Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sharyl Attkisson and CBS Dehumanise Autists for Ratings

This past Friday Sharyl Attkisson, a journalist for CBS Network presented a "documentary" about a teenage autistic boy, Alex Spourdalakis who was pre-meditatively and brutally murdered by his mother and godmother.  If the murder of a special needs child by his own mother is horrific enough, Ms. Attkisson  and CBS add more insult to Alex's needless death by airing a carefully-staged faux documentary by none other than ex-doctor Andrew Wakefield.

Wakefield and his band of ghouls via his Autism Media Channel teamed up with Lisa Goes and Alex's mother Dorothy Spourdalakis creating the perfect storm of autism "biomed" crankery, narcissism and grotesque exploitation of a helpless teen autist for the shameless self-promotion that Wakefield has become so deft in.  Wakefield peddled this faux documentary along with other biomed stories to reality show execs earlier this year that featured Wakefield and his slimy crony gastroenterologist Arthur Krigsman that featured Wakefield as hero saving children from the horror that is autism.  I hope the sarcasm is noted.

It doesn't appear as though any of the represented networks were interested but Sharyl Attkisson and CBS didn't turn him down.  It is beyond disgusting that no one with editorial powers at CBS looked at this "documentary" and didn't even question its airing let alone question Ms. Attkisson's use of it with absolutely no journalistic ethics applied to the story.  Although since Sharyl Attkisson and CBS have been tools of anti-vaccine cranks that inhabit the cesspool known as Age of Autism, it shouldn't be surprising that they would think this is a nifty idea.

Alex Spourdalakis was a human being deserving of proper care and dignity, instead he was exploited to garner attention for the most execrable excuses for humans, one being his own mother.  Ms. Spourdalakis and her new-found mouthpieces Lisa Goes and Andrew Wakefield plead for help; she received several offers but only wanted an attorney.   There are so many inconsistencies in events leading up to Alex's death yet Ms. Attkisson and CBS exercised absolutely no due diligence verifying and fact-checking any facet of Wakefield's faux documentary. 

But that is not even the worst of Ms. Attkisson's and CBS's offences; they have given a platform to a group of people who routinely de-humanise autists and presented them as though they speak for the autism community.  These people are the same who say that children are better off dead than autistic.   Alex Spourdalakis was purposely shown nearly naked and restrained.  What kind of parent would not only allow such exploitation of her own child but stage it for ghouls like Wakefield to film and shop around for wider distribution?  Ms. Attkisson and CBS have promoted the dangerous idea that disabled people are expendable and their murderers are sympathetic characters to be pitied for their burdens and admired for their sacrifices.

CBS and Sharyl Attkisson owe Alex Spourdalakas and the autism community an enormous apology, a retraction of the story they aired and a real journalistic piece on the escalating victimisation of and violence perpetrated against disabled people.  They are the victims, not their murderers.  I urge you to contact CBS at the following to air your disgust (politely please) at their portrayal of the Spourdalakis case and the wider message that it's acceptable to exploit and murder special needs people:

CBS Chairman Jeffrey Fager, c/o CBS News, 524 West 57th Street, New York, N.Y. 10019

(hat tip to lilady who acquired the contact information and is spreading it wide and far)

Other bloggers who have weighed in:

Added 2 September 2013:

Added 3 September 2013:


  1. Great article Science Mom. I urge you all to write to Jeffrey Fager at the address provided.

    If you care to email the Programming Director at the TV show about the exploitation of Alex Spourdalakis in life..and in death, the email is:

    There is also a telephone number (where you speak to a real live human) for the "CBS This Morning" representative. I spent 15 minutes on the phone with Rachel to voice my extreme disgust for the airing of that dreadful segment about Alex.

    That telephone number, operational M-F 10:00-11:30 AM and 2:00-3:30 PM EDT is:


  2. Thanks lilady, I did shoot an email off to CBS but naturally haven't heard anything. Writing letters is much more effective.

  3. Did you hear that Orac got a lot of flack from the antivaxx people over this? Some lady called his work and said he should lose his job.

  4. No complaints about the thrust of the article, but I'm afraid to tell you that the General Medical Council can't take away Wakefield's degree, only his license. He is still Dr Wakefield, but cannot practice as a physician in the UK.
    In about ten years I hope to be in the same position - still owning the honorific but not paying for a license each year!

  5. @ Lancelot, yes I know that even when a physician is struck off, they are still entitled to their title. I read through the post again and didn't see anything that suggested that. Am I missing something?

  6. I refer to AJW as "the disgraced and discredited former medical doctor who lost his license...."