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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

RFK Jr's Editor Expresses Regret for Publishing His Lies

In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing diseases to spread  And among those diseases could be COVID-19.

Antivaxxers are sometimes violent, often abusive, and always wrongA leading anti-vaxxer is presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.  He has repeatedly compared vaccine mandates to the Holocaust.  Rolling Stone and Salon retracted an RFK article linking vaccines to autism.

Joan Walsh edited RFK Jr's 2005 Salon piece.  At The Nation, she writes that it was the biggest mistake of her career.
“I regret we didn’t move on this more quickly, as evidence continued to emerge debunking the vaccines and autism link,” I said in our retraction. “But continued revelations of the flaws and even fraud tainting the science behind the connection make taking down the story the right thing to do.” It was kind of [editor in chief Kerry] Lauerman to let me be the voice of our decision (we were and remain good friends). I should have made it myself, years earlier.

Now, Kennedy insists, as the The New York Times paraphrases him, that “Salon caved to pressure from government regulators and the pharmaceutical industry.” He repeated the false claim in his three-hour podcast conversation with Joe Rogan, another conspiracy loon, rehashing the debunked claims of “Deadly Immunity” and claiming that Salon pulled the piece after “pressure from the pharmaceutical industry.”
That’s just another lie. We caved to pressure from the incontrovertible truth and our journalistic consciences.