NBC’s Today Show Spreads Misinformation and Attacks Vaccine Safety Advocates
By Ty & Charlene Bollinger
March 11, 2019
A few days ago, NBC’s show TODAY spent five and a half minutes talking about vaccines. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kuDzdWG8OsI&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR22bkv9nCLtWzJySQ3U6nc3ZAfTO9qwr4F-bNNFZtHaZ4cLnPxw6K4Nj0c But they didn’t talk about vaccine safety studies and how they aren’t held to the same standard of other medicines. They didn’t talk about the revolving door between vaccine manufacturers and government entities. They didn’t even talk about why the CDC vaccine schedule has increased exponentially over the years.
They utilized the typical ad hominem attacks. This phrase is Latin for “against the man.” Instead of advancing good, sound reasoning, ad hominems replace logical argumentation with attack-language unrelated to the truth of the matter. This is a typical tactic of those in favor of vaccine mandates. Call those who question the safety or efficacy of vaccines a name… like “Vaccine Refuseniks” or “Science Deniers” or “Conspiracy Quacks.”
It was a hit piece that used a broad brush to label people as “anti-vaxxers” and accused them of deliberately spreading misinformation and preying on people’s fear. By the way, the “anti-vaxx” and “pro-vaxx” terminology creates a logical fallacy called a “false dichotomy” because the vast majority of medical doctors today would probably categorize their position as somewhere in between.
Many doctors who consider themselves “pro-vaccine,” for example, do not believe that every single vaccine is appropriate for every single individual. Many doctors recommend a “delayed” vaccine schedule for some patients, and not always the recommended one-size-fits-all CDC childhood schedule. Other doctors choose to recommend vaccines based on the actual science and merit of each vaccine, recommending some vaccines, while determining that others are not worth the risk for children.
Then, the segment featured a clip from our Global Health News series, a quick sound bite designed to portray TTAC as dishonest and fear-mongering. The clip was used without our knowledge, and NBC did not reach out to us for comment.
We’re here to set the record straight.
18-Year-Old Ethan Lindenberger Used as Prop in Pro-Vaxx Propaganda
Host Kristen Dahlgren began the segment by repeating the WHO’s statement that vaccine hesitancy is a top ten global health risk. She then introduced Ethan Lindenberger, who testified on Capitol Hill recently about the role of social media in spreading “misinformation” and “fear-mongering” that Dahlgren said puts many people at risk.
Lindenberger is an 18-year-old boy from Ohio, with no background in medical research nor any other credentials or experience that would qualify him as an expert in any way. The teen gained some notoriety when he chose to be vaccinated after turning 18. His mother had chosen not to have her children vaccinated, and it wasn’t until his 18th birthday that he could choose for himself.
He blamed social media for his mother’s choices, claiming that she “would turn to anti-vaccine groups online and on social media looking for her evidence and defense, rather than health officials and through credible sources.”
Ethan’s mother and brother speak out in the video with Del Bigtree below: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GXXUGi60kXo
When asked where he gets most of his information, he said, “not Facebook” and cited the CDC and WHO as his primary sources. To be clear, both the CDC and the WHO have Facebook pages where they routinely share short videos or images, often with links to relevant health articles.
Lindenberger fancies himself a social media whiz, having listed OH! Publishing as an employer, but his Reddit page clarifies that he simply helped a friend set up social media accounts to promote a book. He also has two Facebook accounts, allegedly because he forgot his password. Why we’re listening to an unqualified young man who can’t figure out how to reset his password explain the dangers of social media remains a mystery.
The fact that information is shared on Facebook does not inherently make it untrue. Frankly, the boy’s story adds no value to the social debate revolving around vaccines, though Dahlgren seemed happy to use the gimmick to lead off her segment. [Note: We believe in medical freedom of choice, and support Ethan’s constitutional right to make his own choices regarding vaccination.]
NBC Attacks The Truth About Cancer
The host went on to accuse “anti-vaxxers” of “blanketing social media with misinformation campaigns” that are “designed to scare families,” while showing logos from TTAV, the documentary Vaxxed, and the National Vaccine Information Center.
At the 1:40 mark, Ms. Dahlgren, while referring to the 2019 outbreak of measles, states
…in the first 2 months of 2019, the CDC has reported more cases of measles than in all of 2016 and 2017 combined.” https://www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html
Wow! So we must be looking at thousands and thousands of measles cases to be considered an outbreak, right? Wrong. According to the CDC, from January 1 to February 28, 2019, 206 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 11 states. Doing the math, that’s an average of about 19 cases per state. NINETEEN … ONE NINER. Not exactly what most people would think when they hear “outbreak” is it? But according to the CDC, an “outbreak” is defined as 3 or more cases. Can anyone say “fear mongering”?
Oh yeah, since 2000, there have been a total of eleven reported deaths from measles, or an average of one death every couple of years. While any death is tragic and heartbreaking, you can see that measles is not typically a deadly disease. The number of Americans who die from measles every year is about the same number that die from a scorpion sting! You’re about 100 times more likely to die from being struck by lightning than from measles in the USA.
At 1:48 Amy Pisani (the executive director for “Vaccinate Your Family”) says
It’s a public health nightmare, because children are actually getting the diseases that were eliminated from our country years ago.”
HMMMMM… Ms. Pisani is referring to measles, which she claims was “eliminated” from the USA years ago. But that’s a misleading play on words, because “elimination” does not really mean “eradication.” In 2000, when the CDC said that measles had been eliminated in the country, they actually meant that measles was no longer endemic. In other words, any measles cases that occurred would come from people traveling to the country. https://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/faqs.html#measles-elimination
At the 2 minute mark, they show a clip from Global Health News, singling out the line where Ty says, “The only science that’s settled is that vaccines harm.” In the episode, we discussed mandatory vaccinations, state senator Richard Pan’s refusal to discuss whistle-blowers in the CDC, and unsupported claims about vaccine safety. After diving into the issues with safety testing and research – in the context of a discussion about mandatory vaccination – we pointed out that the only thing we know for certain is that vaccines can cause harm.
Watch the full episode here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ktmy3p1fLiY
This was a blatant and unethical attempt to slander and discredit our work and our mission. The clip was carefully used to fit Dahlgren’s narrative, and we were lumped unfairly into the “anti-vaxxer” and “misinformation” categories without so much as an email requesting a comment.
After the slanderous attack on our mission, we were introduced to Dr. John Torres, an ER doctor and NBC medical correspondent. They asked him about three vaccine “myths.” Since preventing misinformation is such a priority for the network, we’re going to fact-check Dr. Torres’ responses.
The Fact Check
Fact Check #1
Concern: Vaccines can cause autism.
Torres’ Response: There was one study that’s been disproven. Multiple studies show that vaccines don’t cause autism.
Fact Check: Honestly, we had a difficult time finding the “multiple studies” on the CDC.gov website that show vaccines don’t cause autism. However, we did find one of the studies they cite for support of their assertion. Poul Thorsen was one of the co-authors, so we will refer to it as the “Thorsen study.”
The Thorsen study was a CDC sponsored cohort study and was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002 and Pediatrics in 2003. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa021134 There were 7 other co-authors of the study, and they looked at Danish data between 1991 and 1998. Thimerosal was removed from Danish vaccines in 1992, and the Thorsen study indicated that not only did autism rates not go down after its removal, they actually went up. Therefore, there was no link between thimerosal (mercury) in vaccines and autism. Therefore, vaccines do not cause autism.
Here’s the “rest of the story” that was never included in the Thorsen study’s findings. It’s a perfect example of “lying by omission”. During that period, the Danish registry added “outpatient clinics” to their count of autism cases, when these cases had never been included before. It turns out that 93% of Danish children are diagnosed with autism at outpatient clinics, but the number of autism cases before 1995 did not include the clinics. Also, in addition to adding outpatient clinic autism diagnoses, there was also a new law requiring, for the first time, that autism cases be reported on the national registry in Denmark. The combination of these 2 factors is what likely accounted for the sudden rise in reported cases of autism, not the removal of mercury from vaccines.
But that’s not all. Of the 8 co-authors of the study, Poul Thorsen was actually a CDC employee, three co-authors had received direct funding from the CDC on vaccine-safety related projects, and two of the co-authors were employees of Statens Serum Institute, a Danish vaccine manufacturer. None of these conflicts are mentioned in the study. In a report released September 18, 2017, https://childrenshealthdefense.org/wp-content/uploads/world-mercury-project-report-on-poul-thorsen-9-7-17.pdf our good friend, Bobby Kennedy, and his team outlined various criminal acts committed by the CDC, whose “problematic” ethics coupled with downright scientific fraud have resulted in extremely unreliable vaccine safety science.
And this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a problem with study ethics. The FDA conducts inspections of clinical sites where human testing is underway. They sometimes find misconduct or substantially substandard practices, but aren’t able to relay the issues to the medical community, so the studies are still published.
In a JAMA Network review, 57 studies https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2109855 published between 1998 and 2013 were found to have falsification or submission of false information, problems with adverse events reporting, protocol violations, inadequate or inaccurate record keeping, failure to protect the safety of patients and/or issues with oversight or informed consent, and violations not otherwise categorized. The studies we see are not always backed by good science.
Among other alarming information, Kennedy has found evidence of criminal activity by Poul Thorsen. The evidence, recently uncovered by Children’s Health Defense, https://childrenshealthdefense.org/advocacy-policy/criminal-conduct-poul-thorsen/ shows that Thorsen and his collaborators did not obtain permission from an Institutional Review Board (IRB) to conduct their research. In 2009, when CDC discovered that Thorsen never applied for the IRB approvals, they did not report the errors and retract the studies. Rather, FOIA documents show that CDC supervisors ignored the missteps and covered up the illegal activity. In 2011, The Department of Justice indicted Thorsen on 22 counts of wire fraud and money laundering for stealing over $1 million in CDC grant money earmarked for autism research. Thorsen is currently on the “most wanted” list on the OIG website.
Despite the obvious ramifications of the above-omitted details, conflicts of interest, and criminal activity, the Thorsen study was never retracted. And here’s the kicker: This fraud-tainted study is now cited as one of the primary studies that form the backbone of the popular orthodoxy that vaccines do not cause autism.
There have been several instances in which experts and professionals who speak up about the connection between vaccines and autism have been quickly silenced. Dr. Andrew Zimmerman https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/vaccines-and-autism/ Dr. William Thompson https://kellybroganmd.com/cdc-youre-fired-autism-coverup-exposed/ and even Congressman Mark Green https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/mark-green-vaccine-truth/ have been threatened, persecuted, or simply dismissed at the first sign that they are unwilling to play ball with the vaccine industry.
Further, the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has paid over $4 billion to families who have suffered injury or death caused by vaccines. Given the low reporting rate, rigorous application process, and unique rules that make findings for the plaintiff uncommon, this is a massive number.
Have you ever heard of Hannah Poling? Hannah’s father, Jon – a Harvard trained medical doctor/neurologist –claimed in 2008 that Hannah’s autistic symptoms were caused by a vaccine reaction after she had received 5 vaccines (DTaP, Hib, MMR, Varicella, and Polio) at the age of 19 months. Here’s what’s interesting: Hannah had been part of a study of normally developing children prior to being diagnosed with autism and had received an advanced brain imaging technology being developed by Harvard University.
Dr. Jon Poling was able to present compelling evidence that the vaccine reaction was causative of Hannah’s autism. The vaccine court ruled in favor of Poling stating that there was sufficient evidence to conclude that vaccines given to Hannah Poling likely aggravated an underlying mitochondrial disease causing brain damage with features of autism. The Poling family was awarded $1,507,284.
Also interesting is the Sanofi Pasteur “Tripedia” Vaccine insert (for the DTaP vaccine) which lists autism as a possible “adverse event.” The Tripedia vaccine was taken off the market several years ago due to public outcry about its link to autism and other adverse affects. It’s crystal clear that the science is not settled regarding vaccines and autis
Fact Check #2
Concern: Infant immune systems are not able to handle the burden of the current vaccine schedule.
Torres’ Response: Infants have very strong immune systems to begin with. They are exposed to thousands of germs every day. The shots only have a few germs to prime their systems and are totally safe.
Fact Check: Infants are born with very susceptible immune systems. For the first month or so, most of the baby’s immunity is passed on from the mother. Their immune systems develop as they encounter various viruses and germs, but the process takes time. Infants have weak immune systems that can be compromised by such a heavy load of antigens and toxins at such an early age.
What’s more, this suppressed immune response is necessary for the child to develop healthy gut bacteria, which are necessary for a strong immune system. Toxic adjuvants in vaccines cause the body to go into a protective mode that prevents healthy bacteria from getting in, potentially causing permanent damage.
In addition to the relevant antigens (the virus itself), vaccines contain a host of preservatives, adjuvants, and antibiotics including thimerosal (mercury), aluminum, gelatin, and MSG, are just a few of the ingredients commonly used. It is thought that the rise in childhood allergies may be a result of increased exposure to these ingredients and other toxins. Additionally, certain cell lines, like WI-38 and MRC-5, are derived from aborted fetuses. These are used in vaccines for Hepatitis A, Rubella, chickenpox, and shingles, to name a few.
Below is the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for thimerosal. As you can clearly see, these do not look like benign substances.
Fact Check #3
Concern: The body’s immune system is better than any vaccine.
Torres’ Response: The body’s immune system is better only once you’ve been exposed to the disease. Measles has a 1 in 500 death rate and the vaccine has a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of an allergic reaction.
Fact check: It is true that the body builds immunity based on exposure to various germs and diseases. However, according to Physicians for Informed Consent, the fatality rate of measles is closer to 1 in 10,000. This number (0.01%) is 20 times smaller than Torres’ number (0.2%). Conversely, the WHO says that reactions to the MMR vaccine are “not uncommon.” The risk of a fever over 103 degrees is between 5 and 15 percent. Rashes occur between 2 and 5 percent of the time. Anaphylaxis occurs in as many as 10 in every million doses. The rate of seizures caused by the vaccine is about 1 in 3,000. Torres says the odds of an allergic reaction are 1 in a million, or 0.0001%. The odds of severe fever, rashes, anaphylaxis, and seizures are 15%, 5%, 0.001%, and 0.033%, respectively. Again, these numbers come directly from the WHO website, and expose Torres’ as either a liar or an unreliable source.
For someone who claims to be battling misinformation, neither Ms. Dahlgren nor Dr. Torres seem very interested in accuracy. But maybe there’s another reason for such a biased, slanderous, and inaccurate report: money.
Pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars every year on TV advertising and are one of the primary sources of revenue for most major networks. In fact, pharmaceutical companies spend far more on marketing than on actual research. In a 2017 interview, lawyer and radio host Mike Papantonio said the following:
According to a 2009 study by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, with the exception of CBS every major media outlet in the United States shares at least one board member with at least one drug company. Let me put it in perspective for you, these board members wake up, they go to a meeting at Merck or Pfizer, and then they have their driver take them over to a meeting with NBC to decide what kind of programming that network is going to air. For those board members who aren’t pulling double duty with a media conglomerate and a big drug company, they still understand that they can’t be honest and objective about big pharma because big pharma pays their bills.”
We see how this influence has spread to social media. Our profile was removed from Pinterest, and Facebook has released statements that they will be taking steps to remove or bury anti-vaccination posts and pages. But remember false dichotomy? Speaking up about the safety of vaccines, or the money that the industry uses to influence the government and regulatory bodies, does not automatically make someone, “anti-vaxx.”
At TTAC, we are pro-freedom and pro-knowledge. We believe that no government should dictate what chemicals we put into our bodies and that we should be able to travel freely across state lines without carrying papers that verify our compliance. These are not wild, unfounded fears. These are based on real legislation in motion right now regarding mandatory vaccination. We support Ethan Lindenberger’s right to choose vaccinations, just as we support his mother’s decision to abstain. What we will not abide are the lies being pushed by manufacturers, health organizations, and major media outlets.
We do thorough research before publishing an article, eBook, or docu-series. We interview experts from around the world and spend hours pouring through scientific studies so that we can give you all the information you need to make the decision that’s right for you, no matter what that decision may be.
Vaccines are one of the most polarizing topics of our day. People on both sides have dug in their heels and are unwilling to have an open discussion. The moment that a person questions the safety of vaccines, they are branded as a dangerous lunatic. But we challenge you to look through some of our articles. Look at our coverage of Vaxelis https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/vaxelis-merck-combo-vaccine/ or the yellow fever vaccine https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/yellow-fever-vaccine/ Check our sources. Our goal here is to present the truth.
Shame on you, Kristen Dahlgren, and shame on the executives at NBC. This was not reporting; this was a targeted and dishonest attack. If NBC, Kristen Dahlgren, Dr. John Torres, or Ethan Lindenberger want to join the fight against misinformation and fake news, perhaps they should start by looking in the mirror.
6 Vaccine Truths Everyone Should Know
1| Vaccines have not been proven to be safe.
New vaccines are routinely tested against confirmed dangerous ones in order to arrive at what appear to be positive outcomes, and the timeline for these studies is significantly shorter than for other drugs seeking FDA approval.
As a matter of fact, the 2011 Supreme Court decision, Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, SCOTUS referenced the already established status of vaccines as “unavoidably UNSAFE.” To reiterate – U.S. law regards vaccines as unavoidably unsafe. (the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, 42 USC 300aa-22)
2| There’s too much money being pumped into the system by the pharmaceutical industry.
Those who serve in the CDC Immunization office are often rewarded with lucrative jobs by some of the industry’s biggest companies, including Merck, who has been repeatedly accused of defrauding the U.S. government but continues to be one of the leading manufacturers of U.S. vaccines.
3| Vaccines use preservatives that are known to be dangerous.
Many vaccines are accompanied by adjuvants like aluminum and mercury. These toxic substances can wreak havoc on the immune system and have been linked to a host of diseases. There is evidence that these preservatives cause a number of health issues, including autism.
4| Infant immune systems are not equipped to handle the load that the current vaccine schedule presents.
In order to develop healthy gut bacteria, infant immune systems are initially suppressed. The massive load of toxic adjuvants and antigens put the infant body on defense, preventing healthy gut bacteria and permanently damaging the child’s immune system.
5| Vaccine manufacturers are not liable for harm caused by their products.
Lobbyists have pressured the government, claiming that to NOT make vaccines available is unethical. That’s why there are no studies comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated populations. If you or your family are injured or killed by vaccines, you have to go through the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, where you essentially sue your own government for the negligence of private corporations.
6| Freedom of information is under assault.
Politicians who question vaccine safety are quickly silenced, and expert witnesses are dismissed and misrepresented if their findings don’t support the vaccine industry. Now we’re seeing social media platforms caving to pressure by silencing anyone who speaks out against the CDC schedule, safety testing standards, or the millions of dollars the industry spends on lobbying efforts.
Vaccinating your child is one of the most important decisions a parent can make. That’s why we created The Truth About Vaccines – giving you all the data and scientific facts about vaccines today from the world’s leading experts.
Check out the Sources and References section at the site.