October 22, 1999
Ms. Lisa Koenig
1717 DeSales Street
N.W. Washington D.C. 20036
Dear Ms. Koenig:
We are writing you in response to your report on "Dangerous Vaccines" moderated by Mr. Ted Koppel and aired on ABC Nightline on October 14th. The distortions and misrepresentations were of a very poor quality. Most were transparent or, at least translucent. Today, parents are becoming better informed on the risks involved in childhood vaccination. They are reading and researching medical literature and finding the truths themselves. This means that "the bar has been raised" and a production of Nightline’s caliber has an obligation to more effectively deceive and manipulate a more sophisticated audience. Here is a critique with some suggestions. Please take them to heart. The next time you do a story on vaccines, we look forward to seeing a sophisticated cover-up, not an amateur hatchet-shop like the one on October 14th.
FOUR NEEDLES Excellent A beautiful and sublime distortion of reality
THREE NEEDLES Good An audacious fabrication but slightly transparent
TWO NEEDLES Common A clever but uninspired manipulation
ONE NEEDLE Poor A sophomoric attempt
Deceit #1 Rating: 2 out of 4 Needles
During Koppel’s introductory remarks he states, "It is these vaccines, as much as anything else, that have lengthened our life span by an estimated average of nearly 30 years since 1900."
Koppel did a good job of not citing any study to support this outrageous claim. But he could have delivered this statement more assertively. Next time try, "If it weren’t for vaccines we would all be dying while still in our thirties." It’s saying the same thing but it’s much more dramatic.
Deceit #2 Rating: 3 out of 4 Needles
During the recorded piece at the beginning of the broadcast, correspondent John Donovan states, "There is no evidence, says the medical establishment, that vaccines are causing any harm."
For the sheer audacity of ignoring well over 3,000 medical studies in peer reviewed journals and the deaths and injury of thousands of children as recorded in many of these articles, Donovan deserves a rating of four out of four needles. But we had to subtract a needle for giving the viewers too little credit. They are too sophisticated for these bold-faced lies. You must try something subtler. Here’s a suggestion for next time. "The medical establishment claims that vaccines do not cause any harm. We did our own independent investigation and found well over 3,000 studies that did demonstrate a relationship between childhood vaccination and injury or death. However, none of these reports or studies could be substantiated by our independent vaccine experts."
Deceit #3 Rating: 1 out of 4 Needles
Speaking about the increasing rates of autism and the belief held by many parents and doctors that a relationship exists between this rise and the increasing amounts of vaccines injected into children, Donovan stated, "We’ve seen this happen before, a refusal by nonexperts, parents or patients, to trust the word of people who are supposed to be the experts."
This statement is both too blatant and poorly articulated. Of course, the intent behind the remark is important. Admitting that parents can recognize when their children are sick is very perilous to the control of the medical establishment. Try saying it this way next time. "Parents, although well-intentioned often cannot recognize when their child is sick, and if they do, they cannot know the true cause because they are not medical doctors."
Deceit #4 Rating: 4 out of 4 Needles
Donovan stated, "…the fact that the CDC has suspended this year the rotavirus vaccine, which appeared to cause severe intestinal problems in infants."
Beautifully done. The rotavirus vaccine ("Rotashield") was withdrawn because as of September 9th of this year, 99 cases of life-threatening intestinal damage and at least two deaths have been reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) in association with the vaccine. The children’s bowels experienced intussusception whereby the intestine infolds into itself. By using the words "…appeared to cause…" you neatly invite the possibility that there may be other reasons. Perhaps this huge increase in intussusception following "Rotashield" injections is due to the growth in teen pregnancy or teenage smoking.
Deceit #5 Rating: 0 out of 4 Needles
Koppel says to Dr. Timothy Johnson, "Tim Johnson, let me — let me bring you in. You’ve made a career here at ABC out of reassuring people all over the country. So, do a little bit of reassuring here."
Bad, Koppel. Very bad. You gave away the real point of the program. It was never about finding the truth concerning the increasing rates and types of adverse reactions from childhood vaccination. It was always about reassuring the parents so they will act like sheep and bring their children in to be injected. Our suggestion is to never leak the true motive. Why make it easy for your audience to see through you? No needles for you on this one Koppel.
Deceit #6 Rating: 3 out of 4 Needles
Timothy Johnson said, "But the job of science is to pr — prove that it’s true cause and effect. And the way we do that traditionally, in this case the way it’s been done already, is to take a look at a group of autistic children and see if there’s any difference in the rate of autism among those children who were vaccinated and those who were not. And when they did that in the study referred to in the piece earlier, printed in The Lancet last June, there was no difference."
Good job citing this single study. Perhaps you should have mentioned something about how the research was done. As you know, in that study (Lancet, June 12, 1999) 498 cases of autism were identified but only 263 of the children were counted. The paper says that was due to applying the criteria of the International Classification of Diseases code (ICD10). Here are some of the codes:
ICD codes are an interpretive tool to help physicians place patients into morbidity or mortality-related groups. The codes are not automated algorithms but require the clinical skills of a skilled physician. Whether a child goes into classification "F84.0 - Childhood autism" or "F84 - Pervasive developmental disorders" or "F81.9 -Developmental disorder of scholastic skills, unspecified" is up to the doctor. Therefore, these researchers said that 205 children (the difference between 498 and 263) were misdiagnosed by the children’s own doctors. The authors of this study conveniently contradicted the diagnosis made by other doctors who knew the children better than they did.
To head off this data manipulation question, you could have added that, "Careful identification of patients with true autism was conducted by objective physicians who were not part of the study…" I know such a statement is a lie but you have to address those 205 children who were excluded.
Deceit #7Rating: 0 out of 4 Needles
Speaking about the association between vaccination and autism, Johnson stated, "That suggests that while there may be a causation — that is, a coincidence in time, there is no true scientific cause and effect."
Oops! That suggests "there may be causation?" We have a little Freudian slip problem here. You wanted to say, "That suggests a temporal association but not a causal relationship." Be more careful next time. No needles for you on this one.
Deceit #8 Rating: 4 out of 4 Needles
Katz of the CDC stated, "…hepatitis B infection in infants and children leaves an incredibly high risk of chronic liver disease, of cirrhoses, of cancer of the liver. There are four of five thousand individuals a year in our country who die of the complications of hepatitis B."
Well done! No mention that those children born of healthy parents are at a infinitesimal risk of contracting hepatitis B. No mention that Dr. George Peter, Chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics stated at the National Pediatric Infectious Disease Seminar on June 12th, 1992 in Washington D.C. that one reason to recommend hepatitis B vaccine to infants is because "children are accessible." No mention of the study that appeared in the journal Pediatrics (1993; 91 (4) 699-702) that surveyed 778 pediatricians of whom "only 32% of those questioned believed that hepatitis B vaccination was warranted in their practices." No mention of the adverse effects listed by the vaccines manufacturer Merck as including abdominal pains, influenza, vertigo, myalgia, earache, dysuria, hypotension, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, multiple sclerosis, myelitis, peripheral neuropathy such as Bell’s Palsy, radiculopathy and visual disturbances (PDR, 51st ed.). No mention of the millions of dollars in additional profits flowing to the drug companies once the hepatitis B vaccine was ostensibly mandated by the government. You simply imply that without vaccination children might get cancer of the liver. Bravo!
Deceit #9 Rating: 4 out of 4 Needles
Dr. Orient spoke about the dangers of vaccination. Drs. Katz and Johnson spoke to their safety and efficacy. As we’ve seen Koppel’s objectivity was questionable. That’s either three or two against one. In fact, when we reviewed your transcript, a simple computer program will count the words spoken by Orient and those spoken by Katz and Johnson. Excluding Koppel, here’s the score:
Was it Dr. Orient’s fault that she represented one half of the debate but only had an opportunity to speak 28% of the time? Look at the exchange below and you decide.
"… I think that the CDC is not being completely honest with people. They are saying these vaccines are safe and to save the world from hepatitis B your baby has to be vaccinated. If parents want to refuse consent, they may be threatened with having their children taken away from them. They may be treated quite — quite callously when they ask, ‘Well, why did my baby bleed to death and have liver damage at autopsy 12 hours after receiving an injection hepatitis B vaccine?"
"Let me — let me — let me — let me stop you…"
It would have been too dangerous to allow Dr. Orient to continue speaking. Her words might have actually led to more parents thinking for themselves and questioning the safety of vaccines. Nice job gentlemen in keeping her words contained throughout this report.
By distorting the truth and endangering the lives of children, you have all earned your needles. But watch those slips of the tongue. There’s too much money and power at stake here to lose control of the American people. Never allow parents to have the facts so that they make intelligent and informed decisions for their own children.
Michael Horwin Raphaele Horwin
The parents of Alexander a 2 ½ year-old child severely injured by vaccination.
Our son passed away on 31st January, 1999
email: [email protected]
cc: Jane Orient M.D., Executive Director, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Inc.
Congressman Dan Burton, Chairman of the Government Reform Committee on "Vaccines: Finding the Balance Between Public Safety and Personal Choice"
Barbara Loe Fisher, Co-Founder & President, National Vaccine Information Center