Recently Brian Martin of Wollongong University penned a selective piece headed What SAVN doesn’t want you to read.
Selective in that material used and omitted leans strongly toward sustaining the primary claim of the article. Arguably deceptive and certainly erroneous in that a great deal of baseless extrapolation must occur from each example to contend SAVN wants certain material unread.
My name appears a couple of times, both in the body of the piece and an apparent standout in “Acknowledgements”.
I thank the many individuals who read drafts of this comment and offered valuable feedback, especially Paul Gallagher who helped clarify several points.
Brian asked if I’d like my input to be acknowledged and I agreed. Yet it’s important I stress that input was not in support of the article’s contention but against it. As it stands readers may assume the opposite. The item which drew most comment from me is “March 2014: “Biased reporting”. It refers to a “lengthy critique” by Martin of an article by Rick Morton.
The article revealed that Wollongong University paid $3,000 for anti-vaccine lobbyist and PhD student of Martin to attend an overseas conference run by the frequently discredited OMICS group. The student/lobbyist/conspiracy theorist is Judy Wilyman. Wilyman presented what has been demonstrated to be flawed, offensive and misleading views contending that the HPV vaccine is not cost effective.
Australian information on sound cost effectiveness may be found here. Research finding positive or high cost effectiveness includes Chesson et al, 2008, Xian Wen Jin et al 2013 and Mark Jit et al 2014. Wilyman’s contention is false.
Meryl Dorey published Martin’s piece on her anti-vaccine conspiracy blog. Initially in What SAVN doesn’t want you to read Martin wrote under “Biased Reporting”;
Meryl Dorey wrote a blog about my critique; her blogs are scrutinised by some SAVNers, but I did not see any comments by them.
Actually Dorey didn’t write a critique but simply cut and pasted the first two paragraphs then linked to Martin’s full article. But that’s not the point. In 2012 Brian had sought comment before publishing “Online onslaught” and “Public mobbing”. I responded then, mentioning Dorey’s refusal to discuss or respond at a rational level. Weeks later I noted her selective censorship of comments to her blog and Facebook. This allows her to shape the tone of reader feedback and thus, mislead readers in general.
In this light one can see “onslaughts” and “mobbing” are the result of provocation by Dorey, who indeed revels in the opportunity to cry brutal persecution, hate speech and general woe. I was keen for Brian Martin to realise many of his concerns can only exist in the milieu Dorey constantly nurtures.
At one point Professor Martin replied;
As I’ve written before, there is a fundamental asymmetry in the encounter between the AVN and its opponents. SAVN and perhaps others are trying to shut down the AVN. In this context, I think it is unrealistic for those in SAVN to expect the AVN to open its columns to its opponents. As I think I asked before, can you give me an example of any advocate of a minority, fringe view opposed by a powerful establishment who, having come under heavy attack for years, is still willing to open their own organisation’s columns to their opponents? If you can give me a few examples, it might help me rethink my views.
Thus as Martin had conveyed he is both aware and supportive of Dorey censoring her blog it is impossible to suggest the absence of SAVN comments is evidence that SAVN has something to hide. There was quite some back and forth until Martin could see the point I was making. He then altered the text of the “Biased reporting” paragraph to that in the published draft.
Another aspect where I’m directly mentioned is in the paragraph headed, “September 2012: SAVN and conspiracy theories”. Martin refers to his paper Dealing with dilemmas in health campaigning. At the time I wrote in response, Dealing with the Brian Martin dilemma. There’s only one published comment. That’s from Ken McLeod who referred to being asked to comment on another draft article by Brian Martin. I didn’t publish Martin’s reply as I predicted a response or responses to be biased and unhelpful.
I informed him of my reason for omitting his reply. Of course it wasn’t lost on me that as an academic who actively supported Dorey’s manipulative and deceptive censorship of posts and comments he should understand.
At 7:42 PM +1100 9/10/12, Paul Gallagher wrote:
Sorry for the delay.
As you may know Ken is the subject of unremitting attacks from Meryl Dorey and I would be unwilling to provide her with any more material.
I have forwarded Ken your reply and he has rejected your account.
I have weighed – and continue to seriously consider – whether to publish any of your content. Given the vast amount of material omitted about the AVN’s conduct♣ and your defence of Ms. Dorey censoring critics and misinforming the public, I fear any content published would be biased.
Over our exchanges I have raised many issues pertinent to the AVN, yet none are accepted by yourself. Thus I am reticent to provide yet another platform for what is arguably intellectual dishonesty. This appears to be happening on Hank’s blog.
I remain keen for your input on AVN matters such as fraud, monetary scams, deleting of material, tormenting grieving parents, refusal to acknowledge recent TGA/CRP requests, or obsessing over claims of persecution, etc, etc.
In fact as an example the matter of the $180,000 in subscription fees taken for many as yet unseen magazines (a dupe still attracting professional advertisers), does beg acknowledgement or comment.
I’d be interested in how a “citizens group” can attract your interest and continually be presented as benign.
♣ Omitted from Dealing with dilemmas in health campaigning
In the same paragraph he also referred to Peter Tierney’s piece Of publication and sleights of hand. This was also in response to his piece on dilemmas in health campaigning. As you will see by following the link there are 42 responses, many from Professor Martin. His “September 2012: SAVN and conspiracy theories” paragraph initially concluded with a reference to Hanks post that he (Martin) was “winning the argument hands down” and thus the comment thread was terminated. The published version however offers;
My interpretation is that they terminated the interaction to prevent others from seeing their refusal to submit our views to review by experts.
“They”? The blog is under the control of Peter and only Peter. Perhaps assuming “they” control it and terminated it for a reason other than avoiding time wasting is insightful. Yet as I’d observed in the above correspondence I was worried about biased input, taking the place of genuine exchange and wasting time. As Hank more directly put it before terminating the thread: “Last warning. Piss or get off the pot.”
Another arguably ridiculous paragraph refers to the manufactured claims by Meryl Dorey that she is subject to serious death threats, abusive comments, false claims and is regularly sent pornography. Dorey has manufactured this from tepid insults almost six years old. Her desperation shines through in that Dorey published her “Dossier of attacks” in August 2012. Clearly she isn’t troubled by the material. The “dossier” was simply another scheme by Dorey to embellish the persecuted victim persona. The content of the “dossier” is rather pitiful compared to Dorey’s own insults.
Dorey’s narcissism shows as she likens herself to Charlotte Dawson, even quoting then police minister Michael Gallacher that (in Dawson’s case) there may be grounds for prosecution under 474.17 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act. Dawson was subject to hundreds of vile and offensive tweets. Dorey has a couple that are years old. She would delight in receiving a genuine insult or threat.
On February 22nd this year Charlotte Dawson died by suicide. Dorey has not seen fit to edit or delete her offensive page which exploits this tragic series of events. As a social scientist this is a dynamic Professor Martin should be pursuing. Instead he notes of the “dossier”;
There was an initial flurry of criticism of the dossier by SAVNers, but subsequently they seem to have largely ignored it. It is reasonable to suggest that SAVNers are not keen to draw attention to their own methods of attack.
Given these are not methods of attack employed by SAVN, but lies and misrepresentation on the part of Dorey why would anybody wish to engage continually on her obsessive hatred of critics? Two individuals have been removed from SAVN for their conduct. One admitted sending porn circa early 2010. Another had called Dorey’s home and left insulting messages. These events and the standard expected on the SAVN Facebook page and elsewhere (regardless of topic) were intentionally publicised at the time.
Dorey’s obsession with casting those who hold her to account as dangerous, and seeking to gag critics extended to taking out Apprehended Violence Orders. This was all quite jolly but somewhat spoiled by Dorey publically taunting the subjects she concomitantly insisted posed a threat of violence.
Essentially Martin’s claim that It is reasonable to suggest that SAVNers are not keen to draw attention to their own methods of attack, is without merit. The purpose of SAVN is stated clearly on the Facebook page Stop The Australian (Anti)Vaccination Network. Whilst “exposing [AVsN] lies, their endemic corruption and their fraudulent practices.” is mentioned as a purpose of SAVN, nothing appears as part of the SAVN mission that precludes obsessing over this unique aspect of Dorey manufacturing the impression she is unjustly persecuted.
The so-called dossier includes Complaints to Government Bodies as a mode of “attack”. It really goes without saying that complaints follow the strict and legal guidelines laid down, reflecting the reality that Dorey is accountable for and guilty of many breaches of public health legislation, corporate and financial responsibility and based on their own disseminated material is the subject of a NSW Health Care Complaints Commission warning.
Put succinctly this absurd and irrelevant “dossier” dragged together by a narcissist is utter rubbish. Fiction. There’s no evidence to mount a serious critique of vaccination schedules or vaccines themselves and more appropriately the arguments have all been debunked. Faced with this reality antivaccinationists often fall back to generating outrage and disgust in the minds of their readers. No real cognition is needed but the pseudoscientist appears somehow correct.
Indeed Dorey made much of this in December 2010 via Death threats and suppression of vaccine truth in Australia, hosted by another bastion of lies and quackery; International Medical Council on Vaccination. Attempting to participate saw SAVN banned and disconnected from the webinar. Ample commentary and deconstruction occurred at this time.
It is not at all “reasonable to suggest SAVNers are not keen to draw attention to their own methods of attack”.
Under “April 2014: Medical Observer”, Professor Martin draws attention to a critique of Patrick Stokes’ article No, you’re not entitled to your opinion. Stokes’ piece has been exceptionally well received. The article provokes thought about the consequences of not not just giving respect to another’s right to hold opinions, but of treating certain opinions as fact and acting as if they were truth. Stokes presents a crisp example of very poor thinking on the part of Meryl Dorey.
Dorey “reasoned” that if Dr. Bob Brown can comment on nuclear power she can seriously comment on vaccination. Brown of course isn’t a nuclear physicist. Dorey doesn’t see what having a medical background has to do with (immunology). Dorey is equipped with the full knowledge Andrew Wakefield was struck from the UK medical registrar for his fraudulent paper seeking a link between MMR and “autistic enterocolitis”, and his callous disregard for the disabled children he exploited. She is aware that the paper was retracted by The Lancet.
The Essential Baby article cited by Stokes also includes;
Did the Wakefield case cause any doubt in her mind about his research? “No, not at all,” she says. “I knew he was being scapegoated, because there is so much money involved in vaccination.”
You can see where Stokes is going and the vital importance of affording serious consideration to understanding the when, why and how certain opinions cannot be dismissed as polite entitlement. The case for denying Dorey (and many others for that matter) the right to be taken seriously is strong. Arrogant, intellectual disregard should be considered reason for forfeiture. Although Dorey mentions Ken McLeod’s 2009 complaint to the NSW HCCC in her “dossier of attacks”, we should now turn our attention to her 2009 HCCC reply (pp.5-7) addressing McLeod’s challenge to AVN free speech which may harm or maim innocents.
Citing High Court rulings Dorey argues that activity of the (then) Australian Vaccination Network is akin to;
…the right to unfettered communication and discussion of all matters relating to government and public policy
Freedom of communication on matters of government and politics has been determined by the High Court as being an indispensable incident of the system of representative government that the Constitution creates…. This freedom of communication and discussion is protected against the exercise of federal and state legislative and executive power and extends to all those who participate in ʻpoliticalʼ discussion (such as the AVN) and therefore is not limited only to electors and elected.
… The High Court has extended this freedom of communication on matters of government and politics extends to all non-verbal conduct [Citation], which would include content on the AVN website and all published materials of the AVN which is the subject of this complaint from Mr McLeod.
In this case the reasoning as to why Dorey is not entitled to her opinion is manifest.
Professor Martin refers to an article penned by Neil Bramwell 18 months after Stokes’ The Conversation article. It mentions vaccination and dedicates a few lines to Patrick Stokes. Entitled Not qualified to speak out? Martin’s concern appears to be that SAVN has not given due attention to Bramwell’s piece. Why?
I think the main reason is that the article is so balanced, presenting various perspectives, not just ones favoured by SAVN.
Two other items draw Martin’s attention. SAVN did not respond publically to his article On the suppression of vaccination dissent. The piece includes a dozen paragraphs under the heading A high-profile researcher. That researcher? Andrew Wakefield. Yep. Taking up the lions share in an article on suppression of dissent. Yes, dissent. Not fraud and deception as he is guilty of.
The other name in this piece by Professor Martin is Gary Goldman. Goldman – known for being anti-varicella vaccination – is the founder and president of that appalling anti-vaccine mess of scam and quackery, Medical Veritas international. His abuse of VAERS is almost legendary. Orac has written about him here and here. Also mentioned in this paragraph is Dr. Jane Donegan, antivaccinationist who was charged (unsuccessfully) with scientific misconduct in 2007.
She is also a hero on the pages of another vaccine conspiracy blog, Child Health Safety. This hive of conspiracy, skepgoating and nonsense has been kind enough to publish Martin’s very same article we’re examining today, What SAVN doesn’t want you to read.
Next is our “citizen campaigner”. Without evidence Martin accepts the probably bogus claim of her son suffering vaccine “reactions”. It’s known he suffered inconsolable crying after whole-cell pertussis vaccination. The others Dorey fabricated. Her section includes a list of SAVN evils, suggesting by implication Dorey is mobbed and attacked.
Is Brian Martin seriously suggesting SAVN has something to hide regarding the claims of Andrew Wakefield, Gary Goldman and Meryl Dorey? Apparently so. The likelihood of this being true deserves no comment.
Which brings us to the final piece on two articles authored and co-authored by Professor Martin. In March 2012 Martin attacked SAVN in both Online onslaught and Public mobbing. These describe criticism of Meryl Dorey and the then Australian Vaccination Network by SAVN. Whilst Dorey is indeed challenged by SAVN it is impossible to seriously suggest she is a victim of onslaughts or mobbing when she refuses to engage in discourse and censors online content to present false impression. One would expect better of Professor Martin.
More so Martin had in 2012 sought input from members of SAVN. Indeed I have referred to such exchanges above wherein he makes no attempt to hide the fact Dorey is censoring material. Rather he supports this conduct. In fact by then members of SAVN were arguably exhausted with the insistence of Professor Martin to defend the intellectually dishonest conduct of Meryl Dorey.
In March 2012 Brian Martin wrote to me:
On 26/03/2012, at 9:42 AM, Brian Martin wrote:
I’ve written a couple of new articles about the vaccination debate, and would welcome your comments. They are “Online onslaught” and “Public mobbing” and are available at http://www.bmartin.cc/pubs/preprints/.
University of Wollongong, NSW 2522
On 26/03/2012, at 8:09 PM, Paul Gallagher wrote:
I’ll aim to read more in detail but for now would simply note Meryl’s refusal to discuss or reciprocate on a rational level.
Usually when errors or problems are demonstrated some reply is forthcoming. You may be interested in a couple of topics I’ve sent to Meryl via email to no avail:
Reflections on the “skeptic involvement” and “free speech” myths. Considering reluctance to discourse the perpetual claim of bullying and oppression is a little tiring:
Finally her misrepresentation of the court judgement continues. Certiorari was not granted, yet as recently as last Friday on “Fair Dinkum Radio” Meryl claimed the HCCC ruling had been wiped (not so) and the OLGR admitted to using only HCCC material.
It seems this is an attempt to avoid discussing the 23 breaches of the Charitable Fundraising Act 1991 and breaches of The Charitable Trusts Act 1993.
Yet in reference to “Online onslaught” and “Public mobbing” Martin fails to mention any exchanges with SAVN prior to publication. He maintains “to my great surprise, there was hardly any response.” And that “it was the first indication of an emerging pattern of not responding to contributions that are well written and that SAVNers do not want others – including their supporters – to read.”
Perhaps in truth it reflects the poor quality of material which seeks to defend evidence denial behind the veil of “scientific dissent”. Certainly Professor Martin was simply ignoring the fact that perfectly rational material was being sent to Meryl Dorey. She was choosing to ignore this and instead both were presenting the highly biased claim that Dorey was subject to “attacks” and “mobbing”.
It is likely members of SAVN were both wary of being manipulated and quite rightfully ignoring Brian Martin’s intellectual dishonesty. Also at these times Martin was asked how he justified involvement with a cruel, callous and dishonest individual like Dorey. No reply or indeed acknowledgement was forthcoming.
Martin has offered no critical reasoning for his claim. Simply correlating the odd absence of comment around the time that suits him seems good enough. He’s ignored confounding variables and failed to reference or justify when there was indeed SAVN comment.
Professor Martin might like to explain if he accepts and defends Dorey censoring material, does he seriously still contend there is a “fundamental asymmetry in the encounter between the AVN and its opponents.” Looking at this article it’s difficult to comprehend the extent of Dorey’s manipulation by censorship. It appears to me the only asymmetry is Dorey crying her disdain for censorship yet proceeding to engage it excessively and dishonestly.
Ultimately it appears that What SAVN doesn’t want you to read by Professor Brian Martin is a dishonest article.
- For now it’s best to remember how deceitful and dangerous this anti-vaccine group is.
From The NSW Health Care Complaints Commission – April 30th 2014
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