Hysteria Archives

Autism Doctor a Fraud, But Hardly Alone

By Michael Fumento

"A deliberate fraud." That's what the British Medical Journal, one of the world's most prestigious periodicals, has written of the study that kicked off the current anti-vaccine movement. It's "clear evidence of falsification of data should now close the door on this damaging vaccine scare," it said in a heavily documented editorial.

The lead author of that anti-vaccine study, which also appeared in one most respected medical journals, The Lancet, was British physician Andrew Wakefield. And its consequences, as I write in AOL News, include millions of terrified and confused parents, large drops in vaccination rates and death.

This is the face of pertussis.

Many people, including me, have spent years puncturing his claims and those of his acolytes in the anti-vaccine movement. But a media that thrives on sensationalism instead played up the phony link.

Yet while this "deliberate fraud" has been exposed, others continue to go unchallenged, or worse, get trumpeted by reporters who should know better.

Last year the World Health Organization, having exaggerated the world AIDS problem by 12-fold, then hyped SARS and then spent four years terrifying us over avian flu (remember avian flu?), converted the mildest flu strain in decades (swine flu H1N1) into the first flu pandemic in 41 years simply by rewriting the flu pandemic definition. Aiding it was a study in Science magazine that completely misrepresented the citations it used as authority.

Likewise, San Francisco last year became the first jurisdiction in the country to put warning labels on cell phones, influenced in great part by a series of studies published in peer-reviewed journals alleging they cause brain tumors. Yet as I wrote in a CEI paper, "Celling Fear," they're all by a single environmental activist and totally fly in the face of the main body of research. Plus the city relied on an Environmental Working Group paper that used citations saying exactly the opposite of what the report claimed.

Why does fraudulent science thrive? Better to ask, "Why not?" It pays.

Even when the fraudsters get caught, they often laugh all the way to the bank. Wakefield gets more than $300,000 a year in salary alone from an anti-vaccine group.

Why! That's even more than I got for writing that article for AOL News!

January 10, 2011 03:11 PM  ·  Permalink

"No More Crying 'Spanish Flu!'" my article in Forbes

By Michael Fumento

What's that? Your throat feels sore? You're sniffling and sneezing? Bit achy?

IT'S THE RETURN OF THE SPANISH FLU!

Okay, that's satire - but not by much. Since 1990, every time some new viral pathogen comes along that grabs the media's attention, we hear it may be the Second Coming of a pandemic that killed about 50 million worldwide and 675,000 Americans - to 175 million globally and 2 million Americans."

This image of an overflow Spanish flu ward, was taken from an article on SWINE flu.

First, it was SARS in 1993. It ended up killing 774 people worldwide and no Americans. Which didn't stop the New York Times from writing 1,000 articles about it. NONE of which said, "We wuz wrong."

Then it was avian flu. It was supposed to go pandemic and kill literally as much as half the world's population. But nobody but me pointed out it's been circulating since 1959, so why should it suddenly go pandemic? In any case, it didn't and cases peaked a few years ago.

And then, of course, it was swine flu. And here's where you see that my satire was barely off the mark. A year ago both the WHO and the UN said swine flu might become another Spanish flu because - ready? - they both started off mild. So if swine flu had started off severely then it would have been more reassuring?

But there will NEVER be another Spanish flu again, and I explain why. And you'll be very interested. So read about it here.

May 21, 2010 12:47 PM  ·  Permalink