Briefly, on Katie Couric and the HPV vaccine

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Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.

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12 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Aargh. Katie Cuoric is the latest celebrity to act as public health threat. News might be a commericial products these days but they still should have so responsibility to spread dangerous lies.Report

  2. Avatar North says:

    Anti-Vaxers enrage me like just about nothing else I know of. I’m not even very empathic or very deeply fond of kids but I see red on this subject.Report

  3. Avatar NewDealer says:

    What does the media get out of not-calling out anti-Vaxxers this is what I want to know.

    I can see why false equivalence exists of the kind of “Democratic politicians say X, Republicans say Y” variety of reporting. I don’t agree with it but I can see why playing this game is safe.

    For the life of me I can’t see why they are afraid to call anti-Vaxxers out on their woo. Offending Jenny McCarthy will probably not destroy a media empire.Report

    • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to NewDealer says:

      “Next Katie. Are anti-vaxxers putting your kids at risk from ancient diseases we once thought eradicated? Katie Couric explores how your kid might die because of stone-age thinking! It’s our big conversation.”

      That’s a better teaser, don’t you think?Report

    • Avatar North in reply to NewDealer says:

      Consider the alternatives:

      A: Media says “Anti-Vaxxers are fringe nuts driven by unhinged emotion on the part of the majority being exploited for financial gain by an unscrupulous minority with a dusting of true believer alternative medicine nuts hanging off the sides. Now observe as we present, in brief, the overwhelming scientific consensus on the subject of vaccines. ”

      Outcome: Anti-Vaxxers flail and squeal but have no serious clout and thus quickly perish and fizzle as an ideology surviving only as a fringe internet phenomena. Anti-vaxxers cease to be a story that draws eyeballs. There is no controversy, no interest. The yawning maw of the media market yawns… it must be fed. Sweating journalists must labor to find evermore content to feed the endless hunger of that maw.

      B: Media says “Anti-Vaxxers have some unorthodox ideas on the subject of vaccines. Media assumes mantle of balance. Since anti-Vaxxers are fringe nuts driven by unhinged emotion on the part of the majority being exploited for financial gain by an unscrupulous minority with a dusting of true believer alternative medicine nuts hanging off the sides the media tilts the scales for them so they can actually stand up to the pro-vaccine bias of reality. Scientists who are invited to rebute anti-vaxx lines are outnumbered or treated as only giving their opinions. Vaccine vs. Anti-Vaccine is spun as a pair of diverging opinions instead of a question of facts vs. not facts.

      Outcome: There is no resolution. Anti-Vaxxers endure. With the media’s tacit aid they continue as a force. Controversy continues to fester, debates rage, many serious journalists produce many serious chin stroking pieces on the subject. Innocent children drown in their own mucus, writhe as their muscles spasm and cough until their rib cages collapse as a result of the howling ignorance and disinformation spewed by the anti-vaxx crowd producing yet more media stories. Much grist is generated to be shoveled into the insatiable maw of the media beast. Journalists must labor slightly less strenuously to feed the endless hunger of the beast which must be fed.

      Now if you were a soulless coke encrusted media exec which outcome would you favor?Report

  4. Avatar Darwy says:

    I am simply aghast at Katie’s utter lack of professionalism and journalistic ethics. The ‘two sides’ gambit is tired and worn – and she neglected to interview folks who have lost loved ones to HPV and cervical cancer.

    Don’t their voices matter, Katie?Report

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