Tag: false balance

Is the TODAY Show Stoking Vaccine Fears?

We know that historically, the media has done a very good job of scaring parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

From pushing vaccine misinformation and vaccine scare stories to providing false balance about vaccine stories, many in the media have promoted myths and fake controversies when reporting about vaccines.

Things have been getting better though.

Is the TODAY Show Stoking Vaccine Fears?

Or have they…

The TODAY Show later deleted this tweet about vaccines.
The TODAY Show later deleted this tweet about vaccines.

Do you see what’s wrong with the TODAY Show story about Jessica Biel?

Are they really asking whether or not vaccines are safe?!?

It’s not a debate!

Vaccines are safe!

HuffPo called out the Today Show for posting an irresponsible message about vaccines.
Even HuffPo called out the Today Show for posting an irresponsible message about vaccines.

Did they really get called out by HuffPo for irresponsibly covering vaccines?

You might realize how ironic that is if you remember just how bad HuffPo used to be, regularly posting some of the worst anti-vaccine stories. Have they gotten better?

The HuffPo is better, but certainly not perfect, by any means…

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr is not a vaccine skeptic!

The TODAY Show’s Coverage of Vaccines

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time that the TODAY show has scared parents away from vaccines. After all, they are the ones who aired excerpts of Vaccine Roulette, the show which many people credit with starting the modern anti-vaccine movement.

Autism is not associated with vaccines. It isn't a debate!
Autism is not associated with vaccines. It isn’t a debate!

More recently, the TODAY Show had Robert De Niro on to talk about Andrew Wakefield‘s VAXXED.

The TODAY Show fixed their mistake and irresponsibe headline that could stoke vaccine fears.
The TODAY Show fixed their mistake and irresponsibe headline that could stoke vaccine fears.

After so many missteps in the past, the TODAY Show shouldn’t be making these kinds of mistakes anymore.

If they do, there will be plenty of folks ready to call them out.

More on the TODAY is Show Stoking Vaccine Fears

Del Bigtree’s Caught on Tape Claim

Del Bigtree responded predictably to John Rushing’s report, The Viral Threat: Measles and Misinformation.

Why doesn't Del just explain what he said in the interview?
Why doesn’t Del just explain what he said in the interview?

Del, who produced VAXXED, complains that it was a one-sided hit piece. And implies that his interview was the result of editing.

Behind the Scenes with Del Bigtree

Del was given a lot more than just a words in the final edit.

For example, when given an opportunity, Del doesn’t explain his own conflict of interests because he doesn’t seem understand them.

“I’m simply finding the information as I find it.”

Del Bigtree

And if you notice, there are no cuts in Del Bigtree’s scenes.

John Rushing: The numbers the way you’re using them though, it implicitly warns against using them that way.

Del Bigtree: Yeah. Yes.

John Rushing: You’re saying that there are 412 deaths last year.

Del Bigtree: I – no. What I’m saying is there’s 412 reported deaths. I never said there were 412 confirmed deaths reported.

John Rushing: So, so some of those causes of death on VAERS

Del Bigtree: Yeah.

John Rushing: one was a drowning.

Del Bigtree: Sure.

John Rushing: One was from co-sleeping. One was from a pre-existing heart condition. There’s no – because a death is reported in VAERS – there’s no way to show causation to the vaccine.

Del Bigtree: Okay.

John Rushing: But in watching your speech and watching your show – man, you would come away thinking 400 people died from vaccines last year.

Del Bigtree: Okay.

John Rushing: And then I can start to see

Del Bigtree: Okay.

John Rushing: where they get the number. And then I go to the source and the source says “don’t use the number that way.”

The Viral Threat: Measles and Misinformation

Del wants you to think that he had a lot more to say in those scenes, things that were edited out, but Rushing didn’t cut away.

Del knows that the deaths in VAERS aren’t confirmed vaccine deaths, even though he never says that on his show. But if he explained that, he wouldn’t be able to scare people with “vaccine deaths” anymore.

Del Bigtree’s Caught on Tape Claim

There is also no “big reveal” as the HIGHWIRE cameras kept rolling, as Del claims.

“I vaccinated mine, but I wasn’t aware of this issue. Although one of my neighbors, who is very intelligent and who I respect a lot, who did vaccinate their kids and one of them has autism. Uh, is a believer in this and she sent me, well a ton of your information before I started this story. And we don’t invalidate the way people like her feel at all.”

John Rushing

Or any “other side” of John Rushing that agreed with Del Bigtree.

What does he agree to at the end of his talk with Del?

Del is explaining how he doesn’t think that parents are making a knee-jerk reaction when they blame vaccines for their “injured children.”

“Yeah, I agree.”

John Rushing

What is he agreeing to?

Del Bigtree is once again caught using messaging that hurts autistic families.
Del Bigtree is once again caught using messaging that hurts autistic families.

Maybe he is agreeing that parents aren’t making a knee-jerk reaction, but more than anything, it sounds like he is just being polite.

He is certainly not agreeing with Del that there are no safety studies, that VAERS is a slopping system, or even that parents should blame themselves.

Not surprisingly, Del’s caught on tape claims were enough to satisfy his followers, who have already forgotten that he admitted to misleading them about VAERS reports. Hopefully, they soon realize that misinformation about vaccines is keeping them from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

More on Del Bigtree’s Caught on Tape Claim

Kennedy Has a Fundraiser in the Middle of the Largest and Longest Measles Outbreak in Recent New York History

Remember when Andrew Wakefield went to Minnesota during their large measles outbreak?

It’s reminiscent of the NRA holding one of their conventions in a city after a big shooting, isn’t it?

Kennedy Has a Fundraiser in the Middle of the Largest and Longest Measles Outbreak in Recent New York History

While it seemed like a big outbreak at the time, those 13 cases would actually be considered rather small these days. In fact, a more recent outbreak in Minnesota, in 2017, had at least 79 cases!

And not surprisingly, anti-vaccine folks also visited the state to try and keep that outbreak going!

Do these folks ever learn?

Flash forward to 2019…

Since September of 2018, New York has seen over 332 cases of measles in two big outbreaks in Brooklyn and Rockland County.

So where does Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. choose to go for a fundraiser?

Where does he show up on TV to push his message about vaccine dangers?

Yup, New York City.

Lori Stokes: “Can I switch gears for a minute and talk about vaccines…”

Kennedy: “When I was a kid, we got three vaccines. That I took. My kids got 64 mandated vaccines.”

Rosanna Scotto: “How many? 64?”

Kennedy: “64”

Rosanna Scotto: “Wow!”

Kennedy: “Mandated doses. Today’s kids get 72, by the end of next year it will be 75. It’s all driven by profit. Most of these diseases are illnesses that you don’t need to be vaccinated for. “

Fox 5 Good Day New York

Wow indeed. That sounds like a lot because kids typically only get 13 vaccines that protect them against 16 vaccine-preventable diseases. We don’t even have 64 vaccines!

You only get to a number like 64 or 72 or 75 if you inflate the count to make it sound scarier.

In reality, if you count a yearly flu vaccine, kids get about 54 doses of vaccines through age 18.

Are any for diseases that you don’t need to be vaccinated for?

Which disease do you want your kids to get?

Do you want them to get tetanus, meningitis, epiglottitis, diphtheria, meningococcemia, cancer (hepatitis B and HPV infections) or to have grandchildren with congenital rubella syndrome?

Vaccines are safe, with few risks, and are necessary.

Ask yourself why folks like this are still allowed to push this kind of misinformation on folks, especially in the middle of an outbreak.

More on Kennedy’s Fundraisers

Who’s Who in the Anti-Vaccine Movement – 2019 Edition

We know that there will always be some folks who won’t vaccinate their kids.

“Although many may characterize all individuals who eschew vaccines as “anti-vaccine” or “vaccine deniers,” in reality, there is a broad spectrum of individuals who choose not to have themselves or their children vaccinated.”

Tara C Smith on Vaccine Rejection and Hesitancy: A Review and Call to Action 

Who are these people?

Who’s Who in the Anti-Vaccine Movement – 2019 Edition

We used to conveniently call them anti-vaccine, but that doesn’t really work.

Well, it still does, as long as you understand who you are talking about.

The thing is, the folks who don’t vaccinate their kids exist on a spectrum, from those who just need a little extra reassurance (the worrieds) or a lot of extra reassurance (parents who are on the fence or vaccine-hesitant), to vaccine refusers (will likely vaccinate during an outbreak, etc.) and deniers who likely aren’t vaccinating their kids in any circumstance and who might try to persuade others to avoid vaccines too – the vocal vaccine deniers.

So you don’t really want to bunch them all up one big anti-vaccine group, especially when you are typically talking about the vocal vaccine deniers, many of whom believe that they have a child who was injured or damaged by a vaccine.

We are still missing some folks though…

No, I’m not talking about those who like to claim that they are pro-safe vaccines, pro-choice vaccines, or vaccine skeptics, just because they don’t want to be labeled as being anti-vaccine.

Bob Sears appeared on Fox & Friends in 2010 for the segment "Vaccines: A Bad Combination?"
Remember when Bob Sears appeared on Fox & Friends in 2010 for the segment “Vaccines: A Bad Combination?”

We need to talk about the:

These are the folks who push misinformation about vaccines that scares parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

Who's to blame for low immunization rates and continuing outbreaks?
Who’s to blame for low immunization rates and continuing outbreaks?

Do you know who I’m talking about it? Have you noticed that these folks never seem to face any consequences?

Who else do we need to talk about?

I remember speaking with my mother about vaccines, and at one point in our discussion, she claimed a link existed between vaccines and autism. In response, I presented evidence from the CDC which claimed directly in large bold letters, “There is no link between vaccines and autism.” Within the same article from the CDC on their official website, extensive evidence and studies from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) were cited. Most would assume when confronted with such strong proof, there would be serious consideration that your views are incorrect. This was not the case for my mother, as her only response was, “that’s what they want you to think.”

Ethan Lindenberger

There are also the folks who are pushing an anti-science agenda, making you think that mainstream doctors are bad and that anything holistic and natural must be good. Until the damage these folks are doing is seriously addressed, it won’t matter if we get a few anti-vaccine folks off of Amazon, Facebook and Pinterest.

Learn to be more skeptical. Do real research. Vaccinate your kids.

More on Who’s Who in the Anti-Vaccine Movement – 2019 Edition