By Anne Dachel
Read Anne's commentary and view the links after the jump. The Dachel Media Update is sponsored by Aperture International.
Josephine B. Yurcaba at Bustle.com featured comedian John Oliver's views on vaccine safety in piece on Nov 29, 2015, entitled, What Has John Oliver Said About Vaccinations? His Reason For Supporting Them Is Simple
The vaccination debate has resurfaced in the last year because a number of the Republican presidential candidates have supported the medically false and dangerous idea that vaccines can cause autism. ...
Science has repeatedly disproven any link between vaccines and autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ....
Oliver has never done an episode about vaccinations, but he put any worry that he might be an "anti-vaxxer" to rest with a simple and hilarious photo that his show, Last Week Tonight, posted to Facebook: "Last Week Tonight is proudly sponsored by vaccines! Vaccines: They work, dummies!"
...So, Oliver left vaccines out of that big pharma episode for a reason, and shared his views via the straightforward photo for a reason: vaccines just work. Duh.
Yurcaba explained that while Oliver might make the pharmaceutical industry his target when he's talking about the marketing of drugs, when it comes to vaccines, he has nothing critical to say. He's willing to believe the CDC when they say their vaccines are safe.
It's interesting that John Oliver was on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart for eight years starting in 2006. Stewart was one of the few media outlets that gave air time to Robert Kennedy, Jr in 2005 when he wrote the piece Deadly Immunity, about the effects of thimerosal use in vaccines. Too bad Oliver wasn't with Stewart at the time. He might have learned something.
The Daily Show/Jon Stewart, July 20, 2005 Robert Kennedy, Jr on vaccines with thimerosal http://www.cc.com/video-clips/uwf623/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-robert-f--kennedy--jr-
Robert Kennedy, Jr.: "Between 1989 and 2003, almost all of our vaccines included a material called thimerosal, which breaks down to form mercury. It was a preservative, it was unnecessary to add to the vaccines, and we saw during that period a dramatic increase in neurological disorders among American children.
"Today one in every six American children, born during that period, has some kind of neurological disorder: speech delay, language delay, dyslexia, and at the opposite end of the range, autism. Autism rates in 1988, before they started adding all these vaccines, one in every 2,500 children had autism. Today, one in every 166 children have autism. And there is very, very strong science, really overwhelming science, linking those autism rates to the thimerosal that was in the vaccines.
"The thimerosal, people should know, has been removed from most of the vaccines in America. We still have it in the flu vaccine and one or two other, but we are still giving it to children all over the world. There has now been a dramatic increase in the Third World in autism rates. A few years ago, six years ago, autism was unknown in China, today, we started giving them our vaccines in 1999, today there's 1.8 million cases of autism in China.
"...If you actually read the science--which most journalists don't do--the science is overwhelming that there is a link between the autism and the thimerosal."
Jon Stewart then asked why, if this link has been shown to be true, do officials continue to defend the use of thimerosal. "Why are they fighting so hard? Is it purely to save their asses, or are they concerned about people then rejecting vaccines in general, and then the public health suffers?..."
Kennedy: "There appear to be two concerns: One is the pharmaceutical industry is terrified of litigation. This is literally trillions of dollars... There's also a concern with the scientists at CDC, and at FDA..."
Kennedy cited former U.S Congressman Dave Weldon (who's also an MD, by the way), and posed the question, "How many of us would want to admit that a decision we made had poisoned a whole generation of American children?..."
Kennedy continued, "What I've been saying is, people are going to be frightened about vaccines if they don't the federal regulators to be honest with the American people. And the biggest threat to our vaccine program is that these people have now been caught red-handed conspiring to hide this information from the American people."
Stewart asked Kennedy about what happened to ABC's plan to air his report on vaccines with mercury called, Deadly Immunity.
Kennedy: "ABC told us theyhad read the piece, ...they told us they believed in the story, that they were behind it. They wanted to be the network to expose this to the American people. The night before the piece aired, I received a call from the producer saying, 'ABC has cancelled the piece; the order came from higher ups at the network. They won't explain why they're doing it.'
"Two days later, ABC was deluged with letters from the autism community, mainly mothers who have autistic kids, hundreds and hundreds of emails--this is what the producer told me-- and he said, we are no longer going to cancel it, we're now going to air it. We're going to recut it.
"They recut the show, but they recut it to make it virtually an advertisement for the pharmaceutical industry.
"And as if to emphasize the capitulation to Big Pharma, they bracketed the segment that they did on thimerosal with two ads for pharmaceutical products."
Jon Stewart ended the interview saying "it seems there must be something there," when it comes the dangers of mercury use in vaccines.
What a stunning contrast between these two satirists. While Stewart recognized that there are reasons to be skeptical about vaccine safety claims that come to us from heavily conflicted health agencies, Oliver believes whatever he's told.
Just who is the dummy, Mr. Oliver?
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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.