The Age of Autism counterattack against Skepchick Elyse begins

Remember Elyse? She’s one of the Skepchicks, and a couple of weeks ago she did a most excellent skeptical thing. She organized a campaign to complain to the theaters that had, according to the anti-vaccine propaganda group SafeMinds and the anti-vaccine propaganda blog Age of Autism, accepted the advertisements, which SafeMinds were “framing” to be public service announcements. Her campaign met with considerable success. AMC Theaters, in particular, put the kibosh on the anti-vaccine “PSA.” This is not the only time Elyse has been a thorn in the side of the anti-vaccine movement. Back in May, she organized a counter protest against an anti-vaccine rally in Grant Park in Chicago.

After the successful campaign to keep SafeMinds’ emotionally manipulative and deceptive PSA out of theaters, I noted that the anti-vaccine groups would be at the very least keeping an eye on her and at the very most coming after her. Today, Kim Wombles informs me that the antivaxers are showing signs of starting to go after her in a typical smear campaign that they are so good at. It’s begun with posting Elyse’s picture from her Facebook profile, along with this comment:

This is the woman who fought to pull the SafeMinds PSA’s from the theatres. It’s her FB profile page photo. She is anti-choice and wants to tell you that mercury is safe and that Thimeosal is good – according to her blog. She trolls AofA regularly. As do all the pro-vaccine-injury bloggers.

Well, actually, I do admit that I peruse AoA fairly regularly, although I’ve only ever tried to comment there a handful of times in its three year existence. The moderation censorship is too complete. The reason I peruse it, of course, is because the crazy is so strong there that it provides copious blogging material about the fallacies and nastiness of Generation Rescue and the anti-vaccine movement. In any case, comments on the AoA Facebook page are typical AoA crazy.

For instance, Janette Howard says:

I pray her baby is not screaming from brain damage.


Karen Harker says:

people like this deserve to know what its like to have a child with autism!!! I would never wish autism on anyone but she needs to spend a few hours with my son to see what we all go through before she is all pro vaccine!!! GET A FREAKING CLUE!!!!

If vaccines had anything to do with autism (they don’t), Karen might have a point. Even if vaccines did cause autism, her comment would still strike me as vindictive and self-pitying more than anything else. She sounds as though she views autism as a punishment from on high and would like to inflict that punishment on the children of those whom she views as being against her anti-vaccine views in order to get at the parent. In any case, how does she know that Elyse doesn’t have an idea what autism is like? Whether or not Elyse “knows what it’s like” to have a chlld with autism is irrelevant to the question of whether vaccines cause autism anyway.

There’s more (a lot more), but I’ll finish with this one. As pointed out by Kim Wombles, an Age of Autism editor (most likely Kim Stagliano) says:

Karen, I never go there – I never want to punish a parent, however I might disagree with them – by smiting their child. I can’t do it. I do agree that the lack of empathy and ability to see the larger picture is stunning and almost autistic itself. I wouldn’t trust my girls in her care for 5 seconds. I’d leave them with wolves first. 🙂 K

That’s right. Being against Karen and Kim’s anti-vaccine views means (to them) that automatically Elyse has no empathy, can’t see the big picture, and must be a bad mother, so bad that Kim would rather leave her children with wolves than with Elyse. Nice. Stay classy, Kim. Stay classy.

Of course, to me the fact that Elyse realizes that vaccines don’t cause autism means that she “sees the big picture” far better than Kim does. Be that as it may, in actuality, my only surprise here is that Stagliano and her cronies at AoA took so long. Their modus operandi has always been, when confronted with criticism or resistance to their anti-vaccine message, to attack the messenger, something they are quite accomplished at. I would not be the least bit surprised if tomorrow there is a post on AoA about this topic, with perhaps Kim Stagliano piously pontificating in a grating “holier than thou” attitude about how Elyse just doesn’t understand and is a horrible mother. If Jake Crosby does the post, there’ll be all sorts of “research” about Elyse designed to demonstrate that she must be a shill for big pharma, because, let’s face it, that’s all he’s got when it comes to discussing vaccines and autism.

Whatever happens, I fear that the nastiness is not over. AoA is likely try to drive Elyse from the field by smears, innuendo, and personal attacks, as it does with virtually anyone who criticizes them and stands up for vaccine science.