by Erin Elizabeth, Health Nut News:
(Note from Erin: If you’ve spent any time around HNN then you know there is no love lost between us and Snopes. But honestly? They are just having to lie in the bed they’ve made for themselves. Nothing more. They’ve failed each and every time they attempt to debunk us. We call them out publicly (in video after video with live feed of their page) and they they sheepishly and quietly change their article without a hint of an apology.
They’ve also been begging for money as their owner was/is in court for allegedly defrauding the company for very illegal activity.
In the barrage of information you come across daily online, how do you know what’s true and what’s nothing more than hearsay, gossip or all-out lies? Some people use Snopes as their go-to source for online fact-checking, believing it to give the unbiased and credible final word on all those widely-circulated stories.
If you’re relying on Snopes as your arbiter of truth, however, you’re in for a surprise: Snopes engages in massive censorship of natural health and general promotion of industry talking points. What started as a tool to investigate urban legends, hoaxes and folklore has manifested into a self-proclaimed “definitive fact-checking resource” that’s taking on topics like whether or not vaccines can cause autism.
Yet, in their purported fact-checking of a report by investigative reporter and former CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson (let’s overlook her fake news earlier this week- it happens! Even Mercola knows it!!!) , Snopes (also fake news) simply spewed propaganda, not real facts, in an attempt to discredit the report and the potential vaccines-autism link. In the end, though, they actually ended up confirming the main point of Attkisson’s report. For this, Attkisson wrote, “Snopes gets an ‘F’ for predictable propaganda in [the] vaccine-autism debate.”
Snopes Attempts to Discredit Investigative Report on Vaccines-Autism Link
Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, a pediatric neurologist, is a pro-vaccine expert witness the U.S. government used to debunk and turn down autism claims in vaccine court. “Zimmerman was the government’s top expert witness and had testified that vaccines didn’t cause autism.
The debate was declared over,” Attkisson reported. “But now Dr. Zimmerman has provided remarkable new information,” she said in the Full Measure report, adding:
“He claims that during the vaccine hearings all those years ago, he privately told government lawyers that vaccines can, and did cause autism in some children. That turnabout from the government’s own chief medical expert stood to change everything about the vaccine-autism debate. If the public were to find out …
And he has come forward and explained how he told the United States government vaccines can cause autism in a certain subset of children and [the] United States government, the Department of Justice [DOJ], suppressed his true opinions.”
Zimmerman declined to be interviewed for the report, but referred Attkisson to his sworn affidavit, dated September 7, 2018, in which he stated that, in 2007, he told DOJ lawyers he had “discovered exceptions in which vaccinations could cause autism.
“I explained that in a subset of children … vaccine-induced fever and immune stimulation … did cause regressive [brain disease] with features of autism spectrum disorder,” Zimmerman wrote.
This reportedly “panicked” the DOJ, which subsequently fired him, saying his services would no longer be needed, but essentially attempting to silence him. According to Zimmerman, the DOJ then went on to misrepresent his opinion in future cases, making no mention of the exceptions he’d informed them of.
“Meantime, CDC [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] — which promotes vaccines and monitors vaccine safety — never disclosed that the government’s own one-time medical expert concluded vaccines can cause autism — and to this day public health officials deny that’s the case,” according to the Full Measure report.
Attkisson’s report also reveals how Congressmen who wanted to investigate the autism-vaccine link were bullied, harassed and threatened. Dan Burton (R-IN), Dr. Dave Weldon (R-FL) and Bill Posey (R-FL) are among 11 current and former members of Congress and staff who told Attkisson they were warned by PhRMA lobbyists to drop the vaccine safety issue.
Snopes Gets an ‘F’ for Fact-Checking
In an article that attempts to fact-check Attkisson’s investigation, Snopes calls out many of the claims as false while clearly attempting to “debunk” vaccine-autism claims. However, in a rebuttal, Attkisson explains that Snopes earned a failing grade for its reporting.
“[T]he Snopes article debunks claims that were never made and uses one-sided references as its sources — other propagandists — without disclosing their vaccine industry ties.”
For starters, Snopes labeled Zimmerman as a supporter of vaccination, as though this was something that Attkisson hid. In contrast, this point was central to Attkisson’s story and a large part of what makes his statements regarding vaccines and autism so noteworthy. Some of the additional egregious tactics Snopes used to try to discredit Attkisson’s report included the following:
- Snopes claimed Attkisson’s reading of Zimmerman’s sworn affidavit was flawed when she “simply quoted from the affidavit”
- Snopes states that Zimmerman’s view is “not held by many scientists,” but did not survey several reputable scientists who hold the view
- Snopes fails to address what its headline promises: the question of whether the government censored its own expert witness’ opinion
It’s important to note that Snopes also wrote their article without contacting Attkisson, who went on to state that they also listed claims she never made, then declared them to be false, and even were incorrect in one of their own claims, specifically that the existence of a potential link between vaccines, mitochondrial disorder, and autism was not news at the time of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services omnibus autism proceedings in 2007.