Sunday Times’ London Editor Must Quit Over False “Wakefield MMR Data Fixing” Story

Posted on February 19, 2009 by childhealthsafety

The position of John Witherow, Chief Editor of the internationally published British broadsheet newspaper The Sunday Times, London is looking untenable in the escalating row over freelance journalist, Brian Deer’s now shown-to-be-false Sunday Times’ story alleging former London Royal Free Hospital surgeon and gastroenterology specialist Mr Andrew Wakefield “fixed” data in a Lancet medical journal paper to show a link between the MMR vaccine, autism and serious bowel disorders in children: MMR doctor Andrew Wakefield fixed data on autism” – Brian Deer, The Sunday Times, London – February 8, 2009.

The Sunday Times’ story was improbable and shown to be false: Sunday Times Journalist Made Up Wakefield MMR Data Fixing Allegation .  Late last night the companion story was amended online with a statement “This article is the subject of a legal complaint” [Hidden records show MMR truth Brian Deer, The Sunday Times – February 8, 2009].

For the allegation in freelancer Brian Deer’s story to be true meant that for 10 years the claimed single-handed action by specialist surgeon Mr Wakefield had gone unnoticed by the other 12 eminent former and current London Royal Free Hospital medical authors.  10 of the authors in March 2004 partially retracted the  suggested interpretation in the paper of a possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism in an attempt to alleviate the outcry from British politicians and Government health officials.  The bulk of the Lancet paper still stands and has been replicated in other scientific studies [See end].

A letter received by Editor Witherow late yesterday charges:-

The journalist Brian Deer and The Sunday Times, London have breached the overall obligations of the PCC Code regarding the “duty to maintain the highest professional standards” and The Sunday Times is also in breach by publishing such a story.  The journalist Brian Deer has demonstrated a remarkable lack of professionalism, a disregard for professional ethics and an obsessive interest in Dr Wakefield, belying the detachment, objectivity and impartiality of a modern professional journalist in the 21st Century.

Mr Deer has demonstrated gross breaches of professional ethics in his behaviour and reporting, including his personal interest in making the complaints which have led to the extraordinary and intensive General Medical Council proceedings against Dr Andrew Wakefield.  In short, Mr Deer stands to lose professionally should his complaints to the GMC prove not to be upheld and he has a personal interest in publishing stories to prejudice the GMC panel against Dr Wakefield to see that they are, which seems could well be one of the purposes of the story under complaint.  Very much the same charges could be levelled at The Sunday Times itself in its reporting and that of its sister paper, The Times, London.“  [Full text below]

Writing in The Spectator, political commentator and respected British journalist Melanie Phillips said following ChildHealthSafety’s exclusive worldwide disclosures:-

What the Sunday Times did not report was that the GMC investigation into Wakefield was triggered by a complaint from… Brian Deer, who furnished the allegations against him four years ago. He has thus been reporting upon the hearing into his own complaint. Since when has a reputable paper published a story by a reporter who is actually part of that story himself — without saying so – and who uses information arising from the disciplinary hearing which he himself has instigated and which is investigating allegations he himself made in the first place?

The witch-hunt against Andrew Wakefield Wednesday, 11th February 2009

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

I have enormous respect for Dr. Wakefield, as in my opinion he is one of the most well-respected academic researchers on autism in the world. This latest attempt to smear his name, in which freelancer Brian Deer said he “changed and misreported results in his research, creating the appearance of a possible link with autism,” has been called out for what it is: fraud.
In order to understand the graveness of this latest attack, it helps to first know a bit of background.
Sadly, Dr. Wakefield has been persecuted for more than a decade by both Pharma-funded special interest groups as well as public health officials maintaining close relationships with vaccine manufacturers.
His crime?
Daring to publish a study in The Lancet in 1998 calling for more scientific investigation into the possible link between the
MMR vaccine and autism.
What he and colleagues identified was a previously unknown combination of bowel disease and autism in 12 children. Bowel symptoms are common in autistic children but had until then been regarded as simply a manifestation of their behavioral problems.
The finding that these children had real and severe bowel disease was a groundbreaking discovery in and of itself, but then, against the advice of others in the team, Dr. Wakefield explained in the paper that eight parents said their previously normal child had fallen ill after receiving the MMR inoculation — a mixture of weakened but live measles, mumps and rubella virus.
Dr. Wakefield has found evidence of measles virus infection in damaged bowel tissue from some of the children, and later revealed he had seen
170 children with the bowel effects and autism, and that a majority of the parents involved had said their children fell ill after being given the MMR vaccine.
After these findings were publicized, rates of MMR vaccine in the UK promptly fell, Dr. Wakefield was fired from his position and later was charged with professional misconduct by the UK’s General Medical Council (GMC). The paper was also removed from The Lancet amidst all the controversy.
It should be noted that through it all, Dr. Wakefield has defended his findings and said he did not regret his decision to get involved in the MMR controversy. Back in 2001, he said:

"Losing a London hospital teaching job doesn’t do much for my CV but there are bigger issues at stake. What matters now most of all is what happens to these children."

Then, just last month, writer Brian Deer published an article in The Sunday Times London attempting to further tarnish Dr. Wakefield’s reputation by saying he “fixed” data for the study.
What’s Really Going On Here?
It has now come out that Brian Deer’s allegations were totally false and amounted to nothing more than a smear campaign. But it’s not just a simple case of a reporter with mistaken facts, because Brian Deer was the one who originally furnished allegations against Dr. Wakefield in the first place.
In other words, the GMC’s investigation was triggered by a complaint made by Deer, so he was essentially reporting on a disciplinary hearing that he himself instigated.
Ironically, the article came out just days before the U.S. “vaccine court”
ruled that the MMR vaccine does not cause autism, and Deer is now being challenged to explain his potential role in all of this.
On top of that, MMR vaccine manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline has just appointed James Murdoch, the head of News International and boss of The Sunday Times (the paper that published Deer’s story) to its board!
The conflict of interest appears so blatant that some have now dubbed The Sunday Times “The Sunday Glaxo”!
A Reminder to Always Read Between the Lines
Whenever you hear or read something in the news, it is so important to examine the source and look for any hidden agendas. This is especially true when it pertains to your health or the health of your children.
It appears the truth may just come out and Dr. Wakefield may get the vindication he’s deserved all along.

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Published in: on March 14, 2009 at 11:47 am  Leave a Comment  

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