Dateline's shot at vaccines

Contributed by
Sep 2, 2009

On Monday, NBC aired an episode of "Dateline" about the manufactured controversy over vaccines and autism. They had on Andrew Wakefield -- the guy who started the whole antivax movement with his widely discredited and embarrassing paper falsely linking them -- as well as Brian Deer, the journalist who dug up a lot of Wakefield's shady history, and Paul Offitt, a doctor who researches vaccines.

I missed the show, dagummit. But a lot of people have been talking about it. I figure you know what my take is on this issue by now, so instead of railing once again against people who'd rather see babies fall ill to preventable diseases than vaccinate them, I'll link to the others who have commented:

SkepticDad, who felt the show was weak;

Orac, who is predictably and correctly angry about the idea of balance in scientific and health issues;

Consumerist and Psychology Today;

MSNBC has links about the show itself; and

LizDitz, which is a metalink because she has lots of links on her site to others who wrote about the show, too.

I'm glad the mainstream press is noticing, but I wish they would give up their false notion of balance when it comes to matters of reality. People can and should disagree on political matters, but when it comes to testable claims and provably fallacious health hazards like antivaxxers, that sense of balance can lead to an outbreak of illness and even deaths... things which can be prevented by a simple vaccination.

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