By Anne Dachel
Read Anne's commentary and view the links after the jump. The Dachel Media Update is sponsored by Aperture International.
This is how the CDC rally was covered by CBS in Atlanta. (The story has been picked up in several places.) CBS Atlanta Reporter Dante Renzulli approached this in the most irresponsible manner. He presented the most heated controversy in pediatric medicine as if it's the first time he'd heard about it. He'd done no background on this or he wouldn't have brought up "thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative" and William Thompson's claim that thimerosal causes autism, which surfaced last summer. (Thompson's MMR study showing a greater susceptibility to regressive autism in black boys wasn't included. The truth about events at the CDC vaccine division have been trivialized and misrepresented. Thompson is described as a "former" CDC employee.)
This debate is merely a curiosity to the news industry. Autism isn't important. It's certainly nothing officials are worried about. A bunch of conspiracy-minded parents shouting in front of the CDC don't deserve to be taken seriously. They couldn't possibly know what they're talking about. (Notice how Renzulli pronounces the word "thimerosal.") For whatever reason--fear, sloppy reporting, pressure from advertisers/doctors--members of the press universally fail our children every single day.
Anchor: "More than a hundred people waved signs and shouted at scientists and doctors. They're angry at what some call a vaccine conspiracy.
Reporter: "All day long, people have been out on this corner shouting derogatory things about the CDC and accusing them of being a corrupt organization."
Marcella Piper-Terry: "That's too much corruption. Too much conflict of interest, and our children are paying the price."
Reporter: ". . . a supposed link between vaccines and autism, and the protestors think there is some kind of cover-up to keep the public from finding out.
"Protesters are worried about THIMEROSAL, a mercury-based preservative that’s supposed to keep the vaccines bacteria free. . . .
Reporter: "The controversy was stirred up about a year ago, when a former CDC scientist named William Thompson, claimed the additive causes autism. Since then very few others in the medical field have agreed with him, which is something the protesters explain as a conspiracy.
Mother: "The CDC did a study. They know that they are harming children. They will not admit the truth. "
Reporter: "We asked the CDC what they think about all of this, but they wouldn't comment on the issue, only saying they respect the right of the protesters to express their views.
"So is there anything to this? We went to experts at Emory Hospital who were not directly involved, to get their take on whether there is anything to worry about."
Doctor: "Actually, we have looked at this phenomena, that vaccines are often a victim of their own success."
Reporter: "We'll have those answers at six."
Anchor: "Right now, protesters are gathering near the entrance of Atlanta's CDC, calling for the government to investigate certain vaccines they think, have harmful side effects.
...Dante, what are the concerns there?"
Reporter: "Well, Kim, the people you see out here waving signs and shouting into bullhorns are worried that there is a link between vaccines and autism. They're here in front of the CDC because they're trying to get the attention of people in charge of giving out the shots to the public to tell them their complaints, which is with any vaccines that contain something called thimerosal. There's currently a conspiracy theory about a cover-up at the CDC. They think a preservative meant to kill bacteria, is actually causing autism, and the CDC is okay with that for whatever reaso
"Now this is not a theory supported by mainstream medical science, and not one that the CDC is in agreement with."
Marcella Piper-Terry: "Doctors are relying on the CDC in order to make recommendations for their patients. When the science is corrupt, doctors can't make good decisions."
Reporter: "I asked that woman why she thought a government body like the CDC would want to deliberately cover up a link between vaccines and autism, and she thinks it has something to do with business interests. She said the people who make vaccines, make a lot of money, and she thinks they're able to influence government to look the other way when it comes to research. Now this all started last year when a doctor at the CDC proclaimed himself as a whistleblower. His name is William Thompson. He said that there's a link between vaccines and autism, specifically a higher rate in African American children.
"We're going to be speaking with doctors at Emery Hospital later this afternoon to see if they think there's anything to worry about."
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Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism and author of The Big Autism Cover-Up: How and Why the Media Is Lying to the American Public, which is on sale now from Skyhorse Publishing.