Whistleblowing in medicine, and its penalties
The latest development in the ongoing battle to get the media to cover Andrew Wakefield accurately and free him of the discrediting perpetrated on him by quasi-journalist Brian Deer (who used to attack the AIDS drug AZT as mistreatment rather creditably but seems to have been flipped ideologically later to write pro pharma vaccine material for the London Sunday Times and BMJ and nothing on any other topic) and the pharma fellow traveling medical authorities in Britain, which many commentators tie to the influence of pharma money, this breakthrough documentary is almost unique in taking a long and thorough look at what whistleblowers suffer in Wakefield’s experience in trying to free himself of the smearing, which has become a global media meme infesting the brains of almost all humans who have heard or read his name, in a long and careful account presenting him as a victim of the kind of overwhelming counter attack likely to be suffered these days by anybody who threatens established interests in medical commerce, however impeccable their record and standing in medicine and science may be, and it also shows clearly how the supposedly accurate and fact checked reports one reads in the major media or sees on TV dealing with contentious issues may be corrupted by the kind of false grouthink generated and fostered by the commercial opposition to financially threatening scientific truth that has been seen before in scandals ranging from the pesticide DDT to cigarette smoking, where the CEOs of tobacco companies lied blatantly to Congress about not knowing the health dangers of their products, an overwhelming counterattack which is now still being seen in current controversies, where an individual such as Wakefield who is entirely innocent of writing anything but what he believes to be true and scientific can be financially ruined and made the victim of global disrepute by reporters who do not check their facts and by colleagues who don’t dare speak up for them, a tsunami of pushback seen here destroying his career as the documentary follows Wakefield and his family through one unjust condemnation after another by pharma fellow traveling officials and in the courts, in a film which the well established director Miranda Bailey is currently tactfully presenting as a ‘character study’ perhaps not to put off potential audiences who may initially assume he is indeed a monster, but a film which is more than that, as it portrays the tidal wave of fake news that drowns out the corrections attempted by the hapless Wakefield, and nearly ruins his reputation, while he is unable to defend himself in the court system because he needs hundreds of thousands of dollars to sue for justice and vindication, even though his colleague who is able to raise enough money do clear his name does so entirely, as one phone call after another to the increasingly isolated Wakefield leads to his transplanting his family and his work to the US, as the bad news proceeds from entirely wrongful loss of his medical license in the UK to an adverse court judgment in the US disallowing him to prosecute his tormenters for libel, perhaps predictably since the female judge in Texas who prevents his libel case being heard turnd out to be married to a man with his snout deep in the pharma trough, for Wakefield escapes to the US only to find himself in even more trouble there with the media mega-phoning in the libel, one example being CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who behaves very badly on camera steamrolling his interviewee evidently because he has been prejudiced to condemn Wakefield by unchecked media group think rather than factual research, so many setbacks in fact they eventually become almost tedious as an unremitting and unresolved record of hardship and giant injustice, except perhaps for the striking impression of truthtelling and lucidity conveyed by Wakefield himself as he explains in camera closeup the why and how of his unending battle, in a film which even in its title appears to want to have its cake and eat it too, in the sense of not wholeheartedly presenting him as a true hero of science and truth, which he deserves according to the factual record of the affair which shows that he always steers by those stars and no others, but an equivocal film which wants to leave too much to the viewer to make up his or her mind, indeed one which gives the impression of leaving too much on the cutting room floor, over $200,000 worth of film according to the filmmaker herself in the panel which followed this premier screening at the Manhattan Film Festival last Sunday, and which sometimes includes material which leaves the wrong impression, from a very early bout of reflection by Wakefield in his car which seems to be saying that his experience reminds him of an illegal move he was fond of in playing high school soccer, to noting that a hundred studies have concluded that there is no link between MMR vaccines and autism, without mentioning the fact that they notoriously did not include any control placebo group, the hallmark of good evaluation research, but instead simply compared one vaccine with another, and the overall impression is that the filmmaker Miranda Bailey wants to create an “evenhanded” work which both supporters and critics of Wakefield can enjoy, a “character study” which doesn’t itself come down on one side or the other of the issue of Wakefield’s “fraud”, and this is the case according to the filmmaker in the panel on stage which followed this world premiere screening, with the result that Bailey’s account unfortunately doesn’t make the unfolding of events in relation to Wakefield’s innocence as clear as it should, so that at least some viewers left the screening without being convinced of it, we learned afterwards, a state of indecision which reflected the style of the movie in not focusing on this central point, but using a blurred angle of presentation mirrored by its equivocal title, which juxtaposes the negative sounding “pathological” beside the positive “optimist”, but on the other hand this strategy may win the film a wider audience than simply preaching to the choir with a heavy handed focus on Wakefield’s virtue, since in this way Bailey steps away from the central controversy over Wakefield’s supposed condemnation of MMR vaccine in a supposedly “fraudulent” paper, which in fact it was a purely factual study of gut problems in children who turned out often to also have autism, a link which in the paper, along with numerous colleagues also with impeccable scientific credentials, Wakefield merely suggested might be reviewed in the future to see how it linked to the use of MMR, for only later did he become convinced that there was a correlation indicated which should be objectively examined with a properly scientific study on a crisis basis, since autism is rising so rapidly that by 2030 half the babies in the country will be affected, an emergency which more than justifies this two hour focus on Wakefield’s qualities and experience, since he is now the one carrying the banner of review at the head of an army of parents convinced he is their savior, except that unfortunately there is in fact no saving the children that have been already damaged, which as one mother told us afterwards imposes a lifetime of responsibilities so stressful that parents feel the same PTSD as veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, and this film portrays well the injustice of their experience and Wakefield’s endless resistance to defeat, and it deserves to be seen across the country when it is released this fall, and many will be thankful that Miranda Bailey the director has placed her mainstream reputation on the line to bring this news to a wider audience than did the stifled VAXXED, Wakefield’s own convincing exposure of the CDCs manipulation of science and the public by trashing data from their own supposedly definitive study, statistics showing that MMR vaccines did correlate with autism in at least one group of black kids, all of which now shows how effective and successful the mind control of the pharmaceutical companies who make billions out of vaccines can be, penetrating not only the minds of the media but also the medical and scientific fraternity, including journal editors, and neutralizing critics and objective observers.
WORLD PREMIERE: “THE PATHOLOGICAL OPTIMIST”
2017 MANHATTAN FILM FESTIVAL
The Pathological Optimist premieres at the Manhattan Film Festival: it’s a character study of Andrew Wakefield who turned the medical establishment upside down. The documentary follows Wakefield and his family as they deal with deal with their new reality (and before he filmed his own autobiographical doc). The film takes us into the inner sanctum of Wakefield and his family from 2011- 2016 as he fights for his day in court in a little known defamation case against the British Medical Journal. Wakefield attempts to clear his name as the media-appointed Father of the Anti-vaccine movement.
Director Miranda Bailey weaves a delicate portrait of a man who is THE PATHOLOGICAL OPTIMIST utilizing a never-before-seen, full access look at the man at the center of one of the biggest medical and media controversies of our times.
IMDB: In the center of the recent Tribeca Film Festival scandal surrounding his film VAXXED: From Cover-up to Controversy stands Andrew Wakefield, discredited and stripped of his medical license for his infamous study suggesting a link between the MMR vaccine, bowel disease, and autism. THE PATHOLOGICAL OPTIMIST takes us into the inner sanctum of Wakefield and his family from 2011- 2016 as he fights for his day in court in a little known defamation case against the British Medical Journal. Wakefield attempts to clear his name as the media-appointed Father of the Anti-vaccine movement. Director Miranda Bailey weaves a delicate portrait of a man who is THE PATHOLOGICAL OPTIMIST utilizing a never-before-seen, full access look at the man at the center of one of the biggest medical and media controversies of our times.
Facebook: For the very first time ever a real audience will witness Miranda Bailey’s documentary film
THE PATHOLOGICAL OPTIMIST-
An independent, in depth, character study of the most controversial figure in current modern medical and political history.
– yes THAT guy. (Dr. Andrew Wakefield)
Premiere is at 7pm at the Players Theater in NYC. April 20
Tickets available at door.
Q & A the follow with Director Miranda Bailey-
Producer, Marc Lesser- editor Andrea Maxwell and subjects. Andrew and Carmel Wakefield.
Miranda Bailey first wrote, directed and stared the play MEMORIES FROM AN ATTIC about her parents’ divorce when she was at the Vail Mountain high school. She explored how divorce affected the family unit and simultaneously embarrassed her parents publicly when it was put on and the whole town watched it.
When she went on to Skidmore college she wrote and directed the play LIGHT YOUR OWN about 5 women in the lobby of a psychiatrist’s office all waiting for the same appointment. After graduating she directed the one woman show GIRLS ARE FANCY in NYC before moving to Los Angeles.
Miranda’s first cinematic directorial debut was GREENLIT, a comedic documentary looking at the inherent hypocrisies surrounding Hollywood when trying to “green” a film set which debuted at SXSW in 2010. IFC International and Virgil Films picked it up for distribution.
Since then, she directed the award winning narrative short ANOTHER HAPPY ANNIVERSARY which after a successful festival run premiered on Shorts TV and is hosted at Jill Soloway’s website Wifey.TV promoting female film makers.
Miranda also shot and directed The Behind the Scenes of James Gunn’s SUPER and an episode of the web TV series FIRSTS.
Miranda’s second documentary feature, THE PATHOLOGICAL OPTIMIST, is an intimate portrait of the controversial and discredited Dr. Andrew Wakefield. The documentary will premiere on April 20th at the 2017 Manhattan Film Festival as the opening night film.
Miranda will direct the feature comedy YOU CAN CHOOSE YOUR FAMILY starring Jim Gaffigan. Shooting starts on May 15, 2017
It’s a bit of an odd comparison, but bear with me: Miranda Bailey is slowly evolving into the Forrest Gump of the indie film set. No, she doesn’t have the haircut. Or the accent. The love of chocolate… maybe. I don’t know. No, the Gumpian quality this producer has is ubiquity. The Diary of a Teenage Girl. Swiss Army Man. Don’t Think Twice. Take a critically acclaimed, low-budget indie comedy/drama that’s come out over the last 18 months, and there’s a decent chance Bailey co-produced it. It’s a good track record going into her latest release, Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, out April 17 from Sony Pictures Classics…..