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Cherry Picking Science: Chicago Tribune's Shotgun Journalism Strikes with Another Shoddy Hit Piece

Posted Nov 23 2009 12:00am

Cherry-picking By Teri Arranga

If the Chicago Tribune really knows spontaneously recovering autistic children, we want to see serious scientific study on this phenomena and we want to meet them.  The Chicago Tribune reporter had no interest in meeting ours.  Astoundingly, that is, in fact, what happened at the Autism One 2009 Conference.  Armed with a miniature memo pad and a large amount of sarcasm, when presented with the wonderful opportunity to meet children who had recovered from autism, a disorder that affects at least 1 in 91 children and costs public educational programs obscene amounts of money every year, the reporter's agenda placed no priority upon this.

Fortunately, seasoned parents were able to kindly facilitate this meeting, and the reporter did meet with an articulate child who recovered through the very types of biomedical treatments that the Tribune is on a campaign to discredit, in addition to the reporter sharing a pretty smile in a photograph of a boy (Michael, with his mom, Deb) who has gone from moderate-severe full-syndrome autism to the level of ADHD, and whose mother shared his positive biomedical journey - which included chelation - with the reporter.

According to the recovered boy's mom:
"I sensed that the reporter had an agenda.  I told her our story of recovery.  I explained that when Mark was diagnosed with autism, we were told that he would require institutionalization. My husband and I did not accept that answer or the lack of information, so we began our own research.  We started the gluten-free/casein-free diet and saw great success.  Mark had language within a couple of weeks.  Methyl B-12 stopped his stuttering and bed-wetting and helped him learn and retain information.  I introduced her to Mark, who spoke to her with great eloquence and enthusiasm, so she could see his wonderful recovery.  The reporter seemed completely uninterested in Mark and in our story, and it became very apparent that we were making no progress in communicating our story.  I finally walked Mark away because the negativity of the reporter concerned me, and I did not want Mark to be exposed to this."

And this boy has moved forward greatly:

Teri Post photo 
When I related sentiments such as these in a telephone conversation with the Tribune editor, he said, "You can't tell a reporter how to do their job, can you?"  In reply to his comment, I shared that, yes, you could, because I had heard that Dr. Bennett Leventhal [a psychiatrist formerly of the Chicago Tribune's state, Illinois] had sat down with the Tribune staff.  The editor temporarily became silent, including not denying what I had said.

Although for the moment I can neither confirm nor deny such a meeting, simply wondering if the silence can be presumed to be affirmation, I'll share the reason that I think it may matter.  A 2005 journal article disclosed that said doctor was sitting on the speaker's bureau of Bristol-Meyers Squibb/Otsuka, which just received FDA approval for its drug Abilify's use for irritability in children with autism.

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