I was quoted by Meagan Fitzpatrick of CanWest News Service in an article about autism and the H1N1 vaccine. 3 versions of the story appeared on line within 24 hours. I found this disturbing since the omission of information in the briefer versions, in my opinion, totally changed the story ... from one which was reasonably objective to one which followed the "Jenny McCarthy versus the scientists" script promoted by Dr. Paul Offit and other defenders of public vaccine programs who dismiss parental concerns. Ms Fitzpatrick called me, and at my request subsequently emailed me, to clarify her role and that of Canwest News Service:
Hi Mr. Doherty,
I would like to provide you with the link to the full story that was published by Canwest News Service related to the autism-vaccine debate.
I would also appreciate the opportunity to clarify that I did not, nor did Canwest News Service, publish different versions of the story. I write for Canwest News Service and when I file a story it is available for use by all of the publications that subscribe to our wire service. If different versions of the story appear either in the print or online versions of those publications it is because that individual publication edited it. It would be ideal for every publication to run my stories at their full length, but unfortunately that’s often not the case. It can be frustrating at times to see how my stories run in various publications. It appears that at least one newspaper published the autism story on its website that was only about half the length of the full article, and that is indeed unfortunate. I would encourage your blog readers to read the full article here:
Thanks very much,
NOTES: (1) All three versions of Meagan Fitzpatrick's article were published under Canada.com logos. Canada.com, an internet portal, and Canwest News Service, are related media assets owned by Canwest Global Communications Corp.
(2) The mainstream media almost never mention that there are credible members of the scientific community who maintain that the science is not conclusive on these issues, that the studies relied upon by Dr. Offit and others do not address the impact of vaccines on vulnerable population subsets. The epidemiological studies to date do not even compare autism rates of existing unvaccinated to vaccinated populations, an observational study that could and should be done according to some prominent members of the scientific/health community (Dr. B. Healy, Dr. J. Gerberding, Dr. D. Alexander, Dr. J. Poling).