I read the SBM article from start to finnish on Gorski's take on the CDC whistle-blower incident. I wanted to know what the "other side" had to say….and my analysis? Not much.
He spends a lot of time babbling about how much he dislikes Hooker, Wakefield and Crosby. This probably accounts for 2/3 the word count. Very little time is spent on Thompson. They don't hate him yet (give it time).
He spends some time babbling about how the video is over-the-top…and as much as it pains me to say it, I agree with him. A hyperbolic video talking about syphilis, Tuskegee and Hitler, no less, is not going to win over anyone. Consider your audience, folks. The message (which is important!) could have gotten lost in the hyperbole.
Gorski also uses several hundred keys strokes saying how white people should not be up in arms about this. He either thinks white non-vaxxers only care about themselves (that's right -I don't care if black children develop autism (sarcasm) ) or
he is saying we shouldn't care - because it is only black male children in play here. It is not clear, so take your vile pick: he is calling non-vaxxers racist with no evidence or being racist himself.
"This study says nothing whatsoever about, for instance, Jenny McCarthy and her son’s autism, other than that there is no link between MMR and autism for children like him. Remember, the most vocal antivaccinationists jumping all over this are not African-American but instead tend to be UMC or even highly affluent Caucasians. There’s absolutely nothing in even Hooker’s ham-fisted “reanalysis” of this data to tell them that the MMR vaccine caused their children’s autism."
(as an aside, I get a little tired of people assuming everyone who is non-vax has vaccine injured children. I do not. While I have been quite public with fact I have 2 nephews with severe autism, I have never claimed vaccines caused the autism.)
Gorski of SBM does have some criticisms of the study, but concludes the criticism with this:
"So is Hooker’s result valid? Was there really a 3.4-fold increased risk for autism in African-American males who received MMR vaccination before the age of 36 months in this dataset? Who knows? Probably not, though.
Bolding mine. He doesn't know. In a post that might be TL
DR this is an important point.
Gorski is inclined to think that this whole think is just an out of context, cherry-picking by Wakefield/Hooker - but he does not really know. He states this, which I actually agree with:
"If Dr. Thompson did say what he is represented as having said on the Wakefield video (I don’t trust Wakefield for a moment to have edited the tape of Thompson’s conversations with Hooker honestly), then Thompson has done enormous damage. This is the sort of thing that antivaccine activists like Hooker have been waiting for for years: A “whistleblower” CDC official of senior rank who gives them a seemingly plausible story of malfeasance and cover-up to trumpet to the world. This is not going away. It will become part of antivaccine lore, to be repeated over and over basically forever as evidence that the “CDC knew.” If he didn’t, he really needs to find a way to get out in front of this and give his side of the story now. The longer this festers, the less effective his response will be."
Over-all I did not run screaming from this SBM piece - something I often do as the tone of SBM is just so vile and hateful.
My sense? The skeptics have nothing - as is evidence by this rather weak, not really to the point, article. Like the rest of us, they are waiting to see what happens, and any criticism of Hookers papers (and let's face it: criticizing papers is not that hard and something skeptics do all the time: nothing new here) is secondary to to the issue of what happened