Note: The New York Times would recommend driving a Pinto while smoking unfiltered Camels on your way to the pharmacy to fill your VIOXX scrip, given the opportunity. Thanks to Adriana for sharing the blog of Jeremy Hammond and this thoughtful piece about continuing to support the dismal failure that is the 2017/18 flu season vaccine.
A recent New York Times article on the influenza vaccine provides a useful case study in how the mainstream media manufacture consent for the CDC’s public vaccine policy by systematically misinforming the public about the science.
The way the US mainstream media typically frame the issue of vaccines, you are essentially either a firm advocate of public vaccine policy, or you are “anti-science”. The media applies the derogatory label “anti-vaxxer” to all those who dare question the wisdom of the vaccine recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The result is that there is no serious discussion being had today about vaccines in the mainstream discourse.
And there is a discussion to be had. Journalists have a moral duty to properly inform the public about critically important issues such as this one. Yet the mainstream media have disgracefully failed to do so. Not only do establishment media organizations like the New York Times and Washington Post fail to educate, but they systematically misinform readers about vaccines.
If there is just one thing about the vaccine issue that you need to understand, it is arguably this: What public health officials and the media say science says about vaccines and what science actually tells us about vaccine safety and effectiveness are two completely different things.
A recent New York Times article titled “Why It’s Still Worth Getting a Flu Shot” provides an instructive example. In it, Aaron E. Carroll, a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine and regular Times blogger, argues that science tells us the answer to the question of whether you should get an annual flu shot is unambiguously “Yes”. As Carroll tells it, the science shows that the influenza vaccine is extraordinarily safe, and therefore even in years such as this one when officials admit the vaccine is highly ineffective, it still confers a great benefit to society.
The lesson we are supposed to learn is that we should strictly adhere to the CDC’s recommendation that everyone aged six months and up should get a flu shot every year.
However, in order to lead his readers to this desired conclusion, Carroll greatly deceives them about what science has to say about the safety and effectiveness of the influenza vaccine—including by grossly misrepresenting his own sources from the medical literature. Apart from his sources contradicting his claims, Carroll pretends as though there isn’t a huge and growing body of scientific evidence that, if widely known to the public, would shake the very foundations of the government’s public vaccine policy. Read more and bookmark Hammond's site.