Age of Autism and Gardasil: What’s that again about not being “anti-vaccine”?

I’ve frequently referred to Age of Autism as the “anti-vaccine” crank propaganda blog and Generation Rescue, the organization that primarily runs it, a an anti-vaccine propaganda organization. Although longtime readers know exactly why I say such things, newbies might not. That’s why I consider it instructive to take note of this observation by reader Todd W.:

You know, I always wondered why Age of Autism, the “Daily Web Newspaper of the Autism Epidemic” has articles on Gardasil. They have absolutely no connection to autism. There have been no studies linking Gardasil to autism. There aren’t even any anecdotes suggesting a link between Gardasil and autism (probably because kids are usually diagnosed years before they are even eligible to receive the vaccine).

Articles like that reveal the fact that AoA is anti-vaccine. They are not pro-autism education. They are not interested in spreading real awareness of autism. They are interested in arguing against vaccines.

He’s exactly right. Age of Autism bills itself as “Daily Web Newspaper of the Autism Epidemic,” yet there’s very little there about autism outside the context of trying to convince people that vaccines cause it.

Out of curiosity, though, I decided to take a look at the last several days worth of posts on AoA. Over the last few days, we’ve been treated to a three-part bit of conspiracy-steeped ranting by Mark “I’m not a scientist but I play one on AoA” Blaxill entitled, A License to Kill? Part 1 was subtitled How A Public-Private Partnership Made the Government Merck’s Gardasil Partner; Part 2, Who Guards Gardasil’s Guardians?; and part 3, After Gardasil’s Launch, More Victims, More Bad Safety Analysis and a Revolving Door Culture. I won’t go into the details of the nonsense that Mark Blaxill lays down in these anti-vaccine propaganda pieces other than to note that he references an anti-Gardasil site, which blames the death of several girls on Gardasil, even some of them died weeks or even a month after being vaccinated. One even died six months after the first dose. In other words, it’s the same old confusing of correlation with causation about Gardasil that I have written about on multiple occasions.

Yet AoA claims it’s not anti-vaccine.

So why would AoA devote that much space to Gardasil? Even in the most fevered fantastical ideas for how vaccines might cause autism, Gardasi couldn’t have anything to do with autism. First, it’s administered to girls, and autism has a marked male prevalence. More importantly, it is given to girls between 10-13, which is long past the time when autistic symptoms first appear. Yet, if you search AoA for articles on Gardasil, you will find not only Blaxill’s blather, but numerous other posts linking Gardasil to death and all sorts of horrific health problems, posts such as The Truth about Gardasil? It’s Destroying our Girls, Gardasil Damage Stories Everywhere, When Will the FDA Act?, and In Memory of one of the First Gardasil Girls: RIP Jessica Ericzon.

Yet AoA claims it’s not anti-vaccine.

But that’s not all. If you just peruse the posts from the last couple of weeks on AoA, you’ll find the aforementioned three posts about the alleged dangers of Gardasil, several posts castigating Paul Offit and/or his rotavirus vaccine (including one post likening Dr. Offit’s statement about vaccines to the Milgrom experiment), a post pimping Richard Moore’s truly moronic anti-vaccine article, and several posts on vaccines as a cause of autism or criticizing the PBS FRONTLINE documentary The Vaccine War. Compared to the posts about vaccines or attacking big pharma, the number of posts about autism or actually helping children with autism that didn’t have anything to do with vaccines were in a distinct minority. It wasn’t even close.

Yet AoA claims it’s not antivaccine.

I think I’m with Kim Wombles on this (and, damn if she didn’t beat me to writing a post like this):

Today, in an unprecedented show of integrity and honesty, Age of Autism changed its name to Vaccines: The Cause of Everything Wrong With the World: the daily newspaper of vaccine conspiracies.

After running a series of posts having absolutely nothing to do with autism at all, in any capacity, Age of Autism took a deep breath, looked good and hard at itself in the mirror, and decided to quit pretending to be anything other than a gathering place for wackawoos. To that end, the wackawoo brigade went full tilt into redesigning its website, dumping most of the sponsors because they just weren’t vaccine-hating enough, and by gosh, enough is enough. Using a camouflage motif and shots in a Curt Linderman crossed style (without the black skull), the three editors of VTCoEWWtW (not as catchy certainly, as AoA, but well, they are trying to be honest), along with the rest of the wackawoos brigade, dressed in camo, guerrilla style, with big syringes held lovingly in their arms as if they were AK-47s and glared at the camera. They want you to know they are serious and mean business! There are no good vaccines!

Or, as the “American rally for personal rights” would say, “There Are No Safe Vaccines!” Remember, as I’ve said before, it’s not about autism. It never really was, at least not primarily. It’s about vaccines and looking for something to blame.