The following letter has been forwarded to me by one of our members and I felt it was important to share this with you. It was sent to the Sydney Morning Herald after an especially rabid article was published in that paper about a series of talks presented by Dr Tim O’Shea, author of many books and articles including Vaccination is not Immunization previously known as The Sanctity of Human Blood.
As we have seen so often, the journalist – a person whose livelihood depends upon the freedom to communicate – joined the call to suppress the rights of others to do the same.
These attempts to stifle scientific debate and to censor or even punish (in the words of Dr Steve Hambleton, head of the doctor’s union – the AMA) those whose research has led them to be critical of medical procedures is shocking and shameful. Please read this letter and remember that while most people get their information from mainstream media, most of the information found in that location has been corrupted by vested interests and should not be trusted. Feel free to share and reblog this letter.
On 9 March, there was an attack by Oz media against chiropractic in general and myself in particular. Just found out about it in my junk folder. My response:
Editor, Sydney Morning Herald
Legal, Sydney Morning Herald
Editor, Australian Doctor
Legal, Australian Doctor
CAA, Dr T. Shakespeare
RE: Ongoing anti-chiropractic campaign
Good morning all:
I am Dr Tim O’Shea, a US chiropractor and educator. Looks like I may have jumped into the middle of something, or maybe it’s just a slow news period all around.
I first became aware of this new media agenda on chiropractic a few weeks ago when I got a phone call on a Sunday afternoon from someone who said he was a writer for a ‘leading newspaper’ in Australia, and he was writing a piece about chiropractic. He’d got my name somehow, probably because I had given some seminars there about 6 months ago.
He told me he was writing an article about a proposal to gag DCs from talking about vaccines. I asked him had he read my book. No. Had he attended the seminar? No. Had he spoken to anyone who had? No. Had he read any of the numerous articles on immunology from my site? No. Was he interested in doing any of that footwork? No. When did he have to turn in the article? In 2 hours, he said.
That was pretty much my introduction to the calibre of Australian journalism, which has proven to be fairly consistent to this point. So this admitted dilettante was obviously just looking for a quirky, newsworthy quote to add to the hearsay he already had, in order to get his 1000 words. Anything besides actually doing the research, right?
At that point the call was disconnected. Next day I got an email from the same ‘journalist’ who apparently got an extension. But still not enough to do any background reading whatsoever.
I located the ‘journal’ he claimed to be employed by – a very homespun, backwoodsy sort of website, from which it was impossible to discern whether it was an actual printed magazine or just an online blog. Leading Australian newspaper? Hope not. I was particularly bemused by the piece on the front page implying that chiropractic was child abuse.
A casual perusal made it soon apparent what the requisite slant of this boilerplate publication was – denigration of anything natural or holistic, sanctification of all things pharmaceutical, with the mandatory condescending omniscience. Not exactly a novel approach.
So I gave the email the response it merited, along with a few referrals to some native Australian authorities in the area of vaccines in particular – Dr Archie Kalokerinos, Dr Viera Scheibner, Meryl Nass, etc. But again, no interest there – because that would mean researching into the actual subject matter itself, in an effort to understand what one is actually writing about, etc.
The next step in creating this smear campaign was to dream up a hook – Australian chiropractors being taught accredited courses against vaccines, etc. Here is where the editor had to come in, taxing his imagination and powers of innuendo, to give legs to something so wholly insubstantial, mundane, and un-newsworthy. Let slip the pups of war. This fact may be critical in any future discovery.
The result was true yellow journalism, in the worst muckraking tradition – the Herald article of 9 March  entitled “Anti-vaccination physicians training chiropractors” by an individual calling herself Amy Corderoy.
This copy and paste artist at least did exert a little more effort than just a phone call to get her 1000 words. But here we see the epitome of the basest fluff tabloid technique – slow news day, no news to report, so let’s create some news. What’s the editor’s hook to be – the angle, the catch phrase? “Anti-vaccination” and “chiropractors” both in the same headline. Magic. Then we’ll apply it to an ordinary, non-news event, and voila’! – we now have a story.
Doesn’t matter if it’s true or not – 10 minutes on Wikipedia, a string of innuendo, out-of-context misquotes, start a conflagration of pure invention, and let’s run with it. We’ve got a deadline.
So, let’s look at Amy here. Was she present at the seminars she’s fantasizing about? No. Did she speak to anyone who was? Clearly, no. Has she ever read the textbook? Obviously not. Any evidence she spent more than 5 minutes on the enormous website? Certainly not. Does she contact me for an interview? Of course not. No time for that – that would mean actually going into the subject matter. So where is the data for this op-ed puff piece coming from? Baseless, inflammatory rhetoric. Any academic requirements beyond a high school diploma to be the “Health Editor”?
But this isn’t education here – no, this is selling newspapers, by pandering to the lowest common denominator of intelligence – speed readers of the SMH. Substance, facts, references, cognition… no need for any of that. We’re not in the business of reporting news; we create it.
Anti-vaccine? First off, anyone who has actually attended my seminars or has ever read the textbook knows that I am not anti-vaccine, as I unequivocally state. I am in favor of any vaccine that has been tested by independent studies and proven to be safe, effective, and necessary. Period. To twist my words otherwise is flagrant prevarication, not excusable just because it provides fodder for today’s dinner story. But without that hook, there is no story, is there?
It is undeniable fact that there is an enormous body of research and controversy surrounding vaccines, and has been for decades.
In my course work we look at both sides of the vaccine debate, showing their respective strengths and weaknesses. Anyone who has ever attended will know that. Am I to be paraphrased by some lurid tabloid who has never looked at any of my sourced material, as they invent their own version of it?
With her false and inflammatory assertions, Amy now seeks to create a media bonfire. She claims to have informed the AMA of her “discovery” and asked them to comment. Next she starts freely quoting Steve Hambleton, who also was not present, nor has ever bought the textbook, who now is going to hold forth about what does and does not happen at chiropractic CE seminars. Since he’s attended so many. And he knows this how? Hearsay from a local ‘health writer’? Please. This source apparently was worth interviewing, because his quotes support the contrived fantasy – that chiropractors are being taught to be anti-vaccine, etc
Amy’s invention next includes the out of context “quotes” from an unidentified ‘radio interview,’ mandatory in any sort of he-said she-said type hack job. My writing and course work are so extensive that I’m sure a case could be made that I support just about any political agenda one can dream up, by cutting and pasting phrases and stringing them together, with a running editorial agenda.
But it’s the next paragraph about vaccine courses that tips their hand: “Still more are taught by chiropractors associated with the Australian Vaccination Network….” Even if that were true, what now becomes clear is that this article is part of Australia media’s ongoing attack aimed at chiropractors.
The pervasive illusion this article strives for is that chiropractors are the sole source of opposition to today’s vaccine policy. If only we can get rid of chiropractors talking about vaccines, – or better yet – get rid of chiropractors, then everything will be fine, and no one will criticize global vaccine policy any more….
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The issue that Amy’s handlers desperately try to hide is something called Global Dialogue. For the past century, there has been a worldwide debate surrounding the safety and efficacy of vaccines. It is gaining momentum everywhere, especially in the past 5 years. Americans are asking why mandated vaccines have tripled since the 1980s and yet our children have the worst health of any industrialized nation on earth, with exponential increases in degenerative and infectious diseases. This too is undisputed fact.
But the ongoing dialogue is global, and it’s definitely not coming from the chiropractic or even the alternative medicine community. This is the thesis of my entire course work on immunology – that the questioning of today’s vaccine policy is coming almost exclusively from medical doctors, mainstream science, and mainstream law. My vaccine textbook is unassailable, because every fact I state, every statistic I offer is documented by one of the 350 references in the back. How many of them are chiropractic sources? Virtually none.
So why are chiropractors being attacked?
My seminars have been accredited not just for doctors of chiropractic, but for dentists, nurses, acupuncturists, and naturopaths as well. And many MDs will attend. Because they’re all interested in the global nature of the course material.
Most of the endorsements for my textbook are from medical doctors. Thousands of medical doctors today are opting out of vaccines for their own children, unless the vaccines are proven safe, effective and necessary. Most cannot speak out. But they are part of the global dialogue on vaccines.
The majority of my references are from scientists and manufacturers of vaccines, and primary researchers in the field of childhood immunology. Not chiropractors. The fact that I am a chiropractor is irrelevant to the discussion. I could be a shepherd and the validity of the textbook argument would be unchanged. [Kiwis would likely prefer that.] I’m simply a lit searcher, citing the best science available.
Here are some undisputed facts being pondered in today’s global debate on vaccines:
The FDA estimates that less than 10% of actual vaccine injuries are ever reported
Manufacturers don’t risk their own capital in researching new vaccines; they receive NIH grants
If a vaccine is approved, the manufacturer gets the patent and reaps profits of $1 billion/year or more
No manufacturer is liable for vaccine deaths or injuries
The approval body – The FDA Advisory Committee – ACIP – is made up entirely of vax industry personnel
Vaccine manufacturers do not have to disclose all ingredients
There are over 300 new vaccines in development
There has never been a clinical trial with an unvaccinated control group
What do these facts have to do with chiropractic? Nothing. This is not a chiropractic gauntlet. Most chiropractors I know vaccinate. If all chiropractors on earth were vaporized tomorrow, the global debate on the value of today’s vaccines would continue, completely unaffected.
In this case, the objective of Oz media is to end the dialogue. The issue isn’t whether you are pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine. It’s between Pro-dialogue and Anti-dialogue.
Who will be allowed to participate in the vaccine dialogue? Everyone except chiropractors, apparently. So let’s be clear about this – a doctor of chiropractic, who by law has academically equivalent hours in the basic sciences to an MD, is now going to be gagged from discussing a subject that anyone else may freely discuss? Is that the size of it?
They actually passed such a draconian law in Canada a few years ago that did just that : gagged DCs from discussing vaccines. Anyone else could talk about them unfettered: food clerks, felons, circus performers, illegals, lawyers, health editors – anyone besides chiropractors. Canadian courts proved a little more sophisticated, however and eventually reversed the decision, with the help of people like Dr Steven Silk. I would urge anyone considering the folly of pursuing such a Josef Goebbels-type agenda in Oz to consider your long term liability. Look at the Canadian story.
Intriguing was Hambleton’s alleged remark about “unscientific treatments. Each profession will be judged by its weakest link, and that’s why we had concerns about adding potentially unscientific professions….”
I couldn’t agree more. That is precisely the focus of the global dialogue on vaccines: the definition of scientific. There is a growing concern in many countries today that economic and political decisions are eclipsing strictly scientific issues in the formulation, approval, and administration of vaccines. Again, these misgivings are not coming from the chiropractic profession, but from mainstream doctors, formulators, and scientists. Do we really want to put a gag on who is allowed to take part in the global discussion?
True science is always evolving, always inviting the next question, always describing its own limitations. If vaccines are going to deserve the mantle of ‘scientific,’ they are going to have to stand up to the full scrutiny of evaluation from any legitimate quarter. We are injecting some 68 of them into our children at this time. It is not something to be cavalier about or use as a pawn on the chessboard of interprofessional chicken fights. Either something is scientific or it isn’t. Let’s not bandy the word about carelessly, pretending any of us has a monopoly on its use.
Looking at Amy’s article again, we see that she herself claims the right that Regulators would deny chiropractors: the right to discuss vaccines: “Immunisation has saved hundreds of millions of lives.” She cites no source for that figure – that is her opinion. A phrase like “according to the CDC” does not follow. Why isn’t this practicing medicine without a license – giving medical advice without a license? What are her credentials? A high school graduate can make public pronouncements on vaccines but a doctor of chiropractic cannot.
How far do we want to take this? Whom else are we going to muzzle– acupuncturists, osteopaths, dentists, massage therapists, estheticians, homeopaths, naturopaths, optometrists, podiatrists, personal trainers, coaches…? Are we going to pass individual laws gagging each one of these professions? Or are we just going to single out chiropractors? If so, now we’re talking about profiling, professional bigotry, persecution, and legal repercussions.
Or maybe we’ll just decide to gag anyone who doesn’t vaccinate. Statistically, 15% of the general population will not vaccinate. Will we now pass laws for all those exempting their children, forbidding them from the public discussion of vaccines?
Or better yet, why not silence anyone who isn’t involved directly in the sales and administration of vaccines from even mentioning the word vaccines. Science as religion? What will be the definition of Informed Consent when parents can get information about vaccines only from those selling vaccines? Is this not the precise intent of the current Oz media campaign? Or the AMA?
Do you see where this logic is heading, once we pretend that Regulators can arbitrarily single out certain targeted groups to lose Freedom of Speech on certain topics? It’s a slippery slope indeed, from which there is no return.
If vaccines are so wonderful, why do we suddenly now have to pass laws to keep people from talking about them? What is it that we’re hiding? Any truly valuable medicines will be voluntarily sought after by the public. With $12 billion annual advertising, the number of people opting out of vaccines is inexorably rising, even with the new agenda to put an end to philosophical exemptions. So now we want to force people to get vaccines, and at the same time we’re going to pass laws to prevent people from even talking about vaccines?
I thought Australians were smarter that Americans.
This isn’t Nazi Germany. Yet. A free society, any democratic republic, is predicated upon the principle of free exchange of ideas – free speech. Which side wants to muzzle the other side here – those selling vaccines or those questioning vaccines? Be docile, don’t question us, and trust us. It’s for your own good. Now please board the train…
Do they really think this is going to fly in 2013, the age of Facebook and the iphone, where everything one says is instantly broadcast to the world?
Everybody knows why this non-story chiropractors/vaccines fiction came to life. We all know who is media’s #1 advertiser: medicine. In deciding to print any article, the criteria your invisible editor must use are those who buy the most ads. Not rocket science here.
Next, let’s look at the one sided nature of this smear piece on chiropractic. No defense of the chiropractic position in this controversy was presented, except for the two truncated, out of context comments at the very end. No one quoted defends chiropractic. This seems for some like an opportunity to trot out all the old anti chiropractic skeletons and turn back the clock 50 years.
In the US, the AMA has no regulatory jurisdiction over chiropractic. Presuming the same is true in Oz, what possible reason would their media decide to interview the AMA, if not to create a fluff news story of out innuendo and hearsay, to see what inflammatory quotes might thus be evoked? The chiropractic profession exists in most states and countries only after years of legislative and regulatory decisions, none of which requires the permission of the AMA or any other voluntary professional association. Need we be reminded of the Wilk vs. AMA case of the 1980s, the anti-trust suit wherein the AMA was found guilty of trying systematically to destroy chiropractic in the US? Which they lost after spending over $10 million in the defense.
What was that lesson about ignoring history again…?
Is it time for a refresher course on the difference between libel and slander?
Despite what organized medicine would like to pretend, vaccines are not mandatory, in any country. If they were, none of this discussion would exist, because we would all be required by law to be vaccinated. At the present time however, anyone can get an exemption from vaccines, if that is their inclination.
Since that is so, the concept of the informed decision then becomes paramount. Thousands of parents opt out of vaccines for their children all over the world, not because they are hoodwinked by chiropractors, but because they have done considerable research, that is available everywhere. So now those vested in the sale of vaccines want to decree that information about vaccines be disseminated only by those who are in the business of vaccine sales? How are they going to do that?
We must be very careful when we see this phrase ‘informed decision.’ It has only one true significance: familiarizing oneself with the best data on both sides of the debate. And the best data is not rhetoric, slogans, mantras, or threats. No, the best data is referenced, thoroughly and meticulously, so that the reader need not believe what the speaker is saying, but may look up the primary sources first-hand.
Beware of those who would redefine the Informed Decision as one that has been reached only by consulting the sellers of vaccines. Let’s never pretend that their issue isn’t first and last an economic one.
I’m not trying to keep vaccines from anyone who wants them. I believe everyone should be able to get all the vaccines they want. And forced to get none. If the staff of the SMH wants to get twice the recommended vaccines, that’s fine – it’s their choice. But when it comes to forcing that choice on everybody else, that’s where we have to draw the line. That’s where Medical Freedom comes in.
One of the most basic rights of parents anywhere is the right to protect their own children by making the best decisions for them. Especially in the area of health. If the sources of information available to parents becomes censored and controlled only by vested interests – the sellers of medicines – what must inevitably follow is the end of Medical Freedom.
I am certainly not anti medicine. It has saved my life on more than one occasion. Nor am I anti-vaccine, for the last time. I am pro science, in the classical sense of the word. But mostly I am pro dialogue, and as such I do not see the value in excluding any legitimate data from the discussion just because it offends the sensibilities of people who made up their minds on everything 25 years ago. Or those who have a vested interest in relegating this decision to a black and white template.
This issue is too critical to the genetics of our children to let arrogance and personal hubris supervene the discussion. It’s no longer supportable to say either all vaccines are good or all vaccines are bad. This is an exponentially expanding area of inquiry at this point in time.
So. There it is. The twin agenda of Oz media is crystal clear in this instance: Anti-chiropractic, and Anti- dialogue. They will certainly never be accused of cleverness, or subtlety. Anyone who would give credence to such a poorly-crafted chimera as these provincial media have conjured up, and see it as anything other than a salacious, self-serving attempt to create news out of events that never existed – well, they’d best be prepared to suffer the consequences of being so ill-informed.
Fairly confident that neither of these publications will print this response. Because I have committed the Unspoken Forbidden here – I have gone into the actual subject matter. Mea culpa. Fortunately, by 2013 we no longer need to rely on their declining readership in order to expose this outright assault against both Medical Freedom and Academic Freedom in Australia.
The word is out.