Meryl Dorey has chucked a wobbly over an article written by Medical Editor for The West Australian, Cathy O’Leary.
Entitled Anti-vaccine lobby back in W.A.the piece is factual and balanced. Which at this point in Dorey’s career heralds disaster for the flat earthers. Today the truth includes a little analogy about vaccination being rape with full penetration and losing charity status for withholding transparency about non medical and antivax information. Schadenfreude aside, what did Cathy write?
An anti-vaccination group that sparked a political row in Perth last year is back in WA charging parents $15 for its public forums. The Australian Vaccination Network held meetings in Busselton and Perth this week and will hold others in Jurien Bay and Geraldton next week. Last year, the Uniting Church in Perth refused to let the NSW group use one of its halls and the State Library came under fire when it let the group use one of its buildings instead.
The NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing also stripped the group, based at Bangalow near Byron Bay, of its charity status after health authorities found its information was biased and said its website should state that its claims were not medical advice.
Spokeswoman Meryl Dorey attracted criticism this year when she likened a court order for a child to be vaccinated to rape. She wrote on the group’s Facebook site it was “assault without consent and with full penetration” but was forced to apologise after some of her own supporters found the comments offensive. [….]
Dorey summoned her flying monkeys on Facebook and set them to work:
More rabid anti-vaccine safety press from… I would think that the hundreds of families whose children have been hospitalised because of a dangerous flu vaccine might have something to say… Please comment on this page and write a letter to….
Wait, wait, wait. “Hundreds of families whose children have been hospitalised”? Really? This didn’t sound right. I was at the meetup of Vaccine Myths on Tuesday morning and can’t remember seeing any Myth or Lie by the name of Hundreds of hospitalisations or anything remotely similar. I’d been handed a card from head myth, Sir Vaccines Cause Autism. Could he help? I hesitantly dialled the number. A very pleasant voice with a British accent answered.
“Sir Vaccines Cause Autism speaking. How may I be of service?”
Nervously I ventured, “Er… Vaccines Cause Autism, you probably don’t remember me but I met you…”.
“Nonsense! Paul isn’t it? I’ve a rather thrifty ear for voices, old chap. My what a pleasant surprise. I didn’t expect to hear from you until my next incarnation. What can I do for you?”
“Well, I just wanted to check up on the likelihood of a certain porky pie Meryl’s spreading on Facebook about…”,
“About the hundreds of hospitalisations following adverse reactions to the flu vaccine in April 2010, yes old boy?”, he sighed. “Hmmmm, you’re not the first to call. Not the first at all. It’s an absolute disgrace Paul and Dorey is making us all look ridiculous. There’s no-one here by that name at all. Firstly, there appears to have been a total of 23 hospitalisations, reported in WA Today. Twenty Three! Then the ABC reported that 45 children were taken to hospital. This doesn’t mean all were admitted, but I’m happy to go with 45. More to the point it was reported that there were just over 60 children in total who had an adverse reaction across the entire state. My office has received no applications for any new Mythology titles referring to WA and there’s no way we’d approve any new Lies or Myths without prior telling, reporting, retelling and debate…. Just a minute… Oh, Vaccines Contain Mercury says Hello dear fellow, and that he wants to launch a coup. He’s very keen to pass that on.”
“Of course dear boy, of course. We don’t approve any Myth or Lie – no matter how small – unless they’ve been printed in the media as or within a story or opinion piece, brought up in debates at least 100 times, repeated in social media, online forums or talk-back radio, used in logical fallacies almost daily and make good sense to Mike Adams. Only then do we forward the application to Castle Cockamaymee where the committee meets to discuss the merits of the Myth. We do background checks to make sure there’s no truth at all and all Myths undergo a Working with Idiots check. Occasionally we make some exceptions for material on whale.to. Of course there’s a six month probationary period. Then we consider our Myths fully qualified.
“In fact we have a new Lie on this trip. My Uncle Went Into Hospital For Cancer Treatment And Died Perfectly Healthy or just “Uncle“, as we call him. Meryl has tried him a few times. Very funny chap, very funny. We get a lot of laughs. In cases like this, when Lies can’t even trust the liar, the committee looks into the background of identical Lies being told by others, the size of the Burning Stupid it gives off, and the amount of hilarity generated in evidence based circles. We also calculate the probability of future use and growth based on other factors, such as (in this case) the rise of Mythical Natural Cancer Treatments, use of the Lie by identities like Peter Dingle, distrust of conventional medicine, support from other lies like Medicines Are Toxic and the history of the Lie spontaneously arising in unrelated areas. Of course, Dorey’s Lies are quite pathetic and we’ve never approved a single one Ipso Facto. Perish the thought. Uncle made it through because he has a robust presence across the globe already. In effect Dorey – as always – was simply using him. Does that help at all old bean?”
“That’s tremendous”, I replied. “So I presume all’s going well with the trip apart from this?”
“Well, we can only try”, he answered. “Stiff upper lip and all. We may well have never ever existed, but we do have standards. This type of behaviour is typical from Dorey and it’s exactly what some of the lads predicted. It reflects badly on all of us and shows how little respect Meryl Dorey has for a good, well constructed, fully qualified Myth. Counter-intuitively, we thrive on Burning Stupidity and Dorey’s full of it. We all feel terrific! Our P.R. guys are working flat out, so only time will tell. Anyway dear chap I’m rather busy. There’s a confused looking mother nearby so I’ll need to pop over and completely terrify her. Man I love this job, what? I’ll email over a link to the W.A. Today and ABC pieces from April 23rd 2010. Just a minute… Oh, Vaccines Contain Mercury now says to say Goodbye. Hope I’ve been of some help”.
“Awesome, Sir Vaccines Cause Autism. That’s been very helpful. Hope to catch up again”, I replied. “And congratulations on the Knighthood”, I added.
“Oh, jolly good thank you. Always glad to help Paul, And remember… Vaccines really do cause autism. Bwahahahaha”.
With that he was gone. Shortly after his email arrived, with the promised links to the articles. Flu vaccination ban goes national after fever, convulsions in children:
Seasonal flu vaccinations across Australia for children under five have been suspended after 23 children in Western Australia were admitted to hospital with convulsions following their injections. One child, aged 1, remains in a coma in a Perth hospital. [….] More than 60 children around the state may have had adverse reactions to the vaccine, including fevers, vomiting and febrile convulsions – a type of fit brought on by a high fever. [….]
He [WA’s chief public health officer Tarun Weeramanthri] said that since this year’s vaccine program started a month ago, 23 children under the age of 10 had presented to Princess Margaret Hospital with convulsions related to vaccinations they had received less than 12 hours before.
Another 40 convulsion cases had been detected in the past month in children at other metropolitan hospitals and in Bunbury. Doctors are now working to determine how many of those children received the flu vaccine. Aside from the convulsions, affected children were suffering fever and vomiting within 12 hours of their flu shots.
The ABC reported on the same day:
The Western Australian Government has suspended all flu vaccinations for children under five while it investigates a spike in admissions to Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth. The Health Minister, Kim Hames, says 45 children have been taken to hospital suffering high temperatures and febrile convulsions after receiving the vaccination.
Well there it was. In black and white. Dorey’s lie wasn’t even a real lie. It was just a Doreyism. A possible maximum of 45 hospitalisations morphed into “hundreds”. Much like the 21 Vaccine Injury Compensation Program cases for encephalitis and similar injuries magically became “hundreds, possibly thousands” of cases of autism when talking on KOFM radio, last May. I wonder what else Cathy O’Leary had reported:
“I always say to people to go to their doctor and get information but get the other side as well so they can make a real decision about whether to vaccinate,” [Meryl Dorey] said.
Well that’s complete bollocks right there. Dorey never tells people any such thing about visiting doctors. Oh well, I hope people at least take that advice. It certainly isn’t hard to see why The Mythical Realm demand such high standards of their Vaccine Myths.
Australian Medical Association WA president Dave Mountain said the group was trying to whip up anti-vaccine hysteria again. “They are zealots who pick and choose bits of information to make it look like they’re presenting real evidence,” he said.
This led to parents refusing to get children and themselves vaccinated, which affected everyone, particularly the most vulnerable who benefited from herd immunity and, in that respect, they were a danger.
That’s about the size of it. The AVN is certainly a danger. That Dorey claims to have scammed up $1350 for a night of fear mongering is pretty galling. Such as claiming there were “hundreds” of hospitalised children in Perth following the Fluvax debacle. Or as WA’s AMA president Dave Mountain said, “They are zealots who pick and choose bits of information to make it look like they’re presenting real evidence.”
Of course some of Dorey’s servants obeyed her command to harass The West Australian for the quality journalism that may very well have saved children’s lives. Everything written is simply factual but Dorey, outside of her censorship comfort zone, needed her minions to attack the source, not the evidence. I understand AVN members wrote to The West Australian unjustly accusing it of seeking to achieve unquestioning support for vaccination and of purposely misrepresenting members of the AVN. It was suggested certain information, perhaps Ms. Dorey’s claim of vaccination being “rape with full penetration” was only there to encourage readers toward an unfavourable view of the AVN.
The hypocrisy here is breath taking. Dorey told AVN members she’d been contacted by Cathy O’Leary and told her of attendance numbers and how attendees were not being told AVN propaganda “of the downsides” of vaccines by their doctors. Remembering that the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission found the AVN “quotes selectively from research to suggest that vaccination may be dangerous”, it’s not surprising doctors aren’t lying to their patients. Yet Dorey had another falsehood up her sleeve.
Eye witness reports suggested a handful of people attended at Floreat. Dorey herself described the turn out as “smallish”. Still The West Australian was duped by Meryl Dorey and reported:
About 90 people, mostly parents of young children, had attended a forum in Floreat on Tuesday night
Strangely no AVN member complained about that error. Perhaps the only actual error in the story. The Big Pharma conspiracy was raised by one supporter suggesting that The West Australian sought to profit from pharmaceutical companies. AVN member and antivax PhD candidate Judy Wilyman was particularly misguided. Writing to the editor of The West Australian, but mistakenly emailing a copy to just under 100 recipients and thus the internet itself, this letter took on a life of it’s own.
I have a terrible memory but remember spotting it on a website, or public email list or one of those ever changing Facebook threads. Either way it’s here now and that’s all that really matters. I guess I could paraphrase her PhD supervisor Dr. Brian Martin regarding the privacy of a third party when he emailed me in August. “Was it marked confidential?”.
Wilyman launches into conspiracy thinking and blame, giving responsibility for truth a wide berth. It included:
The West Australian has stooped to a new low in investigative journalism… Perpetuating misinformation to achieve the desired response from its readers (unquestioning support for vaccination) is irresponsible reporting. [….] …the name of the AVN is the Australian Vaccination Network and the message this organization is promoting is freedom of choice in vaccination. The editor has purposely misrepresented the parents and health professionals who are members of this organization.
In addition, the article includes unnecessary information that has been used to influence the opinion of readers. [….] Unlike the West Australian, the primary interest of consumers is children’s health and not the profits that can be made from the sponsors of newspapers such as pharmaceutical companies. [….]
Why is the media unable to report accurately about the consumer groups who are asking valid questions about vaccination – a medical procedure. If this is an evidence-based policy and if the government is presenting all the known science on its website, it would not be necessary for parents to form organizations to inform themselves of the science that is not being presented to support this policy.
In the interests of democracy it is time for the West Australian to demonstrate some quality journalism and find out why an increasing number of educated parents are not choosing to vaccinate.
Investigative journalism? Science? Anyway… So The West Australian is in on the Big Pharma Myth? The answer to Brian Martin‘s student’s last query is clear. These groups deal in pseudoscience and deception, placing the health of our community and the lives of children at risk. Only last year Wilyman referred to media reporting of three infant fatalities from influenza as designed to “coerce” readers into vaccination, and that the media “run fear campaigns”. Speaking of “science” she quoted from a hundred year old text and referred to much older material, then rattled off the standard vaccination myths. The ones that science has debunked time and again.
Wilyman told her audience at the State Library in Perth last year.
We’re being educated by the media who have pharmaceutical interests
Really? This is what it comes down to time and again. There’s no evidence to refute vaccine efficacy or their success in changing our quality and length of life. So it must be a plot. Judy Wilyman works hard to mislead Australians. Consider the misleading poster below on Coercive and Mandatory Immunisation. Despite the sub-heading How Ethical is The Policy? and Wilyman’s accusations above including “Perpetuating misinformation to achieve the desired response”, “unnecessary information that has been used to influence the opinion of readers” and intentional misrepresentation the reality is far different. Without vaccination of health care workers patients would be at risk, workers would be at risk and institutions would be at risk of law suits from those who catch a vaccine preventable disease.
Ethics? Judy Wilyman did not have the permission of Murdoch University to use their logo. Then writing an Investigate before you vaccinate brochure for the AVN once again used the good name of Murdoch University. Little wonder she is now at Wollongong University supported by AVN advocate and defender, Brian Martin. Finally despite the support above, travelling interstate and presenting antivaccination material with, writing for and being an active supporter of the AVN, Wilyman publically distances herself from the AVN, denying membership. Perhaps this is true but in reality Judy Wilyman does more to support the AVN than any “member” in history.
As the NSW HCCC found quite justly after investigating The Australian Vaccination Network:
The Commission’s investigation established that the AVN:
- provides information that is solely anti-vaccination
- contains information that is incorrect and misleading
- quotes selectively from research to suggest that vaccination may be dangerous.
On this basis, the Commission recommended to the AVN that it should include a statement in a prominent position on its website to the following effect:
- The AVN’s purpose is to provide information against vaccination, in order to balance what it believes is the substantial amount of pro-vaccination information available elsewhere.
- The information provided by the AVN should not be read as medical advice.
- The decision about whether or not to vaccinate should be made in consultation with a health care provider.
The Commission recognises that it is important for there to be debate on the issue of vaccination. However, the AVN provides information that is inaccurate and misleading.
There is no “educated”, informed or as Wilyman claims, “freedom of choice”. Parents are making the mistake not to vaccinate because they are misled by the lies and myths told by antivaccination lobbyists. As the HCCC also stated in the Public Warning, the lies peddled by the AVN such as that presented in W.A. and advanced by Wilyman herself:
…may result in members of the public making improperly informed decisions about whether or not to vaccinate, and therefore poses a risk to public health and safety.
So, the AVN ilk were true to form. Information that is factual and documented was deemed conspiratorial, misleading and wrong. Information that is false was considered fine by AVN supporters. The conspiracy and persecution twaddle is designed to justify why these dangerous risks to public health and innocent children behave as though above the law.
For all her Flying Monkey urging to comment, Dorey’s Facebook command appeared to be quite unsuccessful.