As if blaming Acer’s victims for their own deaths wasn’t bad enough, Howard conveniently forgot to inform his viewers that the scientific “expert” who was the linchpin of the segment was dirty as sin. Lionel Resnick, a dermatologist(!), challenged the accuracy of the CDC’s DNA sequencing, which had linked the AIDS virus in Acer’s patients to the virus Acer himself carried. But it turned out that Resnick was a paid shill ($300,000, to be exact) for CIGNA, Acer’s insurance company. Howard not only didn’t mention the CIGNA connection, he also conveniently left out that Resnick’s conclusions had been dismissed by pretty much everyone else who examined the case (shortly after the 60 Minutes piece aired, Resnick was indicted for fraud and fled to the Cayman Islands).
The CDC took the highly unusual step of denouncing the 60 Minutes segment in an article in the Annals of Internal Medicine. That’s how bad Howard’s “journalism” was. It should be added that even though Howard titled the segment “Kimberly’s Story,” he didn’t interview any of her friends or family. The point of the piece was to smear a girl who died a terrible death at the hands of a gay man. Based on Howard’s hit job, The New York Times’ carbuncle-in-residence Frank Rich labeled Bergalis a homophobe, blaming her for hurting the feelings of the poor dentist who killed her. Rich even went so far as to put scare quotes around “victim” when referring to her.
Not that it matters to slimeballs like Rich and Howard, but in 2001 AMA trustee Dr. John Nelson told the L.A. Times that the reforms pushed by Bergalis before her death were most likely the reason that we’ve never seen another case of doctor-to-patient AIDS transmission on the scale of Acer. So that “homophobe” may have saved countless lives.
These days, Josh Howard is the toast of the LGBT film-festival circuit, hailed for telling the story of the gays and lesbians who were unfairly smeared by the U.S. government in the 1950s. Lost in all the adulation, aquapolitans, and congratulatory dick-sucking (both figurative and literal) is the fact that Howard himself is the consummate smearer, a man who dragged an innocent girl’s corpse through the mud, ignoring all journalistic standards in the process, because he was pissed that she was pissed that at age 19 a gay dentist had sentenced her to death.
People or organizations that are in the business of smearing have no right to bitch about being smeared. If the ADL doesn’t like being compared to the KKK, tough titties, Moishe. You ask for empathy, yet when have you ever shown empathy toward your real or imagined foes?
And Josh Howard? He has far more in common with the villains in his documentary than he does with the victims (FYI, Howard refused my repeated requests for comment). He is a smearer par excellence, who is currently benefiting from the fact that his vile assassination of Kim Bergalis’ character is long forgotten.
It shouldn’t be. It should follow the miserable bastard to his grave.
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