“It is a simple hustle. Someone pays me. I manufacture a story for them and we trade it up the chain – from a tiny blog to Gawker to a website of a local news network to the Huffington Post to the major newspapers to cables news and back again, until the unreal becomes real.”
– Ryan Holiday from his book “Trust Me, I’m Lying” about how he made a living lying on behalf of corporate clients, using the laziness and gullibility of news sources to spread his campaigns
Here we list the freelance bloggers, news media outlets and other individuals responsible for disseminating false information – literally “fake news” – about chlorine dioxide along with examples of their work.
Brandy Zadrozny – NBC News
With no science or medical training or experience in writing about human health, Zadronzy joined the chorus of Internet trolls and uneducated “investigative” reporters on May 22, 2019 with an attack piece on the families who are successfully treating their autistic children with a multi-modality protocol that includes nutrition, removal of toxic substances from the home, oxidative therapy, and addressing the severe gastrointestinal illness that is known to often accompany autism.
The two primary sources for Zadrozny’s article are identified as Amanda Seigler and Melissa Eaton.
Seilger is a dog groomer and pet sitter. Eaton, who has no public presence on the Internet other than this article, says she works for an alarm company.
There is no indication that they have any scientific or medical training.
Taking a page from the Fiona O’Leary/Emma Dalmayne playbook, the two claim to have autistic children and as such “discovered” the existence of a “secret bleach cult.”
Using personal information gleaned from private Facebook pages where parents of autistic children meet to share experiences and advice, they harass families in their homes and at work and by reporting them as child abusers to local Child Protective Service agencies. An as of yet unverified report indicates Zadrozny received private information from the pair which she used to contact families uninvited.
The device of using bloggers who have no medical or scientific training as experts has been used by Sophie Norris and Lucy Clark-Billings of The Daily Mirror (UK) and by Phil Rogers of WMAQ-TV (Chicago) who used a pharmaceutical industry “astroturf” blogger Alison Bernstein as his source for a hit piece against Kerri Rivera, an autism expert and popular speaker at the annual AutismOne conference.
You can follow Brandy Zadrozny on Twitter: @BrandyZadrozny
The NBC editor who signed off on Zadrozny’s “work”: @jasonabbruzzese
Fiona O’Leary – Blogger
O’Leary portrays herself, and is portrayed by some media outlets, as an authoritative source of information about autism (and other health issues) and an advocate for autistic rights.
She is also an outspoken advocate for mandatory vaccination and regularly launches prolonged personal attacks against physicians and scientists who: 1) question the safety of current vaccination practices, 2) consider vaccination a contributing factor in autism, and 3) are seeking treatment protocols for autism. She vigorously promotes the belief that autism should not be treated and is merely an expression of “neurodiversity” and a condition to be celebrated.
Subjects of her attacks, including organized petition campaigns, have included: REGRET, an advocacy group in Ireland for girls and young women injured by Merck’s Gardasil vaccine; advocates for the legalization of CBD oil; Caudwell Children’s Charity; the Autism Trust UK Charity; Irish Autism Action; and the National Autistic Society of the UK. She accuses them all of “injuring autistic children.”
She has made attacking chlorine dioxide, health practitioners who work with it, and families that use it one of her primary missions.
In this video, O’Leary leads a small protest against the screening of the film “Vaxxed” and directs verbal attacks at Suzanne Humphries MD and Polly Tommey, a filmmaker and mother of an autistic son.
We strongly advise NOT engaging with this individual.
Brad and Karrie Austin – Internet scam artists
By his own choice, Brad Austin of Harrisonville, MO, has not seen his severely autistic son Jeremy in over eleven years.
Working with Melissa Eaton of North Carolina, he filed a false abuse report against his ex-wife Laurel Austin (they were divorced in 1993) claiming she was abusing her son by treating him with a physician-approved course of chlorine dioxide.
Lenexa police examined and rejected the claim. A local judge who tries Adult Protective Service cases also examined and rejected the claim.
Working with many of the people listed here, including major editorial support from a blogger named “David Gee”, Brad Austin started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for legal fees to “protect” his son.
In fact, Jeremy, who is 28 and has not spoken in 25 year is no longer self-harming, can make can keep promises, and can now use nine words (as of this report, he is gaining new words regularly). All these improvements began after a physician-supervised course of chlorine dioxide.
David Gee – Blogger
David Gee who writes articles for Patheos.com describes himself on the site this way:
“Some say David Gee was born of a virgin, and others say he was raised by wolves, but only one thing is for sure: he’s here to write about religion, skepticism, science, and critical thinking.”
Gee’s writing on Patheos boils down to a few things: making personal attacks on vaccine safety advocates and aggregating random stories about misconduct by people employed by organized religion. He’s now actively engaged in attacking patients and health care providers who use chlorine dioxide.
Works with closely with Brad and Karrie Austin.
Matt Reynolds – Wired UK
In a March 11, 2019 article of Wired UK, Matt Reynolds called chlorine dioxide a “toxic bleach-like substance” and likened its therapeutic use to child abuse.
Reynolds is an English studies graduate and former employee of the London-based PR firm Cuttsy and Cuttsy which represents many of the biggest pharmaceutical companies and vaccine makers in the world.
Reynolds’ article also claimed that Amazon was selling books that promoted “sex, yoga, camel milk, electroconvulsive therapy and veganism” as cures for autism. When asked in writing to provide the specific books he was referring to, he declined to answer.
As the result of Reynolds’ misrepresentation of fact, a book that documents a multi-modality treatment protocol that has successfully helped hundreds of children recover from autism and helped thousands more was removed from Amazon.
You can follow Matt Reynolds on Twitter: @mattsreynolds1
The website of Reynold’s employer before being shift to Wired UK: cuttsyandcuttsy.com
Sophie Norris and Lucy Clark-Billings – The Daily Mirror (UK)
Citing the unsubstantiated claims of Emma Dalmayne, a close colleague of Fiona O’Leary, Norris and Clark-Billings reported as fact a ghastly internal injury to a six-year old boy they say was caused by chlorine dioxide in a August 7, 2017 edition of the newspaper.
Dalmayne claimed her source for the information was the member of a “secret” Facebook group of 8,500 members run by a “highly-covert” group of parents with autistic children.
Presumably had such an injury actually taken place it would be a matter of interest to the police and social services agencies. However, despite this report appearing in a nationally circulated newspaper no attempt was made to identify this phantom child or his parents by authorities or by the Daily Mirror.
Matt Reynolds of Wired UK used this and similar sources for his March 11, 2019 article. Tiffany Hsu cited Reyonld’s reporting as fact a March 13, 2019 article that appeared in the New York Times. Others including Sara Boboltz of the Huffington post did the same.
Emma Dalmayne – Blogger
A colleague of Fiona O’Leary, Emma Dalmayne is the sole source of information about injuries purportedly caused by chlorine dioxide in high profile articles in the Daily Mirror (UK) and The Guardian (UK).
An independent investigator hired by a concerned party to track down the source of these injury claims contacted Dalmayne for the source of her statemens to the Daily Mirror article. Dalmayne’s reply was: “I don’t know the name and even if I did I couldn’t disclose it.” When pressed she admitted that she didn’t know if the story is true and that it didn’t matter to her if it was true or not.
We strongly advise NOT engaging with this individual.
Tiffany Hsu – New York Times
In a March 13, 2019 article in the New York Times, technology reporter Tiffany Hsu used the 3/11/19 Matt Reynolds article in Wired UK as a source and cited an outdated FDA press release from 2010 (one the agency the agency had removed from its web site) in order to promote the idea that chlorine dioxide is a dangerous substance when used in therapeutic amounts.
Hsu, who has no training in medicine, went on to declare that autism is incurable and can only be treated by pharmaceutical products intended for patients suffering from high energy levels, inability to focus, depression, or seizures.
You can follow Tiffany Hsu on Twitter: @tiffkhsu
Katie Paulson (aka Katie Joy) – Blogger
The author of articles such as “It’s Time Admit That Anti-Vaxxers are Terrorists”, Paulson preaches absolute faith in any and all vaccines and counsels families to “embrace” their children’s autism symptoms and give up any hope, or even thought, of treatment.
Using a method similar to The Mirror (UK) and other tabloids, on her blog she collects news reports of gruesome child abuse cases and conflates them with articles she’s written that attack health care practitioners and the families who work with them. Practitioners who use chlorine dioxide solutions receive the bulk of her attacks.
Previous to her current occupation, Paulson, who has renamed herself “Katie Joy”, spent over 16 years as a pharmaceutical rep.
You can follow Katie Joy on Twitter: @WOACrystalBall
Rita O’Reilly – RTE News
In May of 2015, Rita O’Reilly produced a segment for RTE News in Ireland that began erroneously by calling chlorine dioxide an “industrial bleach solution.” The claim was further made that chlorine dioxide is toxic to the body despite the fact that it is routinely put in public water supplies, sprayed on meat and produce, and used in dental care products.
An Irish MD who prescribed chlorine dioxide had his reputation smeared by the program. Patients who reported positive results were not only not interviewed, pictures of their faces were blacked out in the news report. One patient – who did not use chlorine dioxide – was interviewed at length about her fears about the compound. The physician, who the reporter took pains to smear, offered to go with the reporter to a clinic where chlorine dioxide was being successfully used, observe treatments and talk with patients, but his suggestion was ignored.
You can follow Rita O’Reilly on Twitter: @RitaOReilly
Sara Boboltz – The Huffingston Post
In a March 13, 2019 article on the Huffington Post, Sara Boboltz closely paraphrased the 3/11/19 Matt Reynolds article in Wired UK, repeating the erroneous and inflammatory claim that used in therapeutic doses chlorine dioxide is a “toxic substance.”
You can follow Sara Boboltz on Twitter: @sara_bee
Mark Kelley – CBC News
In 2016 program on CBC’s program “The Fifth Estate”, Mark Kelley, a TV reporter with no science or medical training who chases controversies for a living, claimed that chlorine dioxide is a bleach-like substance forced on autistic children against their will by their “desperate” parents.
Kelley made no effort to learn the actual chemistry of the compound, investigate how it is used therapeutically and why some doctors recommend it, or talk with any of the parents who report substantial and sometimes complete remission of their children’s symptoms from a multi-faceted protocol involving its use.
You can follow Mark Kelley on Twitter: @cbcmarkkelley
Alison Bernstein – Blogger
Alison Bernstein is a member of Science Moms, an “astroturf” organization whose function appears to be to “compassionately allay fears” and encourage moms to embrace GMOs, mandatory vaccinations, and pesticides like glyphosate while attacking the value of organic food and safe, low cost therapeutic substances like chlorine dioxide.
Financial support for the group’s work comes from Cami Ryan, Social Scientist for Monsanto; Montserrat Benitez, employee of Syngenta; Joan Conrow from the Cornell Alliance for Science; GMO Answers contributor Mary Mertz; and several others with ties to the agriculture and biotech industry. Vance Crowe, Monsanto’s Director of Millennial Engagement, received special thanks at the end of short film the group made.
Bernstein worked closely with Phil Rogers of WMAQ-TV, Chicago helping him prepare his TV spot attacking a speaker at AustimOne who uses a dilute solution of chlorine dioxide successfully as part of a multi-modality treatment for children with autism.
Prior to the 2015 AustimOne conference, Bernstein launched a veritable barrage of attack pieces accusing the speaker of child abuse and erroneously calling chlorine dioxide “an industrial strength bleach.”
Bernstein is an associate of James Randi and has been a featured speaker at the annual Committee for Skeptical Inquiry convention. The Center for Inquiry shares offices and personnel with the Council for Secular Humanism which states as one of its chief aims making ” the case for understanding the world without reference to a god.”
You can follow Alison Bernsteins on Twitter: @mommyphd2
Phil Rogers – WMAQ-TV, Chicago
In advance of a talk by an expert on the use of chlorine dioxide in the treatment of autism, Rogers produced a 3:14 minute television news report on her work broadcast on May 17, 2015.
In his report, he used two experts, neither of whom were familiar with the therapy or the chemical itself.
Dr. Sharon Hirsch, the section chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Chicago Hospitals which treats autism as if it were a psychiatric disorder using psych meds normally reserved for the treatment depression and agitation: “There is nothing we can do at this time to get rid of autism. It’s a horrible disorder.”
Dr. Karl Scheidt, director of the Center for Molecular Innovation and Drug Discovery at Northwestern University: “It’s an industrial chemical. I would say it would be incredibly dangerous for anyone to ingest this.” Scheidt seemed unaware that chlorine dioxide is an ingredient in several medicines, used for dental hygiene, routinely sprayed on meat and produce, and added to public drinking water in advanced countries around the world.
Rogers ended his report with reference to “critics who plan to stage a protest when she (the expert) speaks at a conference at O’Hare next Saturday.” The protest turned out to be a one-person harassment campaign staged by an Atlanta woman named Alison Bernstein who flew to Chicago with her children in tow. Bernstein is an associate of James Randi.
Phil Rogers is a general assignment reporter for WMAQ-TV, an NBC-owned television station in Chicago.
He has a Bachelors of Science (sic) in Journalism from Oklahoma State University.
He has no training in medicine or science. At the time of this report, his most recent article is: “Manny Banuelos Likely To Get A Long Look With The White Sox.”
You can follow Phil Rogers on Twitter: @nbcphilrogers
Lisa Madigan – Former Attorney General of the state of Illinois
In 2004, Madigan represented the State of Illinois in the Surpreme Court arguing that police officers should be allowed to use dogs without a search warrant or probable cause during routine traffic stops.
A Democratic Party apparatchik, she spoke at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
From a July 27, 2015 article in Forbes by Adam Andrzejewski reported the following about her term as the state’s Attorney General.
She’s allowed felons to serve in municipal office; out-of-towners to serve as city alderman; many politicians to hold multiple – and conflicting – offices; a junior college to award more than $4 million in compensation to its president without a lawful board vote; and much more…
After ten years in office, Lisa Madigan had prosecuted only fourteen public officials for corruption: half were for DUI, reckless driving, or substance possession and she lost close to half of those cases. That’s an appalling record in a state with 7,000 units of government.
Madigan’s refusal to prosecute public corruption and enforce basic laws makes a mockery of the concept of public service. Forcing citizens to prosecute the malfeasance themselves is an unnecessary, undue burden.
Madigan’s step-father, Michael Madigan, one of the most corrupt politicians in the history of Illinois, stage managed his daughter’s career, strong arming donors into supporting her campaign for Attorney General. At one point in the 2002 campaign, her political war chest of $1.2 million was more than all the other candidates combined.
Update: March 2, 2022. Michael Madigan indicted on 22 criminal charges including racketeering, extortion, racketeering, and mail fraud.
Political analyst Dave McKinney writing for Reuters describes Madigan as “the constant in the key decisions” that are likely to bankrupt the state. In 2019, the Chicago Tribune reports that “former Gov. Bruce Rauner and others are ready to fit Madigan with a prison jumpsuit for his “Mafia behavior.”
In 2015, Lisa Madigan, abusing the power of her office, sent plainclothes investigators to pose as the parents of autistic children at the annual AutismOne conference, a non-profit, parent-organized gathering of families and medical and scientific experts seeking to advance the science of treatments for autism.
One of the speakers who has reportedly had significant success treating autism in her own son and thousands of clients with a protocol that includes a dilute solution of chlorine dioxide, in her own practice and in conjunction with MDs around the world, was followed to the airport after her talk and served with legal threats prepared in advance by Madigan’s office citing her talk – which had been delivered only hours before – as the justification.
You can follow Lisa Madigan on Twitter: @LisaMadigan
Dawn Pedersen – Blogger
A member of SciMoms who educates moms about the safety of the ever-expanding line of mandatory products from the vaccine industry. Coordinates personal attacks on physicians and scientists who question US vaccine industry practices and on health care practitioners who use dilute solutions of chlorine dioxide with their patients.
You can follow Dawn Pederson on Twitter: @PaintedByDawn
James “The Amazing” Randi, Martin F. Robbins, and Steven Morris – The Guardian (UK)
An aggressive advocate of both atheism and eugenics, Randi is a former stage magician who has made his living as a media figure posing as an exposer of frauds.
Some example of his work:
“In 1997, Randi threatened to fly to Sri Lanka to persuade Arthur C. Clarke to stop advocating cold fusion. (Clarke, a genuine scientific visionary, inventor of the communication satellite and award-winning author, received degrees, with honors, in physics and mathematics.) In 2001, on a BBC Radio program, Randi attacked Brian Josephson, Nobel Prize-winner and professor of physics at Cambridge University.”
In 2010, Randi awarded a 15 year old boy – coincidentally a militant atheist – with a James Randi Award for Grassroots Activism for campaigning against medical uses of chlorine dioxide. The boy had previously organized campaigns against homeopathy.
In an article written by Martin F. Robbins and published September 15, 2010 in The Guardian (UK), Robbins lionized the boy who claimed to have discovered abuse of chlorine dioxide while visiting a forum for Crohn’s Disease. The youth published a meticulously written 2.777 word blog post under his byline describing his findings on his then brand new blog on August 10, 2010 and in a little more than a month became the source for Robbin’s article.
Robbins is a science writer who specializes in reviewing tech products and writing about Artificial Intelligence. There’s no indication he has any medical or even biology training of any kind.
In an article published December 14, 2011 in The Guardian (UK), Steven Morris elaborated on the theme of “boy wonder exposes chlorine dioxide abusers.”
Morris is a general purpose writer who in addition to work for the Guardian has written for Yahoo India. Recent articles published by him at the time of this report include “National Trust to create 68 orchards by 2025 to boost wildlife” and “Plan for Banksy art gallery in Port Talbot may be under threat” There’s no indication he has any medical or even biology training of any kind.
Silicon Valley venture capitalist David Cowan, like James Randi a militant atheist, is a major supporter of Randi’s work and a trustee of the Center for Inquiry. He is an investor in Reputation.com, a company that specializes in manipulating the Internet and social media on behalf of clients.
You can follow Martin F. Robbins on Twitter: @mjrobbins
You can follow Steven Morris on Twitter: @stevenmorris20
You can follow David Cowan on Twitter: @davidcowan