It was recently revealed that the AVN was allegedly knocked back from putting paid advertising into a publication for mums and babies.

The Child group of magazines, covering Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and Perth are free monthly publications distributed via childcare centres and baby shops and are highly targeted to Australian parents.

The website of Sydney’s Child describes the publication as, “..well established in the marketplace and highly respected by readers.”

“With six publications reaching across Australia, the Child group of magazines offer advertisers the ability to advertise nationally, or selectively depending on their needs. The tailored content within each magazine ensures that the publications always remain locally relevant to readers.”

All of which combines to make this the perfect platform for the AVN to scare parents into not vaccinating with their misinformation about vaccines causing autism, SIDS, shaken baby syndrome etc.

I understand that the AVN applied to purchase a 1/3 page ad in Sydney’s Child, Melbourne’s Child and Brisbane’s Child at a total estimated cost of $8000.

But in a highly principled and responsible move, it appears that the magazine declined the AVN the opportunity to do so, thus forfeiting a large amount of advertising money. This is a honorable move on their part, especially since being a free publication, they rely heavily on advertising revenue.

At question here is how the AVN came to have a spare $8000, after their recent donation drive initiated apparently to keep them from going under. Meryl apparently needed the cash to cover debts, so just a few weeks later she has enough in the coffers to blow eight grand on advertising?

I also wonder if her donors would be happy to see their money being diverted from keeping the AVN running to this new venture. That is, if indeed it is their money.

In August 2009, she was asking for donations to run a Generation Rescue ad, for which they would cover half the costs. An ad which never ran mind you, because we pipped her at the post. So it is possible that they have come to the party here.

In any case, I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when Meryl was told that The Child group did not want her anti-vaccine money. If she was not already convinced there is a conspiracy to see her silenced, then she ought to be well and truly by now. Paranoid much? Well maybe you should be Meryl!

I would like to clarify that neither Australian Skeptics, Stop the AVN or myself had anything to do with this decision. I’m sure Meryl will blame us, and I certainly wish I had the influence to persuade publishers and journalists to never publish her nonsense again, but I don’t.

(Or do I? *look over there, it’s a reptilian overlord*)

Congratulations to The Child group for adhering to their editorial policy and extending this to advertising:

Editorial Integrity – Our editorial integrity ensures that advertisements are always viewed within the context of a highly regarded, quality publication. That our magazines are seen in such a favourable light contributes positively to how an advertiser’s message is received by our readers.

The Child Group had done a great service to public health by limiting the exposure of the AVN’s misinformation. And by doing so, they may have saved a baby’s life.


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  • oh please!

    Yes a great system we have:
    In S.A. they are not releasing adverse reaction figures (why the heck not?) although it is known that at least one child is hospitalized.
    In Canberra 3 hospitalized children after their shots but nothing on the adverse reactions radar in the ACT.
    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/flu-jab-girls-hospitalised/1817008.aspx

  • oh please!

    Ken I know it can be tempting to “shoot the messenger” but as I’ve been told on this site one needs to stick to the facts.
    .

    Please let me know which part(s) of the document you believe are “gossip” and which parts you believe are “anecdote”.
    .

    As far as I can tell the facts presented are accurate. The conclusions that are drawn is possibly what you refer to. Obviously anyone serving the interests of Merck for example, will not concede that the clinical trial was not collated correctly.
    .

    They will also not concede that the FDA allowed this to happen.
    .

    The FDA & the Pharmaceutical Industry are often not credible (as you believe Judicial Watch to be).
    .

    Unfortunately they control the game.
    thank you.

  • Ken McLeod

    dear “oh please!” You lost the discussion immediately when you used Judicial Watch as a reference source. This is a right-wing organisation whose Gardasil “findings” are based on gossip and anecdote and are disputed by both the FDA and the CDC, i.e. mainstream scientific opinion. They are simply not credible.

  • oh please!

    no worries,

  • http://scepticsbook.com Maggie

    @oh please, I have to apologise to you – it seems this is a elaborate spamming exercise, where comments are copied pasted then linked to blogs that have nothing. I just found 3 more like it. Yours was the first, making me suspicious. Apologies.

  • oh please!

    lol
    it’s not suspiciously like my post it’s a copy & paste.
    Don’t know if Julie’s working for you team or mine!
    Why on earth would I do that?

  • http://scepticsbook.com Maggie

    Well ‘aint this interesting…

    @oh please are you now trolling as @julie too?

    Your comment posted on April 22 looks suspiciously similar to one just posted from Julie

    Care to explain this coincidence before I pop your addy(s) in the blackban bin?

  • oh please!

    well it looks like this conversation has come to a screeching halt.
    How anyone who knows the truth behind the Gardasil scandal can defend this product, or refer to Big Pharma as being “a little naughty at times” is staggering.
    Here is an excellent summary of what has taken place. If anyone is in any doubt, they need to read this.
    http://www.judicialwatch.org/documents/2008/JWReportFDAhpvVaccineRecords.pdf

  • oh please!

    I stubbed my toe and Andy posted..is that the sort of thing you mean? lol
    .

    The “soon after” is the only monitoring that I’m aware of with Gardisil. And with all due respect, I’d like to know a little more about the “medical experts” that the CDC refers to.
    .

    And thanks for reminding me:
    Maggie – and I might be showing a lack of knowledge here:
    For anything that’s toxic to the point of being fatal for human beings – for each toxin death comes to the victim in the same way?

  • oh please!

    Thanks Maggie,
    I still don’t get it though.
    .

    This clinical trial was to test the safety of the vaccine.
    The vaccine that is administered to people includes all the additives — that’s what they’re testing for safety.
    .

    I understand why you would separate the active ingerdient from the “vehicle” – to learn more about the effects of the active ingredient.
    But ultimately it’s the complete package that is being injected.
    So I get what they’ve done until Janak points out that Merck combined the “vehicle” group with the Saline Placebo group when comparing to the vaccine.
    .

    Reactions to the “vehicle” was obviously higher than the placebo so therefore the combined result had the effect of making the whole vaccine look safer than what it is.

  • http://thinkingisreal.blogspot.com AndyD

    The “soon after” link is the basis of superstitions. “A black cat crossed my path Monday and Mum got sick on that afternoon”, “I walked under a ladder and crashed my car the following week – I knew something like that would happen”, “I broke a mirror two years ago and my marriage has been falling apart ever since”.
    .
    That sort of superstition has driven threatening chain letters for years. These days most people probably see all that as superstitious nonsense but the same thinking is being applied to vaccines and autism.
    .
    This alone doesn’t make the connection wrong though. Anecdotes are presumably the first sign that something might be wrong. Scientific analysis is what makes establishes the facts.
    .
    In related news, the WA govt has just suspended flu vaccines for kids due to an apparent increase in adverse reactions in recent days. So far the reports are anecdotal but action has been taken while the issue is investigated since it appears only to be happening in WA. The AVN will no doubt be writing about this in Random Capitals! soon.

  • http://scepticsbook.com Maggie

    @oh please, just a quick comment about the placebo used in the Gardasil trials. I have not had time to read the article you posted thoroughly, but the first thing I noticed was a possible misrepresentation of “placebo” versus “control”.
    .
    When you are looking for the effect of a drug, otherwise known as an active ingredient, you need to eliminate any effects from other components also delivered in the drug. So in a vaccine this might be sodium chloride, saline, and whatever else is in the vaccine mix. You need to separate out any effects that these “inactive” components are having, from those of the ingredient of interest.
    .
    The best way to do this is to treat your cells, or mouse or person with two mixtures; the drug with the components and the components alone. This is often referred to as the “vehicle” meaning the delivery system for the drug (sodium chloride, saline etc). Then you can measure if the effect you are getting is from the components alone or if the drug has a bigger effect when it is present.
    .

    So if your vaccine has 10 components plus the inactive virus/bacteria/proteins, the most accurate way to tell if the vaccine works is to test the whole vaccine and the “vehicle” alone. Sometimes, saline alone as a placebo is not the best way to go.

  • http://scepticsbook.com Maggie

    I read this as saying that because all the adverse reports weren’t for the same health issue they are therefore not caused by Gardisil, is that what that means?
    .
    ok, does this mean the girls died in different ways at random locations and therefore the vaccine is not responsible?

    .

    Essentially, yes. It means that there was no consistency between cause(s) of death, making it unlikely it was the vaccine, or impossible to make a link.
    .

    If you go to YouTube there’s lots of videos on there re experiences with Gardasil (search for “Gardasil”), anectotal yes, but certainly it makes one question the CDC’s finding that “Gardasil is Good”.

    This is the same line of reasoning that parents take about vaccines = autism. If I died in a car crash after getting Gardasil, do I blame the vaccine? This is an extreme example, but the same logic applies when, there is as yet, no evidence to the contrary. Science is all about questioning, which is why the CDC continues to collect and analyse data about adverse events with Gardasil and publishes it for the public to see.

  • oh please!

    Gardasil:
    “All serious reports (8%) for Gardasil have been carefully analyzed by medical experts. Experts have not found a common medical pattern to the reports of serious adverse events reported for Gardasil that would suggest that they were caused by the vaccine. The following is a summary of selected serious adverse event reports that were submitted to VAERS between June 8, 2006 and January 31, 2010.”
    .

    I read this as saying that because all the adverse reports weren’t for the same health issue they are therefore not caused by Gardisil, is that what that means?
    .

    “there was no unusual pattern or clustering to the deaths that would suggest that they were caused by the vaccine.
    ok, does this mean the girls died in different ways at random locations and therefore the vaccine is not responsible?
    .

    At this point of the Gardasil vaccine story there’s not alot of known about how this poorly trialed vaccine will impact on people.
    .

    If you go to YouTube there’s lots of videos on there re experiences with Gardasil (search for “Gardasil”), anectotal yes, but certainly it makes one question the CDC’s finding that “Gardasil is Good”.

  • http://scepticsbook.com Maggie

    I can understand why your brain might hurt.
    .
    In the Danish study, the mean age for receiving MMR was 17 months with 98.5% of vaccinated kids receiving it before they were 3 yrs old. The mean age for diagnosis with autism was 4 yrs and 3 months, for ASD 5 yrs and 3 months. So there is quite a large time lapse between vaccination and diagnosis, but many parents will tell you they noticed a change around the time of the MMR.
    .
    But with diagnosis so long after the vaccine, and with a diagnosis as difficult as autism, parents will rack their brains to try to find an explanation – perhaps I did something, perhaps I could have done something – and they might make a link to vaccines.
    .
    There is no evidence, but parents don’t care about stats and graphs when they have a child diagnosed with autism, and why would they. It’s a forgivable connection to make, especially with so much rumour, media coverage and Jenny McCarthy, for so many years, telling us there indeed was a link.

  • oh please!

    Maggie,
    thanks for that.
    .

    I also found this article
    http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/blog/9529-autism-mmr-vaccine-connection-bad-information-scared-families.html
    .

    which I found very good as it discussed the history of the vaccination/autism debate in layman’s terms.
    I also found the comments there quite interesting.
    .

    There was one comment from a guy who was obviously convinced that mmr causes autism.
    I also personally know 2 people who swear that it was soon after their child received mmr that they noticed a deterioration in the child’s development.
    I have read this account from parents many times too.
    .

    The stats say that mmr doesn’t cause autism, there’s no argument.
    My brain hurts.

  • http://scepticsbook.com Maggie

    I know that, particularly in the U.S. there has been quite a few deaths as well as serious reactions.

    According to the CDC VAERS,
    ,

    As of January 31, 2010, there have been 49 U.S. reports of death among females who have received Gardasil. Twenty eight of these reports have been confirmed and 21 remain unconfirmed due to no identifiable patient information in the report such as a name and contact information to confirm the report. Confirmed reports are those that scientists have followed up on and have verified the claim.
    .
    In the 28 reports confirmed, there was no unusual pattern or clustering to the deaths that would suggest that they were caused by the vaccine. (my emphasis)
    .

    More here http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Vaccines/HPV/gardasil.html

  • http://scepticsbook.com Maggie

    This is one of the largest studies of vaxed versus unvaxed kids (MMR)

    .

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12421889
    .

    The authors examined the records of all children born in Denmark from January 1991 through December 1998. Of the 537,303 children in the cohort, 82% had received the MMR vaccine.
    .
    Conclusions: there was no difference in the risk of developing autism or ASD for vaccinated versus unvaccinated kids.

  • oh please!

    here’s a link I just found regarding issues with the placebo use during the Gradasil trial
    http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/janak/080723

    .
    Most of the girls in my daughter’s class were given their cervical cancer vaccine last year.
    I know that, particularly in the U.S. there has been quite a few deaths as well as serious reactions.
    .

    We told our daughter that we would not be signing the approval form for the vaccine and that when she turned 18, if she wanted it, then that would be fine.
    .

    I think though, if anyone’s bothering to track those who have had the vaccine, it’ll be 20 years before we know it’s effective, let alone safe. Is anyone monitoring it?

  • oh please!

    To be fair, the only time I referred to Mercola was when I promised I wouldn’t refer to him.
    I do actually listen to what he has to say, I know that he makes lots of money from what he does. I also listen to what mainstream medicine has to say.

    .

    I’m genuine, everything I’ve said is what I believe. Just because I have a low opinion of Big Pharma doesn’t mean I have a high opinion of Homeopathy etc. Although on this site the reverse seems to be true.lol
    .

    And also to be fair I’ve asked quite a few questions that have remained unanswered.
    I think because the whole thing is so complex (ie-not black and white) it”s tough to make one’s point understood. I thought I was pretty straight forward in most of my posts as to what I thought about most things medical, but maybe not.
    You sound like a good guy, I know I’m a good guy. So I think it’s interesting to see how people with similar values have arrived at different conclusions on these sorts of things.

    .

    Anyway:
    “I’ll note you didn’t answer the questions about how one should establish the long-term safety and effectiveness of something
    Not my job.
    Perhaps however, some attempt could be made. I can think of a number or “retrospective” ways it could be done.
    Here’s an article of one such attempt, which in itself, raises doubts about vaccine safety:
    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/318/7177/193#B1
    .

    Also I have a question for Maggie:
    I read once that while a vaccine was being trialled (I think Gardasil from memory), that the placebo contained the usual additives (used in the actual vaccines).
    Can you confirm this?
    And also what does one expect to find in most placebos used in vaccine trials?
    One more question:
    Has anyone ever done a study to compare the rates of Austism in vaccinated v unvaccinated children?
    It seems like this would be a simple way to provide evidence one way or the other but I’m not aware of any studies (& I’m quits clumsy at working out the right search words for specific types of studies).
    regards

  • http://thinkingisreal.blogspot.com AndyD

    No I don’t “subscribe to” the issues with aspartame. I’m aware “issues” exist but I haven’t looked at the evidence. I mentioned it only because the issues exist, usually with people promoting alternative health strategies and detoxification, yet it is there in one of the leading detox products. Oh, ad because you mentioned artificial sweeteners.
    .
    I’ll note you didn’t answer the questions about how one should establish the long-term safety and effectiveness of something which, in the vast majority of cases, shows no signs of having any side effects beyond a slight fever and a small bruise for a short time and which has been used for generations on billions of people in a world where life expectancy has increased since its use commenced. Not answering direct questions about things you DO say is what leads me to make some assumptions about other things.
    .
    I make those statements based on things you have said or done like… referencing Mercola, repeating “big pharma” conspiracies, referring to “western medicine”, repeating the “death toll from mainstream medicine” arguments, condemning the “suppression” & “ridicule” of natural “cures” and of course just mentioning holistic quantum physics and a vague reference to some sort of cosmological intelligence. You do fit the alt-med stereotype fairly well. My apologies if you don’t feel it’s a fair fit.
    .
    You also complained that we live in an artificial environment these days yet you supposedly support fluoridation and chlorination of scheme water and quite clearly have little issue with using electronic technology. In all seriousness, I really don’t know what you stand for or what you think you want. I’m trying to drag that information out of you – so far to no avail.
    .
    To be honest, I’m still not sure you’re genuine. But I’ve been wrong before.

  • oh please!

    here’s a little more referenced info on it:
    .

    http://www.deathreference.com/Ho-Ka/Iatrogenic-Illness.html
    .

    BTW everyone, you mostly seem to have me pegged as a vitamin popping detox junkie that visits alt health clinics and is deep into conspiracy theories.
    .

    Just for the record: I don’t take vitamin pills, I last visited an alt health practitioner about 5 years ago (about the same time as I last visited my doctor), I’ve never “detoxed” in my life (maybe I should), must admit tho, I do love a good conspiracy theory.
    So, in particular Andy, your “shots” at all things not modern medicine don’t really hit the mark with me.
    .

    I just think that modern medicine has done a grave dis-service to itself and us by it’s marriage with Big Pharma and it’s unrelenting obsession with producing a drug for every single thing that ails us.
    .

    Quick question Andy: I assume you subscribe to the health issues with Aspartame (I ask that because most people that believe that artificial sweeteners are safe don’t know what aspartame is (in my experience)).