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The Big Lie: How One Doctor’s Medical Fraud Launched Today’s Deadly Anti-Vax Movement

The Big Lie: How One Doctor’s Medical Fraud Launched Today’s Deadly Anti-Vax Movement

Written by Kurt Eichenwald

Narrated by Simon Vance


The Big Lie: How One Doctor’s Medical Fraud Launched Today’s Deadly Anti-Vax Movement

Written by Kurt Eichenwald

Narrated by Simon Vance

ratings:
3.5/5 (204 ratings)
Length:
4 hours
Released:
Apr 20, 2021
ISBN:
9781094412832
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Set against the backdrop of a global pandemic and growing conspiracies aimed at so-called fake news and false science, The Big Lie takes an unsparing, inside look at the fraudulent doctor whose lies gave birth to the dangerous—and escalating—war on vaccines. A timely, cautionary tale of how deceit and misinformation can lead to distrust, public panic, and even death.

“It’s abundantly clear why [Kurt Eichenwald] is considered one of the best investigative reporters in the business.” –BusinessWeek

As the world anxiously tracks the rollout of the COVID vaccine, a large and influential group of nay-sayers continues its mission to cast doubt and stir fear. These are the anti-vaxxers, those who believe that vaccines are not only ineffective but dangerous. Distrust of vaccines is as old as vaccination itself, but in recent years, it has become an alarming trend that has affected public health. Measles and whooping cough infections have skyrocketed across the globe, endangering children and those at high risk. Refusal of a COVID vaccine only raises the stakes.

Much of today’s anti-vax fervor can be directly traced to one person: Andrew Wakefield, an English gastroenterologist who, in the 1990s, made the false assertion that vaccines cause autism. With nothing but his own scant and highly flawed research as proof, he launched a public campaign against the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, claiming that it caused intestinal inflammation that in turn caused autism. He created false hope in desperate parents, who agreed to submit their children to his invasive, painful, and unethical medical tests. He misled and outright lied to colleagues and employers, who thought they had no reason to distrust one of their own. In the end, he set off a panic that spread from England to the United States and fueled anti-vaccine conspiracy theories that have only grown in the new era of science denial and right-wing outrage.

In The Big Lie investigative journalist Kurt Eichenwald, a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of the explosive New York Times bestsellers The Informant and Conspiracy of Fools, tells the little-known story of Wakefield’s years-long deception and the devastating public-health consequences that resulted. More importantly, Eichenwald reveals that Wakefield continues to do damage. Though stripped of his medical license in England, he has found success and notoriety in the United States. Now living in Florida with his supermodel girlfriend, Elle Macpherson, he has seized on COVID-19 to advance his false claims. Enabled by a community that chooses to believe unfounded theories over hard science, Wakefield has become something of a medical Donald Trump. The effect his lies might have on international efforts to vaccinate against a disease that has killed 2.5 million and counting is, chillingly, still unknown.

Released:
Apr 20, 2021
ISBN:
9781094412832
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Kurt Eichenwald is a New York Times bestselling author of five nonfiction books, including Conspiracy of Fools—about the Enron scandal—and The Informant, which broke the story about price fixing at Archer Daniels Midland. In addition to his work as senior writer at Newsweek and contributing editor at Vanity Fair, Eichenwald spent two decades as a senior writer at The New York Times, where he was a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is a two-time winner of the George Polk Award, as well as a winner of the Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism. He was also a producer of the feature film adaptation of The Informant, starring Matt Damon and directed by Steven Soderbergh. His most recent book, A Mind Unraveled, tells the story of his ongoing struggle with epilepsy.


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Reviews

What people think about The Big Lie

3.7
204 ratings / 44 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (5/5)

    12 people found this helpful

    Well written & astounding. Scary how one persuasive man can do so much damage & mislead so many.

    12 people found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    41 people found this helpful

    Holy Shit! Looks like the knuckle draggers have come out in full force to defend their anti-vax views....given the vast majority of them are PHD’s in google Search. I’m wondering how may were anti-vax when the polio vaccine came out?

    41 people found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    3 people found this helpful

    Wonderful to get the “how it really happened” in such a straight forward way. Very informative.

    3 people found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    7 people found this helpful

    Eichenwald comprehensively breaks down the lies and deceit of Andrew Wakefield, laying bare for anyone who take the time to read or listen that Wakefield is a charlatan and a dangerous fraud. It’s infuriating that one man’s desire for wealth and renown is now fueling public health crises across the globe.

    7 people found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    55 people found this helpful

    Well Scribd really struck a nerve with this one. Don't listen to the Plandemic junkies down (and up) the list who obviously didn't read it. It is a very good survey of the frankly dangerous trend of misinformation that has taken over in society regarding vaccines and modern medicine in general. The saddest part is - as for example, the case of one "reviewer" wagering on future court cases regarding the COVID-19 vaccines - people who spout this nonsense can do it so easily because they never have to answer for their prior predictions turning out to be completely fruitless. If somebody asks them in five years what happened to the court cases they were harping on about today, they don't have to answer to it. They'll be on to the next set of insane conspiracy theories.

    55 people found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    7 people found this helpful

    Highly recommend reading. This book is a fascinating read with a great depth of knowledge, well researched with a great flow keeps you interested from start to finish. I had no idea of the depths of Andrew Wakefield unethical research that was borderline child abuse, conflict of interest and a complete lack of evidence and lies. I only knew his research could not be reproduced but not the details. I always wondered what drove a doctor so hard to push bad research. The answer is money and pride - Wakefield was up to his neck in dirty unethical conflict of interest deals while doing his research. Both working for a lawsuit and trying to make money off a patent for the kind single vaccine that he kept been pushing. I was astonished to learn Wakefield’s research started in gastrointestinal disorder. The idea of autism and MMR vaccine came from a parent and Wakefield gathered parents who already believed that vaccines caused autism dropping parents who didn't feel the same way. It was pure bias and bad research. He became a man obsessed by his pet theory. No doubt the celebrity drove him on as his fame boomed. The media is as much to blame as Wakefield for without them this would not have blown up. This book highlights how the media did want to know the truth or read the paper or take corrections from scientists. It’s not to be forgotten that Wakefield took advance of children in his study and parents who were desperate for someone to blame and hope for answers. The medical community failed these children in the study and all the children who went without vaccines when it failed hold Wakefield accountable for his unethical research sooner and his conflict of interest being paid by legal aid for parents suing vaccine makers, some who’s children where part of his research. He gave his research to the legal aid he was bring paid by before it was publish. He dropped children from his study who’s parents didn’t believe vaccine’s causes autism. The fact that this knowledge didn’t come out for YEARS and millions of children’s health has been endangered with anit vax movement is deplorable. Like I said the medical community failed to protect the children in the study and all those million of children afterward all because there was no oversight while was doing his initial study and published it. He has since jumped down the wacko rabbit hole into anti covid feild and extremist groups just proves that the man never had any ethics or cared about science or human life at all.

    7 people found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    4 people found this helpful

    Absolutely mind boggling. Brilliantly researched and presented. I’m dismayed by the criticism of it, as none of the pundits are able to coherently articulate exactly what they disagree with.

    4 people found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    33 people found this helpful

    Well researched and informative from a trusted source. Need more items like this.

    33 people found this helpful

  • (1/5)

    33 people found this helpful

    Let's talk about the "deceit" of one doctor's study two decades ago that gets misrepresented by every media outlet... but let's ignore the deceit by pharmaceutical companies who have no liability for people who are injured or killed by their vaccine. Let's talk about these crazy conspiracy theorists, but ignore bereaved mothers that trusted the science and lost a child. A conversation about vaccination is long overdue. Slamming anti-vaxxers is not the way about it and will be counter-productive.

    33 people found this helpful

  • (1/5)
    Author indulged in the same tactics that he claimed the protagonist was guilty of.
  • (5/5)

    2 people found this helpful

    This book was not only informative, it was also entertaining. I listened to it every single chance I had in the car and I looked forward to taking trips just so I could hear more.

    2 people found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    25 people found this helpful

    Absolute morons on here who are frightened of vaccines, as well as their shadows. The "science" they refer to is the usual internet misinformation. and fake "doctors" looking to bilk people out of money, similar to what FOX media does with news. Play to the ignorant. This publication is very good and informative. There is not one legitimate NY Times reader here amongst all the negative stupidity. Can you say BOT TROLLS? Give this a listen. It's worth your time.

    25 people found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Brilliant. Well paced, informative and the truth is still not out there for the majority of the public who had children through the late 90's and early 2000's and were really frightened of vaccinating their children.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (1/5)

    21 people found this helpful

    Fake News. Hoax super spreader. Experimental Vaccine should not be mandatory.

    21 people found this helpful

  • (1/5)

    21 people found this helpful

    hes telling the biggest lie covid has been proved not to exist, vacine is not a vaccine but a culling jab , theres to much evidence out there ,covid is the biggest hoax in history, up coming court cases will prove that

    21 people found this helpful

  • (4/5)

    3 people found this helpful

    we live in dangerous times. ignorance is for sale and the promotion is almost irresistible. more than ever the importance of "how you think" is paramount! the true key for education is not about how much you know or how much you can speak of. the way in "how you think" is the key for an independent mind.

    3 people found this helpful

  • (1/5)

    16 people found this helpful

    What a load of pro vaccine propaganda. I will not get the vaccine because of stuff like this.

    16 people found this helpful

  • (1/5)

    16 people found this helpful

    People are slowly waking up ,so what do they do get people to produce garbage like this!

    16 people found this helpful

  • (1/5)

    12 people found this helpful

    WOW. Y’all are real desperate. Anyone who has actually researched vaccines can tell you this is total utter BULLSHIT. If you’re someone willing to read this I IMPLORE YOU to also read inserts, studies cases, check out VAERS.... don’t take my word for it, don’t take anyone’s word for it for that matter. GO LOOK AT THE SCIENCE.

    12 people found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    2 people found this helpful

    Forensic debunking of the fraudulent, ex-doctor, Andrew Wakefield and the supposed link between autism and the MMR vaccine. A book that needs to be read by every one, especially parents of small children.

    2 people found this helpful

  • (1/5)

    10 people found this helpful

    I was surprised to receive an email from SCRIBD promoting this book. I never get promo emails. Why now? After reading the title, I realized SCRIBD has caved to either massive money or massive pressure or both to push this sick political agenda. Folks, it's old news - the CDC lost in court and was forced to retract its false claim that jabs don't cause autism. They do and the public knows it.

    10 people found this helpful

  • (1/5)

    10 people found this helpful

    Covid-19 is the swine flu.
    Vaccine will wreck your body.
    This book is trash.

    10 people found this helpful

  • (1/5)

    8 people found this helpful

    I am certainly NOT an ANTI-VAX I have jabs regularly when travelling for business. But this "Vaccine" offers no guarantee's to anyone other than the promise "YOU" the individual won't get as sick.
    They still have not proved that post vaccination you can't catch it, can't carry it nor pass it on.
    What sort of a half assed world wide vaccinaion effort is it ?
    The majority of those that died were elderly or immuno compormised. They are the one's that need protecting.
    The spread of mis-information about the world essentially being a gigantic sick room is blatantly false and full of media beat up information and panic driven rubbish.
    Yes millions tested positive yet an attrititon rate of less than 1% from those infected ??
    Something is not kosher with the way this has been handled and I frankly have no interest at this time in having something "contrived in five minutes" that offers me bugger all, still have to social distance, still can't travel, still need wear face masks yada yada yada.
    Come up with a genuine VACCINE that benefit's not only me but the community and I will be first to expose my arm

    8 people found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    7 people found this helpful

    Great accounting of the challenge that the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine faced in the early 2000s! Excellently sourced accounting the fraud perpetrated by a zealot who looks as if he was in it for the money. Isn't that strange? It was also great to find out how the anti-vax movement got its strength AND look how they are coming out of the woodwork right here at Scribd to try to tear down what we know to be true.
    You'll be happy to know that I decided to listen to this book PRECISELY because of the low rating. After seeing a 2.5-star rating at the early stages of the release of the book, I thought, "That's a low rating for someone of Eichenwald's stature. I'd better have a look (really, a listen)." I did not read ANY reviews until I'd finished the audiobook. Now I know why the rating was 2.5 stars. It's because the anti-science and anti-vax crowd has found its way to throw mud misinformation into the mix in hopes that their brand of fear and mistrust will take hold.
    At one time in my life I, too, could've been an anti-vaxxer. Thank goodness I became grounded in science and the scientific method!

    7 people found this helpful

  • (1/5)

    9 people found this helpful

    Science is about questioning and testing. This moron just buys into whatever he is told without bothering to check both sides of the story. If you like propaganda paid for by Johnson and Johnson, you will love this. If you have a brain, it will hurt to read this nonsense.

    9 people found this helpful

  • (1/5)

    7 people found this helpful

    When the vaccine insert that comes in the box with the vaccine specifically states that it can cause autism... Sorry, but Eichanwald doesn't know the science. This piece is dangerously full of lies based on either ignorance, or he's a paid lackey for the industry. This feels like the propaganda found in Germany in 1936.

    7 people found this helpful

  • (1/5)

    8 people found this helpful

    Disgusting waste of time. We should always have a choice to make an informed decision for ourselves and our own families.

    8 people found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    2 people found this helpful

    Topical and tense. It’s frightening what a committed fraud can make others believe, whether he himself believes it, or is in it for monetary gain. As alway, with previous books, Kurt Eichenwald’s writings are descriptive but tight, keeping an electric pace. Highly recommend.

    2 people found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    2 people found this helpful

    An exceptional, meticulously researched book. If you read about Kurt Eichenwald’s life, you quickly realize that he is an exceptional human being. His battle with epilepsy chronicled in his memoir, exposes incompetent doctors. He also rescued a young man who was being exploited.

    The investigative journalist who originally uncovered Wakefield’s fraud was also involved in exposing Big Pharma. And yet, people accused him of being in the lap of big pharma and harassed him.

    The horrific treatment of children with disabilities are enough reasons to discredit Wakefield in and of themselves. These are well documented, and would be traumatic procedures for any child who didn’t medically need them, much less children with developmental disabilities.

    I highly doubt most of the negative reviewers actually read the whole book. It’s not about the COVID vaccine.

    2 people found this helpful

  • (1/5)

    7 people found this helpful

    How much did bill Gates pay you, Scribd? What a bunch of junk

    7 people found this helpful