NOTE: When you read the word "debunk" you know you've stumbled across an article about vaccines and autism.
By Anne Dachel
I've long said this about Andy Wakefield: THE MEDIA ENDLESSLY TALKS ABOUT HIM.......AND NO ONE WILL TALK TO HIM.
Andy has told me a number of times that no one in the media will interview him.
They have a carefully scripted way of presenting this. Robert Kennedy, Jr. is to be handled the same way Wakefield is, that is as a dangerous purveyor of fraudulent claims about vaccines. There is no need to listen to a word they have to say.
This is phony journalism. Since when do reporters NOT WANT TO TALK TO THE MAJOR PLAYERS IN ANY CONTROVERSY?
WHY DON'T WE HEAR DIRECTLY FROM ROBERT KENNEDY? WHY DOESN'T ANYONE TALK TO ANDREW WAKEFIELD?
WHAT ARE THEY AFRAID THEY MIGHT SAY?
Here at the Pacific Standard, the message is: Robert Kennedy is totally off the mark. His views aren't even worthy of consideration. They're dismissed as "myths" and "folklore."
So why doesn't David Perry confront Kennedy with his charges against him? Why doesn't he talk to Kennedy so he can quote him first-hand? What does he think a reporter's job is all about?
Instead Perry interviews an English professor who compares the link between vaccines and autism to folklore.
Of course, Perry starts out denying ANY increase in autism. "... there is no autism epidemic, or that the increase, as recently explained by NOS Magazine, is due to changes in how we diagnose the condition." Kennedy's $100,000 challenge as phony.
(And my personal challenge to Perry: If there's been no real increase in autism, please show me the 40, 60, and 80 year olds who look and act like our kids on the spectrum.)
March 6, 2017, Pacific Standard: How to Debunk Myths About Autism
An interview with Andrea Kitta about anti-vaccination, fake news, and the academic discipline that’s seen it all before.
By David Perry
Beyond the White House, alarmism over vaccines has wealthy and powerful proponents. It used to be Jenny McCarthy leading the Hollywood antivax league, but now Robert de Niro has taken the spotlight. He and Kennedy recently offered $100,000 to anyone who could prove vaccine safety to their satisfaction (which will never happen). No matter how many studies prove otherwise, and like so many other issues for which there is scientific consensus (global warming, evolution, etc.), anti-vaccine hysteria feels impervious to facts.
How do we fight back? I put that question to Andrea Kitta, associate professor of English at East Carolina University. Kitta is the author of Vaccinations and Public Concern in History: Legend, Rumor, and Risk Perception, a book that applies her expertise as a folklorist to the spread of anti-vaccination myths. Alas, she is not optimistic.
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism.