New York Times eviscerates Paul Offit

In his review of Paul Offit’s new book, “Bad Faith,” New York Times columnist Mark Oppenheimer slams Offit’s reasoning and scholarship, likening the book to “a fervent attack job [that] is thinly sourced and poorly researched, seeming at times as if he began with a conclusion and then went in search of evidence.”

Oppenheimer describes Offit as unable to provide context, as someone whose “anger blinds him,” who is prone to being “broad and imprecise” and capable of “extraordinary overstatement.” Offit’s examples “make little sense,” he indulges in “confusing digression” and in explanations subject to factual errors based on shoddy sources.

Offit “doesn’t bolster one’s confidence” when he relies on an outdated article in the journal Pediatrics for a list of faith-healing churches, citing information both trivial and defunct, Oppenheimer writes, also making it clear that he considers Offit mean-spirited “to pathologize those who think they know God’s will” and out of his depth in trying to understand the role of religion in modern medicine. “It’s a crude, oversimplified argument,” Oppenheimer writes of Offit.

My question for Oppenheimer, who writes with authority given his impressive scholarship in the field of religion and culture: You have unambiguously established that Offit is untrustworthy, blinded by anger and a shoddy thinker and researcher whose reasoning can’t be trusted. Why would you think this same thinker, who can’t get his facts straight and who prejudges the evidence, becomes suddenly trustworthy when promoting vaccines?

In one respect, Oppenheimer is himself shoddy and pejorative, not to Offit but to those Offit attacks, people both inaccurately deem “anti-vaxxers.” Most people who question the conventional wisdom on vaccines are not opposed to vaccines on religious or ideological grounds, or any grounds at all. Most are grateful that vaccines exist, just as they are grateful other pharmaceuticals exist. They are just not grateful at being denied the same choice in their use of vaccines that they exercise in other pharmaceuticals.

In the much more civil debate over another hot-button issue, abortion rights, the media generally treats the two camps — pro-choice and pro-life — with a degree of respect, allowing each to name itself. The “anti-vaccine movement” doesn’t see itself as anti-anything, rather it lobbies for better research and safer vaccines. In the interests of elevating this debate, Oppenheimer might in future call it the “Safer Vaccine Movement.”

Our rating

The New York Times and Oppenheimer require one Band-Aid for their misunderstanding and mislabeling of the “anti-vaccine movement.”



  1. If Mr. Oppenheimer knew as much about vaccines and health as he does about religion, his review of Mr. Offit’s other books and accomplishments would have been more accurate and far less complementary.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Laraine Abbey, MS, CNS, RN emeritus says:

    You are so right in this: “The “anti-vaccine movement” doesn’t see itself as anti-anything, rather it lobbies for better research and safer vaccines.”
    Personally, I call myself a vaccine safety advocate. I must say when one reads the CDC’s excipient (ingredients) list, it does strike fear in one’s heart to think we’re injecting these into our bodies and those of tiny babies in the belief that this will promote and protect our health. Folks can look up the excipient list in Vaccines & Vaccination: The Need For Congressional Investigation (of which I am a co-editor ) at:
    Larry, thank-you again for this wonderful service you are performing on behalf of humanity–truly a blessing.


  3. Your poll is tremendously biased. You gave readers the option for “safer vaccine” movement. For many of us – there is no “safer” vaccines. The entire vaccine schedule is based on the fallacy that vaccines cured any disease – which is not correct. You base your opinions on the fact that vaccines are safe – which they are not. Lastly – you base your opinions on the fact that vaccine manufacturers have the public safety in mind when they produce vaccines. They are a corrupt group of felons who have lied to the public for years. They have paid billions in fines for fraud, and allow the Vaccine Compensation Board (via taxpayer funds) pay the cost of serious injuries and fatalities that occur from the use of vaccines. You should delete the initial option for “safer vaccines” – then your poll may have more validity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lawrence Solomon says:

      The poll is designed to determine if the media should be using a more accurate term than “anti-vaccine movement” in describing most who question vaccines. You are saying that you are, in fact, an anti-vaccinationist and that the press has been accurately describing you through that term. But the poll results indicate that most readers disagree with you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. cia parker says:

    I know someone who decided not to vote because of the wording of the question. I think several alternatives should have been given to vote on, including something like: “too conscious of the dangers of vaccines to advocate them.”


    • Lawrence Solomon says:

      The poll does give people the opportunity to provide a preferred wording. The purpose of the poll was to suggest to the press an alternative shorthand to “anti-vaccine movement,” which many find pejorative


      • Those questioning vaccines consist of those who want safer vaccines and better research, accountability and a stop to the regulatory capture which has created a free for all for industry with industry, academia and government mutually benefiting from what government describes as their collaborative “vaccine enterprise”. No one is looking out for the consumer with regard to vaccines. There are also those who do not think it is possible to make a vaccine safe for various sound scientific reasons. Others still believe that vaccination is a barbaric indefensible act on moral and even historical grounds. Still others, many others, wish to avoid vaccines because they have witnessed or suffered vaccine injury. We are all wired to avoid anything that we know or have learned from experience will cause pain or harm. The problem with the label “anti-vaccine” is that it is used to denigrate rather than to respectfully describe the broad range of positions that it is supposed to be describing. But this is done on purpose by a centrally scripted and controlled press, in order to support and defend the enterprise.

        Click to access DELFAB.pdf


      • cia parker says:

        But the preferred wording suggested implies that we think there CAN be safer vaccines. The insuperable obstacle is the reaction of the immune system to the perceived invasion, which is just what vaccines are by nature. “Anti-vaxxer” is used by the mainstream press to relegate those of us who fall into that category to the extremist, “unreasonable” fringe. I think a better option would be “vaccine awareness advocate,” which leaves open to us the entirely reasonable position that all vaccines are potentially disabling or fatal, and much more often than most people believe. Measures such as extended breast feeding, keeping young children out of crowded day cares, naturopathic, vitamin, and homeopathic therapies, as well as antibiotic treatment when necessary, are all safer options to pursue than vaccines.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Lawrence Solomon says:

        Yes, the wording does suggest that safer vaccines are not only possible but desirable. Have you seen any breakdown of the views of skeptics? My sense is that most are not opposed to vaccines in principle. There would be, of course, a wide spectrum of views among those who are both supportive and skeptical of vaccines.


  5. ione murphy says:

    We were promised safer vaccines, but since 1986 have paid out 3.B in injury and death claims. And now the vaccines are not providing the protection from the childhood diseases they are meant to prevent. We now have more risk then benefit.

    ” The Act also mandated that the Secretary of Health and Human Services promote the development of childhood vaccines that result in fewer and less serious adverse reactions than those vaccines on the market…and promote the refinement of such vaccines
    National Vaccine Injury Act of 1986


  6. cia parker says:

    I haven’t seen a breakdown, but I think most would agree that increasing numbers of reasonable, well-educated and well-read people, are now in the completely anti-vaccine camp. Five to ten years ago, around the time of the “green our vaccines” movement, most people affected thought that vaccines could be made safe if only we took out the mercury and separated the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines into separate shots. Or reduced the overall number, eliminating frivolous vaccines like varicella and hep-A. Or spaced them out over a longer period of time, giving only one shot at a time, or only one aluminum-containing shot at a time. And yes, each of these measures would prevent a lot of damage, but the core problem would still remain and would still disable many of our children.

    Since that time several years ago, the movement has snowballed and new research (and the increased availability of old research) have caused a surge of those of us who believe that vaccines are inherently unsafe, that the irritation of the immune system always involved often causes horrific problems which were undreamt of by most not many years ago. The increase of awareness that the formerly universal childhood diseases are very rarely serious, aided by your own articles on them, has also played a role, as well as the awareness that the childhood diseases had and would have an important role in creating a strong and healthy immune system to grant lifetime good health.

    It would be very interesting to carry out a survey on attitudes toward vaccines, but difficult to get a truly representative sampling.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The thing is… Some of us are fully anti-vaccine, some of us are proponents of delayed vaccination, some of us seek safe vaccines… But ALL OF US are fighting to retain our right to CHOOSE.

    I think the media should refer to us as the “Vaccine Choice Movement” because regardless of your personal stance about vaccines… MOST people, including a large percentage of those whom identify as “Pro Vaccine” STILL believe that the right to choose is the single most important issue here.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Most of the brilliant doctors, including oncologists say this about the “good” doctor Offit…
    ” Paul deserves all the eviscerating that he got. We like to call him Dr. Proffit…..”


  9. Leigh white says:


    Please tell my why peanut allergies and gluten allergies and soy allergies are acceptable in the USA. But vaccine ingredient allergies are not acceptable?



  1. […] time and time again. Still, the pro-vaccine cheerleaders with economic conflicts of interest like Paul Offit continue to ignore the science that they don’t like and will cherry pick the studies that […]


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