“Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.” This quote from George Orwell’s classic ‘1984’ could be describing the current situation in the struggle over the showing (or not) of the film Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe. There is a powerful lobby out there that opposes freedom of expression and believes the film should be destroyed and buried forever.
There are of course two sides to every debate or argument. But how can anyone be expected to make an informed decision about which side of the debate to support when information on one side is withheld, twisted or misrepresented?
As we reported last week, following pressure from the UK ‘skeptic’ movement the cinema that was due to screen Vaxxed for the first time in the UK pulled out. This same group has now brought pressure to bear on the European Parliament to prevent the screening of the film. True to form, the ‘skeptics’ are now openly targeting Vaxxed and its directors, with pro-vaccine and anti-natural health campaigner, Fiona Pettit O’Leary in Ireland, herself a mother of autistic children, being seemingly at the helm of the campaign (check out some of her recent social media posts below). So the anti-Vaxxed campaigners have achieved cancellations of the viewing in venues in London, the European Parliament (Brussels) and Paris.
To maintain the venom against the film, a series of contra arguments are being routinely used to twist or misrepresent known facts. The approach is scarily reminiscent of the arguments and strategies used by the pro-GM lobby. The some of the most common arguments were clearly laid out in a Washington Post article from May 2016, entitled “7 things about vaccines and autism that the movie ‘Vaxxed’ won’t tell you”. We respond below to each:
|1||“The most important thing to know is that the link between vaccines and autism has been debunked — widely and repeatedly”
|ANH reported in 2013 on research published in PLOS One, which are very similar to the findings of Wakefield et al in The Lancet (1998), that was retracted in 2010. The original paper simply reflected that in 8 of 12 of the cases, the symptoms developed after MMR vaccination and the authors proposed that “this syndrome and its possible link with the vaccine” should be further investigated. A recent study also linked alterations in the gut ecosystem of people diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. While there have been numerous published studies that show no causative relationship between the vaccine and autism, few of the authors of these papers admit to the complication associated with proving a direct association (it took more than 30 years of research to causally link cigarette smoking to lung cancer). They also generally omit to indicate that environmental insults are almost universally accepted as likely triggers for autism in predisposed individuals; and there is no doubt that vaccine load can be a significant contributor to a child’s environmental chemical burden.|
|2||“The director of “Vaxxed” — and the main expert who appears on camera — is that same Andrew Wakefield“||Andrew Wakefield, the person most commonly first associated with proposing a possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism, has never proposed that any vaccine might be the primary cause. Hear Andrew Wakefield in the video in our report from January 2016). Dr Wakefield deals with allegations against him and the autism/MMR link on the Vaxxed website.|
|3||“Actor Robert De Niro, who has an autistic son, originally lobbied to put the film on the schedule for the Tribeca Film Festival in March. But several days later, he said he had a change of heart.”||De Niro agreed to have the film pulled from the Tribeca Film Festival but only after pressure from the sponsor the Alfred P Sloan Foundation? (see our report here). More importantly, even after this, De Niro continued to support the film, saying “There’s a lot of things that are not said…It’s not about questioning how some people got autism. “[It’s about] how the vaccines are dangerous if given to certain people who are more susceptible, and nobody seems to want to address that”.|
|4||“One of the main figures in the film, CDC scientist William Thompson, is heard only in voice recordings”||Why is this even being discussed? What is the difference between the use of the written word, spoken word or use of a video? Dr Thompson has been put under intense pressure after blowing the whistle and it is understandable that he was in no position to be filmed specifically for the documentary. For more information, see Brian Hooker’s official statement from April 2016.|
|5||‘While the issue of vaccines and autism still comes up regularly — as it did when presidential contender Donald Trump mentioned his belief in the theory in a debate last year — most scientists consider the connection between vaccines and autism to be discredited”||Given the scale and extent of the machinery that has been used to try to bury any suggestion that there may be a link, it is no surprise that this is the common view among scientists, very few of whom have directly explored the facts. The film Vaxxed and its associated website is a mechanism that allows previously obscured facts to be explored. In the name of free expression, freedom of choice and informed choice, further information and resources are available on the Vaxxed website.|
|6||“While experts still don’t know what causes autism, it is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors such as infections or exposure to certain chemicals that may lead to differences in the shape and structure of a child’s brain. According to an estimate by the CDC published last year, 1 in 45 (or 2.24 percent) of children age 3 to 17 may have autism — a steep rise over the past few decades”
|Rather than shooting down Dr Wakefield, it could be that there is general agreement among all those concerned on this very point! Andrew Wakefield and his 12 co-authors made this very clear in their conclusion in the original Lancet paper (1998) – and Wakefield has been true to his word, triggering and taking part in more research in this key area.|
|7||“Movie critics have come out with very different takes on the film”||Ummm. Which movie critics have been given which facts, by whom? What authority or scientific knowledge does a movie critic have to critique a documentary discussing a cover-up of highly significant information linked to the possible harm of children? Why are movie critics so opposed to freedom of expression? Why do the directors and producer of Vaxxed get the wrap, and not the CDC, the primary focus of the documentary?|
Considering the savagery of the attacks against the organisers of the current viewings in Europe, we have to give them huge credit for standing up and being heard. Despite all the efforts of the ‘skeptics’ the screenings will go ahead and this extremely important information will be heard so all who listen can make an informed decision.
This week we ask that you take time to consider the arguments put forward in this film and then form your own decision. Should you wish to support these viewings and fight the censorship then please sign the petition at Change.org.