Tag: journalism jail

Lou Dobbs on Vaccines

What does Lou Dobbs and vaccines know about vaccines?

Like Larry King, Lou Dobbs used to be on CNN.

Lou Dobbs, with a degree in economics, used to focus more on business issues, unlike King, who interviewed politicians and people in the entertainment industry.

They had some crossover in that they both seem to like conspiracy theories.

And they both did some shows with an anti-vaccine focus.

For Larry King, of course, it was usually the shows that featured Jenny McCarthy.

Lou Dobbs went a different route.

On his show Lou Dobbs Tonight, he pushed the false idea that “illegal aliens” were fueling outbreaks of disease in the United States:

The invasion of illegal aliens is threatening the health of many Americans. Highly-contagious diseases are now crossing our borders decades after those diseases had been eradicated in this country.

He warned that “there are rising fears that once eradicated diseases are now returning to this country through our open borders. Those diseases are threatening the health of nearly every American as well as illegal aliens themselves.”

While Dobbs typically talked about leprosy, others blame measles and outbreaks of other vaccine-preventable diseases on undocumented immigrants.

Lou Dobbs also featured so-called “vaccine watchdog” Barbara Loe Fisher in a story about “Forced Vaccinations” in 2009.

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Larry King on Vaccines

Most pediatricians can remember the increase in calls to their office from scared parents after these Larry King Live shows, such as when:

  • Bill Maher appeared in 2005 saying the flu shot is dangerous because it contains mercury and that getting  “a flu shot is the worst thing you can do”
  • Jenny McCarthy appeared in April 2008 to discuss vaccines and autism
  • Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey appeared in April 2009 to discuss vaccines and autism

Like Oprah and some others, Larry King has provided a high profile platform for many anti-vaccine celebrities and “to promote anti-vaccine pseudoscience.”

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Sharyl Attkisson on Vaccines

Sharyl Attkisson was an investigational reporter for CBS News.

She is best known for defending Andrew Wakefield and promoting a connection between vaccines and autism.

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The Donahue Show and Vaccines

Donahue, hosted by Phil Donahue, was a hit daytime talk show that ran from 1970 to 1996.

Much like Oprah, Donahue provided an outlet for those with anti-vaccine ideas to push their views.

In 1983, Donahue had a segment on the side effects of vaccines, in which a pediatrician said that the risks of vaccines weren’t worth the benefits.

And in addition to Robert Mendelsohn, Donahue is famous for hosting Lisa Bonet of The Cosby Show fame, back in 1990, when she said that vaccines could:

introduce alien microorganisms into our children’s blood and the long-term effects which could be trivial or they could be quite hazardous – and they could just be allergies or asthma or sleep disorders or they could be cancer, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

It’s very scary and it’s very serious and I think because I felt wrong doing it… that’s why I didn’t do it.

You know we have to think twice.

You know why are our kids getting these diseases?

We know that vaccines don’t cause allergies, asthma, cancer, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, or SIDS, and it is worrisome that she would scare people like that on a national TV show.

We also know why our kids are getting vaccine-preventable diseases – it is because they aren’t fully vaccinated.

In the 1980s, Phil Donahue “used his powerful position on television to publicize the theory that DPT vaccine (for dipththeria, pertussis, and tetanus) induced seizures and neurological damage in children who received it.”

It didn’t.

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Katie Couric and Vaccines

Katie Couric is a famous journalist that has worked for ABC, CBS, and NBC News.

She also co-hosted the Today show (1991-2006) and hosted her own daytime talk show Katie.

Along the way, she has managed to do more than a few reports that have been characterized as antivaccine, irresponsible, and fear mongering.

Although most people are talking about her recent segment on the HPV vaccine when they talk about her irresponsible reporting, it is important to remember that she also did a segment on Now with Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric about DPT “hot lots” in 1994.

The idea of hot lots relied on reports to VAERS and was pushed by the NVIC anti-vaccine group.

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