Monday, August 31, 2009

Dateline NBC: A Dose of Controversy and a Dash of Conflict of Interest

For those of you who took the time to watch last night's Dateline NBC program (as I did), you may have come away from the show (as I did) saying to yourself, "That seemed one-sided."

You may be asking yourself the following questions:
1. Did they present the whole story?
2. Was important information edited out?

The answers to these questions are (1) NO. and (2) YES.

My own impressions of the show were that it was grossly biased in favor of Brian Deem and Paul Offit. For example, Brian Deem has made a big point of accusing Dr. Wakefield of being guilty of "conflict of interest" because he was paid "a quarter of a million dollars" for his work as a paid expert in a court case. Mr. Deem said nothing of his own conflicts of interest or those of his employer on behalf of Glaxo Smith-Kline (Big Pharma).

As for Dr. Offit (a.k.a. "Dr. Profit"), while Matt Lauer did mention that Dr. Offit was involved in vaccine development, nothing was said about the $182 Million dollars that was paid in royalties for the Rotavirus Vaccine, of which Dr. Offit received "an undisclosed amount." I'm just speculating, but I'm sure it was more than "a quarter of a million dollars."

There was also no mention of the fact that while Dr. Offit was developing and selling vaccines, he was also sitting on the board of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) - the very same group that was charged with "reviewing the research" on vaccine safety, and ultimately pronounced there was No Connection between vaccines and autism. I think that's a conflict of interest that bears mentioning.

To learn more about Dr. Offit and his conflict of interest issues, as well as COI issues involving the American Academy of Pediatrics, click the following link:

To learn more about Dr. Offit and the licensing of his Rotavirus Vaccine, click the following link:

It is also worth mentioning that the increased incidence of measles infection in the last few years consists of a majority (more than 50%) of cases that developed in children as a result of vaccination. (This was part of the increase in "vaccine-preventable illnesses" Dr. Offit spoke about during last night's program - he just failed to mention that most of the measles infections were BECAUSE the kids were vaccinated, or came into contact with a child who had been vaccinated within five days and was shedding the virus.)

As far as the voice of reason, NBC did a hatchet job on their interview with Dr. Bernadine Healy, the former Head of the National Institutes of Health. To their credit, NBC has posted more of the interview with Dr. Healy on their website. I urge you to watch it by clicking the following link:

After watching what Dr. Healy REALLY said to NBC in preparation for last night's program, PLEASE go to the following link and listen to what the former Director of NIH had to say on this subject in May 2008:

Thoughtful House has posted their response to last night's program. You can read it here:

Here is Dr. Wakefield's response to the program:

Finally, regarding the link between autism and gastrointestinal disease: Dr. Wakefield is not the first, nor is he the only researcher to observe this association. While I would never presume to count myself as worthy of keeping company with a researcher of his caliber, in April 2009 I put together and delivered several PowerPoint presentations about Autism. One of those presentations was entitled, "Gastrointestinal Illness in Autism" and involved my own literature review and observations from the last several years of working with families of children with Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD, Learning Disabilities, and other Developmental Disabilities. If you would like a copy of the presentation, email me at and I'll send you a copy.

In closing, I hope you watched the show last night. It was an excellent lesson in whether or not to believe everything we see or read from the media. I also hope you will take the time to check out the links in this post and educate yourself and those you care about.

The truth is out there, we just have to work a bit harder to find it. We cannot rely on clicking the remote to give us the information we need.

Blessings 4 all of you!
Marci Terry


  1. Offit disclosed to me in August that he was paid $6M for the Rotateq patent. While you don't repeat much higher amounts claimed by critics, it's clear you are using them as sources.

  2. The latest information I have been able to find indicates Dr. Offit received somewhere between $29 and 55 million.


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