Below is a letter from the Amerian Academy of Pediatrics to the President of Delta Airlines. Apparently, Delta Airlines has decided to continue to show the video in question.

Dear Mr. Anderson,

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) objects to the paid advertisement/public service message from the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) being shown throughout the month of November on Delta’s in-flight programming. The ad urges viewers to become informed about influenza and how to stay well during the flu season without resorting to the influenza vaccine.

While hand washing and covering sneezes are parts of a larger strategy to prevent the spread of influenza, influenza vaccine continues to be the best way to protect against the disease. It is especially important in enclosed settings where disease droplets can easily spread to passengers sitting in close quarters, especially infants and children and those with special health care needs.

The AAP and many other child health organizations have worked hard to protect children and their families from unfounded and unscientific misinformation regarding vaccine safety. The influenza vaccine is safe and effective.

By providing advertising space to an organization like the NVIC, which opposes the nation’s recommended childhood immunization schedule and promotes the unscientific practice of delaying or skipping vaccines altogether, you are putting the lives of children at risk, leaving them unprotected from vaccine-preventable diseases. Diseases like influenza can have serious consequences. From September 2010 to August 2011, 115 children died from influenza disease, most of whom were unvaccinated.

The AAP’s 60,000 member pediatricians urge you to remove these harmful messages, which fail to inform the public about the safety and efficacy of influenza vaccine. Please do your part to help reassure parents that vaccinating their children is the best way to protect them from influenza disease, particularly during this busy travel season.

Please sign this petition.

Comments

  1. #1 Narad
    November 13, 2011

    Apparently, Delta Airlines has decided to continue to show the video in question.

    It’s unclear to me how feasible it would be to do otherwise. Unless you want to engender ill will from everyone else who bought time on this month’s Lifestyle 365 (not to mention the make-goods), I imagine IMA would have to supply a recut version and it’s going to have to be loaded on all of the fleet planes that carry it. I presume Delta has a fairly carefully worked out schedule for this task already. Where does it happen? Who does it? Are they in the right place? Etc.

  2. #2 Narad
    November 13, 2011

    Forgive me for replying to myself, but a bit of casting around turns up the following from 11 months ago:

    According to Sky Magazine, “Digital media loading takes place between the 25th and the 5th of each month.”

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    November 13, 2011

    I view the offending video sequence as a health hazard that has to be removed as one would remove rotten chicken from the galley or rats from the luggage area.

    Having it there to begin with is astonishingly bad judgement and demonstrates the degree to which our society has utterly failed to keep science and rational thinking in the forefront. I wonder if woo and idiotic thinking of this kind will eventually creep into the cockpit procedures and safety related activities.

  4. #4 Narad
    November 13, 2011

    Rotten chicken, however, is not removed from the galley by way of emergency landing. Look, I hold NVIC in as low regard as anybody, but this isn’t about “society,” it’s about something that got past IMA. There’s nothing astonishing about it.

    Delta’s stated response has been to insert a spot for ECBT in December, and one can reasonably hope that NVIC isn’t going to worm their way into the IFE for any of IMA’s other clients anytime soon. Keeping rational thinking in the forefront would seem to include taking account of what is a reasonable constellation of outcomes. That’s not a suggestion that one should refrain from making as big a stink as possible to turn NVIC’s efforts back against them.

    I haven’t gone so far as to request a rate card in bad faith from IMA, but from what I’ve found lying around, I’m guessing that the make-goods would be around a quarter of a million for the rest of the month if they could happen instantly, which they can’t. Delta still isn’t in the black after three bad years. It’s not going to happen.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    November 13, 2011

    Again, I don’t care. If Delta is in the black or not is not of any interest to me. It may or may not be reasonable to insist that they pull the video this very second vs. on the next cycle of when they would normally do it, but it is not impossible to not show it. I’ve been on airplanes before. What is shown on the monitor is not controlled by some computer on an island somewhere sending signals via satellites to all the planes. The flight crew press a button. They can go backwards and forwards and skip parts.

    Of course, what you say SOUNDS pretty smart with all those undefined acronyms and obscure references to industry inside stuff that you seem to know about. So maybe you’re right. But I don’t think so.

  6. #6 Narad
    November 14, 2011

    If I may work backward:

    Of course, what you say SOUNDS pretty smart with all those undefined acronyms and obscure references to industry inside stuff that you seem to know about.

    OK, you know what NVIC is. I’m sorry about IMA (In-Flight Media Associates, the suppliers of Lifestyle 365) and ECBT (Every Child by Two); I took them to be in general circulation with respect to this topic. I have no “inside” knowledge, just a passing familiarity with the businesses.

    It may or may not be reasonable to insist that they pull the video this very second vs. on the next cycle of when they would normally do it,

    That’s already been done, assuming NVIC intended to run it for more than a month to start with. The cost of this exercise on their part is what got me interested to start with.

    but it is not impossible to not show it.

    The question is whether it’s possible to redact it. More below.

    I’ve been on airplanes before. What is shown on the monitor is not controlled by some computer on an island somewhere sending signals via satellites to all the planes. The flight crew press a button. They can go backwards and forwards and skip parts.

    In-flight entertainment isn’t generally monolithic any more. Even if it were, would you really want a flight attendant devoted to monitoring the playback to find the right moment to fast-forward? With video on demand, one does have a substantial central server, so it depends on the ability to control the source files. Can the various flight crews do this on an easy ad hoc basis? Perhaps. I just doubt it, strongly in the case of the individual piece, and vaguely in the case of the entire half-hour segment. I am aware that these systems can provide expanded options to premium cabins and thus limit them as well, but I don’t know about the on-the-fly (no pun) adjustment of what is actually an avionic system.

  7. #7 Greg laden
    November 14, 2011

    I just do not believe that a major airline in designing its in flight video service, did not consider that for legal, technical, or marketing related reasons the possibility that there would need to be a technical way to remove, insert, or reorder content.

    If they really did design an un-fixable system, again, that is their problem (just at are their budget issues). What they are doing is harmful at the lives-lost level. They can no longer claim to be an airline interested in safety if they are effectively encouraging people to skip the flu vaccine as flu season is on us.

  8. #8 Dr. Spock
    November 14, 2011

    Greg, you can try to talk as fancy as you want, use fancy big words, but you still come throught as a babbling nincompoop. There is such a thing as freedom of choice and freedom of speech. You are interfering both. So what if they show that message, it is people’s right to choose. The AAP is blocking the NVIC’s right, whether true or not, of telling people what they believe. Should we block the KKK’s right to speech, the religious organizations right to speech, the black panthers’, Farrakhan’s, YOUR’s, because one thing any of these groups says goes againts me and my believe. If you are so passionate about vaccine’s anything NVIC says, you ignore it. Just like people that see “get your flu shot” ads ignore those. We all have the freedom of choice and speech. You want to take both away because of an ad? move out of the country dude, go to Cuba.

  9. #9 Narad
    November 14, 2011

    The AAP is blocking the NVIC’s right, whether true or not, of telling people what they believe.

    Speculations about the IFE system aside, this is simply stupid. DL has as much right to not air NVIC’s tripe as NVIC has to peddle it and the AAP has to complain about it, and the First Amendment comes into play exactly nowhere. You can complain about “rights” when Babs Fisher is denied a permit to march up and down the street wearing a sandwich board in Tysons Corner.

  10. #10 Andrew
    November 14, 2011

    Spock:

    “We all have the freedom of choice and speech.” Then why are you calling for the censorship of the AAP – do they not have the right to speak out against something that they disagree with?

  11. #11 Dev
    November 14, 2011

    Freedom of speech is not absolute and it does not cover private space. Freedom of speech only covers speech given in a public forum. Last time I checked, an airline is a private space unless the airline is acting as a governmental contractor. Also, there are many cases where freedom of speech in a public forum has not been upheld because the speech may insight violence or cause injury. The federal government can regulate airlines through the Commerce Clause. A court may find that the misinformation spread by these films is harmful to a captive audience and therefore should not be shown.

    The law is a lot more complicated than the average citizen thinks.

  12. #12 Greg Laden
    November 14, 2011

    Well, the airline has already taken away their Second Amendment Rights, so they might as well take away their First Amendment Rights!

    Fifth Amendment too, probably.

  13. #13 Narad
    November 14, 2011

    The federal government can regulate airlines through the Commerce Clause. A court may find that the misinformation spread by these films is harmful to a captive audience and therefore should not be shown.

    Yah. I think an FAA version of the Fairness Doctrine, which is about the best one could hope for under this odd scenario, is a ways off.

    The law is a lot more complicated than the average citizen thinks.

    I’ll say.

  14. #14 Dev
    November 14, 2011

    The Constitution does not apply to private space; which is the legal status of an airplane owned by a private company. Companies can do whatever they want as long as it isn’t deemed so egregious by the courts as to warrant regulation. The Constitution does not apply to private actors directly. The government can regulate private actors through the Commerce Clause only.

    There is an argument to be made, however, for the illegality of the intrusive scanners at airports. The TSA is a government agency working inside a private institution. It could be considered sufficiently intertwined with government so as to warrant a Fourth Amendment protection.

    All of this being said, laws are intended to be vague. They are written this way so that they can be interpreted in whatever way the judge(s) want them to be interpreted. This is no different with the Constitution. We learn this during the first year of law school. Law is all about stroking the fur of the judge(s) and jury(ies) in the right way so that they rule in your favor. All too often the judges will take this ambiguity and use it as an opportunity to push a certain political (usually conservative) agenda. Be wary of the legal system; it isn’t what most people think it is. This is not some conspiracy theory. Take a look at the hearsay rules in the Federal Rules of Evidence; in particular, Rules 801 – 807. The instruction for my Evidence final exam is, find a rule that gets the provided piece of evidence admitted for trial. My evidence professor has said that any piece of evidence, no matter if its hearsay or circumstantial, can be admitted by one of the rules in this section.

  15. #15 Dev
    November 14, 2011

    Oh, and a few more things:

    Where does it say in the Constitution that we have the “freedom on choice?” I must have missed that in my Constitutional Law class.

    And finally; it could be argued that a person acting on misinformation is not acting freely. There are reasons why misinformation and misrepresentation are considered scientific misconduct when recruiting participants for experiments; one of those reasons being that people making the choice of participating based on misinformation and misrepresentation, are not making an educated decision and therefore are not making a free choice.

  16. #16 Narad
    November 14, 2011

    There is an argument to be made, however, for the illegality of the intrusive scanners at airports. The TSA is a government agency working inside a private institution. It could be considered sufficiently intertwined with government so as to warrant a Fourth Amendment protection.

    What, pray tell, does this digression have to do with your previous assertion that a “court may find that the misinformation spread by these films is harmful to a captive audience and therefore should not be shown”?

  17. #17 Dev
    November 14, 2011

    Read Greg’s comment 12 above. He was talking about rights being stripped away by the airlines. He references the fifth amendment; which is the due process clause. I think he was referring to the fourth amendment, protection against search and seizure; since the fifth amendment wouldn’t make sense. So, in summary, I was addressing Greg’s comment.

  18. #18 Greg Laden
    November 14, 2011

    No, I said fifth and I meant fifth! Of course, my comment was tongue in cheek, and my reference to the 5th amendment violation is when the airlines sit on the tarmac for five hours for no good reason and everyone in the plane is effectively Gitmo’d without due process.

  19. #19 Dev
    November 14, 2011

    My apologies.

  20. #20 Ken
    November 18, 2011

    NVIC may have paid as much as $49,000 to show the three min video in November. ECBT contracted last summer to air its own video in December.

  21. #21 Cindy
    December 19, 2011

    I saw the NIVC video. I did not interpret that they were supporting to not get the flu vaccine. The message was clear reminding people to use good hand washing, stay hydrated, get sleep and exercise etc. Then it specifically said “getting a flu shot is another option” and further went on to say to check with your health care provider about the flu vaccine even mentioning that there are more than one type. Not sure what the big issue is from AAP. Again, I did not view the message that is was telling people not to resort to the flu vaccine and that other methods of prevention were the only option.

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