CBS News has called vaccine developer Dr. Paul Offit one of “the most trusted voices in the defense of vaccine safety”. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has called him the vaccine industry’s “principle spokesperson”.
But what about Offit’s official title? His personal website, his Wikipedia page, his linkedin profile, his Autism Science Foundation bio, a new medical textbook he co-edited and an endless array of both mainstream and social media sites state that he is the “Chief of Infectious Diseases” at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). There’s just one problem: he’s not, nor has he been for the last three years.
According to CHOP’s website, Offit has been demoted from “Chief” to “attending physician.” It also clearly shows the role of “Chief” belonging to someone else. Yet Offit’s bio on both the homepage and “About” page of his own website call him “Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases” at CHOP, as does his resume linked from his homepage. How long has he misrepresented himself? Dig deep enough, and the story comes to light.
Buried in his second resume – a 32-page CV downloadable from his website -Offit is listed as “Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia” for the years 1992-2014. That means Paul Offit knowingly misleads visitors to his site about his current role at CHOP. Few would find the news of his demotion buried in his CV, but virtually everyone visiting his site would see his bios prominently misidentifying him as “Chief of Infectious Diseases at CHOP.”
Even worse, the creation date of his CV is November 21st, 2016. That means that for more than two years after he lost his title, there was absolutely nothing on his site that contradicted his bio falsely stating his CHOP role. Archived webpages show that the title of “Chief” was the very first title listed in Offit’s “About” bio on his website. Then in early-2015, Offit temporarily removed the “Chief” title from his “About” page bio (his homepage bio never changed). But then sometime in late 2016 or early 2017, he added the title “chief” back into his “About” bio where it remains as of this writing.
The implications of Offit’s fabrication are far-reaching. Reports falsely saying Offit is the “Chief” of infectious disease at CHOP continue to be cranked out: CBS News, NBC News, CNN, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, PBS FRONTLINE, The LA Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Scientific American, C-SPAN, Forbes, AlterNet, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post and Politico to name a few of dozens.
Several times, Offit was introduced on video with his former title of “Chief of Infectious Diseases,” yet he did not correct the people introducing him. When the president of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia introduced Offit as “Chief of Infectious Diseases” on C-SPAN2 in 2015, Offit simply said “Thank you for that kind introduction.”
He did not react the same way, however, when he had to sit right next to the moderator for Scientific American who stated Offit’s false credentials, just prior to his talk as part of a videotaped lecture series. That time, he was visibly uncomfortable being introduced as “Chief,” and even struggled to get words out initially when it was his turn to speak. But just as with the C-SPAN video, Offit failed to correct the person who introduced him.
The misrepresentations have continued as recently as last summer. In an article for STAT News dated August 21st, 2017, Offit was described as the “head of infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.” Offit still has not corrected anyone and why would he? He has gotten away with it for three years.
What he has gotten away with for much longer, however, has been his unchallenged misrepresentations about vaccine dangers and the media’s culpability. He relies on studies he privately admitted were garbage to declare the debate on vaccine safety over. To deny that vaccines cause autism, he actually claims that autism diagnoses cause children to be vaccinated. And of course he has infamously stated that an infant can safely handle 10,000 vaccines, later upping the number to “closer to 100,000.”
One of the big ways Offit has been able to lie with such impunity about vaccine dangers has been to flaunt his supposedly impeccable credentials. Perhaps that’s why he lied about being the “Chief” of infectious diseases at CHOP long after he wasn’t.
Credentials, not integrity, are all that matter in Offit’s world. They matter so much that it’s even worth lying to claim credentials he no longer has.