Actor and comedian Rob Schneider recently laid on his Caps Lock key to announce the news that a top CDC scientist had admitted to lying about vaccine safety. Schneider tweeted that “CNN is now covering the story!” However, his link led not to CNN.com but to CNN iReport, a site for articles uploaded by random users that are “not verified by CNN.”
A CNN producer later added a note:
CNN iReport is the network’s user-generated news community. This story, which is about a study from Dr. Brian Hooker about the alleged link between vaccines and autism, was initially pulled for further review after it was flagged by the community. CNN has reached out to the CDC for comment and is working to confirm the claims in this iReport.
Investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson looked deeper into the story and found that reports of Dr. William Thompson being a whistleblower for vaccine safety were greatly exaggerated. In fact, Thompson issued a press release Wednesday to clarify the situation:
I want to be absolutely clear that I believe vaccines have saved and continue to save countless lives. I would never suggest that any parent avoid vaccinating children of any race. Vaccines prevent serious diseases, and the risks associated with their administration are vastly outweighed by their individual and societal benefits.
My concern has been the decision to omit relevant findings in a particular study for a particular sub group for a particular vaccine. There have always been recognized risks for vaccination and I believe it is the responsibility of the CDC to properly convey the risks associated with receipt of those vaccines.
My colleagues and supervisors at the CDC have been entirely professional since this matter became public. In fact, I received a performance-based award after this story came out. I have experienced no pressure or retaliation and certainly was not escorted from the building, as some have stated.