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RFK Jr. interview about retracted article

An article RFK Jr. wrote for Rolling Stone and Salon that was later retracted is the subject of this 2005 interview.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Editor's Note: The below interview with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. concerns a 2005 article originally published in print by Rolling Stone and online at Salon. Following the article's publication, Salon added five corrections and later retracted the piece. At the time of the retraction, Salon wrote, "we felt that correcting the piece — and keeping it on the site, in the spirit of transparency — was the best way to operate." Salon later said, "We've grown to believe the best reader service is to delete the piece entirely."

Six out of every 1,000 kids has autism, and nobody knows exactly why. But guest Robert F. Kennedy Jr., said in an interview on the 'Scarborough Country' program on Tuesday that part of the blame needs to fall on the government. It has to do with a drug called Thimerosal.

Kennedy Jr., a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Counsel, and author of "Deadly Immunity," an article about the investigation into a possible connection between Thimerosal and Autism in the current issue of Rolling Stone, talked with Joe about his findings.

To read an excerpt of their interview, continue to the text below.

SCARBOROUGH: Let's talk about Thimerosal. ... There are a lot of people, a lot of Americans very concerned about the impact of this drug, which is found in vaccines, and how it causes autism. Talk about that.

KENNEDY: That's right. Thimerosal is a preservative that was put in vaccines back in the 1930s. Almost immediately after it was put in, autism cases began to appear. Autism had never been known before. It was unknown to science. Then the vaccines were increased in 1989 by the CDC and by a couple of other government agencies.

SCARBOROUGH: OK, let me stop you there. That's an important date. And I will tell you why.

My son, born in 1991, has a slight form of autism called Asperger`s. When I was practicing law and also when I was in Congress, parents would constantly come to me and they would bring me videotapes of their children, and they were all around the age of my son or younger. So, something happened in 1989.

KENNEDY: Exactly. What happened was the vaccine schedule was increased. We went up from receiving about 10 vaccines in our generation to these kids receive 24 vaccines. And they all had this Thimerosal in them, this mercury. And nobody bothered to do an analysis of what the cumulative impact of all that mercury was doing to kids.

As it turns out, we are injecting our children with 400 times the amount of mercury that FDA or EPA considers safe. A child on his first day that he is born is injected with a Hepatitis B shot. Under EPA guidelines, he would have to be 275 pounds to safely absorb that shot.

SCARBOROUGH: And yet, we are just constantly pumping our kids with these vaccines. Where is the federal government in all of this?

KENNEDY:: What happened was that, in 1988, one in every 2,500 American children had autism. Today, one in every 166 children has autism. And, plus, one in six have other kinds of learning disorders, other kinds of neurological disorders, speech delay, language disorders, ADD, hyperactivity, that all seem to be connected, that are all connected, the science shows are all connected to autism — to Thimerosal.

SCARBOROUGH: You know, Bobby, what we've always found, you and could debate 1,000 different issues, whether it's Terri Schiavo or the environment. I think we would agree on the environment. But, in this case, you have got the federal government coming in saying, well, there's no good science. And, of course, in politics, science always gets diluted. Why hasn't the federal government stepped up and worked more, because listen, Bobby, I can't prove it tonight. You can't prove it, but, intuitively, you look at the spike. You look at what happened with Thimerosal. There's no doubt in my mind — maybe it's two years from now. Maybe it's five years from now. Maybe it's 10 years from now. We are going to find out Thimerosal causes, in my opinion, autism.

KENNEDY: You know what? The science is out there today for anybody who bothers to read it. And I have read it. Actually, on my Web site this week,, I am publishing an article that goes through all of the science.

But the science is clear. And what happens is, I read the science at first. And there's literally hundreds and hundreds of studies that connect Thimerosal to these disastrous neurological disorders. Then I went, I talked to the scientists. Then I went and I talked to the federal bureaucrats who are defending Thimerosal. And I said, what are you relying on? And I looked at the science they are relying on. And I can tell you, Joe, it is so weak. And you and I have seen, in the legal practice, junk science. And we know what these phony scientists are who create this stuff.

SCARBOROUGH: It happened in big tobacco.

KENNEDY: Right. Tobacco.

SCARBOROUGH: It happens in big oil. It's happening in global warming. And now it's happening in a way that is impacting our kids` lives.

KENNEDY: This is classic tobacco science. It is junk science. And I was looking at these reports and saying, this is the best? This is what you are relying on? They know it's fraudulent. And now we have the transcripts.

SCARBOROUGH: Explain. Explain it to me, Bobby, OK? Explain it to me. If that's the case — I mean, you and I both know about politics, obviously.

Politicians like to get reelected. Why are they sitting back — if our children are being poisoned, if the science is there. Why are they sitting back and letting our children be poisoned?

KENNEDY: Because the same regulatory bureaucrats that green-lighted Thimerosal originally are now trying to cover their tracks.

SCARBOROUGH: It's a CYA operation.

KENNEDY: Right. Are they are working with the pharmaceutical industry. And we now have the transcripts of the secret meeting that they did in Simpsonwood, Georgia, in the year 2000.

And it's the most horrifying thing that you can read, Joe. There are scientists there from the government who are saying — who are reading the reports and saying, this is undeniable. There's no way we can ever deny this. I am not going to give this to my children, but now let's hide this from the American people. And it's that clear.

And this is what I write about. It's this language that I write about in the "Rolling Stone" and the "Salon" piece that is so shocking, where we have the guys who are supposed to be protecting Americans` health who are actually conspiring to keep this stuff in the vaccines.

SCARBOROUGH: You know, and I can't say what lawsuit we were both involved in. I don't want to say it. But it reminds me of a lawsuit we were involved in a couple years ago regarding water quality, where you know the people that polluted in our community and then left our community would have never drank the water that our children grew up drinking. And it's a disaster. It's a disgrace.

So, hey, Bobby, thanks for being here tonight. If you can come back, we need to talk more about this. And I also want to talk about -- and I am going to hold up the book now. We actually lured Bobby in to say that we were going to talk to him about this book. But, actually, he said he wanted to talk about this instead. I appreciate you being here, Bobby, as always. And let's get you back.

KENNEDY: Thanks a lot, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH: And let's get you running for a public office. I will defend your honor whenever any Republican says anything nasty.

KENNEDY: Well, that counts for a lot. Thanks a lot, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH: Yes, that and a quarter, right, will get you a cup of coffee.

Watch 'Scarborough Country' each weeknight on MSNBC-TV at 10 p.m. ET.