghouse of woo, let's look at some of the things Fisher has said that demonstrate how clear-thinking and unbiased, not to mention scientifically-minded she is:

"If everybody is forced to get vaccinated, then there can be no comparison of the long term health of those highly vaccinated to those who receive fewer or no vaccines."
 
 
It's a conspiracy, don't you know?
 
"Every day that government health officials lie to the people about vaccine risks is one more day that the public loses a little more trust in what they are told by government. .....MMR vaccine is known to induce brain inflammation and death within 8 to 14 days after vaccination......"

Don't you just love it when the safe-vaccine proponents put out the lying government charge. The government health officials probably ought to think about suing Fisher, right?

"Parents around the world are not fooled by the ignorant, inhumane behavior of forced vaccination proponents, whose zealous defense of one-size-fits-all vaccine policies injure and kill innocent children. The truth will shine bright and clear in the end."

Okay, so she's cast herself and those who follow her as the truth-shining martyrs and anyone who advocates for preventing disease as forced vaccination proponents and child killers. Ain't she a sweetheart?

"During the past 25 years of work to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and defend the informed consent ethic, I have seen doctors who tell the truth about vaccine risks be viciously attacked by their colleagues in government, industry and academia. The attacks are both professional and personal and, with surgical precision, the goal is to evisicerate rather than simply stun the victim. It is an ugly process and it has a distinctly Spanish Inquisition flavor to it."

Flowery and poetic, huh? No hyperbole there at all. No exaggeration there at all.

Moving on to other whale.to pages with Fisher's writings:

"Reason and faith, conscience and science, truth and freedom. Those who participate in the Great Denial of vaccine risks cannot tolerate an unbiased, methodologically sound scientific investigation into those risks. And they cannot tolerate the free exercise of religious belief and conscience by those, whose minds and bodies they must control in order to perpetuate the Great Denial."

Now, we all know she's talking about scientists, but it could easily be turned back around. Study after study showing no link between vaccines and autism, but they're never good enough. No doctor denying, the government not denying, and certainly not the manufacturers denying that adverse reactions occur. We all admit it, we all admit there is an inherent risk. But that risk is less than the risk of the diseases themselves.

Fisher and people who believe as she does would have you take the risks of the diseases themselves.


I have written about Fisher before, deconstructing her H1N1 fact or fiction post and noting how chockful of nonsense it was.

Additional blogs on this:

Skepacabra

More Than a Number

Orac, today 01/05/10

WAY

David Gorski at Science-Based Medicine

The Least Important Million-Dollar Question About Childhood Vaccinations

13 comments:

Corina Becker said...

I always love the "parents around the world" against forced vaccinations thing, because really, have there ever been forced vaccinations? Not that I've heard of, but then I live up north. You know, with the universal health care that apparently is socialism, so I don't pay for any of my vaccines and whatnot? hmmmmmm....

oh yes, and it's been about three months since my H1N1 vaccine, and I'm still not more autistic

Petunia said...

We all had the H1N1 vaccine in this house too and cant' say I've noticed any adverse reactions... (well I snort now and again when laughing.. is that connected??)

Great post xx

kathleen said...

I adore the disclaimer on the NVIC site...so basically she can write anything she likes-and if you choose to believe it, that's your problem..I guess that she thought that this would extend to her slandering another person..Or wait..is it not slander if it is for "educational purposes"?
I too love the image of the state running down people and forcing vaccines on them...that's up there with the parent who claimed CPS was called and then came to their house because their children weren't vaccinated..Why has martyrdom become so appealing?

Clay said...

Is it too soon to start comparing your blog with Neurodiversity weblog as far as thorough researching goes? I couldn't help but be reminded of that venerable blog while reading your treatment of this subject. And yours has more humor content.

KWombles said...

Corina, the forced vaccination thing was a new one for me; I guess I hadn't spent enough time over there or at whale.to, huh? There's only so much time I can spend on those sites, though, before it gets a bit much to take in.

I snort, too, at times, so you know it probably is a result of the vaccines, Petunia! :-)

Kathleen, didn't you know martyrdom is the new rage? :-)

Clay, thank you; that was a wonderful compliment! Made my day.

Corina Becker said...

**elbow nudges Kim** Orac quoted you. :D


That reminds me, I've been wanting to send him a t-shirt, the Rejecting Conspiracy one. I don't have the money though. sigh. And here I was thinking that he could wear it to presentations, or blog writing and things.

Life as the mother of 4 said...

Kim,

You wondered why none of the safe vaccine proponents had written about this. Obviously, our communication system with the mother ship is down. It's a good thing the "Official Paul Offit's Fan Club" was on alert or I might never have known about this at all. ;-)

davidbrown said...

"have there ever been forced vaccinations?"
Yes, historically. According to Arthur Allen, "compulsory vaccination" laws paved the way for the "eugenics" law behind Buck v. Bell. I think that at this point, the whole issue is only of concern to "anti-vax" groups. This is especially true with H1N1 vaccination, in which NVIC has appealed to the "compulsory vaccination" canard despite repeated failures by authorities to provide vaccines even to all who want them.

Do'C said...

Thanks for a succinct and enjoyable read on the subject Kim.

Do'C said...

By the way, my Captcha for the the previous comment was "euratea"

You Rate A!

KWombles said...

Do'C, :-)rhanks! Cool word verification, too!

isles said...

"Martyr complex" - that's exactly the phrase I'd been casting about for to describe Barbara Loe Fisher. She really thinks quite highly of herself. I wonder how many miserable illnesses and preventable deaths she's responsible for.

AutismNewsBeat said...

Does anyone else think most anti-vaxers are either embarrassed by Fisher's action, or to afraid to comment?