Dear Marketplace Team and CBC Leadership,
I am writing to formally request a retraction and correction and request that you issue apologies for misrepresentation of the events which occurred at the VIP Event following the VIE Event in Washington, DC late last year.
I have, and the public has, scrutinized both your online written and video versions of coverage of the conversation I had with your reporter in which I explained – at some length – how IPAK runs Science Days – events at which I educate the public on peer-reviewed and forthcoming science from IPAK, The Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge, in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. We have found your representation of that conversation at striking odds with reality. While the entire coverage leaves much to be desired in terms of factual content and objectivity, I am writing only with respect to aspects that directly impact me, my reputation, and potentially my livelihood.
First, your video coverage left off my phrase “If you want to support IPAK” – which specifically and obviously means if you want to support biomedical research. IPAK conducts objective scientific research in the public interest, and we have peer-reviewed publications from 2017-2020 of which any competent investigative reporting team would be aware.
Second, your written coverage clearly misattributed a phrase about “quid pro quo” to your reporter, and then put words in my mouth: “right”. In fact, when I describe “IPAK Science Days” to individuals requesting information such as that requested by your reporter, I am always careful to use the phrase “That way it’s NOT a quid pro quo”. The online written version is therefore incorrect. I categorically deny saying “Right”. This is the lowest form of yellow journalism available to you.
Unfortunately, your highly edited video also leaves the impression that I, or someone, is saying “So we have a quid pro quo” because in the video caption, the quotation is in incorrect and the attribution to a speaker is ambiguous. That video is highly edited because, I believe, if the actual video was shown, my mouth would be seen forming an ‘O’ shape on the word “No” in the phrase “No quid pro quo”.
People not affiliated with IPAK have contacted me since your airing and reminded me of past conversations in which I say (1) I do not charge to appear at local events at which I educate committees or elected officials interested in matters relevant to my research, (2) IPAK would run a local event to also educate the public, and charge a fee (donation), and (3) That way there is NO quid pro quo.
According to the Legal Dictionary, “Quid pro quo, or the exchange of valuable consideration, is required for the formation of a valid contract between individuals who are not merchants. This requirement of mutual consideration, or the exchange of something of value, indicates the sincerity of the parties’ intent to adhere to the contract between them.”
For me to say “That way there is no quid pro” is to assert, as I should, that although I may become physically located where it is convenient for me to offer education in public comments on matters related to my research, it is not intended, nor should it be expected, that I will necessarily testify nor comment in any way favorable to or in opposition to any particular vote, ruling, or legislation being considered. Your reporter and I never discussed any details at any time of the nature of any specific comments or positions on legislation during or after the event. In fact, your reporter and I never discussed any legislation, or hearing, or committee meeting pending on any issue. Your reporter only asked about how to get me to Western Provinces in Canada, where he claimed to be organizing vaccine-interested groups. Given that any such groups should form their positions on Science, the IPAK educational events themselves are of sufficiently high value that registrants who donate to IPAK will have received solid, well-referenced facts and my considered opinion on those facts from scientific studies. There is never, however, any requirement of donations, and volunteers at such events are always instructed to allow anyone in regardless of their ability to donate.
Your coverage implies that I would be supplanting the value of the public service provided by the formal IPAK events I offer with the value of my uncontrolled, uninfluenced, self-generated testimony or opinion to panels, committees or legislative bodies, I assure you and assert that was the opposite of my intent of discussing “quid pro quo” so as to avoid any such confusion and to prevent your reporter (posing as an activist) from presuming that I could be influenced in what I say in any way based on any donations that might (or might not) be received associated with such an event. My comments are my own, personally, and I when I do educate legislators and public health officials, I always refuse to offer any opinion on pending legislation, in keeping with my understanding that individuals who operate not-for-profit organizations should not directly advise on pending legislation.
Your characterization of IPAK offering local educational events as a form of quid pro quo transaction is your own construction, and is inaccurate with respect to intent and to legal definition, and it is clear that your manipulation is intended to provide a falsehood that might be used to impede my participation at such events in the future. Apologies and retraction via editing are both in order.
Your reporter also hurtfully and irresponsibly claimed in the published video report that I “want to be seen as a Scientist”. I attach my NIH Curriculum Vitae which includes my past and present employment. I have served on US NIH grant review panels and have assisted various funding agencies in their writing of issued calls for proposals. I brought in >$27.5 million in collaborative funding while Full Faculty under Dr. Ronald Herberman at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. I founded and ran the University of Pittsburgh’s Bioinformatics Core with support from the Dean of the School of Medicine and the Senior Vice Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh. I have advised graduate students and served on PhD dissertation committees. I have over 50 peer reviewed research studies, a fact that any competent investigative reporter would have discovered with a simple search of any number of research publication databases, including the US NCBi’s Pubmed:
To date, none of my research studies have been retracted. I am now, and will die, a Scientist, regardless of your reporter’s insensitive and uninformed implication that I am not.
I specifically request an apology from that reporter, and the team for failing to research my background and for failing to reach out to me for information on my resume and for calling my credentials and my lifelong service to Science in question. A deep search in the Canadian Ministry of Science records should turn up my name on a collaboration while I was full faculty at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute on a consortium that worked on a grant proposal which led to successful funding of Canadian scientists for the study of metastatic breast cancer. I suggest you might be able to request and confirm said information from Dr. Arun Seth of the University of Toronto (cc’d). A more in-depth look at my past will reveal that I was the Founding Editor-in-Chief of the international research journal, Cancer Informatics, and that my scientific integrity caused me to lead a revolt against the publisher to secure and protect the bona fide peer review process I had established upon founding the journal when lesser scientists proposed corrupting that process. I have been a defender of Science in the public interest for some time and am now Editor-in-Chief of Science, Public Health Policy & the Law.
We have numerous ongoing and active studies at IPAK, including an IRB-approved “Vaccinated vs. Unvaccinated” study looking at the risk of chronic health outcomes. I am also currently working with Dr. Chris Shaw (University of British Columbia) in attempts to fund his laboratory to conduct dose escalation studies of aluminum hydroxide in infant mice – specifically because neither of our government’s regulatory agencies have pursued research capable of determining a per-body weight dose limit of aluminum hydroxide, an adjuvant used in about 60% vaccines recommended by US CDC pediatric schedule. IPAK has estimated a per-body weight informed pediatric dose limit leading to two peer-reviewed publications (attached), in one of which we have estimated the number of days infants are in aluminum toxicity under the US CDC’s recommended schedule. That estimate is 70% of days in the first seven months of life, and 25% of days in the first two years of life. By comparison, under an alternative plan, infants are expected to be in aluminum toxicity 5% of days in the first seven months of life. I will continue to try to fund Dr. Shaw’s research with a new Autoimmune Research Fund initiative at IPAK until we have successfully determined the dose effect of injected forms of aluminum in infant mice, a gaping hole in vaccine science.
I would expect that Canadian legislators, committees, and the public would want to make decisions on policies about the use or non-use of competing vaccination technologies and options on Canadian children, which is why I came to New Brunswick, at my own personal expense, and offer my insights in New Brunswick on August 27 2019.
I had no prior agreement for payment of any kind to me personally nor to IPAK with any Canadian citizen or Citizen’s group for my trip to New Brunswick, and I restricted my comments to what I know of the state of vaccine safety science. I offered no “IPAK Science Day” associated with that event. There is never any quid pro quo.
I believe it is in CBC’s best interest, and in the interest of the public’s view of the Marketplace team’s journalistic integrity, and in the interest of the public, that you issue an apology, retract and re-issue your edited and updated online written coverage, that you remove, edit and update the online video, also with an announcement of a correction in the first few minutes of the video, and include in both locations a copy of the apology letter addressed to me, “Dr. Lyons-Weiler”, signed by all reporters and editors involved in both the online and video version.
I urge your team to conduct a more complete inquiry into the backgrounds of those you are targeting to spare others of the pain and suffering caused by your thoughtless and callous handling of my reputation. It does not serveyour national reputation for CBC to misquote, misattribute, nor to misrepresent and malign the character and integrity of a productive citizen, to misrepresent the career title of any person you feature in a “news” video.
I strongly advise you that your treatment of me as a professional has certainly done a disservice to your character as a team, and to CBC as a serious news organization.
James Lyons-Weiler, PhD
Working Scientist, Father
The Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge