Hung, drawn and quartered
Cartoonist Darryl Cunningham has come up a seriously good comic book overview of the whole sorry MMR-autism-Wakefield saga here. Needless to say, the MSM do not come well out of it – apart from the noble Brian Deer, the Sunday Times and Channel 4.
It’s churlish to criticise something as good as this, but I would have liked to have seen Private Eye’s infamous MMR Special Report cover included in the panel about the arse-licking pro-Wakefield press coverage. But that’s a minor complaint.
This is the first of what Darryl hopes to be a series on hoaxes and conspiracy theories: he has already started one on homeopathy and future topics will, he says, include climate change, the moon hoax (I presume he means the “Apollo landings happened in Hollywood” meme), the face on Mars, chiropractors, and evolution vs creationism. “This will make me popular with some and hated by others,” he says. “So be it.” That’s the spirit!
◊ Amazingly, despite Lancet’s unprecedented retraction and public repudiation of Wakefield’s original paper, the fact that Wakefield’s claims of an alleged link between the MMR jab and autism have never been duplicated in any peer-reviewed study and an exhaustive 217-day investigation by the General Medical Council, which led to Wakefield and his former colleague John Walker-Smith being struck off, some media medics still cling to the wreckage. These include James Le Fanu of the Telegraph, who sees a conspiracy by “hidden hands”. Maybe this is just a desperate attempt to be the subject of one of Darryl’s future works. Or maybe he is merely setting up nameless, shadowy strawmen to detract us from the fact he wrote articles like this. Either way, in the meantime, I don’t think I’ll be taking my corns to Dr Le Fanu.