By Cliff Kincaid
Brian Williams’ “chopper whoppers” about his exploits as a correspondent flying into Iraq are making him look foolish. It’s not clear whether he can survive in the anchor chair. But don’t think the Williams case means that the media are now on guard for misrepresentations and false claims. The controversy over vaccines has been another media low point. We are being told they are completely safe with no side effects. That’s a blatant lie.
Anybody who watches Williams’ newscasts can see who pays the bills: pharmaceutical companies. Commercials for various pills, and even vaccines, are regular fare and dominate the several minutes of time that pay for the newscast itself. You would have to be a fool to think these companies don’t try to exercise influence over what appears on the broadcasts.
Former CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s book, Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington, offers evidence of how powerful these companies are. She explains how pharmaceutical companies, their front groups, and public relations representatives work to manipulate news coverage and hide the truth from the American people about injuries caused by vaccines.
Attkisson, an Emmy Award winner who received the Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media Award in 2012, left the network when it became clear that her investigative stories, especially of Obama administration misdeeds, were not welcome. One of the stories she had been covering on a regular basis for many years was the vaccine-autism link. She continues to do so on her own website.
This is an area where the truth affects many people, not just Brian Williams’ career. The developmental disorder known as autism is estimated to affect two million people. It involves difficulties in social interaction and verbal and nonverbal communication. Hiring doctors and the rapists to treat the disorder can cost a family $50,000 or more a year. However, there is no cure.
The number of cases have risen from an estimated one in 5,000 in 1975 to one in 64 today, a more than 600 percent increase. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) claims it can’t identify the cause, but has consistently claimed that the disorder is not linked to the growing number of vaccines required for children.
The pro-vaccination side has increasingly resorted to vicious name calling and smears against those favoring informed consent and parental choice on vaccines. The Washington Post published a piece by Arthur L. Caplan, an alleged expert on medical ethics, comparing the opponents of vaccines to Holocaust deniers. He said that doctors favoring choice on vaccines should have their licenses lifted.
There is one name these proponents of mandatory vaccines in the media desperately want to avoid: vaccine victim Hannah Poling. You can search in vain for her name in the recent coverage of alleged vaccine safety.
Attkisson notes in her book that in 2008, the federal government agreed to pay damages to the family of Hannah Poling, “a child who developed autism after multiple vaccinations.” Attkisson explained that the “landmark case” amounted to $1.5 million for the girl the first year and $500,000 each year after. In total, the compensation could amount to $20 million over the child’s lifetime.
The Poling case was just one of thousands of cases filed in the National Vaccine Injury Program. But it was selected as a “test case” to evaluate the arguments underlying most of the other vaccine-autism claims.