The father of a child who was injured by vaccines, he knows all too well how horribly wrong things can go. After 21 vaccines, his son stopped hitting developmental milestones, and he decided to take up the cause of informing parents about the potential dangers of vaccines. Unfortunately, his opinion doesn’t sit too well with those who have vested interests in promoting vaccines, so he was the subject of an article in the Daily Beast that tried to “expose” him for lying about his personal background.
In a piece entitled, “The Navy Fraud Fronting the Anti-Vaxxer Movement,” writer Abby Haglage called his website “a beautifully built disaster” and then took the editor to task for information in his bio. Aufderheide, she said, is lying about his time spent in the Navy. She said that his claims of having served as a rescue swimmer were “discredited” by the Navy itself, who responded to her inquiry by stating that he served as an Information Systems Technician, Third Class, for four years and that there was no other releasable information available. She also implied that he was lying about this top-secret clearance, essentially saying he was more of a computer guy than a brave hero.
While the answer she got from the Navy might make her conclusions seem somewhat reasonable, Aufderheide recently pointed out her flawed logic and provided evidence that backs up his assertions. Likening her Daily Beast article to “fake news,” he says that while what the Navy told her is true, it doesn’t provide the whole picture. He held the Radioman and Information Systems Technician rate, and some light research would have shown that a background investigation for a top-secret clearance was a big requirement for his status. This, he points out, is not information that the military freely shares with those who send them emails and ask about it.
Moreover, he says that his certificate of discharge after he was honorably discharged from the navy lists “Surface Rescue Swimmer” as one of his specialties. He says this is something Haglage wouldn’t have had access to, nor did she ask him to provide it before calling him a "Navy fraud." On Vactruth.com, he shares a photo of his graduation certificate from Surface Rescue Swimmer School. He also points out that it is entirely possible to be both an information systems technician and the ship’s rescue swimmer at the same time.
Aufderheide then takes a few shots of his own, pointing out that the Daily Beast often shows a pro-Big Pharma slant. For example, they publish articles by Dr. Paul Offit, who has admitted to concocting defamatory stories about vaccine safety advocates. Aufderheide also called attention to Haglage’s poor taste in words, sharing a video of comedy routine in which she brags about being good at lying and makes jokes about stealing barware.
Sometimes writers are simply following orders, covering the topics their editors assign them from the angle requested. Even then, however, it’s essential to back your assertions up with proof – especially when you’re accusing someone of being a liar. It’s hard to blame Haglage for trying to find reasons people should distrust someone who is espousing a belief that she and/or those who sign her paycheck don’t agree with, but more careful research could have avoided this embarrassment. In the end, this exposé on Aufderheide was far from explosive.