Open Letter to the New Yorker Editor
Many in our group reached out to the New Yorker Editorial Board after a unimaginably one-sided hit piece "Jordan Thomas' Army of Whistleblowers." The editors choose to ignore us. They did not even deign to respond. So here is our open letter.
Dear David Remnick,
As a long time reader of The New Yorker, Patrick Keefe’s article entitled “Jordan Thomas’s Army of Whistle-Blowers” both shocked and disturbed me. The article clearly white washed deeply troubling activities to give cover for individuals subject to bar complaints, medical board professional conduct complaints, and quite likely the widely reported ongoing DOJ criminal probe on short selling.1 Mr. Keefe’s actions represent either (1) complete negligence in repeating a false and misleading narrative from an extremely biased source or (2) intentional promotion of a false narrative for a motive hidden from the reader. In either case, the article violates the most basic standards of ethics and good journalistic practice.
The New Yorker readers must believe that its journalists seek to increase reader understanding rather than promote an interested party’s particular narrative. This good faith requirement is especially important when a journalist is accusing parties of criminal wrongdoing and threatening scientific investigation on an essentially untreatable terminal disease impacting millions of Americans.
I would like to walk through just several representative examples of how Mr. Keefe’s article promotes both false and misleading narratives, as too many exist for this letter.
First, after a glowing discussion of Jordan Thomas’ filing of the Citizen's Petition (“CP”) against Cassava Sciences, Inc. (“Cassava”) – while omitting mention of the controversy of the CP, the associated bar complaint, and the likely connection of the bar complaint to Mr. Thomas’ surprise departure from his law firm without so much detail as a website for the new firm – Mr. Keefe states:
And, though [Mr. Thomas] protected their identities, there was one important detail that he did disclose. His clients already had a major incentive to blow the whistle on the company: they had taken a short position on SAVA. They had made a financial bet against its stock.
Mr. Thomas filed the CP in the name of "whistleblowers" seeking to help the public and without in anyway disclosing or even suggesting these “whistleblowers” had a short petition! The following reality stands in stark contrast to Mr. Keefe’s portrayal: Mr. Thomas filed a grossly misleading series of attacks with the FDA pretending an authorship by a whistleblower, leaked the document to the press creating a monumental stock crash, while the CP Authors secretly greatly profited from the deception. Only after these CP Authors extracted tremendous profit from retail investors through deception did Mr. Thomas’ firm put out a terse statement that his clients had already taken short positions.
Mr. Keefe’s synopsis hides the critical evidence that the disclosure of a short position came after the fact misleading readers in a manner benefiting Mr. Thomas (subject to a bar complaint relating to the filing of the CP currently under open investigation) and benefiting CP co-authors Dr. Bredt and Dr. Pitt (subject to a medical board professional complaint relating to the filing of the CP currently under open investigation) who have all been under attack for their actions.
In second example, Mr. Keefe makes multiple false and misleading statements with the sentence:
Even so, [CEO Remi Barbier] acknowledged, institutional investors have fled the company, and all the members of Cassava’s own scientific advisory board appear to have done the same.
Had he desired to provide accurate information to readers of The New Yorker rather than pushing a false narrative, Mr. Keefe could have simply reviewed Cassava’s 13F filings. Such filings make immediately clear that, contrary to Mr. Keefe’s statement, institutional investors have significantly increased their purchase of Cassavashares since the CP’s August 2021 filing:
Moreover, the sentence additionally misleads readers to the idea that the Cassava Advisory Board resigned. In fact, Cassava already responded to this short driven falsehood by stating that the Cassava removed the advisor web page from their website in response to harassment of these individuals by short investors. Any defense of this statement along the lines of “it could be literally true if a particular investor left or that the advisory board ‘appeared’ to have left” misses the point that the worded sentence directly misleads readers to wrongly conclude that less institutional investment exists and the advisory board resigned.
A third example centers on how the article presents the attacks in the Citizen’s Petition to mislead the reader to believe Cassava’s actual key trial data (i.e., the long-term cognition improvement of Alzheimer’s patients as measured by seven independent clinical trial sites and provided directly to the FDA) represents the focus of the attack of the CP. The CP makes NO direct attack of this data. Rather, the Citizen’s Petition claims issues with a decade old set of images (“Western Blots”) trying to tease out early information on mechanism of action - which generally informs when to pursue largely definitive trials which Cassava ultimately did with great success!. Rather than properly explain the limited and arguably irrelevant focus of the CP with respect to a drug ultimately showing great promise, Mr. Keefe presents a narrative devoid of such critical context misleading readers once again:
Citing “grave concerns about the quality and integrity of the laboratory-based studies surrounding this drug candidate.” The petition contained a forty-two-page technical report outlining “a series of anomalies” in Cassava’s published research “that strongly suggests systemic data manipulation"
This wording with no additional context promotes the false narrative that Cassava’s actual cognition data in trials is under substantive attack. Moreover, the article makes no mention that CPs must identify safety issues and none exist. Mr. Keefe also leaves out the critical point that multiple peer reviewed Journals publishing the studies in question have already investigated and responded that they see no evidence of wrongdoing. In essence, the CP Authors have committed the fraud, not Cassava.
Finally, it is worth noting that Mr. Thomas and Drs. Bredt and Pitt’s actions are part of a well-orchestrated campaign to manipulate the share price of Cassava for financial gain. A campaign against the first ever drug shown in U.S. clinical trials to improve cognition in Alzheimer’s patients over a twelve month period. I strongly ask you to closely consider the attached letter to the DOJ, especially the sections on the clear coordination of attacks on November 17th – events Mr. Thomas and Drs. Bredt and Pitt collaborated on.
Also, the article makes no mention of the extreme personal attacks that Mr. Thomas, Dr. Bredt, and Dr. Pitt relied upon once it became clear the FDA will unlikely halt Simufilam trials in response to the CP. In one particularly reprehensible attack, their CP cites a horrific past of a woman who co-owns a trial site, seeking to use her inconsistency as a child in response to having been raped by her stepfather against her to further their short bet agenda:2
Mr. Thomas, Dr. Bredt, and Dr. Pitt cite to a point that essentially is as follows: because Ms. Cabo as a child wasn’t strong enough to consistently acknowledge her victimhood during the time her family was forcibly separated as a result of her stepfather raping her, Ms. Cabo’s involvement in one of the seven independent trial sites testing Simufilam requires the FDA to halt Simufilam trials.
Noting the actual substance of such ‘low’ attacks used against Cassava paints a very different picture about their actions, motivations, and morality then that portrayed through the carefully selected and at times false information of Mr. Keefe’s article.
The above examples of false and misleading statements and omission of critical information collectively represent a violation of basic principles of journalism as set forth by The NYU school of Journalism:3
The credibility of individual journalists and the press itself depends in large part on a rigorous adherence to ethical practices. That starts with dedication to the pursuit of truth and integrity in everyday reporting and writing. Plagiarism, fabrication, deliberate misrepresentation of facts, and conflicts of interest violate the most basic commitment to discover and publish the truth.
For both the benefit of the American public and The New Yorker as an institution, I urge you to research how The New Yorker printed this article and to urgently set your readership straight. Mr. Thomas’, Dr. Bredt’s, and Dr. Pitt’s push to the FDA to stop clinical trials on this life-saving drug profiteering on their short bet remains outstanding. Most importantly, this article now represents a weapon breathing life into their unethical efforts, while Millions of Americans continuously die from a disease which has no effective treatment. Please do not let the New Yorker reside on the wrong side of Medical History.
A collection of doctors, scientists and researchers, engineers, attorneys, and other individuals closely following Simufilam trials and referred to as "Savages" in Mr. Keefe's article.
2 See https://www.regulations.gov/document/FDA-2021-P-0930-0161 citing to https://assets.empirefinancialresearch.com/uploads/2021/11/Cassava-Sciences-SAVA_-Game-Over.pdf with respect to “controversial and questionable characters.”
3 NYU Journalism Handbook for Students, Ethics, Law and Good Practice, https://journalism.nyu.edu/about-us/resources/ethics-handbook-for-students/nyu-journalism-handbook-for-students/