Eppur si muove

Things I Think About, by Peter Bowditch

Meryl Dorey lies about SIDS and SBS. And me.

Possibly the two most disgusting ideas emanating from the foetid “minds” of anti-vaccination liars are that vaccines are the cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and the damage seen in Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS). Meryl Dorey is up to her armpits in both, of course. (In a later article I will chronicle her support for Alan Yurko, a man who murdered a ten-week-old baby.) Here is a sequence of articles from The Millenium Project triggered by her suggestion that parents grieving over the SIDS loss of a child should be challenged about vaccination status.

They are being reproduced here as part nine of a series about lies told by the Australian Vaccination Network running each day until September 18, the date set down for the District Court to hear Meryl Dorey’s appeal against the dismissal of her frivolous and vexatious application for an Apprehended Violence Order against me.

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I write something (28/7/2012)
[Link to original article]

Meryl Dorey from the Australian Vaccination Network started lying again about a connection between vaccination and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, a connection which only exists in the decayed minds of anti-vaccination liars and is one of the lies they tell in order to frighten parents away from properly caring for their children.

Not only did she make the connection but yet again she suggested contacting the parents of dead children to interrogate them and increase their misery and sense of guilt. The claim about a link between vaccines and SIDS is only exceeded in awfulness by the claim that Shaken Baby Syndrome is always a vaccine reaction. It’s hard to imagine vileness worse than this – blame parents whose children die without explanation and forgive people who beat children to death. While we’re thinking about this, here is Ms Dorey a few years ago suggesting “Shaken Maybe Syndrome” as a sound bite.

While all this was going on, people who care were approaching the relevant authorities to see if the AVN could be forced to change its name to something a little less deceptive.

To bring these two threads together I was asked to write an article for the online magazine Mamamia. You can read the article here. (The version that was published was heavily edited. There were some things in the published article that I wouldn’t have put there (the material identifying the baby who died of pertussis and her parents) but editors always have the right to make changes.) You can read the article as published here, and it is that version which matters for what follows below.

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Then I go on the wireless to talk about it (28/7/2012)
[Link to original article]

After the article appeared in Mamamia I was contacted by radio station 6PR in Perth and asked if I would come on air to discuss what I had written. As shyness is not in my genetic makeup I agreed. I knew who I would be talking to so I made sure that I read the article again because I expected to have to defend it. At the agreed time Howard Sattler’s producer rang me and informed me that Meryl Dorey from the AVN would follow me to provide her views on what I had written and said. I instantly knew how this was going to go (I’ve explained before why debating fanatics is dangerous) but it was too late to back out and I certainly wasn’t going to give her the platform to herself. Had I known she would be on I would have had a lot more facts at my fingertips and mouseclick, but I learn from every experience and if I ever have the opportunity to appear on the same show again I will be better prepared.

The only part of the interview which related to the Mamamia article was a brief mention of the name of the Australian Vaccination Network and why I think it should be changed. The rest consisted of an attack on me, attempts to show that I don’t care about children who suffer reactions to vaccines and rehashing some things I had said that caused great offence to anti-vaccination liars. I was impressed by the chutzpah of a shock jock who makes a living by making outrageous comment in order to get a reaction criticising me for doing a similar thing, but I thought better of mentioning it because I wanted to stay on the air. As for offending anti-vaccination liars, I consider it a wasted day if I don’t do it at least once.

After Mr Sattler had finished with me Ms Dorey was put on the air to provide her opinion. I tried counting the “inaccuracies” in what she said but I made the mistake of holding the phone in my left hand and counting with the fingers on my right. If I had swapped hands I could have got in some good exercise for my guitar fretting fingers. I gave up counting at 20.

You can listen to it using the player below, which has been coloured yellow, the colour of anti-vaccination lying.

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And then the whatever hit the fan (28/7/2012)
[Link to original article]

Ms Dorey was not content to simply use a tame radio announcer attack me and spread untruths about me. She went into full-blown mouth foam mode and published no less than four blog posts about me over a period of days.

The third one of these was comment on and a link to a blog post by Liz Hempel, apparently now Ms Dorey’s lieutenant and right-hand support person. We have met Ms Hempel before, so a further glimpse into her insanity was neither unexpected nor unsurprising. You can read her ravings here:

I want to respond to all of the crazy in detail so I will devote all of next weekend’s update to this. I’m late with this update as it is and there is just too much to respond to if I’m ever going to get anything else done. Also, I have to go to the stationers and get a big box of yellow markers. There will be a lot of lies and misrepresentations to highlight and I wouldn’t want to run out of coloured pens.

In the second of Ms Dorey’s rants she makes this statement: “this man has a regular blog on Mia Freedman’s Mamamia page”. That needs the yellow marker because it is simply not true and that fact is very easy to check. (All Ms Dorey had to do was click on my name where I am shown as the author and she will see that I have written only two articles for Mamamia – this one and one in December 2011.) Undaunted, Ms Dorey decided that she would start a campaign on Twitter to have me “dumped” from Mamamia.

The person with the Twitter name @marthajones is almost a clone of Liz Hempel and usually only jumps into conversations to abuse people. You will notice that Ms Dorey implies that I assault women. She is lucky that I am still employing my policy of not suing people for defamation, although that policy can be changed at any time. Unlike Ms Dorey I believe in freedom of speech (she says she does but wants a web site to stop publishing my work) but even I have my limits of tolerance.

Ms Dorey’s strategy was to use the hashtag #DumpBowditch. The idea of hashtags in Twitter is that people can filter on them and follow a conversation. They only work if many people read them and in this case Ms Dorey had what is known on the ‘net as a colossal fail. My friends took over the tag and spent the night using it to accuse me of every bad thing that had ever happened in history, including murdering the Romanovs and (posted by my daughter) giving the fruit to Eve, thereby triggering Original Sin. It was better than a laugh a minute, it was a laugh a second and it went on for a useful length of time. If you have a Twitter account do a search for #DumpBowditch and have some fun.

Being ridiculed didn’t stop Ms Dorey, although it did seem to affect her knowledge of the way Twitter works because she started using the hashtag to refer to me instead of my Twitter name but as I was following the tag I was able to see this exchange. In the top message Ms Dorey is replying to what I posted in the message at the bottom. You don’t need much of a command of English to see that she completely misrepresents what I said. This is a form of lying, but she would have been hoping that her acolytes would only see the messages she posted because like all good little followers they would have me blocked. As I said above (and in the radio interview) Ms Dorey is perfectly entitled to her opinion. She is not entitled to make up her own facts, and she is not entitled to say that I’ve said things that I have not said. As she did the same thing when I was banned from the AVN’s Internet mailing list in 1999 it seems to be something that she does as a matter of course. Which is very sad.

You can follow me on Twitter here.

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