Vaccine fearmongering and "intellectual prostitution"

July 10, 2005  ·  Michael Fumento  ·  Weblog

Mark Sircus, head of something called the International Medical Veritas Association, needs to learn a bit about the meaning of "Veritas." In a commentary titled "Intellectual Prostitution," he calls a whore anybody who disagrees with the proposition that childhood vaccines containing the preservative thimerosal (half of which is ethyl mercury) cause autism. They're all on the take; that's the only possible explanation for their positions no matter how authoritative and detailed their arguments may be. I am one of the named prostitutes. Commenting on a column of mine that appeared in Townhall and another piece in the Wall Street Journal, our three-ring Sircus says, "Mr. Fumento's [sic], of the Hudson Institute, recently published essays on thimerosal, [which] like many of the others, were bought and paid for by the pharmaceutical industry so one should read his and many of the current articles proclaiming the safety of known poisons with salt."

Does he have the least evidence that I was actually paid? No. It's supposed to be guilt by association, but it turns out to not even fit that.

"When it comes to the Thimerosal [sic] debate and Fumento's opinion it is not a coincidence that the Hudson Institute [where I'm a senior fellow] is based in Indianapolis, home of Eli Lilly, the pharmaceutical giant that holds the patent on Thimerosal [sic]," he writes. He also ties Dan Quayle and former OMB Director Mitch Daniels to both Lilly and Hudson.

Aside from not being able to spell "thimerosal," Sircus seems ignorant that Lilly patented the preservative in 1930 and therefore must have its rights half a century ago. Hudson is not based in Indy, but Washington, D.C. It moved a year ago, which is to say a year before I wrote my pieces. Hudson formerly received major funding not from Lilly the pharmaceutical company but from the Lilly Endowment, which truly has a Chinese wall between it and its drug company donors. In any event, the Endowment focuses heavily on Indiana projects and stopped funding Hudson when it moved.

But this isn't to say Sircus knows nothing about intellectual prostition. He makes his living running a clinic in Brazil that uses "chelation therapy," a fraud denounced by many medical organizations. Far from extracting "toxins" as claimed it merely extracts green material from the pockets of gullible parents of autistic children (and sufferers of countless other illnesses). It is the money trail behind the "vaccines cause autism" hysteria, the conspiracy behind the conspiracy theory if you will.