Thursday, July 16, 2015

Bruni versus Kennedy: The ugly match

A heated altercation played out last week between the preeminent NYTimes columnist Frank Bruni and Robert Kennedy Jr.

In a scathing ad hominum attack on Kennedy, Bruni lauds the new California law mandating vaccines for all but the immune-compromised. Bruni's snide, puerile jabs at Kennedy were shocking - regardless of whether you agree or not with his warnings of vaccine risks.

You had to wonder how Bruni's July 4, 2015 piece passed editorial muster. He wastes no time lobbing the blows. The tirade begins:
If you had told me a while back that I’d someday dread, dodge and elect not to return phone calls from a prominent member of the Kennedy dynasty, I would have said you were nuts.
Then Robert Kennedy Jr. started reaching out.
Not just reaching out, mind you, but volunteering to educate me. To illuminate me. That was his tone of voice, somewhat pitying and vaguely patronizing, the one time we talked at length, after he’d left messages and before he left more.
It was important, he said, that we meet.
If we did, he said, he could correct me.
My error?
I had disparaged the alarmists who claim a connection between vaccines and autism and fill parents with needless fears about immunizing their children.
I had sided with the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Kennedy knew better...
You can read Bruni's full hissy-fit ("California, Camelot and Vaccines", NY Times, July 4, 2015) here. It was reassuring to see that Kennedy promptly posted a candid intelligent response on Facebook and on his personal site (here):
Frank Bruni's angry tirade against me in his Sunday New York Times column took me by surprise. Last February, we'd had a brief, friendly, and mutually respectful telephone conversation. He had written an article about vaccine safety at the end of January and I asked if he would allow me to show him some of the recent scientific studies linking thimerosal to a range of brain injuries. I also wanted to show him the transcripts of statements by CDC whistleblower, Dr. William Thompson, discussing the troubling disarray and deception within CDC's vaccine program...
Then on July 10, his Letter to the Editor appeared in the NYTimes (here).

One of Kennedy’s utterances that particularly riled Bruni was this one:
"They get the shot, that night they have a fever of a hundred and three, they go to sleep, and three months later their brain is gone..."
Kennedy (left) and Bruni (right)
Asks Bruni incredulously:
Their brain is gone?
As one mother for whom this cynical question is literally relevant, I'd like to respond:
"Yes, Mr. Bruni, in certain cases their brain is  gone: utterly, irreversibly and tragically."
The background, what happened to my daughter, is in this December 2013 post of mine.

I'd like to reiterate: at the very least, I advocate exempting children who are already neurologically impaired from vaccinations. Just the way immune-compromised children are exempted today.

Ideally, though, I'd like more. The medical establishment owes parents of the neurologically-impaired a pre-vaccination warning. They deserve to know that vaccines pose a significantly higher risk to their children than to the general population. There's some important information about that in an article published last September in the medical journal Pediatrics: see "Etiologies for Seizures Around the Time of Vaccination". Then they can decide whether to run that risk.

Doesn’t that sound reasonable? Readers, what do you think?

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