By Anne Dachel
On August 27, CNN aired an exchange between news anchor Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta called, Vaccination myths vs. reality.
Sanjay Gupta: "[Measles] is very contagious. If kids are not vaccinated and they come in contact with it, they are going to get measles. ...And of a thousand kids that will get measles, about one to two will die of it."
Anderson Cooper: "And this misperception that vaccines cause autism has been around for awhile... Is there any reason not to get your child vaccinated?" Gupta
: "There is no reason not to get your child vaccinated...."
And the two of them continued to talk. Gupta infered the issue was only the number of antigens kids receive. Gupta:
"We used to do far more and we didn't see the rates of autism that we do now." Cooper:
"So people used to get more vaccines than they do now." Gupta:
"They used to create a more antibody response.... It's one of the areas of those areas of concern people have raised.... So the vaccines themselves, the schedule of vaccines themselves, the components of the vaccines themselves, none of these things seem to have a link to autism. And people need to say it that clearly. I think there's so much wishy washiness even among colleagues in the medical community: it's okay to delay vaccines. It's not okay because if your kid gets exposed during the time that you delayed that vaccine, you can get a very sick child from a preventable vaccine." Cooper:
"So why do you think this misperception is out there." Gupta:
"I think there's two reasons: one that there was this now widely discredited paper that came out in the late nineties, that made this astounding link. You and I both spoke to Dr. Wakefield about some of his findings at that time. He subsequently lost his medical license a few years ago. He probably had good intentions, Dr. Wakefield, but the science did not make any sense. There have been literally hundreds of studies that have looked at this questioning: Is there a link between vaccines and autism? The most recent one, ...looked at a thousand children, and this was the American Academy of Pediatrics, and really tried to follow these children out through years and put this notion to rest. And the American Academy of Pediatrics looking at this science...has been able to say that."
To the casual observer, it seems the science is in and non-vaccinating parents are putting their kids and everyone else at risk from a disease that could kill.
Look at what else these two have said about autism and vaccines.
April 4, 2008, CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviewed Dr. Jon Poling Gupta on Hannah Poling:
"Her case of autism diagnosis was conceded by the federal government as having been contributed to by vaccines. That was a pretty startling thing for a lot of people to her. ... Jon Poling:
"You bring up a very important point that the government, actually the department of Health and Human Services, conceded that my daughter's medical problems, which are autism, encephalopathy, seizures, were brought on by vaccination."
Anderson Cooper interviewed Dr. Andrew Wakefield on Jan. 5, 2011
Cooper called Wakefield's findings, "bogus data" and he said he "confronted" Dr. Wakefield. He accused Wakefield of fraud and cut him off at every opportunity. Wakefield told Cooper that the facts were in his book, Callous Disregard
. Cooper said he'd read what Brian Deer wrote and he rudely told Wakefield, "I'm not here to let you pitch your book."
Clearly, Cooper was not interested
in looking into both sides of this heated debate. He gave no indication that he'd read Callous Disregard or ever talked to a single parent of the children Wakefield treated.
Jan 5, 2011 Sanjay Gupta interviewed Dr. Wakefield
Wakefield strongly urged Gupta to read his book. "Please, I'll send you a copy. Take the book and read it. You will understand the truth."
I doubt if Dr. Gupta ever read Wakefield's book. In fact, he seems to have forgotten about his talk with Jon Poling. (Cooper seemed lost in the argument, as shown by the fact that he wondered if people used to get more vaccines than they do today.)
Looking back over the five years since the original interviews, things have only gotten worse as far as the press is concerned. Hannah Poling's story disappeared almost immediately and we certainly are never told about all the research raising serious concerns about vaccine side effects.
Right now the message is universal: VACCINES ARE SAFE AND UNVACCINATED CHILDREN THREATEN THE HEALTH OF EVERYONE..
It should be pointed out that back in 2008, the autism rate was one in every 150 children. Today, it's one in every 50. I'm sure Sanjay Gupta and Anderson Cooper aren't worried. Autism is never a problem at CNN.
Not be outdone, on August 28, Dr. Manny Alvarez at Fox News
talked about the measles outbreak in the story, Texas measles outbreak shows growing battle between parents and doctors.
"This problem is occurring for a number of reasons. First, parents are relying more on information they find on the Internet, and that information is sometimes not legitimate. Anyone with a computer can voice his or her opinions in public forums, and they often blog about personal experiences that may or may not be factual. Unfortunately, the reader doesn't know how to legitimize the content, and that is why it's very important for people to go to trusted websites to get medical information, whether you're talking about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, or even Fox News Health, where we interview medical physicians and opinion makers that can analyze information in a useful way.
"Secondly, I think there is a lot of distrust in the health care industry, especially when it comes to pharmaceutical companies, which have been vilified by a lot of folks. Many consumers see the health care industry as a for-profit operation that is not properly balancing the benefit-to-profit ratio it is expected to maintain, and they think these companies simply push drugs that are creating more harm than good. And yes, there are examples of medications that have been recalled after causing damage, but we have many systems in place to prevent that from happening as much as possible.
"Finally, you have to look at the rising levels of autism, GI intolerances, asthma and allergies that children are experiencing. People are becoming increasingly worried that the unregulated toxins in many of our products - whether you're talking about contaminated foods or disposable plastics - might be harming their children more than they think.
"But this atmosphere of worry and misinformation creates an environment in which children may not be getting the medical protection they need - especially when it comes to vaccinations - and that's going to create huge pockets of problems down the road. As with this measles outbreak in Texas, some of the infectious diseases we thought we had under control are going to start popping up again in significant numbers.
"My advice to worried parents is to gain confidence in your physician. You should work with your physician in order to find the best game plan for your family. And if you don't have a physician you can trust, then look around and find someone that makes you feel comfortable. We have to make the patient-doctor relationship a high priority once again.
"Also, stay informed, but always double check the facts, especially if you read them online. But most of all, please remember that there are some essential vaccines that protect children, and you should always consider them as the first line of defense for keeping your children safe."
I always marvel when doctors advise parents to talk to their physician if they're worried about vaccines. What do you think the doctor who makes a living vaccinating children and who has been trained to believe that a one-size-fits-all vaccine schedule is safe for every child is going to say? This same doctor has also heard endless times from the AAP, that "studies show no link." This is the same doctor who just had a pharma rep drop by that morning. It's also the doctor who has never asked who funded all the studies that show no link, nor has the doctor ever looked at the mounting research showing we all should be worried about what an ever-expanding vaccine schedule is doing to our children.
No matter, Dr. Manny makes it sounds like YOUR DOCTOR is going to have THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH ABOUT VACCINE SAFETY.
I remember back in 2010 Alvarez raised a lot of concerns
over vaccines and autism when he discussed the Hannah Poling concession with Alisyn Camerota.
Based on his own science, Alvarez claimed that it was just her "underlying mitochondrial disease--a type of genetic disease if you will--that got exacerbated by the vaccines." Camerota
: "Sure, but nobody knows how many other kids have that underlying mitochondrial..." Alvarez
: "That is true. ...Autism for a lot of parents...sometimes they don't even know when it really comes on. Was it right from the beginning? My son has autism ...at the age of two. Prior to that, when he was a year old, he acted like a normal baby.
"This is important. I think it's going to bring out a lot of interest because ... Perhaps it's going to create scenarios where we have to test children a little more careful before we start, sort of, giving them so many vaccines or exposing them to some types of diets. It's interesting. The funny thing is, nobody is saying that vaccines really created the autism. ..."
Camerota disagreed and referred to the "very fishy legal language" saying "it resulted in," instead of saying it caused autism. Alvarez
: "That's exactly right because they don't want an avalanche of other people...many, many cases have been dismissed, by the way. Parents who have sued the pharmaceutical industry and they have gotten nowhere."
It seems that Dr. Alvarez and Dr. Gupta don't really know what to do with a Hannah Poling. While they acknowledge the connection is real in HER CASE, they're quick to bury the story and never speak of it again. Instead of thorough, fair and balanced reporting, I guess we get selective journalism that only gives us what pharma wants us to hear.
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism.