By Jake Crosby
"There are groups out there that insist that vaccines are responsible for a variety of problems despite all scientific evidence to the contrary. We have reached out to media outlets to try to get them to not give the views of these people equal weight in their reporting to what science has shown and continues to show about the safety of vaccines,” (HERE) according to HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, in her interview with Arthur Allen for The Reader’s Digest, on February 5th of this year. Sebelius basically admitted to pressuring media outlets to report disinformation to the public in place of information that does not support the safety of the government’s most heavily promoted drug. As shocking as this statement was the first time I read it, I honestly could have predicted such a scenario.
One year ago, I wrote a short post for Age of Autism entitled “History Suggests HHS Candidate Not Unbiased on Thimerosal-Vaccine Issue,” amidst the Brian Deer-concocted hysteria and the flurry over autism cases in vaccine court. It was written in response to a number of disturbing things I read at the time about members of her staff dismissing concerns about thimerosal when she was Governor of Kansas. I was disappointed with the lack of mobilization in response to my post, though the timing of her nomination was very unfortunate. What was especially disappointing was that she replaced Senator Tom Daschle, who helped kill the Homeland Security Rider that would have protected thimerosal manufacturers such as Eli Lilly from litigation.
Worst of all, I was right. When I first saw her interviewed for CBS by Katie Couric last year, Sebelius confirmed that she was biased when she insisted thimerosal was safe. I was disappointed, but not shocked. Now as it turns out, she not only believes thimerosal is safe, but is getting the media outlets to say so for her. The New York Times, The LA Times, The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, The Washington Post, TIME, Wired…I can only guess!
It goes without saying that the government is no more entitled to its share of media coverage than consumer groups are. That news reporters are even following through on the government’s demands is unacceptable and in violation of journalism ethics.
Government officials like Sebelius have also launched a very successful two-pronged campaign so far. The first is one of positive publicity and self-promotion, selling themselves as the “experts” in autism. In reality, public health officials are not experts in autism at all, and Sebelius’ specialty is in insurance, which means her background does not even give her the most vague knowledge about autism. Meanwhile, Paul Offit feigns authority in a favorite argumentative technique claiming, “Science is best left to scientists.” Yet the real scope of his knowledge is made clear on posts he had written for “Science”Blogs, in which he said he learned about autism primarily through newspapers and lay people with personal connections to the disorder.
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