By Dan Olmsted
The New York Times reports today that "Death rates in 13 diseases that can be prevented by childhood vaccinations are at all-time lows in the United States, according to a study released yesterday." The study is from the CDC, whose pronouncements the NYT treats with a reverence usually reserved for utterances from Mount Olympus. Sure, the agency is entitled to trumpet that information -- although the fact that many of these diseases were in precipitous decline due to better hygiene before vaccines were used might have provided useful context.
But must the Times continue to show its bias at every opportunity?
Here's the second-to-last paragraph. "In the United States, rumors of a link to autism and inflammatory blowel disease are most commonly attached to the measles vaccine, making it one that some parents avoid." I'm not sure that's even correct -- it's the MMR jumbo combo live virus cocktail they're avoiding, if in fact they are avoiding it in any significantly increased numbers ("some" is one of those suspiciously data-free words that means somewhere from three or four to a whole heck of a lot.)
And Dr. Paul Offit gets to slam parents concerned about vaccines -- more wealthy or middle class families are unwisely avoiding vaccines "presumably because their parents have read about side effects or visited one of the many anti-vaccine Web sites," as the Times puts it. Read about? Visited a Web site? How about, Watched their first child have a severe vaccine reaction, or their sister's kid develop autism right after his shots? The Times never listens to parents, just to their favored experts, so the whole idea that anything is going on "out there" seems like just a bunch of misleading words and Web addresses to them.
On Autism's Cause, it's The Times versus The Real World. (Yes, I'm sending up their infamous parents-vs.-research story -- this is more of the same.)
Since the Times didn't ask for a contrasting comment to Dr. Offit's, here is one they're free to use next time: "Concern that autism can be triggered by environmental factors including vaccines is not anti-vaccine," said Age of Autism Editor Dan Olmsted. "It is anti-autism. Discussion of the current vaccine schedule, and of vaccine ingredients, and of concerns about conflicts within the CDC, are perfectly appropriate topics for debate in a democratic society. Get used to it."