The day that CNN phoned me – What they didn’t print

So CNN phoned me today to ask me about my reaction to the Wakefield “fraud” story and about 20 minutes later, I had said all I had to say on the subject.

As is normal in jounalism, 20 minutes of talk time generally gets you about 3 or 4 lines in a news story. In this case, I’m pretty happy with what they quoted from me, what do you think?

Few swayed by fraud finding in autism study

Here’s what they didn’t print.

“Do you believe Wakefield was honest or fraudulent?”

I honestly have no idea but what I do know is that it’s so strange that there is no real investigation, a criminal one. There are claims that he hurt the children, that he paid the children (or their parents) and that the results of all this, if the results are fraud, may have directly caused many deaths.

We’ve been hearing about this study for 13 years, it’s been discredited for several, he was disbarred last year and in all this time, we still have no real answers.

“Do you think this news story will change anything?”

No, I don’t. People who are anti-vaccination read the studies that support their stance. The people who are pro-vaccination read the studies that support their stance. Everything else, they each dismiss.

To be honest, I’m rather sick of anti-vaccination people pulling the 7 degrees of separation game with every doctor that finds no vaccine-autism link in an attempt to link them to some big pharmaceutical company. So some guy’s grandfather had a neighbor that worked as a janitor for some company… is that really a reason to believe he was paid off to say something just to discredit Wakefield?

Why does it work one way and not the other?

Why is it ok to find these links to discredit every doctor out there that says what you don’t agree with but you don’t even bother to question the very public, very obvious controversies surrounding the one doctor that does say what you agree with?

If you question one doctor, or a group of doctors, you have to question them all. Believe no one, do your own research… ALL OF IT.

“Did this story or any of the stories about this make you question vaccines?”

Not really, no. It was pretty clear my son had Autism before his MMR vaccinations and even if there was some question, I’d rather take the Autism risk than the disfigured or dead risk.

No, this controversy is the one big controversy that divides the Autism community and it makes me sick. I get asked the question a lot and usually I don’t answer because I don’t want one side or another hating me. I just want everyone to support each other.

I don’t believe we’ve found the one cause, I don’t even think there is just one cause. But I am pretty sure it’s not vaccines causing anything.

“What do you mean by this is the one controversy dividing the Autism community?”

Well, we’ve had studies, just in the last year or two, that have suggested links to Autism with living next to a highway, with IVF, with jaundice, with premature birth, with oxygen deprivation during birth, with tylenol during pregnancy, with flouride in the water… I could go on and on. Why aren’t people fighting over any of these studies? Why isn’t there some big panic over any of these things?

Why does this one issue have to be so huge that it’s causing people to snap? I mean, this morning a company that makes toys and products for Autistic children posted the link to the Wakefield story on their facebook page and some moms were furious… lashing out at this company for posting a story to discredit such a wonderful man, and to slam all these parents… and so on and so forth.

I mean, seriously. Calm down. They shared the latest Autism news. That’s all!

“So it’s been 13 years now, you said, you think that’s enough?”

Oh yeah. I mean, not a single soul will have their mind changed by these latest news articles. It simply adds fuel to the fire in terms of dividing the community even more. It prolongs the argument.

All this energy in fighting could be spent on getting more teachers out there that understand Autism, getting more employers that are patient enough to take on some Autistic teens, getting housing built that’s affordable and with available help to those adults with Autism that will need it.

I don’t know what the future holds for my son but if he gets to be my age and this argument is still going on, then he’ll have missed out on a lot of services and information that could have been made available if we could just move passed this.

“So why do you think that this continues then?”

People are very passionate about this, this is their children. There’s nothing you can be more protective of than your own child.

I feel bad for the parents who for a while have a normal child, who hugs and speaks and then shortly after they turn 2, they lose all words and no longer look them in the eye. I would look for someone to blame too. If they had just gotten vaccines, I would be pretty angry too.

No news story is going to convince them of anything. When you have that much anger and frustration, it’s passion. They’re fighting for their children.

How much time has been spent with us fighting?

About Stuart Duncan

My name is Stuart Duncan, creator of http://www.stuartduncan.name. My oldest son (Cameron) has Autism while my younger son (Tyler) does not. I am a work from home web developer with a background in radio. I do my very best to stay educated and do what ever is necessary to ensure my children have the tools they need to thrive. I share my stories and experiences in an effort to further grow and strengthen the online Autism community and to promote Autism Understanding and Acceptance.

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7 Responses to The day that CNN phoned me – What they didn’t print

  1. Lisa January 6, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

    As always I love reading ur point of view. I wish with all my heart that the insanity will stop but know that it won’t.

    I’m very good friends with someone who believes that vaccines caused her daughters autism. But I choose our friendship over the line that is drawn between us.

    I like you don’t believe that the vaccines caused my sons autism. I have other kids that have had shots and they are fine.

  2. jillsmo January 6, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

    Love this!

    “Believe no one, do your own research… ALL OF IT.” SO true.

  3. Marianna January 7, 2011 at 12:07 am #

    Nice piece. The autism community really is it’s own worst enemy.

  4. Sharon January 7, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    You should write a book!

  5. Sullivan January 12, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

    I don’t think I could think on my feet well enough to do such a good job on an interview.

    Well done. Too bad they only had room for a short quote.

  6. Stuart Duncan January 12, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    Thanks Sullivan, but I don’t believe you for a second. You know more about the details of all of this more than more people.

    I really do appreciate the compliment though, especially from you.

  7. Tim January 14, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

    Stuart,

    Brilliant stuff here. The divisiveness of this issue just hurts my soul. I wish it would end, but I think we all know it won’t.

    What is interesting is that this latest news has gotten a lot of people off the fence. A number of people who rarely discuss this have ‘come out’ against him and the autism-vaccine connection. It’s also given political cover to a variety of organizations who’ve played (at least in their own minds) Switzerland on this issue. Lots of them were holding their cards until they could safely take a side. That’s very disappointing to me, but this does seem like a tipping point for people and organizations who perhaps wanted to lean this way publicly for a while now.

    I’ve expressed my opinion before but simply have other things I want to discuss. There are enough people who will continue on this path without the many of us who want to move on. I just can’t give any more energy to it.

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