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Brian Deer: VanDerHorst-Larson: misinformed mother scatters food for the birds

Posted Oct 18 2012 8:51pm

Brian Deer recently lectured at the University of Wisconsin La-Crosse on his journalism involving Andrew Wakefield’s research efforts and the improprieties found in those efforts. Not surprisingly, this led to a response by Mr. Wakefield and his supporters. I’ve pretty much given up on fact checking their complaints. Or, in this case, even really reading them.

But, complaints were made and, in this case, Mr. Deer has responded. His written response as VanDerHorst-Larson: misinformed mother scatters food for the birds .

Mr. Deer introduces his article with these paragraphs:

After the collapse of what was only ever a fringe campaign in the United States, claiming that vaccines were responsible for an epidemic of autism, small groups of ill-informed, misguided and sometimes frankly malicious, people became desperate for attention. This led to a barrage of emails – often abusive or crammed with hate speech – to university staff following my October 2012 lectures in Wisconsin.

The complaint below by one Jennifer VanDerHorst-Larson, who said she was founder of something she called the “Canary Party”, was one of the few that didn’t ooze with personal bile. But even she hadn’t checked her facts.

Ms VanDerHorst-Larson’s complaints are numbered, and I respond beneath each.

An example of such a complaint, with a partial quote of Mr. Deer’s response is given here:

8. Mr. Deer also failed to disclose that there were no complaints against Wakefield by the children’s families, most of whom very strongly support him, and many of whom credit his team with a diagnosis that led to effective treatment of their children’s bowel disease.

The father of the only child in Wakefield’s series who was not entered in (failed) UK compensation litigation described Wakefield’s reporting in the Lancet as “a clear misrepresentation of my son’s history” and “ an outright fabrication ”.

If you wish to read a point by point response, again, the link is VanDerHorst-Larson: misinformed mother scatters food for the birds .



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