David Kirby (journalist)

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David Kirby is a journalist based in Brooklyn, New York, and was formerly a regular contributor to The New York Times since 1998. He is the author of Evidence of Harm (2005), Animal Factory (2010) and Death at Sea World (2012).


Kirby has written for many national magazines, including Glamour, Redbook, Self and Mademoiselle. From 1986 to 1990, Kirby was a foreign correspondent for UPI, and Newsday (among others) in Latin America, covering wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua, and he covered politics, corruption and natural disasters in Mexico. It was during this time that he was also a reporter for OutWeek.

From 1990 to 1993, Kirby was director of public information at the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR), worked for New York City Council President Carol Bellamy, and was a senior staff adviser to David Dinkins' successful 1989 run for mayor of New York City.

In 1998, Kirby wrote a cover story for The Advocate, "Does coming out matter?".[1] From 1998 to 2001, he wrote many articles for The Advocate, including one on the courage of young gay and lesbian scouts and service members.[2]

From 2000 to 2004, Kirby contributed several articles on travel to The New York Times, including "Rainbow Beach Towels on Mexican Sand", an article on the gay tourism industry in Puerto Vallarta.[3] He has also written on topics other than travel and leisure, including on a new phenomenon, known as "dirty driving", the playing pornography on DVD screens inside vehicles while they drive through traffic.[4] The article expressed concern for what children have been exposed to by these "dirty drivers".

In 2005, Kirby's book Evidence of Harm - Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy was published.

Since May 2005, Kirby has been a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post.

Evidence of Harm[edit]

Evidence of Harm explores the controversies surrounding thimerosal containing vaccines (TCVs), and whether TCVs have contributed to the apparent increase of autism, ADHD, speech delay and other childhood disorders in the United States. In the book, Kirby tells the personal stories of parents of children who have autism, founders of the advocacy group SafeMinds, including Sallie Bernard, Lyn Redwood, Mark Blaxill, Albert Enayati, Heidi Roger and Liz Birt.

"Many of the public health officials who discount the thimerosal theory were unwilling to be interviewed for this book (or prohibited from speaking by superiors)," Kirby later wrote. "Readers are invited to reach their own conclusions on the evidence." Nevertheless, Kirby also acknowledges "(E)ach side accuses the other of being irrational, overzealous, blind to evidence they find inconvenient, and subject to professional, financial, or emotional conflicts of interest that cloud their judgment." Ultimately, Kirby finds the evidence leveled against thimerosal inconclusive but suggestive, and calls urgently for further research.

The autism-vaccine link has been firmly discredited, including any suggested evidence of a link between thimerosal and autism. The majority of scientific consensus agrees with vast population studies that have shown there to be no link between vaccines, autism, and thimerosal. [5] The original paper by Andrew Wakefield that started a media firestorm and led to fears of vaccination amongst parents has been discredited and research by journalist Brian Deer showed the data used in the paper to be fraudulent. [6]

British Medical Journal review[edit]

In May 2005, Evidence of Harm was reviewed negatively in the British Medical Journal. The reviewer described Kirby's book as "woefully one-sided", and wrote: "In his determination to provide an account that is sympathetic to the parents, Kirby enters into the grip of the same delusion and ends up in the same angry and paranoid universe into which campaigners have descended, alleging phone taps and other forms of surveillance as they struggle against sinister conspiracies between health authorities and drug companies."[7]


  1. ^ Does coming out matter?: a new Harris poll suggests that knowing people who are gay makes little difference in whether one supports gay rights The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine) (October 13, 1998).
  2. ^ Kirby, David Lessons in Courage The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine) (October 26, 1999).
  3. ^ [1][permanent dead link] The New York Times Travel Section, subscription required.
  4. ^ When the Car Beside You Is an XXX Theater
  5. ^ Frequently Asked Questions About Thimerosal (Ethylmercury), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  6. ^ Deer, Brian (2011). "How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed". British Medical Journal. 342: c5347. doi:10.1136/bmj.c5347. PMID 21209059. 
  7. ^ Fitzpatrick, Michael (May 2005). "Review: Evidence of Harm. Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic". British Medical Journal. 330 (7500): 1154. doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7500.1154. Retrieved 2008-10-14. 

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