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HomeCOVID-19Mark Sharman condemns 'biased and shady' Times hatchet job on vaccine debate

Mark Sharman condemns ‘biased and shady’ Times hatchet job on vaccine debate


WE reported recently on George Grylls’s appalling article in the Times on the Vaccine Safety Debate which took place in Westminster Hall on October 24. It failed on every test of decent journalistic practice.

It misrepresented and defamed Sir Christopher Chope and several other MPs and smeared Oracle Films, the makers of Safe and Effective: A Second Opinion – one of the most exceptional and important pieces of documentary journalism to have been produced in this country in years. It demonised and dismissed anyone who believes we need an inquiry into vaccine safety as ‘anti-vaxxers’ – a negative aspersion designed to cast reasonable and rationally based anxieties as unreasonable.

Mark Sharman, a former senior ITV and Sky news and sport executive and the producer of Safe and Effective: A Second Opinion, was equally incensed when he read the article. He has published his own riposte to Grylls and the Times, on News Uncut which he has kindly given us permission to print here. Needless to say, he has yet to receive a reply from Mr Grylls. 

Dear George, 

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mark Sharman and I have more than 55 years of senior journalistic experience, including posts as Director of News and Sport at ITV and Director of Broadcasting at BSkyB, where I had executive responsibility for Sky News. I have always fought for fair, balanced and objective reporting, presenting two sides of debate. 

It is, therefore, with some authority that I can say that your piece entitled ‘Anti-vaxxers applaud Tory MP Christopher Chope as he questions safety of Covid vaccines’ (The Times, October 31) is one the most biased, ill-informed and shady pieces of journalism I have ever seen. 

Sir Christopher Chope is not an ‘anti-vaxxer’, nor is he speaking on behalf of any ‘anti-vax’ organisations. Rather, he is supporting with concern the many thousands of people who have been Covid vaccine-injured in the UK, whose many and various symptoms include amputations caused by blood clots, heart disease and in extreme cases death. This is not misinformation; coroners and physicians have confirmed the cause in many instances. 

I can tell you that from personal experience the physical pain of the injured is worsened by the mental torture that comes from being ignored by the NHS and being insulted by media articles such as yours. 

It is a move of some desperation to highlight, in your intro, the presence of Piers Corbyn who, to my knowledge, has nothing to do with Sir Christopher’s campaign. Picking extreme figures to undermine genuine debate is a cheap trick of glaring transparency. As is the use of quotation marks around the phrase those who have ‘experienced damage from the vaccine’ to suggest their claims are untrue. 

You then report that ‘false claims’ were made by backbench Conservative MPs. On whose authority can you say the claims are false, when hard scientific evidence based on real world data (including Pfizer’s own trials) is accumulating around the world suggesting that the jabs are not safe for everybody and that they are ineffective in preventing infection and transmission? 

I assume you are following MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) guidelines, but, as a journalist, are you comfortable that the authority is 86 per cent funded by the industry it regulates (British Medical Journal survey)? 

Does it worry you that vaccine injury reporting systems are showing unprecedented death figures in the UK, the USA and Europe? Or that unexplained excess deaths (especially in younger age groups) since the jab rollout are running at 16 per cent across Europe, with the highest figures in the most vaccinated countries? 

Or that the 95 per cent efficacy figure on which the vaccines were sold was a gross exaggeration, using a flawed mechanism? 

Now to your smearing of Oracle Films, ‘an anti-vax conspiracy group that had their account suspended by PayPal last year after claiming that vaccines could alter DNA’. 

Bearing in mind what I wrote in paragraph one, I can tell you that I wrote and produced, with Oracle, the film to which you refer, Safe and Effective: A Second Opinion. I would ask you to watch it with an open mind and then make a mature judgment (it is available on  

You will find that it makes no recommendations for anyone to avoid vaccination, it merely presents facts and opinions for consideration. Even Dr Aseem Malhotra, whose peer-reviewed and published paper found that vaccines are causing harm, does not call for cancellation, merely suspension until all facts can be considered. This seems an extremely sensible suggestion from a leading heart specialist who is seeing a huge increase in cardiac arrests.

For the record, Sir Chris Chope did not ‘take part’ in our film; we used two clips from speeches he made in the House of Commons. Further, in last Monday’s debate, he did not ‘encourage those present to watch’ the film. He asked Elliot Colburn MP, who was speaking in favour of vaccines, whether he had seen Safe and Effective: A Second Opinion which ‘most people found persuasive’. 

Oracle Films have never stated that vaccines, of any kind, could alter DNA. They did indeed lose their PayPal account, but only after the BBC lodged a complaint, the same BBC that has a policy not to debate with so-called ‘anti-vaxxers’ ‘whether they are right or wrong’ and which seems to have assumed a role as Covid information gatekeepers. 

Finally, I am not ‘anti-vax’, I am not a conspiracy theorist and I am not in any group. To suggest otherwise is defamatory. Likewise, Oracle Films is not a group, it is a small and dedicated production company with a passion for seeking out the truth, however unpalatable that may be. 

George, in the current climate, I suspect you were put up to this story, but as a young and presumably ambitious journalist I recommend you protect your independence. A scandal of enormous proportions is brewing. Please watch the film – and I do expect a reply please. 

Yours sincerely, 

Mark Sharman 

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Kathy Gyngell
Kathy Gyngell
Kathy is Editor of The Conservative Woman. She is @kathygyngelltcw on GETTR and is back on Twitter.

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