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Jeremy Hammond Debunks Jake Tapper's Criticism of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.: SUMMARY
Here’s a summary of Jeremy’s massive report. Tapper is using the same tired tools of misdirection and disinformation to protect the Pharma cash cow that CNN milks for massive streams of ad revenue.
Jeremy Hammond wrote and published a deeply researched and fully referenced dissection of Jake Tapper’s denial-based critique of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s position that thimerosal is, contrary to the official narrative, harmful. Below is my review of the main points. Here is Jeremy’s amazing full article, which contains all of the references to his main points.
NB:Jeremy missed one important point: Nowhere did Tapper report his massive conflict of interest; namely that CNN receives massive amounts of revenue from Pharmaceutical companies, which explains the lengths to which Tapper goes to try - but fails - to criticize Kennedy’s reality-based assessment of thimerosal and pediatric vaccine safety.
My Summary of the Points
1. **Misrepresentation of Kennedy's Basis for Argument:** Tapper misrepresents Kennedy's argument by suggesting it is based on the discredited 1998 Lancet study by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, when Kennedy never even referred to this study in his original “Deadly Immunity” article. This misleading representation significantly weakens Tapper's critique and suggests a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of Kennedy's arguments.
2. **Selective Use of Salon's Retraction:** Tapper leverages Salon's retraction of Kennedy's article as proof of its inaccuracy but fails to mention that the corrections made did not substantively affect Kennedy's core arguments. This undermines Tapper's position and indicates a selective interpretation of events.
3. **Dismissal of Key Sources:** Tapper attempts to deflect attention away from key sources cited by Kennedy, such as the Simpsonwood transcripts, which indicate that the CDC held a secret meeting to discuss concerns about the association between mercury-containing vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders. Ignoring this source undermines the breadth of Tapper's critique.
4. **Neglect of Dr. Verstraeten's Study:** Tapper fails to address Dr. Verstraeten's study, a crucial part of Kennedy's argument that suggests the CDC's potential manipulation of vaccine safety data. This oversight limits the validity of Tapper's critique.
5. **Inadequate Consideration of Dr. Barry Rumack's Analysis:** Tapper overlooks the analysis by FDA consultant Dr. Barry Rumack showing that the CDC’s vaccine schedule was exposing infants to cumulative levels of mercury exceeding the government’s own safety guidelines. This omission detracts from the thoroughness of his critique.
6. **Incorrect Accusation of Ignoring the Institute of Medicine's 2004 Review:** Tapper wrongly accuses Kennedy of ignoring the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) 2004 review, when Kennedy acknowledged this review in his argument, and critically, suggested that its conclusion was predetermined.
7. **Exclusion of IOM’s Admission:** Tapper does not consider the IOM’s admission that a link between mercury-containing vaccines and autism is “biologically plausible.” Moreover, the IOM's concern for genetically susceptible subpopulations of children, which could affect the results of studies, is not addressed in Tapper's critique.
8. **Neglect of Burbacher et al.’s Study:** Tapper also overlooks the study by Burbacher et al., which suggests that ethylmercury from vaccines is more persistent in the brain than methylmercury, thereby indicating a significant cause for concern related to the use of mercury in vaccines.
9. **Dismissive Labelling of Kennedy:** Tapper's labeling of Kennedy as a conspiracy theorist minimizes the valid concerns raised by Kennedy about the potential side effects of vaccines, particularly thimerosal-containing ones. This labeling can stifle nuanced, factual discussion about vaccine safety.
10. **Lack of Evidence in Discrediting Kennedy's Arguments:** Tapper asserts that Kennedy's thesis was a baseless "conspiracy theory" but fails to provide concrete evidence or logical argument to refute Kennedy's points. This exposes an element of bias and lack of thorough analysis in Tapper's critique.
These points collectively suggest that Tapper's critique of Kennedy's article has significant shortcomings in terms of its accuracy, comprehensiveness, and impartiality.
In his article published on June 22, CNN anchor Jake Tapper criticizes Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for spreading what he characterizes as misinformation about vaccines, particularly in connection to autism and the alleged conspiracy around thimerosal. Tapper calls Kennedy's claims "spurious", "thoroughly debunked" and accuses him of being unreliable for accurate information. He focuses specifically on Kennedy's 2005 article "Deadly Immunity", which suggested mercury in vaccines might have caused autism in thousands of children. Despite his critiques, Tapper has not addressed any substantive errors in Kennedy's work, obscured important facts, and has misrepresented the content of Kennedy's article.
Jake Tapper's critique of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was prompted by a podcast interview Kennedy gave to Jordan Peterson, which brought up their past interactions over Kennedy's controversial article, "Deadly Immunity". Kennedy reported that while working for ABC News, Tapper had initially shown interest in doing an exclusive exposé on his article, indicating the story was significant. However, ABC pulled the piece at the last minute, only to later broadcast a version that favored pharmaceutical industry narratives. While Tapper confirms that he discussed the piece with Kennedy and held the story, he disputes other details, including the duration of their collaboration. Kennedy maintains that despite the discrepancies, Tapper originally conveyed an interest in advancing the story to the public, which Tapper does not deny.
Tapper disputes Mr. Kennedy’s description of a proposed ABC News piece on his article "Deadly Immunity" as a "documentary". Kennedy, however, insists that ABC initially expressed interest in airing a significant story based on his article, a point Tapper does not deny. Despite Tapper's objection that ABC did not kill the story and aired it on June 22, 2005, Kennedy argues that the broadcast was not the in-depth exposé originally promised, but rather a piece echoing pharmaceutical industry narratives and criticizing Kennedy. He stresses that this piece, aired after a delay, diverged significantly from their initial discussions, and that his subsequent attempts to contact Tapper went unanswered.
In his conversation with Jordan Peterson, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. reiterated that Jake Tapper didn't respond to his calls after airing what Kennedy terms as a "hit piece" on him, a point Tapper does not deny. Tapper disputes aspects of Kennedy's account such as the time spent on the story and the format, but he does not refute the premise that he initially portrayed sincerity in publicizing the story behind "Deadly Immunity." Tapper's rebuttal that ABC didn't "kill" the story avoids Kennedy's main point, which is the pro-pharma bias in the final broadcast. Further, Tapper's criticisms of Kennedy include claims of inaccuracies, yet Tapper's own fact-checking fails to address the core issues raised by Kennedy about mercury toxicity in vaccines.
Kennedy describes the increased exposure to mercury his own children faced due to the CDC's childhood vaccine schedule between 1989 and 2003. He correlates this with the growing prevalence of chronic illnesses and neurological disorders. The CBS quote, used by Jake Tapper, frames Kennedy's statement linking thimerosal and autism as false when in reality it reflects his opinion. Instead of providing a solid argument against Kennedy's position, both CBS and Tapper assume their conclusion — no link between thimerosal and autism—as the premise, falling into the logical fallacy of begging the question.
Jake Tapper's claim that Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s argument in his article "Deadly Immunity" is based on the discredited 1998 Lancet study is fundamentally incorrect. Kennedy's article is about thimerosal in vaccines, which was never mentioned in the Lancet study. Thus, Tapper's argument is misleading and irrelevant. Additionally, Tapper falsely asserts that the Lancet study concluded that vaccines cause autism, when in reality the study did not establish a causal relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism. Kennedy's article, in contrast, focuses on the link between thimerosal, a mercury-based compound in vaccines, and neurological disorders. Tapper's misrepresentation and the mainstream media's mischaracterization of both the 1998 Lancet study and Kennedy's article demonstrate an attempt to detract from the substance of Kennedy's work.
Jake Tapper's criticism of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s argument in his article "Deadly Immunity" overlooks the central source that Kennedy bases his thesis on: the Simpsonwood transcripts. These transcripts are from a two-day meeting held by the CDC in 2000 to discuss findings from epidemiologist Thomas Verstraeten's study using data from the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD). The meeting included high-level officials from the CDC, FDA, WHO, and representatives of major vaccine manufacturers.
Instead of engaging with the contents of these transcripts, Tapper dismisses Kennedy's thesis as a conspiracy theory, but these transcripts are crucial in understanding Kennedy's position. Kennedy cites these transcripts as evidence to support his conclusion that there is a link between thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative used in some vaccines, and a rise in childhood neurological disorders.
One of Verstraeten's analyses using VSD data found a rigidly statistically significant association between mercury-containing vaccines and an increased risk of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. According to Kennedy, CDC officials attempted to dismiss this statistical significance through revisions of Verstraeten's analysis, straying from the original study protocol. It took them four years to find a way to make the association go away - and that protocol (known elsewhere as “p-hacking”) is now codified in a white paper that describes “how to” cook association study data in a manner that is designed to fail to find any real association between vaccines and serious adverse events.
The importance of the Simpsonwood transcripts in Kennedy's argument underscores the flaw in Tapper's critique. Rather than engaging with the source material that forms the backbone of Kennedy's argument, Tapper deflects, leading to an intellectually dishonest critique. Instead of in-depth analysis and critical thinking, Tapper engages in what appears to be a dismissal based on the mainstream narrative.
Tapper's argument that Salon's retraction of Kennedy's article is evidence that Kennedy's thesis is false is another example of this intellectual laziness. As you pointed out, none of the corrections made to "Deadly Immunity" by the Salon editors materially affected Kennedy's thesis. In fact, several errors corrected were introduced by the editors themselves in the process of cutting down the article.
Kennedy's argument in "Deadly Immunity" stems from the Simpsonwood transcripts, Verstraeten's initial analysis, and the CDC's handling of the potential health impacts and legal liabilities associated with the use of thimerosal. Any critique of Kennedy's thesis needs to engage with these elements to be intellectually honest and substantive.
This passage continues the exploration of the controversy around Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s article "Deadly Immunity," the mainstream media's portrayal of it, and the debates over the safety of thimerosal in vaccines. It critically examines Jake Tapper's critique of Kennedy's work, accusing Tapper of misleading his audience by omitting key details, misrepresenting Kennedy's arguments, and contradicting his own sources.
Tapper claims that Kennedy ignored the 2004 Institute of Medicine (IOM) review in his article. This review concluded that there wasn't enough evidence to either support or reject a causal relationship between thimerosal vaccines and autism. It is noted that Kennedy did not ignore this review, but instead discussed it at length, including the Institute's potential lack of objectivity. In reality, Tapper misrepresents this by stating Kennedy didn't mention the IOM review.
Tapper's criticism against Kennedy of ignoring the IOM report is unfounded; Kennedy indeed addressed the report and the potential conflicts within IOM's decision-making process.
The IOM's 2004 conclusion was that the evidence was insufficient to support or reject a link between thimerosal in vaccines and autism. This nuanced position is contrasted against Tapper's portrayal which presents the IOM's conclusion as definitive proof of the safety of thimerosal. By doing this, Tapper rejected the very standards of evidence put forward by his own source: the IOM.
Mainstream media like CNN or ABC adopt a policy advocacy approach rather than a journalistic one when it comes to vaccines, choosing not to delve into the deeper issues surrounding vaccine safety and potential conflicts of interest in public health institutions.
This is a complex topic with a lot of nuanced views and it is always important to critically evaluate information and consider multiple sources when trying to form an understanding.
The analysis by FDA consultant Dr. Barry Rumack, uncovered via a FOIA request by SafeMinds, revealed that during the 1990s, the CDC's vaccine schedule was exposing infants to cumulative levels of mercury exceeding the government’s safety guidelines. The CDC argues that the mercury in vaccines is safe and doesn't cause Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) because ethylmercury, unlike methylmercury found in fish, does not remain in the body long enough to cause toxicity. They state that ethylmercury is not a toxin and that thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, was phased out of childhood vaccines between 1999 and 2001 as a precautionary measure.
However, these claims by the CDC are challenged by a detailed examination of their cited sources, particularly the 2004 Institute of Medicine's (IOM) Immunization Safety Review. The IOM review based their assessment of the thimerosal/autism link on the dearth published epidemiological studies examining the association, not on a conclusive refutation of the hypothesis. The review admits that ethylmercury is a known neurotoxin that can injure the nervous system, and acknowledges the potential for ethylmercury exposure from vaccines exceeding federal safety guidelines. Furthermore, it concedes that certain observational studies may fail to find a true association due to potential genetic susceptibilities, and it does not rule out the possibility of vaccines contributing to autism in rare cases or circumstances.
In addition, the CDC's use of a 2001 FDA study to support the safety of injecting ethylmercury is misleading, as the authors of this study admit to the potential of neurodevelopmental abnormalities arising from vaccine-induced mercury exposure. Similarly, a study by Burbacher et al., used by the CDC to argue for the safety of ethylmercury, found that while ethylmercury is more readily eliminated from the blood, it is more persistent in the brain and could be associated with neuroinflammation seen in autistic patients. The authors of this study advocate for further research into the potential neurotoxicity of thimerosal.
Overall, there is a discrepancy between how the CDC portrays the safety of ethylmercury in vaccines and the nuances and cautionary notes expressed in the studies they cite. It is therefore crucial to examine these primary sources directly, instead of relying solely on agency statements, to fully understand the current scientific understanding of this topic.
In an attempt to challenge Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s assertions about vaccines, CNN’s Jake Tapper presents his argument centered around Kennedy’s 2005 article “Deadly Immunity”. However, Tapper's critique does not specifically address any factual or logical errors in Kennedy’s article. He leans on a single, decontextualized statement to categorize Kennedy's thesis as a conspiracy theory, which instead comes across as an expression of an opposing viewpoint rather than a logically sound refutation.
Tapper suggests a link between Kennedy's claims and the controversial 1998 Lancet study by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, which Kennedy does not reference in his article. Furthermore, Wakefield's study pertains to the MMR vaccine, which never contained thimerosal, whereas Kennedy's argument focuses on this mercury-based preservative used in other vaccines.
Salon’s retraction of Kennedy's article in 2011 is utilized by Tapper as definitive proof of Kennedy's erroneous argument. However, none of the corrections provided by Salon substantially refuted Kennedy’s central argument about CDC's concealment of an initial analysis that found a correlation between mercury-containing vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism.
Tapper also seems to minimize the importance of the Simpsonwood transcripts, a key source for Kennedy’s argument, which detailed a closed meeting where attendees discussed concerns over the identified link between mercury-containing vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders, the impact of this information on public trust, and potential legal ramifications.
Tapper inaccurately accuses Kennedy of overlooking the Institute of Medicine’s 2004 review, even though Kennedy's argument included a detailed examination of the review's conclusion and the motivation behind it.
Tapper's critique of Kennedy's article appears more as an attempt to uphold a mainstream narrative than as an objective analysis. This pattern, seen in Tapper and other mainstream media, follows the trend of oversimplifying complex scientific discourse around vaccines, similar to the approach taken by the CDC.
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