Responds to R.F.K. Jr.’s Article and Says “Bring It On”
David Kirby, The Huffington Post, June 16, 2005
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Kennedy, Jr. has just upped the ante in the bubbling controversy
over a possible link between mercury, vaccines and autism. His
hard-hitting Rolling Stone article on the Pharma-Political
Complex is a scathing indictment of our business-as-usual
society, and his allegations cry out for a response.
Thank you, Mr. Kennedy. It’s high time that this debate received
a proper airing, even if ABC News, so far at least, seems to
One year ago, the esteemed Institute of Medicine rejected the
theory that the mercury-based vaccine preservative thimerosal
might be linked to autism and other childhood disorders.
Opponents of the theory – and they are plentiful – assumed that
would shut the books once and for all on this disturbing,
potentially catastrophic idea.
The opponents, it turns out, were sorely mistaken. They
underestimated the tenacity of some really pissed off parents,
who refused to be dismissed as litigious fruit loops who
wouldn’t recognize scientific evidence if it landed on their
Consider this. In recent months, the thimerosal-autism
controversy has begun to pierce a major-media bubble seemingly
transfixed on serving up daily doses of Michael, Martha and the
Runaway Bride, while ignoring the potential poisoning of a
generation of American children:
Don Imus – continues to champion this cause on his show “like a
dog on a bone,” as they say.
Sen. Joe Lieberman – told Imus on the air that this is “a fight
Rolling Stone & Salon – published RFK Jr.’s article.
FOX – local affiliates have covered this story with exceptional
dedication, and the Fox News Channel is mulling over a special
The New York Times – is working on a major investigation of the
The Associated Press – is also working on a feature.
Montel Williams – will air an entire segment on the controversy
on June 21.
The Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church – made
news today by demanding the removal of mercury from vaccines;
efforts are afoot to ask the national church to follow suit.
Generation Rescue – purchased full page ads in USA Today and
They New York Times promoting the mercury-autism link.
Unlocking Autism – Is placing a series of hardball ads reminding
George W. Bush of his 2004 campaign statement that thimerosal
should be removed from childhood vaccines, and bearing the
tag-line “Giving Mercury to Children on Purpose is Stupid.”
And so, at the risk of metaphorical overdose, I offer up some
friendly counsel to those who resist this entirely plausible
theory: The cat is out of the bag. The train has left the
station. Thimerosal can no longer be swept under the rug.
I wrote “Evidence of Harm” in order to spark national debate
over this very serious question. But I cannot debate myself.
Critics of the thimerosal theory (and my book) have issued
disapproving statements, posted blistering blogs, and even
dropped off anonymous, vitriolic flyers at my public
appearances. But no one will debate me face to face, at least
not so far.
Last month, at the Autism One conference in Chicago, I issued a
challenge to the thimerosal naysayers. Borrowing from a certain
leader of the Free World, I said, simply, “Bring it on.”
So here is the challenge, repeated again. Dr. Julie Gerberding
(CDC Director), Dr. Steve Cochi (head of the CDC vaccine
program), Dr. Marie McCormick (head of the IOM panel that
dismissed the thimerosal theory), Dr. Paul Offit (a leading
pediatrician who passionately derides the theory) or any other
prominent person who insists that there is no evidence of harm
from injecting organic mercury directly into the systems of
infant children at levels far in excess of federal safety
limits: Let’s talk. You pick the time, place and speakers. You
can even set the ground rules. All I ask is that you come forth,
and let's get this over with.
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