The past few days haven't been good for vaccine-autism conspiracy theorists.
Earlier today, the Special Court of Federal Claims ruled that no evidence existed that the MMR vaccine contributes to autism. One of the judges said that the parents had been misled by physicians pushing the theory, who were guilty of "gross medical misjudgment."
The ruling comes on the heels of the Times of London's report that Andrew Wakefield, M.D, the chief charlatan behind the anti-vaccination movement, fudged his data to reach his discredited conclusion.
Wakefield's lies have made well-meaning parents question vaccinations. The U.S. has experienced large outbreaks of measles in recent years. "What concerns me is the trend of more and more people not vaccinating their children because of fears that vaccines cause autism -- although no studies have proven this to be true," said Dr. Joseph Rahimian, an infectious-diseases specialist at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City. Kids don't have to get measles; it's outrageous in 2009.
On Tuesday night, Keith Olbermann correctly named Andrew Wakefield the worst person of the day for lying to the world. I was shocked to see him backpedal on the story last night, citing conflicts of interest in the Times's reporting. A bizarre move, more worthy of Rush Limbaugh than Keith Olbermann.
Perhaps Keith got a call from conspiracy theorist RFK Jr. that made him change his mind, or maybe he just hates science. Either way, shame on you, Keith -- you're my worst person of the day for questioning solid and important reporting. (Unlike anything on your entire hour last night.)
Obama has promised to restore science to its rightful place. That means opposing nonsense like creation science, global-warming denial and autism-vaccination links. It's all the same kind of bad science.
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