Opinion | In a recent article in Forbes magazine titled “Bill Maher Supports Vaccine-Autism Connection,” Nina Shapiro, MD attacked comedian Bill Maher, the host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” for his interview with Jay Gordon, MD on Nov. 1, 2019 regarding vaccines.1 There were other similar articles published in the HuffPost, the Daily Mail, The Guardian and the Insider, but the title of Dr. Shapiro’s hit job is the most egregious.2 3 4 5
The titles of the other articles merely suggest that Maher thinks it is possible there may be a link between vaccines and autism. Dr. Shapiro’s headline outright says Maher maintains there is a connection. However, if you watch or read a transcript of Maher’s interview with Dr. Gordon, who is a pediatrician just like Dr. Shapiro, it is clear that neither Maher nor Dr. Gordon have come to a conclusion, but are in the process of considering the evidence while keeping an open mind.
In the entire interview, the ongoing debate about vaccines and autism is brought up only twice. The first time is when Dr. Gordon related how a pediatrician friend of his asked him, “Do you really believe that vaccines cause autism?” Dr. Gordon responded that he thought there is “an impact but that he couldn’t “prove” anything.6
Dr. Gordon said that he then asked his friend, “[D]o you believe that there’s no effect from vaccines on the incidence of autism?” His friend responded, “There might be a very small percentage of children who are adversely affected.”6
“That’s all!” said Dr. Gordon. “That’s all I’m trying to say!”6
Maher agreed and pointed out how unreasonable it was to think only a “crazy person” would take such a position.6
“What you’re just saying is slower, right?” said Maher. “Maybe less numbers and also take into account individuals… People are different. Family history. Stuff like that. I don’t think this is crazy.”6
Maher acknowledged that the “autism issue” has been studied a “million times, including out of this country…” But he noted that doesn’t mean you can simply ignore the parents who say, “I had a normal child [who] got the vaccine… this story keeps coming up.”6
It seems to me more realistic to me, if we’re just gonna be realistic about it, like it probably happened so rarely but no one wants… you can’t say it happens one in a million times because then somebody will think well it’s, it’s, now I could be that millionth one and you see, you scare people. So, you can’t say what might be the more realistic opinion.6
Dr. Gordon responded:
Regarding a lot of conditions and diseases there’s a genetic predisposition and an environmental trigger. The National Institute of Health used to have a poster that you could buy it said, “genetics loads the gun and environment pulls the trigger.” And they were talking about diabetes, they were talking about arthritis and a lot of other conditions. Maybe that’s true about autism but again I talk much more quietly because I have no proof.6
“[My whole point with this is maybe, is that we just don’t know so much,” Maher said. “This whole situation to me is how you look at it as a patient. As a patient I’ve caught doctors not knowing what they should know. Some doctors keep up with what’s happening lately and some stop at medical school I’m told. Have you met doctors who are idiots?”6
If anything stood out in Maher’s interview with Dr. Gordon, it was Maher’s annoyance with the idea that many medical doctors seem to think they know it all and, thus, should not be questioned by their patients, especially about vaccines. Maher went on to emphasize how often doctors, medical studies and mainstream medicine, in general, have been wrong on so many issues. He asked:
But, but, here’s the thing… they’ve been wrong about so much. I object to when doctors, the people in the white coats, are like “Don’t ask any questions about this… when have we ever been wrong?”6
The conversation that Jay Gordon and Bill Maher had about vaccination reminded me of an article I wrote a few years ago citing “medical error” as the third leading cause of death in the United States.7
Maher correctly observed that we are at the “beginning of understanding how the human body works.” He said that he thought vaccines to be a “great tool in the medical kit” but that that should be viewed as the “beginning of the debate,” not the end.6
“I don’t understand what they can’t get about that,” Maher said. “The big… yes… they work. So do antibiotics work, statins work, chemotherapy works. I’m concerned with what happens down the road.”6
The negative consequences, the side effects of vaccines is that what Maher was hinting at, and Dr. Gordon agreed. “Nothing is free. Nothing that I do right is free,” Dr. Gordon said, adding:
I feel like I should give you a little bit of a discussion before I recommend tylenol because of the impact on the liver. A discussion about ibuprofen before about the impact on the kidneys. And when someone gets antibiotics from me I talked to them about, you know, there could be a yeast infection you could get diarrhea and the rash–sorry about the diarrhea and the rash. But with vaccines, well, the discussion is closed.6
“That’s what I’m saying,” Maher said.6
Indeed, why should the discussion about vaccines be closed? Why do pediatricians like Dr. Shapiro feel they have the right to shut down the conversation about vaccination and health and denigrate other experienced and well educated pediatricians like Dr. Gordon, who believe that discussing potential vaccine side effects and what can be done to prevent them is reasonable, healthy and needed?
1 Shapiro N. Bill Maher Supports Vaccine-Autism Connection. Forbes Nov. 3, 2019.
2 Boboltz S. Bill Maher Says Vaccine-Autism Link Is Not ‘Crazy’: ‘We Don’t Know S**t’. HuffPost Nov. 2, 2019.
3 McDonald L. Bill Maher AGREES with Anti-Vaxxer doctor on his show and says it’s ‘realistic’ to believe debunked theory that childhood vaccines cause autism. Daily Mail Nov. 3, 2019.
4 Tran L. Firehosing: the systemic strategy that anti-vaxxers are using to spread misinformation. The Guardian Nov. 7, 2019.
5 Tenbarge K. Bill Maher agreed with a controversial doctor, repeating a debunked theory that it was ‘realistic’ that vaccines have caused autism in children. Insider Nov. 2, 2019.
6 Vaccine Discussion—Dr. Jay Gordon and Bill Maher. Children’s Health Defense Nov. 5, 2019.
7 Cáceres M. Study: Medical Error is the Third Leading Cause of Death in the U.S. The Vaccine Reaction May 6, 2016.
“Dr. Shapiro feel they have the right to shut down the conversation about vaccination”
Considering she has a website, she is in the self promotion business and nothing gets the attention of the pharma money people is a doctor who is in the media carrying their banner against medical autonomy in regards to vaccines.
I saw the interview and Maher never said vaccines caused autism. What he did was be supportive of awareness and public discussion. He asked the big question that the medical/pharma cartel doesn’t want out in the public arena-why is there no discussion of a medical procedure because no medical procedure is perfect and without risk. Common sense questions.
The fkn media, political and media along with all the Pharma $$$’s spent to shed fear among all who work with those groups know and have publish articles saying there is CAUSE and affect in many known cases only none of the $$ groups will completely admit. Only the true and honest ones do and we the injured KNOW. https://vaccineinjurycompensationcanada.weebly.com/
I watched the show and give kudos for it it finally being brought up. I have a child that is autistic and he did change after the shots when he was a baby. I know what I know as far as my child and it is not crazy. What is crazy is that the media takes funding from pharmicuetical companies so of course none of this will come out, no one will touch it. I give great credit for some acknowledgement to this topic on this particular show. I wish we would see more. Thank you!!!
Thanks for this article and thanks Bill Maher and doctors willing to keep the discussion open
I can’t stand Maher for a plethora of reasons but this whole one can’t even question vaccines is ridiculous. I understand why bc questioning will eventually lead to a debate. These pro vaccine nut jobs want to avoid that situation like the plague.
Pray for more discussions like this. I have them with people everyday. Changing minds ??
The most disingenuous tactic of vaccine compliance pushers is to take a complex scientific issue and try to paint it as black and white. The interview between Maher and Dr. Gordon, at its core, was about how complex the issue is. The media coverage following it? Black and white. Could this insistence on over-simplifying the issue be contributing to “vaccine hesitancy” among critically thinking adults? That is certainly my own hypothesis.
If you want to understand how we lost our way. Read, Going Somewhere by Marino. Our scientist are controlled and programmed to study only what will support the drug companies point of view. The honest ones are rolled over and not funded…
Thank you! Right on Target! This issue needs national attention, not just “whitewashing”.
We live in an age of “the narrative” and big manufacturers have stock holders who expect the manufacturer to do whatever it takes (don’t tell me what you did because as a human being I’ll have to disagree with it) to make their products wildly successful.
That includes actions that corrupt the CDC and FDA because those are key elements of making the product successful.
Almost any citizen could make this list (1) create the narrative that diseases like measles are deadly and could get out of control at any minute – ragged edge theory (2) create the narrative that drug manufacturing is in danger and needs a prosecution guarantee from governments to be viable – vaccine court in the US (3) create the narrative that allowing anti-vaxxers to speak freely threatens the entire vaccine infrastructure – we might fold the business and leave you unprotected (4) create the narrative that anti-vaxxer are rabid baby killers (5) deny any scientific study that shows a connection between the 4B paid out by our government (our taxes) for vaccine injuries and neurological illness – keep that out of the press (6) incentivize medical doctors for vaccine use and connect their revenue loss to anti-vaxx sentiment (7) weaponize doctors and the CDC across the country by giving incentives for attacking doctors who explain the risks of vaccines. (8) give the CDC vaccine patents so they derive revenue and have to sell vaccines in order to make payroll.
No doctor would give every patient the same antibiotic automatically without checking the patient’s history and other health conditions. No doctor would give any other prescription without a discussion of how it might interact with other medications or without discussing side effects.
The idea that every child should be given exactly the same vaccines at the same time as every other patient defies common sense. I tell my doctor if he is willing to sign a statement on his letterhead that he guarantees that vaccines will not harm my child … then I know that he truly believes what he is saying is true.
Only an arrogant doctor or a lazy doctor who has done no reading on their own would try to tell someone there is no possibility of an adverse reaction to a vaccine. Whatever happened to “first do no harm”???
It’s too bad that Maher didn’t say the obvious, that vaccines cause autism.
And even worse that the author of this article thinks that he needs to split hairs about the statements made on his shown.
Germany has legislated that vaccines are mandatory. It’s coming to America. Already Adam Schiff directed Amazon to remove all anti-vaccine documentaries. Of course California has already mandated 26 vaccines for all babies under six months. The root cause in my opinion is an unhealthy pregnancy which delivers a immune compromised infant Who is susceptible to unpredictable reactions to the overwhelming number of vaccines that are injected into the tiny body.
It is more than an unhealthy pregnancy. If you took the time to read the ingredients in these damn vaccines you would never take another one. The lack of efficacy alone should be enough to turn a reasonable person off. The government has no right to mandate health. They are not in the business of health care. They need to do their jobs and tend to the business of the country.
We have an infant mortality rate close to third world countries thaty speaks volumnes about what is wrong with our Western lifestyle. Learn More by googling “Lifestyle Medicine: A brief review 2017. It is an eye opener
After years of being on the defensive, it’s time to place the onus on vaccine manufacturers and their shill army to prove their science. Demand an open/live debate now!
Vaccines are a drug. There isn’t any company liability. What large greedy company would not take advantage of that? Pay off doctors, pay off legislators, revolving door to CDC DHHS FDA
Agree as well.
So the question is really, who is it who wants to squelch the discussion of the truth? Is it Pharma for profits? It can’t be only that. Pharma could makes the billions by selling a tested safe product as well. The truth is that there is a massive paradigm of inertia that is driving the world toward these things that are killing us, vaccines, Frankenfoods, pesticides, glyphosate, the list goes on. Who benefits? Who wants to see the destruction of American culture and society? Who wants to Reduce the worlds population ? Who has the clout to accomplish all this even if it is some diabolical conspiracy? Who would be capable of such massive brainwashing? We don’t know who they might be. But we do know they’re there. Like a planet far out in space that astronomers know exists only by its gravitational force on the planets around it. But maybe it’s not so obscure. In fact they have told us in Agenda 21 and in the Georgia Guidestones that there Are those in this world who want to reduce the worlds population to a tenth of its current size. And who want to recast the societies of the world into their idea of how it should be. It sounds so crazy and paranoid we can’t believe it. We have been conditioned to reject any such notion. But I keep looking for another explanation. But so far I haven’t come up with a better explanation for the question, “Why do those who could stop these destructive things in our lives refuse to even allow the questions, much less take the doable steps necessary to stop it? Why do they refuse to allow the asking of asking honest questions and honest investigation?
accomplish it, refuse to allow investigate or aIt just keeps pointing back to this.
Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology Volume 46, March 2018, Pages 76-82 Aluminum in brain tissue in autism
Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder of unknown aetiology. It is suggested to involve both genetic susceptibility and environmental factors including in the latter environmental toxins. Human exposure to the environmental toxin aluminium has been linked, if tentatively, to autism spectrum disorder.