By Dan Olmsted
There's a moment in the 1950 movie Born Yesterday where the malaprop-prone Judy Holliday says, "This country and its institutions belong to the people who inhibit it." I'm starting to think Judy got that exactly right.
It's hard to conclude otherwise after this week's Columbia Journalism Review piece that singled out me and AOA (flattered, to tell you the truth), and said we were mangy dogs, all right, but that even balanced coverage of the vaccine-autism debate is, effectively, killing babies. It reminds me of the time after 9/11. If you criticized the invasion of Iraq, the terrorists win. If you didn't go shopping, the terrorists win.
Why not just root for the terrorists since about anything you did or didn't do would help them win? It's more straightforward that way.
Nowadays, if you echo, let's say, Darrell Issa or Elijah Cummings or the late great Bernadine Healy, not to mention Andy Wakefield, and ask questions about vaccines and autism or even, apparently, quote those people disapprovingly, the babykillers win. Perhaps the most exotic babykiller allegation I came across was the idea that Susan Dominus's whack job on Andy Wakefield in The New York Times shouldn't have been published either -- even viciously anti-anti-vaccine attack pieces kill babies by continuing to bring up the subject.
Seriously, they do! Paul Raeburn said so on the Knight Journalism at MIT blog in 2011:
"So why would the Times do this story now?
"Here's why not to do it: I believe that this story will prompt more parents to refuse to vaccinate their children. Some of those children will suffer or die from illnesses that the vaccines would have prevented.