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Andrew Wakefield, a lackluster British medical researcher, but born to a wealthy doctor and with some personal charm, is the person most responsible for the anti-vaccine movement, and perhaps the prominence of social media conspiracies (e.g. anti-maskers) in general. After a couple faulty versions of the MMR vaccine were withdrawn from the UK market in the 90s, Wakefield met an ambulance chasing lawyer named Richard Barr (!). Barr was hoping to profit from class action lawsuits, by showing that the MMR was linked to autism. Wakefield and others provided the fraudulent research paper (while being paid by the lawyer); the British medical journal The Lancet, published it to their eternal shame; the media on both sides of the pond amplified Wakefield's lies in an irresponsible way. Brian Deer, of the Sunday Times of London has spent over two decades investigating this elaborate scheme which exploits the parents of autistic children and money from wealthy benefactors (and some well known celebrities) to feed Wakefield's narcissism. As Deer puts it: "The way I saw it, it was never about the science, the children or the mothers. It had always been about himself."— From Carla's Picks
From San Francisco to Shanghai, from Vancouver to Venice, controversy over vaccines is erupting around the globe. Fear is spreading. Banished diseases have returned. And a militant "anti-vax" movement has surfaced to campaign against children's shots.
In The Doctor Who Fooled the World, award-winning investigative reporter Brian Deer exposes the truth behind the crisis. Writing with the page-turning tension of a detective story, he unmasks the players and unearths the facts. Where it began. Who was responsible. How they pulled it off. Who paid.
At the heart of this dark narrative is the rise of the so-called "father of the anti-vaccine movement": a British-born doctor, Andrew Wakefield. Banned from medicine, thanks to Deer's discoveries, he fled to the United States to pursue his ambitions, and now claims to be winning a "war."
In an epic investigation spread across fifteen years, Deer battles medical secrecy and insider cover-ups, smear campaigns and gagging lawsuits, to uncover rigged research and moneymaking schemes, the heartbreaking plight of families struggling with disability, and the scientific scandal of our time.