Robert F. Kennedy Jr. likes to talk. When he calls you to discuss vaccines, he talks a lot, uninterruptably. He called Keith Kloor after Kloor wrote a story for Discover about RFK Jr.’s keynote address to a convention of people who think vaccines cause autism. You can read about their conversation at Kloor’s blog. Phil Plait wrote a story about RFK Jr. for Slate last week, pointing out that the idea that vaccines cause autism is a crackpot theory that has been thoroughly debunked, that it is dangerous, and that RFK Jr. is one of its most effective proponents.
RFK Jr. was displeased. His managing director emailed me (I’m the health and science editor) to say that the story was full of inaccuracies, and I offered to correct any errors right away. He said Kennedy wanted to speak to Plait or me; I requested comments or corrections in writing; we went back and forth. Eventually Kennedy got me on the phone and he talked and I listened.
Oh brother! Way to act like a crackpot. Rude and obnoxious. Thanks to the Slate editor for having the backbone to post this. Your name and apparent influence does not give you the right to ramble on about nonsense and for people to swallow it as true. If the quotes are real in this story, which I presume they are considering how RFK, Jr. likes accuracy, then he really sounds off the wall: “I didn’t know what autism was until I saw Rain Man.” Laura remarks that his conspiracy idea is “delusional and dangerous”. I agree. Time to stop giving him a forum for these rantings.
Take a gander at Phil’s post if you haven’t already.