During the week I posed the question: what constructive role does a demonstrable liar play in the public debate of vaccine safety and effectiveness? I was given an answer which was mostly reasonable, citing that the worthiness of ideas, when subjected to public scrutiny and academic durability, will attest to the reliability of these ideas. With this, I am in full agreement. But, what about when these ideas have been so thoroughly debunked, for twenty years? What about when the person regurgitating these demonstrably false opinions has been officially found to “pose a risk to public health and safety”? Where is the limit? Should this person be given a platform to keep restating these opinions, to an unsuspecting audience, at a Government sponsored event, where public money has been used to stage the event? Thus began the Woodford Folk Festival saga.
I want to cite some examples to show that Meryl Dorey is a demonstrable liar. Frankly, it is quite a job in deciding what not to include: the examples of lies and general dishonesty, both intellectual and financial, would fill a book (hopefully, someone will write this book, one day). For those who are not fully across the deceptions practised by Meryl Dorey, I strongly suggest reading the links to which I will refer. Apologies: there are quite a few.
The Pertussis Lie
For some years now Dorey has been stating that the Pertussis vaccine is useless, citing 95% vaccination rates, contrasted against high Pertussis notification rates. This tactic has been repeated so many times, and corrected so many times, that it is only right to call this one a lie. In short, Dorey is conflating two unrelated data sets, from different cohorts, from different decades in her attempt to prove her point. The 95% vaccination rate is for children; the high notification rate is for adults and teens who are no longer immune. Dorey also does not take into account any nuances such as better reporting protocols, or improved PCR testing. This tactic has been shown to be misleading by ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs, here; and the NSW HCCC, here. Dorey has denied providing the misleading data to the ABC, several times, yet provides the proof that she is lying in her very own blog post, where she provides the email she sent to the ABC producers prior to her interview. To further debase herself, Dorey accuses the McCaffery Family of being dishonest, in the comments of that post:
As for the McCafferys continuing to report that I had misled the ABC – again, I don’t understand why they have done this but you’re right – it isn’t fair and it is not honest either.
More on the McCafferys, soon.
For an in-depth and concise rundown on Dorey’s deception in misusing Pertussis data, I strongly recommend reading these posts:
I should add, ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs again upheld a complaint (two days ago, via email to me) regarding Dorey’s Pertussis lie, which she recently repeated on ABC Brisbane; the audio of which is in the last link, above. I can’t share the content of the email due to confidentiality; however, it is safe to say that the ABC is none to pleased about Dorey doing this again. She abused the trust given to her by ABC producers and would not stay on topic; instead inserting her lie, again.
[update 21.12.11: I have been given permission to publish ABC Audience and Consumer Affair's most recent finding regarding Dorey's appearances on ABC Radio. See here]
The Autism Epidemic Lie
Dorey will be relying on this one at her Woodford talk. In the promotional blurb for Dorey, the Woodford site states:
Meryl Dorey explains more about the causes of this epidemic so you can help prevent your children from being affected.
We all know what this means. Dorey is still clinging to the corpse of the link between vaccines and autism. Basically, there is no autism epidemic. Dorey will cite a Korean study to show that the “emergency” has exploded, yet won’t attempt to engage in the nuances involved in this belief. In short, the criteria for autism diagnoses has expanded a great deal. No one has a definitive answer to what causes autism, however the strongest evidence suggest a genetic link with possible environmental factors influencing those already predisposed. Unfortunately for anti-vaccinationists, vaccines have been ruled out. They just haven’t grasped it yet.
I strongly recommend reading the following links for deeper analyses of Dorey’s deception:
“Meryl Dorey is aware her characterisation of the study is incorrect, yet continues to repeat it. It seems that Meryl Dorey can’t even get past the title of her talk without lying to her audience.” This quote basically nails it, from:
The Rotavirus lie
As far as I can tell, this is a new one. Three days ago, Dorey published a blog post which can only be described as an anti-vaccination manual for the intellectually dispossessed. It is worth reading if only for its blinding adherence to ideology and ineptitude. There are too many inaccuracies and deliberate distortions to tackle here, but, one stood out:
“Rotavirus…is not deadly”
Yes it is. And it’s not hard to find out that this is the case.
In industrialized nations like the US, around 70 child deaths are attributed each year to this diarrheal disease. In developing countries, however, nearly 1,400 children die from rotavirus infections each day, succumbing to severe dehydration that could be easily treated if they had access to lifesaving care often routine in richer nations.
How Meryl Dorey lies about those who hold her to account
Before Stop the Australian Vaccination Network even existed, a private individual named Ken McLeod submitted a complaint to the NSW HCCC, regarding the dangerous misinformation disseminated by Dorey and her AVN. In her response to the HCCC complaint, Dorey lied about and defamed Ken McLeod:
“Mr McLeod has made numerous direct communications to the AVN and myself via email communication over the last few years, and such communications have been very rude and aggressive in tone and intimidating in nature, particularly towards myself.
I have found dealing with this man very distressing and hurtful,”
“the threat that he poses and continues to pose to me and my family is very real….”
“I can give no explanation for the ferocity with which he pursues both myself and the AVN….”
The problem, for Dorey, is that Ken McLeod has published a thorough debunking of Dorey’s accusations, citing all communications between himself and Dorey. Dorey has never responded, retracted or apologised for this demonstrably untrue attack on Ken McLeod’s character. The attack by Dorey was simply a blatant attempt to garner sympathy from the HCCC, based on lies.
But, this is not the only time Dorey has tried this. Dorey constantly dog-whistles to her followers, and the media, by citing that she has had to hire security for her events. Unfortunately for Dorey, she can’t remember which time she has used this lie, and where. In this document, I have previously investigated Dorey’s claim:
Due to the threats, for the first time in 16 years we had to hire a security guard. [September 1 2009, regarding earlier seminars]
Never in all that time have we had to worry about security [just prior to June 1 2010, regarding later seminars]
Another favourite of Dorey’s is the “death threat” canard. Dorey is on record in many fora and articles stating that she has been the subject of death threats, directly accusing that SAVN is responsible for these threats:
She accused the Australian Skeptics and a Facebook group, dubbed Stop the AVN, for being behind a campaign to have her pulled from the festival.
“They’ve been attacking us for over two and a half years now. Those attacks have included death threats,” Ms Dorey said.
Here is the only evidence that could be construed as a death threat, at a real stretch; but, it doesn’t even contain any threats of death. From Dorey’s own blog post:
Dorey also states that she has received death threats over the phone. Given her history, I just don’t believe her. Neither did the NSW Police Service.
In this document, Meryl Dorey: Anatomy of a Lie, I have previously shown how Dorey lied about SAVN, by issuing an “ACTION ALERT” to her followers that SAVN was “mobilising” to attack journalist Natasha Bita over her articles concerning little Saba Button, who was injured during the recent Fluvax debacle in Western Australia. The problem is; nothing of the sort had, or was going to, happen. Dorey’s call-out to her minions was the first any of us had heard about it. It all became clear when Dorey’s friend and co-admin of the AVN Facebook page put the issue to rest. Dorey had referred to SAVN as “pondscum” for their actions [which never happened], also calling SAVN “uncaring bastards”. Luckily, Susan Butler was able to sort things out:
Not quite what I said. I just checked back on the messages and I said that I “suspected” that such an action could occur.
Dorey has never responded to, clarified, retracted or apologised for this lie.
The “AVN is not anti-vaccine” lie
Dorey, and most anti-vaccinationists, use this lie regularly. They know that the honest tag will make them the rightful pariahs that they are, in decent society. In a recent interview, on 4BC Radio in Brisbane, Dorey again stated this lie. I strongly suggest everyone bookmark this site, keeping it handy for whenever anyone trots out this canard:
This document also contains Dorey’s own words indicating that she is anti-vaccine.
Here is a t-shirt Dorey was selling, prior to SAVN holding her to account. The mantra was also the AVN’s motto:
The “I’ve never claimed to be an expert” lie
In the Northern Star, two days ago, Dorey stated:
I have never claimed to be anything other than the mother of a vaccine-injured child who has spent over 20 years researching the science behind vaccine safety and effectiveness
Do we need to keep doing this? Really?
The lies surrounding the death of baby Dana McCaffery
For me personally this has been the most harrowing part of holding Dorey to account. Her incessant mistruths and accusations levelled at the McCaffery Family are simply devastating. The attacks on the McCafferys are all based upon Dorey dog-whistling that the McCafferys have somehow attacked anti-vaccination parents. The McCafferys have never done this. Never. The honesty, integrity and grace with which the McCafferys have held themselves throughout this period is nothing short of astonishing. The McCafferys have been called “liars, cult leaders, leaders of a vigilante group [who have] not honoured their daughter’s death”. The individuals responsible for these comments are still roaming free on (and are, in some cases, admins) on various AVN Fora. This is nothing short of despicable. I want to highlight one post in particular. Meryl Dorey wrote A grieving family and baseless accusations in an attempt to deflect attention from herself, for her callousness and cruelty. It is, in itself, a despicable post.
I cannot do any better a job in countering the dishonesty of Dorey in this instance, so I defer to Toni McCaffery, who has given me permission to republish her original Facebook discussion post (Facebook has deleted all discussion lists from all groups). Toni McCaffery should never have had to write this. The McCafferys should never have had to defend themselves over the circumstances of Dana’s death. Here is Toni’s post (straight copypaste):
Dorey has never apologised to the McCafferys. Dorey has never acknowledged Toni’s response. Dorey has never retracted anything she has said about the McCafferys. Meryl Dorey’s husband was friends with Dana’s grandmother. Dorey knows of the McCaffery Family. Dorey threw this family under the bus for the sake of ideology.
I wrote this because there has been a lot of hand-wringing and fallacious argumentation depicting this Woodford issue as an attack on free speech, whilst relying on the Red Herring that this is an issue of censorship. It is not. I would urge you to read these posts:
The issue at hand is whether or not anyone should give an air of credibility to a demonstrable liar who has been proven to pose a risk to public health and safety. Make no mistake, Meryl Dorey is a malevolent force in the vaccination debate. Woodford Folk Festival had previously been contacted by many people regarding Dorey’s previous appearances. Woodford organisers have steadfastly refused to respond to any correspondence. Woodford has simply shown what happens when organisations outstretch their capabilities into areas in which they are not adept; such as, say, health, and public relations. They are not doing either very well at the moment.
Dorey has many platforms in which she is free to lie, uncontested. Dorey bans all dissenting views from these platforms. This is antivax 101. If anyone proves the AVN are full of it: ban/delete/pretend it never happened.
Let’s be blunt: this is an issue of public health. Dorey is a threat to public health because she cannot tell the truth; and it is proven that this is so. The campaign against Woodford’s poor decision has nothing to do with free speech or censorship. It is about highlighting this poor decision and alerting the public to a person of poor character who cannot be trusted to act as an honest broker of accurate vaccination information. Woodford have not alerted the public to anything, except their poor grasp of health issues, and logic.
Meryl Dorey plays no constructive role in health matters. Dorey’s role is only destructive in nature. Why bother giving her another stage on which to lie?
If Woodford Folk Festival organisers, and others, have any doubts regarding the malevolence of Dorey’s presence, I suggest you take note: Dorey is now selling this pro-infectious disease children’s book in her online shop.
Meryl Dorey: reprehensible; public health menace; and a danger to our children.
Further recommended reading: