A birthday message
April 21st 2009, 10:46
This is a personal milestone for me and my husband, publisher Bryan
Hubbard, as it represents the entire trajectory - from infant to adult-of
not only this publication, but also our family. I was pregnant with our
firstborn, Caitlin, while setting up this newsletter; indeed, Caitlin's fourweek-
late arrival held up publication of the first instalment. When she
finally decided to enter this world, so did volume 1 number 1-one of the
first expos'es of the newly launched MMR vaccine.
This year, she began her first year of university. As she grew, matured
and finally transformed into an adult, so has W D D T Y.
When we launched W D D T Y, the Internet wasn't around, and the lay public in Britain and
America found it difficult to get any information on the true risks and benefits of orthodox
treatments. We were rightly described by the London T i m e s as a "voice in the silence".
From our launch, we set out our stall with an uncompromising stance of investigative
journalism. We would be wedded to telling the truth about conventional and alternative
medicine, without fear or favour.
Medical information is now cheap to come by on the Net and in the press. Nevertheless,
our small, talented team of investigative journalists regularly breaks stories that often never
see the light of day anywhere else.
We disclose modern medicine's private conversation buried in the medical literature-the
potential dangers of certain drugs or procedures-as an early-warning system. The We s t e r n
press is generally content to count the bodies. Last year, we warned parents of the potential
dangers and ineffectiveness of the cervical cancer vaccine; this year, the British papers sadly
p roved our prescience by reporting on the 1500 girls seriously injured by the vaccine.
Re c e n t l y, we uncovered evidence that a large consignment of Baxter International's
seasonal flu vaccine, due to be circulated to 18 European countries, had been infected with
the deadly live avian flu virus (see page 4). Had this contamination not been detected, the
vaccines may have set off an avian flu pandemic, with hundreds of thousands of casualties.
This only came to light when a Czech researcher-who'd made the discovery by accident-
fed the story to the Czech papers. At that point, the story should have been picked up and
splashed across the front pages of the world's newspapers. In fact, almost no paper carried
it other than the To ronto Star in Canada. The press in both the US and UK remained
I decided to become a journalist after witnessing two young Washington Post journalists
bring down a corrupt presidency. That experience imbued in me an appreciation of the power
and responsibility of the Fourth Estate to provide a check on the excesses of commerce and
politics. Nevertheless, it's a state of mind that is fast disappearing from the job spec.
Reporters Without Borders, a global organization devoted to press freedom, publishes a
yearly Press Freedom Index, rating the comparative levels of free expression in countries
a round the world. The shocking fact is that the US during and after the last presidential
administration slipped badly to 53rd place, well beaten by the likes of Bosnia and El Salvador.
The UK's press, at 27, while considered almost twice as free as the US, was nevertheless still
beaten out by most of the former satellite states of the Soviet Union.
At a time when the Western free press has largely been subsumed by giant corporate
conglomerates with overriding financial considerations, there is more need than ever for an
independent voice on healthcare.
To paraphase Sylvia Plath: the blood jet is truth; there is no stopping it. May it continue
to flow from these pages.