[Update: Good Grief... Seth Mnookin is a mess. I posted this piece less than two hours ago on Seth's claim on his blog that David Kirby might be out at the Huffington Post, and I JUST got this email in my inbox because I subscribe to Kirby's posts there... and by kid, I mean teenager.
I don't know what is worse for Mnookin, that Kirby had a post immediately on HuffPo, that it was on vaccines or that it was entitled, " Government and Many Scientists Agree: Vaccine-Autism Research Should Continue ." How exactly is this guy a credible journalist!?
I emailed Kirby on Mnookin's speculation and he just replied: "I believe there may have been a bit of a backlog on the Health Page after the AOL merger, when other editors came on board to oversee the review process for medical pieces."
Mr. Kirby, If you are walking around NYC whatever you do, don't sit down, not even on a subway... Seth Mnookin might come along and pronounce you dead!]
In 2009, after five years of trying to have earnest discussions with people with a history of bad faith dealings on the vaccine issue, I gave up. I wrote a lengthy piece called, " Chris Mooney, Sheril Kirshenbaum, Lori Kozlowski, Rosie Mestel, Thomas Maugh, David Gorski, Virginia Hughes, Science Journalists, The Dying of the LA Times and an Angry Autism Mom ," the thrust of which was that the grown ups that had retreated and that the only new blood that could be found to go out and defend the current disaster of a vaccine program were immature, teeny boppers (of varying chronological ages) whose underlying MO seemed to be wanting to be seen as cool and "sciency and stuff" to quote one of them. Consider this (and my next post) to be adjuncts to that one.
Well the jury is in and Seth Mnookin clearly qualifies for the brat pack. I think we were pretty clear on that when he called parents who might be concerned with the tripling of the vaccine schedule and giving a baby 8 vaccines at once at only two months of age, "Total Assholes."
Part of this rite of passage into this gang of Mean Girls posing as "science journalists" is of course to take a swipe or two at David Kirby, someone who actually practices science journalism... and get this... does it like a grown up.
So Mr. Mnookin writes a piece I guess announcing that David Kirby is no longer welcome on The Huffington Post. I have no idea if that is true or not (and if so, how does Mnookin know this), as he was posting there as of two weeks ago, but might make sense since AOL/TW has purchased it and the mainstream media has been asked by Kathleen Sebelius and the Obama Administration (and probably their Pharma advertisers) to censor criticism on the vaccine program, no matter how legit it is.
But of course, this would be a dumb move for HuffPo if they actually care about circulation as Kirby's columns on vaccination garner hundreds of comments and generate traffic, so if such a decision has been made, then it is not in order to make its readers happy, it is to make the entrenched powers that be happy. Which of course is why the main stream media is dying and the Huffington Post became popular in the first place, which I guess means that we can begin to see the decline of this and other successful online outlets and Big Journalism's money rushes in to corrupt it? We will watch and see.
But in the mean time, Mnookin is happy, yes happy , that censorship is taking place on vaccine issues.
But then again, he is a censor himself...
Yeah... I can't get him to post my comments on his blog unless I post them some where else, and that apparently embarrasses him into posting them, but with some sort of face saving thing... I don't know... Not a grown up... read on.
Long story short... Mnookin launched personal attacks Harvard's Dr. Martha Herbert and PBS's Robert MacNeil after they had a real discussion on vaccine causation that didn't stick to Offit's approved talking points. So JB Handley launched an attack on Seth Mnookin, pointing out that while Herbert and MacNeil were busy earning their world class credentials, Mnookin was honing his skills as a thief and a heroin addict. Rather than learning that people in glass houses should not throw stones, Mnookin, being the entitled adolescent that he is, shook his finger at JB for hurting his feelings and played the victim .
Mnookin wears his past as a heroin addict/thief like a beauty queen wears her sash. As I read his own accounts of his more than decade long hard core NY heroin addict life, I kept waiting for the part where he regrets it and is broken over what his actions did to those who loved him and tried for so many years to help him, but I just can't find it. (You know that humble softness that recovering addicts have, where they know that they are broken and accept the brokenness of others? That place where the are in that their ego has kinda melted away and they are healing to those around them because of it? I don't see that at all in Seth Mnookin. Quite the contrary.) One of his pieces actually ends with a bitter stab at his own mother for not trusting him any more after all that he did to his family. The guy clearly thinks he is entitled to display horrible, selfish and anti-social behavior for half his life, and use that past addict life to gain street cred with the NY journalism scene and mount a writing career, but somehow not reap any of the natural adverse consequences of said life of drugs and crime.
Drug addicts are interesting and amusing, but they are not trustworthy people. One has to get really good at lying to maintain that life. It takes a lot of years and a lot of work to show that they should be trusted. I don't see evidence of that kind of work in Mr. Mnookin. I do not see him as a trust worthy person.
As I have said, I am thrilled for the guy that he quit using and built a life. That is not the norm with his level of addiction, and good for him. Not even a little bit of sarcasm in my statements on that. But the expectation that he should then be trusted by moms across America with medical advice for their children? (When he has made clear that his own mother does not even trust him?) That suggests that there has clearly been some arrested development as one would expect during a time of prolonged drug use. (...and perhaps a bit of grandiosity? He is setting himself up as having more credibility on this than David Kirby, Robert MacNeil and Dr. Martha Herbert?)
But now back to the censorship thing... so on that post on how JB upset Seth, I posted a comment
"I’m trying real hard to be the shepherd driven by charity and good will.” – Seth Mnookin
To the point and respectful, I thought, but apparently not one that Mr. Mnookin wanted on his blog. He declined to post the comment. But I had also posted it on JB's column on AoA, with the following preface
Mnookin is complaing aboout this post. Says it is hurtful to him. I posted a comment, but don’t know if he will allow it, so I am posting it here too:
Well several hours later Seth apparently discovered that my comment was public and put it up at the end of his comment stream with the following note
Note: This comment was sent in by Ginger Taylor at approximately the same time I said I was shutting down the comments. Since she was unaware that comments were being closed when she was writing it, I will post it here.
Except that I had posted this hours before he "closed the comments" (something that I don't think I have ever done here, what is with that?) right after JB, and should have been half way through the comment thread. Further, the copy he published was copied off of AoA, as it has my AoA comment and even the date signature at the bottom. So he moderated my comment out, found out it was public, and lied and said I got it in at the last minute. Nice.
So yesterday I commented on Seth's post about David Kirby and his celebration of censorship with the following comment
Following JB's line of questioning, I am interested in your thoughts on the admission of David Bowman at HRSA (who runs VICP) that vaccines can cause encephalopathy that causes autism as reported by David Kirby.
And while other comments (including one praising him for letting "anti-vaccine" voices like JB Handley be heard on his blog) were approved, and Mr. Mnookin has since posted new articles, my comment is no where to be found. (What does JB have that I don't got?)
Seth is fond of dishing it out, taking it like a grown up... not so much.
So... I have to ask the same question of Seth that I have of his fellow play mates... Why exactly would parents turn to you for advice when you are clearly biased, treat parents like crap and behave with less maturity than my ten year old?
How many mothers are sitting at home thinking...
"You know... I hear there are safety concerns about the vaccine program. What is at stake in my vaccine decisions for my child is his very life itself. If I make a bad choice he could die or end up with brain damage or a host of other life long problems either from a disease or from the vaccine for a disease. I need to do some research. Who to turn to for the care of my most precious possession.....
I know! There is this really pretentious, arrogant guy who does't seem to like his mother who spent his teens a twenties stealing cash from loved ones to fuel his heroin chic life style because he though he was Hunter S. Thompson, and who thinks that parents like me are "Total Assholes". So yeah, he rejoices over the idea of vaccine safety advocates being shut out of the discussion on the vaccine program, and sure, he lied to his interview subjects about the book he was writing, but I GOTTA find out what he thinks about vaccine safety. I can think of no more wise human being in whom I can entrust the life, health and welfare of my child!"
I cannot understand what The Powers That Be are thinking. Was "The Situation" not available be their spokes person for vaccine safety?
Louis Cooper and others keep saying that they are SO concerned with the trust in the vaccine program and of AAP in general. If that is so why do they continue to go to fishing in the Pool of Maturationally Challenged Disaffected Youth, clamoring to become "science journalists" to prove something to somebody. Why is Mnookin being promoted if they want parents to trust the vaccine program? It is truly mind boggling.
And I (and many others) have been writing this for YEARS! And we know they read us. Daily! Just glancing at my stats, as I was writing this piece, the State Department visited my web site to watch Dr. Bock's appearance on Fox News .
What are these meetings like?
Kathleen Sebelius: I hear vaccine sales are dropping... brief me.
And the vaccine program continues to go down the drain.
(This is part one in a two part series of ad hominem arguments... second coming soon)
* For more on the Bowman statement .
Mr. Mnookin updated his post here to reflect that "Unfortunately, it looks like my optimism was misplaced", and written a new one here : to reflect his lament that David Kirby is not being censored.
My comment on his blog that will probably not see the light of day there
If there was any question that you are not a real journalist, I think this answers it.
Mr. Mnookin, while still not posting any of my comments, addressed calling parents "Total Assholes" here . I left yet another comment, but if past behavior is a predictor of future behavior, which it is, the comment will not be posted, so I am posting it here as well
Along the lines of Dr. Gordon's comments, I too have some trouble with your lamenting of the premature deaths of these children.
update: I have written ad nausium about this phenom. Overzealous and unwise defender of the vaccine program makes untenable statements and claims in an attempt to get parents to vaccinate with out question. Parents challenge said vaccine program defender. Vaccine program defender can't give a good answer with out a) having to recognize that critics are actual human beings that should be treated with a modicum of dignity b) being forced to actually enter into an earnest discussion with said critic c)having to make corrections on untenable statements.
Still not comments allowed on Seths blog, but I left another comment
I see your "total assholes" comment as applying to parents who say, "Well, this is my decision."
Update: I emailed Seth directly and he said that my comments are posted on his site now. Except for the comment about the networks. I can't get it to post and he thinks that it is a Word Press problem.