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June 16, 2005

ABC News spiked Kennedy interviews

-- by Gary Boatwright

From The Huffington Post, ABC Bosses Tell ABC News Kill The Interviews With Robert Kennedy Jr. . . .

ABC corporate executives at the network's highest levels ordered three interviews with Robert Kennedy Jr. pulled from ABC News programming.

The interviews all centered around Mr. Kennedy's investigation of thimerosal, a mercury based preservative, used in vaccines given to children and believed to be responsible for increasing cases of neurological diseases including autism.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who has received $873,000 from pharmaceutical companies, tacked on the "Eli Lilly Protection Act" as a rider to a 2002 homeland security bill. The protection act was later repealed by Congress after a public outcry. Senator Frist is making another attempt to harbor big pharmaceuticals from families with infected children. He is appropriating the war on terror again by attaching a provision to the "Protecting America in the War On Terror" bill introduced to Congress this past January.
A 2001 Emory University Study watched ABC, CBS, and NBC in the Atlanta area for one week and found 907 advertisements for over-the-counter drugs and 428 advertisements for prescription drugs.

Posted by Gary Boatwright at June 16, 2005 6:10 PM

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Comments

Robert Kennedy Jr. is just a bit too charismatic, too knowledgable, and too caring to be let on television.

Posted by: Bribes at June 16, 2005 7:57 PM

From your link,

"UPDATE: ABC News had a change of heart. The network has decided to air the 'killed' Robert Kennedy Jr. interview tomorrow, Friday."

Posted by: Bribes at June 16, 2005 8:30 PM

I still want an explanation of why they killed "Boston Legal" without warning.

My guess is that it hit too close to home with it's story lines about indefinate detention, the Patriot Act, and our use of torture.

Posted by: grannyinsanity at June 16, 2005 9:06 PM

Check out
http://www.fda.gov/cber/vaccine/thimerosal.htm#saf

At the bottom of the article there is a series of very useful charts giving the dates at which thimerosal was removed from various vaccines, which ones never contained it, what's replaced it, etc.

The science is not entirely straightforward in this case. One major problem is that children develop autism at the same age they're usually vaccinated, so it's difficult to sort out cause and effect. Another problem is that, since almost all US children are vaccinated, it's very hard to establish a control base of unvaccinated children to compare the rate at which a control group does or does not develop autism. Finally, there's always a problem with these metastudies. A prime example is the research that was done, only using large metastudies, on prescribing estrogen to women. Based only on these studies, it appeared that prescribing estrogen provided huge benefits to women. It was only after double blind controlled studies involving actually giving estrogen to women and comparing the results to a control group was finally done that it was possible to understand that the improved health of the women taking estrogen was related to their generally more healthy life style, diet and exercise, and not to taking estrogen. I don't think we'd really want to do this kind of controlled study giving thimerosal to small children. It's better to just get it out of the vaccines -- which they seem to be doing.

Posted by: MJ at June 17, 2005 4:58 AM

How about a Bernie Sanders/Bobby Kennedy ticket in 2008?

Posted by: Vinnie at June 17, 2005 9:06 AM

Thanks for picking up on the update at the Huffington Post bribes. I decided not to update my post, because the essence of the story is the same. I'll be looking forward to Kennedy's interview. My take on the ABC denial is:

Holy shit! Did we get caught with our knickers down on this story or what? Even Ken Mehlman didn't have any RNC talking points for our anchors to bring up with Kennedy.

Give us a day or two to brief our anchors and hosts on newly fabricated RNC talking points and Heritage Foundation rebuttals and we'll be glad to interview Kennedy.

Posted by: Gary Boatwright at June 17, 2005 10:30 AM

MJ appears to trust the FDA to tell us the truth about thimerosal. Considering the record of the Bush administration, I don't know why anyone who isn't employed by Fox News pretends to believe anything a government agency puts on its website.

The resource guide link I provided has a wealth of information. The Mother Jones article is very good, Toxic Tipping Point:

In November 2002, the Justice Department asked the vaccine court to seal all documents in the autism cases; only days earlier, congressional Republicans had sneaked a provision into the homeland security bill that would shield Eli Lilly and other pharmaceutical companies from civil suits over thimerosal. Both moves were thwarted by public outcry from parents' groups. Still, because government agencies and industry have been recalcitrant about handing over documents, the discovery process has stalled and families are starting to be allowed to move to civil court.

If the thimerosal theory starts to gain traction in court, the cost to the $8 billion-a-year industry could be gigantic. Approximately 40 million American children were immunized in the 1990s. If current rates hold true, roughly 160,000 will be diagnosed with classic autism, another 270,000 with autistic spectrum disorders, and as many as 2 million with pervasive developmental disorders.

The real story is Sen. Frist's pending legislation to provide Big Pharma immunity from civil lawsuits.

Posted by: Gary Boatwright at June 17, 2005 10:38 AM

Vinnie: I don't think either Sanders or Kennedy has their heart in a chase for the WH. How about Boxer/Feingold?

good point on Boston Legal grannyinsanity. It was one of my favorite shows. I think M$M programming decisions are very deferential to the WH and the wingnuts. Quality television and truth are both under seige.

Posted by: Gary Boatwright at June 17, 2005 10:44 AM

If you'll take a look at the FDA tables, the FDA was working on this BEFORE the Bush administration was in office and started getting it out of vaccines at least by 1998-1999. The thing to watch for now is that it not be replaced by other preservatives containing mercury.

Why turn this into yet another conspiracy theory? Either it's in the vaccines currently in use, or it isn't. Check with your doctor before having your kids vaccinated. He can look at the label and make sure he isn't using an old supply.

Posted by: MJ at June 17, 2005 3:08 PM

Posted by: coturnix at June 18, 2005 8:43 AM

Read this and this.

Posted by: coturnix at June 18, 2005 9:44 AM

coturnix: please be considerate enough to inform Seeing the Forest readers that the links in your second comment are duplications of the url's in your first comment.

As far as content, Orack don't know jack.

Quote mining Orac's complaint is fatuous. There was nothing in Dr. Clements' full quote that made any difference in how Kennedy portrayed his words. Whether you read the abridged quote of the full quote, Dr. Clements is requesting medical censorship and that is exactly what happened.

Confusing Correlation and Causation Orac's use of the banal truisim that correlation does not equal causation proves nothing. Orac might have a point if the case against thimerosal depended on a single correlation and if the multiple correlations were all weak.

I couldn't possibly reproduce all of the information in the Salon article here, but it has been pointed out that Canada and Denmark did not have the same vaccination rates or use identical vaccines as were in use in America. Orac is comparing apples and oranges.

The Denmark study that impresses Orac has been debunked. It is way past time to stop pretending that Big Pharma doesn't purchase scientists lock stock and barrel all over the world. The best example is The Heritage Foundation, which will "prove" anything for a price.

Double Standards and conflicts of interest By Orac's standards, the only credible critic of thimerosal is Big Pharma. Unless scientists bought and paid for by Big Pharma agree thimerosal is unsafe, then thimerosal is perfectly safe.

Common sense This is a big oversight by Orac. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that it's bad medicine to inject a mercury based preservative into the blood stream of babies and small children.

Posted by: GaryBoatwright at June 18, 2005 11:42 AM

Yes Gary, it is quite tiring for some of us to have to hear folks cite the Danish study over and over when it is really a bad joke. For instance, the Danish study shows autism rates that never exceed about 6 in 2500 where in the US the most recent information is about 1 in 166. Danish children never had mercury exposure at the level that, in the 1990s, was routine for kids in the US and the UK. That is because Denmark removed mercury from vaccines before the number of scheduled vaccinations was increased.

Please also note that doubters of the link between mercury and autism never seem to get around to addressing the research of Dr. Richard Deth of Northeastern University. That is "bench science" (as opposed to epidemiological studies)that identifies the mechanism by which mercury may cause autism.

The study is here (pdf). A press release about the research is here.

Why is that research so studiously avoided?

Posted by: dwight Meredith at June 18, 2005 12:50 PM

Sorry, the first comment did not appear for hours, so I thought it did not "catch", thus I tried again. I thnk you seriously misunderstood Orac. I will leave your motivation for it to you to figure out - I am not even going to guess.

Posted by: coturnix at June 18, 2005 4:29 PM

This comes down to politics vs. science. The wise person bets on science. See intelligent design, creationism.

Posted by: Jim H at June 22, 2005 10:30 AM

I think the problem is that the almost all children are vaccinated, it's very hard to establish a control base of unvaccinated children to compare the rate at which a control group does or does not develop autism.

Posted by: Andrew Spark at January 31, 2006 9:06 PM

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