Dear Jane Hansen,

As you know, I have long been critical of your reporting on the issues surrounding the subject of vaccination. I believed and still do believe that your attacks on those who hold a different opinion to your own are beyond the pale, unfair and in some cases, cruel and abusive.

Of course, I do understand where that attitude comes from. Most of those in mainstream media would see nothing wrong with your position and how you promote it. They would say that for the greater good, those like myself who question both the safety and effectiveness of vaccinations need to be silenced and if that means bullying them or calling them and their children names, so be it!

But I don’t believe this sort of behaviour is necessary. I think it is fear-based, ignorant and beneath the dignity of someone who calls herself a journalist.

So, I would like to ask you to meet with me here in the Northern Rivers for a meal and a chat – my shout. I know you are up here often but if you are no longer in this area, I will be happy to pay for your airfare.

What precipitated this offer?

Earlier this week, I received an email from a long-time AVN supporter. She had approached you regarding your attacks and was quite polite, I felt, in her language (please note: I have not changed or corrected any of the text in either her message or your responses). The original post from the AVN supporter is in blue and the responses from Jane Hansen are in red – just for ease of identification. My comments are in black.:

I read your article with disappointment about anti vaccers. There are many facts and studies about why people choose not to vaccinate their children. And yes there are cases on both sides where children have died. I believe good journalism provide both sides of the argument and allows people to think, questions and decide from an informed position…not the fear mongering we have ended up with in so many articles. Please take a look for yourself with I hope an open mind to discover why there are so many people who do not vaccinate their children. http://vaxxedthemovie.com/stream/

Your response to her was indicative of the problem with your reporting on this issue. You have conflated so many facts and shown a horrendous amount of ignorance for someone who has been writing about this subject for so many years!

Are you serious? You think this fraud of a film is correct? If it was true it would be on the front pages of papers around the world.

There are many truths that never make it to the front pages – or any pages – of newspapers. If that is your gauge of veracity, I’m afraid you are being naïve in the extreme!

The study got retracted because the African American children already had autism and were behind in their MMR vaccine..

Jane Hansen, I am unsure of which study you are referring to. I believe you may have confused the original 1990 Wakefield study, Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children; THE LANCET • Vol 351 • February 28, 1998, with the 2004 Dr William Thompson study but f that’s the case, I have to tell you that neither of these studies says what you have claimed.

I would have thought since you have been calling Wakefield a fraud for nearly a decade, you would have at least read the study to know what you’re writing about. Apparently not.

Please read the study and view the documentary before commenting on them

There were no African-American children in Wakefield’s study since all of the subjects (12 of them) were British.

None of the children were “behind in their MMR vaccines”. They had consulted with Dr Wakefield and his 12 co-authors including Dr John Walker-Smith, the preeminent paediatric gastroenterologist practising at that time. Dr Walker-Smith had also been struck off by the GMC and he was able to take his case to the High Court in the UK to oppose that decision regarding the so-called Wakefield study. In case you were wondering, Dr Walker-Smith was cleared and the GMC were criticised by the court for the way they handled this case. No fraud was found.

I believe your statement was probably referring to the African-American children who were left out of the study co-authored by Dr William Thompson, the CDC Whistleblower. As you would know, if you had actually watched the documentary, VaxXed, (a video dealing with the cover-up of vital information linking vaccination with the current epidemic of autism, not, as you appear to believe, with Dr Wakefield’s 1998 Lancet study) Dr Thompson was ordered by his superiors in the CDC to destroy evidence demonstrating that African American boys were 380% more likely to develop autism following vaccination depending upon the age at which they were vaccinated. The CDC found backhanded ways to exclude this cohort from the trial and used other fraudulent methods to massage the data to make it look like this risk didn’t exist – but the actual data shows that the correlation was real and strong.

It was a requirement to access autism services to catch up their vaccines .. So of course all the kids in that group with autism has the MMR vaccine .. That’s why they were left out of the study.. Doh!!

Where do I start? Jane Hansen, I have no idea what you are referring to here? There is no study that I am aware of (certainly none that are discussed either as part of Dr Wakefield’s original case series or in the documentary, VaxXed) where children had to have vaccines to access autism services. Your use of the pejorative – Doh!! – to someone who approached you honestly and kindly, is uncalled for, don’t you agree? Especially when you are the one making an incorrect statement.

I don’t want to be rude but you insult all journalists believing this shit.

Handy hint, Jane Hansen. If you start out saying you don’t want to be rude, it’s not a good idea to finish by being rude.

Sorry you’ve been conned but you have. William Thompson never spoke to the vaxxed team who are not journalists .. He sought whistle blower status to avoid getting sacked for being a bad scientists..

I’m beginning to think you are making this up as you go along. Dr William Thompson spoke with Dr Brian Hooker for many years and Dr Brian Hooker is, most assuredly, one of the VaxXed team. Again, had you watched the documentary prior to commenting on it, you would have known that.

Dr Thompson sought whistleblower protection because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), his employer and the organisation that had ordered him to commit fraud in a study he co-authored on vaccination and autism, was afraid that he would be arrested for speaking with Dr Hooker about this subject. You are the first (and only) person I have ever heard claim that Dr Thompson would be granted whistleblower protection because he was a bad scientist. Think about it. Bad science is not a reason for someone to become a whistleblower. It is, however, a reason to try and cover up results which the CDC has done and is still doing regarding this case.

The other scientist tried to put the confounding factor tram back in and his paper got thrown out too.. Not because it’s a conspiracy but because it was bad science. Now you do your research !

What scientist are you talking about Jane Hansen? And what confounding factor are you referring to? Honestly, my head is spinning here. You are moving seamlessly from 1998 when Wakefield publishing his original Lancet paper (with 12 other scientists, remember) to 2004 when Dr Thompson published his CDC Study to 2016 when VaxXed premiered. You are very unclear about what you’re referring to so a bit of clarity would be very helpful. What data, study and scientist are you referring to here?

Oh, and the producer got struck off the medical register for chafing dates on vax, performing lumber punctures on children without permission, accepted millions from the lawyers to ‘find a causal factor’ and was developing his own vaccine !!!

Jane Hansen, I studied journalism for a time at University and one thing I clearly remember learning, though it was so many years ago, was to research before writing. That was drummed into my head – research, research, research! It is obvious that you’ve forgotten this lesson. You see, the producer of the documentary, VaxXed, is Del Bigtree. Del, though he was a producer on the television show, The Doctors, for many years, has never been a doctor himself. Therefore, he never was, nor could he ever be, struck off of any medical register. I believe you are referring to Dr Andrew Wakefield who directed VaxXed but was not the producer (details do matter). And Dr Wakefield was a gastroenterologist. He referred children for endoscopies – not lumbar punctures. Ethical permission for both publication and testing was properly obtained and as far as I know, this was never in question. 

Please note – I have received a correction to the above statement (the one that has been struck out) and until it has been confirmed by Dr Wakefield, I will insert the correction below. I will update this when and if I have more information:

Could someone who knows Meryl please tell her she has got this bit below wrong? He did not refer children for endoscopies, he suggested parents get referrals from their doctors to go to the hospital, (so was found guilty by GMC of interferring with referrals), he was found guilty of organising tests including both endoscopies and lumbar punctures when it was not his job at the hospital (his defense was he had only an administrative role in planning the tests), and most importantly, not having ethical permission for the testing (according to them) was the main thrust of the charges against him, so was certainly in question.

“And Dr Wakefield was a gastroenterologist. He referred children for endoscopies – not lumbar punctures. Ethical permission for both publication and testing was properly obtained and as far as I know, this was never in question.”

A better response to Hanson’s lumbar punctures claim would be W didn’t treat children, the hospital’s doctor did, and he didn’t need permission.

Dr Wakefield was never paid ‘millions from lawyers’ to find a causal factor. He was retained by a legal team preparing a compensation case in the UK and both his involvement in this case and his fees (which totalled in the thousands – not the millions) were public knowledge at the time the Lancet article was published. The Lancet editors were perfectly well-aware of this as were the other doctors at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

You also claim that he (again, I’m assuming you mean Dr Wakefield though you are referring to the producer of VaxXed) was developing his own vaccine. Again, this is incorrect. Dr Wakefield was working on something called transfer factor to help prevent inflammatory bowel disease (this was never designed to be a vaccine) as well as a diagnostic test for determining the presence of measles virus in the body. It is time for you to stop getting all of your information from the so-called Skeptics and do some reading yourself, Jane.

Now there is corruption .. That is the story ! Now goodbye.

I will rephrase that to make it more accurate. Now THERE is ignorance. Now THERE are rumours. Now THERE is a made-up story.

Please don’t say good-bye. Take me up on my offer. We can have a good meal, a good chat, and I can hopefully encourage you to become a bit better informed and (I have to say it) a bit kinder to those whose knowledge about the subject of vaccines differs from your own.

What do you say, Jane? I’ll even buy you a glass of chardonnay – though I don’t drink it myself.