NOTE: I'm a fan of the PBS News Hour and watched just last night. I was surprised and glad to see that Judy Woodruff was on screen at age 71. Her neck is wrinkled. Her eyes turn down a bit at the corners. Her dress fit her properly instead of a sausage casing as now worn by most female broadcasters. That said, PBS has been staunchly pro-vaccine and while paying lip service to vaccine safety and the general topic, comes down on the side of pharma and vaccines hard.
By Anne Dachel
Sept 26, 2017, PBS News Hour
PBS anchor Judy Woodruff and reporter Lisa Stark covered vaccine exemptions in an 8 and a half minute segment entitled, Vermont’s rules on vaccines for school met with parents’ support and pushback.
And while the piece seemed to cover the issue from both sides, in truth, it was intended to convince viewers that exempting parents are lazy and their children are a threat to the health of every other child in school.
From the start, Woodruff slanted the coverage to support vaccinations. The measles outbreak at Disneyland was cited first thing, and we were told that that parents are “still pushing back” despite the removal of non-medical exemptions in California.
We were shown a girl who was diagnosed with leukemia at age four and declared cancer-free by 2nd grade. Her mother, a doctor, was highly critical of exempting parents who would endanger her child’s immune compromised health. She said they shouldn't have a right to send their kids to school.
Another doctor was included who alleged that getting an exemption is easier for a parent than vaccinating a child. Finally one more doctor was cited who had worked to end Vermont’s philosophical exemption in 2015.
Two parents were included who claimed that they’d experienced vaccine injuries in their family, but the inference was that it was based on the opinion of mothers, not doctors.
In one part of the segment, the ‘Vaxxed” bus was shown from the outside and inside. ‘Vaxxed' producer Polly Tommey was shown on camera, but her name was never mentioned and it was described as “a bus that’s traveling the nation to promote an anti-vaccine documentary,” without ever saying the title, ‘Vaxxed.’
PBS is a leader in covering up the link between vaccines and injury. The one faux pas they made was back in 2011 when they had Dr. David Amaral, research director at the M.I.N.D Institute at UC-Davis, on PBS in a series by veteran reporter Robert MacNeil called “Autism Now.”
Dr. Amaral was asked if vaccines can cause autism:
"I think it's pretty clear that, in general, vaccines are not the culprit. There has been enough epidemiological evidence showing that if you look at children that receive the standard childhood vaccines that, if anything, those children are at slightly less risk of having autism than children that aren't immunized. And so, you know, I think it probably is a waste of effort at this time to try and understand vaccines as a major culprit for, or a major cause of, autism.
"It's not to say, however, that there isn't a small subset of children who may be particularly vulnerable to vaccines. And in their case, having the vaccines, or particular vaccines, particularly in certain kinds of situations -- if the child was ill, if the child had a precondition, like a mitochondrial defect. Vaccinations for those children actually may be the environmental factor that tipped them over the edge of autism. And I think it is incredibly important, still, to try and figure out what, if any, vulnerabilities, in a small subset of children, might make them at risk for having certain vaccinations."
Sadly today, it’s as if Amaral’s interview never happened.
So Woodruff and Stark did as all the mainstream media people do, they only gave viewers one side of the vaccine safety debate. Instead of a recognized and compensated victim of vaccine injury, we were shown a child who had had leukemia.
Instead of experts fairly covering the science from two sides, we only heard from two moms who are worried about vaccine safety up against three doctors and a nurse—all promoting vaccines as safe for everyone.
Instead of admitting that vaccines carry serious, even life-threatening risks for some children, as acknowledged by the federal government, we heard a doctor say, “They are extremely safe.”
Instead of naming the film, 'Vaxxed,' and telling us that it is about a CDC whistleblower who exposed massive fraud, corruption, and cover-up at the highest levels of government vaccine research, PBC referred to it merely as "an anti-vaccine documentary."
Instead of being told that all these medical people defending vaccines (and the vaccine makers) have absolutely no liability for any injury from vaccines, PBS SAID NOTHING ABOUT HOW EVERYONE HAS BEEN INDEMNIFIED.
From the broadcast:
Several states have tightened their immunization requirements, requiring children who attend school get vaccinated against preventable illnesses. But some parents who believe vaccines should be a personal choice are pushing back. Special correspondent Lisa Stark of Education Week reports from Vermont on a fight over immunization there.
“For some parents in the U.S., it’s a question in the fall: Should they vaccinate their children to send them to school? The American Academy of Pediatrics believes so and says that a measles outbreak that started at Disneyland a few years ago shows how fast childhood diseases can resurface if not enough children are protected.
“California and several states have since tightened their immunization requirements, but some parents are still pushing back.”
Lisa Stark of PBS partner Education Week reported from Vermont:
“Seven year old Merin Blake is a second grader at Champlain Elementary in Burlington, Vermont, a school her parents picked for her back in kindergarten, not because of class size or test scores, but based on how many students had all their vaccines.”…
Merin’s mother, a physician, didn’t want her in a schoolroom with unvaccinated kids. She was “aghast” when she checked vaccination rates at local schools. Merin was diagnosed with childhood leukemia at the age of four.
Stark: “Christine Finley runs the immunization program for the state of Vermont.
Finley: “If you don’t have a large percentage of the children vaccinated, then, basically, your shield isn’t going to work, because you have got places where a disease can begin to spread within a school.”
Stark: “”Finley says, by 2014, vaccine rates had dropped to alarming levels. At some public schools, as many as 20 percent of students without all the required shots, and at a dozen private schools, 50 percent not fully vaccinated.
“Vermont, like every state requires vaccines to attend school, but, like all states, allows exemptions.
“In every state, children can get waivers for medical reasons. 47 states permit families to skip vaccines for religious beliefs, 18 also allow for personal or philosophical exemptions. ...”
We were told that California’s vaccination rates jumped to the highest levels in 15 years after they removed anything but medical exemptions, “nearly 96 percent.” …
Dr. Daniel Salmon, Johns Hopkins University: “The problem is in many states, it’s easier to get an exemption than it is to vaccinate your child.”
We were told that parents merely sign a waiver in many states.
“Much less effort than getting children vaccinated.”
Salmon: “We’re starting to see communities where more and more parents are refusing vaccines.”
Stark: “Low vaccine rates in some communities are blamed for three large measles outbreaks in the past four years ...”
Stark then cited Ariel Brewer Louis (non-vaccinating mother). “She told her story onboard a bus that’s traveling the nation to promote an anti-vaccine documentary [‘Vaxxed’] and record vaccine testimonials.” Stark noted that Louis believes her brother was vaccine-injured, “according to their mother.”
Stark acknowledged past claims to a link between vaccines and autism “which have been discredited.”
Next Jennifer Stella, head of the Vermont Coalition for Vaccine Choice, was shown.
Stella: “I’m pro-choice. I think that everybody should have a choice—“
Stark: “Stella says her two children reacted badly after receiving several immunizations. Her son cried incessantly, stopped nursing and seized in her arms, and her daughter had head to toe rashes.”
Stella: “I don’t think vaccines are safe enough for my children.”
Stark: “Pediatrician Jill Rinehart says vaccines are extremely safe and effective.” …
Stark: “Rinehart and other doctors helped push the state to tighten Vermont’s vaccine laws. … In 2015, lawmakers eliminated the state’s philosophical exemption. Parents can still opt out for religious or medical reasons.”
When Brewer Louis was asked what her religious reason for exempting her child from vaccines, she said, “I don’t have a religious objection to vaccines, but that’s my only choice. And the way I see it, I have done my research, and there’s no way I am going to vaccinate my children to send them to school.”
Stark asked Merin’s mother, a doctor, about parents who say they should have the right to exempt their child. She said that if they used that right, “they also have to bear the burden of opting out of the benefits of organized education.”
The segment ended with the news that “Merin is considered cured of leukemia, and in August, was deemed healthy enough to resume her vaccines.”
(Clip showed Merin being vaccinated.)