Respectful Insolence

While I’m recharging a bit from the Christmas festivities yesterday to the point where soon I’ll be able to write a substantive post, full of the Respectful Insolence™ and science or medicine that readers have come to expect, here’s something to amuse (I hope).

On Sunday, I wrote a not-so-respectfully insolent takedown of a truly mendacious Huffington Post article by antivaccinationist and card-carrying member of the mercury militia, Deirdre Imus, wife of washed up shock jock Don Imus. In essence, while deconstructing her misinformation about the alleged dangers of vaccination, I also lamented that having her husband back on the air not only gave this husband-and-wife duo of antivaccination loons a national platform to parrot the pseudoscience, cherry-picking, and lies of the mercury militia to a mass audience, but it also displaced my favorite morning radio talk show (Curtis & Kuby) with an obviously inferior product.

To my surprise, given how much commenting had slowed to a trickle in the week leading up to Christmas, this post inspired close to 100 comments. Driving the commenting, however, was an influx of Don Imus fans. Where they came from, I don’t know. Perhaps someone posted a link to my article on an Imus fan site somewhere or sent it to a mailing list. Wherever they came from, they immediately proceeded, through the sheer volume of their moronic comments, to do their best to lower the collective average IQ of this blog, the erudite comments of my usual readers notwithstanding. (See? Even Orac can suck up to his readers.) If these are typical Imus fans, I have to say that I’m not impressed.

Well, not quite. One such Imus fan going under the ‘nym “channelXRFR” produced something that did impress me, albeit not in the way that anyone should want to impress anyone else. He produced what I initially called the dumbest comment of the month, but, upon further reflection, I think it deserves to be the dumbest comment of the year. Indeed, were it not for Fore Sam, I’d be seriously tempted to nominate it for dumbest comment of all time on this blog:

The point is ORCA lost C&K and so now argues children should be vaccinated with mercury… Sorry for your loss – but should children lives be put at risk?

Yes, that’s right. According to channelXRFR, apparently the reason I went after Deirdre Imus’ fear-mongering article is not because it bothers me to see such misinformation and paranoia about the single most effective public health intervention in the history of medicine, vaccines, go unanswered. Apparently it’s not because I have a long history of refuting such nonsense on this blog. No, to channelXRFR, my motivation must have been personal pique at having my favorite radio show displaced by Deirdre Imus’ husband. Apparently channelXRFR is so fixated with Don Imus that he thinks the motivation must always come down to personal dislike or envy of his apparent hero.

Never mind that I criticized Imus and his support for the whole “mercury causes autism” concept beginning in June 2005, when he had antivaccination True Believer had Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on his show and proposed hosting a “debate” on the issue, which, I’m sure, probably turned out much like staged “debates” between creationists and evolution supporters. If Imus weren’t an antivaccinationist and his wife weren’t routinely spewing misinformation on his radio show and that repository of antivaccination lunacy, the Huffington Post, I wouldn’t have even mentioned his return to the airwaves. Quite frankly, if he weren’t a propagandist for the antivax contingent, he wouldn’t even be worth my mentioning on this blog.

Personally, I think it will be very hard to top channelXRFR’s entry for dumbest comment of the year. (If you think there’s one more “worthy,” though, feel free to post it in the comments below.) After all, there are fewer than six days left in 2007, and due to the usual holiday lull I expect blog traffic and commenting to be down at least 30-40% from the usual.

Comments

  1. #1 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 26, 2007

    I’m glad you changed your designation of that comment for it truly was one of the dumbest things I’ve read this year.

  2. #2 ChannelXRFR
    December 26, 2007

    ORAC, For the record, you have erroneously and somewhat maliciously defamed me as an “antivaccinationist” Did make for a nice headline though!!!

    Sorry about the loss of Curtis & Kuby…

    ChanX

    PS Stay as you are, never let facts stand in your way.

  3. #3 Orac
    December 26, 2007

    One notes that you don’t deny that your comment was worthy of the “honor” I’ve bestowed on it. Perhaps there’s hope.

    In any case, given your comments in the other thread, many of which sound as though they were cribbed from antivaccination propaganda websites like Generation Rescue or the National Vaccine Information Center, your claim of being “not an antivaccinationist” strikes me as being very similar to Deidre Imus’ claim that she is “not an antivaccinationist.” In fact, I don’t recall ever having seen an antivaccinationist who will admit that she’s an antivaccinationist.

    In any case, if you don’t want to be called an antivaccinationist, stop saying things that antivaccinationists say all the time.

  4. #4 Kristina
    December 26, 2007

    So why not just call the new “antivaccinationists” what they say they are and let them argue their way out as “anti-mercury activitists” etc…….it’s a transparent rhetorical sleight of the (typing) hand that shows that the “I’m a non-anti-vax vaxers” want to call the shots (yes, I use that pun unintentionally).

    And eat their cake, too.

  5. #5 ChannelXRFR
    December 26, 2007

    ORAC you’re too clever for words. I’m not any of the people you imagine me to be. You are punching the air. – ChanX

  6. #6 Orac
    December 26, 2007

    Whether that’s true or not is impossible for me to verify. The only evidence that I have on which to judge your views is what you yourself have posted, and what you yourself have posted (the stuff about mercury in particular) sounds a lot like antivax propaganda cribbed from some of the less sophisticated antivax websites. I’ve seen this stuff so many times before, and I’ve seen commenters like you so many times before, commenters who assure me that they really, really aren’t antivaccination and then sound as though they write for Generation Rescue.

    As I said before, stop posting such easily refuted nonsense, and there’s a good chance my opinion will change. Whining that you’re being misjudged does not impress me.

  7. #7 Bronze Dog
    December 26, 2007

    One thing that continues to irritate me with the “mercury” stuff is that antivaxxers won’t let grade school physical science stand in their way. Or have school standards plummeted more than I expected since my time? It’s supposed to be common knowledge that compounds have different, sometimes radically different properties than the elements that make them up.

    And yet, nearly every single complaint about thimerosal will use the compound’s name and “mercury” interchangeably. Are they going to weave a story about how every school board is on the Pharma Shill payroll?

  8. #8 HCN
    December 26, 2007

    Bronze Dog said ” Or have school standards plummeted more than I expected since my time? ”

    That wouldn’t be so funny if I didn’t know that Bronze Dog is a young whipper snapper! (it is all relative, I’m older than Orac and slightly younger than TheProbe).

    I have a feeling that some of the Imus Brain Trust are actually older than Bronze Dog. The problem is that they did not bother to pay attention in math and science classes. They more than likely only took the minimum requirements of 9th grade general science and math, and then nothing more challenging for the rest of their education.

    It is not the state of education, it is their willful ignorance that is more telling.

  9. #9 Bronze Dog
    December 26, 2007

    They more than likely only took the minimum requirements of 9th grade general science and math, and then nothing more challenging for the rest of their education.

    It was my understanding that the sorts of things I talked about were minimum for 5th grade.

  10. #10 Cain
    December 26, 2007

    I don’t know if this counts as it wasn’t a comment here, but that whole Jenny McCarthy “He’s my science” quote was so mind-bogglingly stupid it made me briefly lose hope for us as a species.

  11. #11 David D.G.
    December 26, 2007

    Bronze Dog said:

    One thing that continues to irritate me with the “mercury” stuff is that antivaxxers won’t let grade school physical science stand in their way. Or have school standards plummeted more than I expected since my time? It’s supposed to be common knowledge that compounds have different, sometimes radically different properties than the elements that make them up.

    Frankly, my formal education didn’t address that point very explicitly, and I even took a lot of science classes most students didn’t. Nevertheless, even a few minutes’ thought on the subject demonstrates the truth of that very point.

    For example, sodium is a highly reactive metal that explodes on contact with water, and chlorine is a potent poison, which is why it is used to eliminate organisms in water. Combine those two dangerous elements, however, and you get sodium chloride, which can serve as a useful meat preservative and which most people — presumably even antivaxxers — blithely sprinkle on their food to help it taste better. Yet it never occurs to them that the same principle could apply to the compounds in vaccines.

    ~David D.G.

  12. #12 donaldinks
    December 26, 2007

    OK.

    Let’s get the record STRAIGHT. People are NOT anti Vaccine…they are in favor of SAFE vaccines.

    The Medical field has a responsibility to shut out pharm-whores..

    They can be made safely in single dosages WITHOUT mercury-based preservatives. YOU know it, and I know it.

    Reputable physicians must want to literally KILL themselves hearing from patients “Is (fill in the blank) right for me?

    “Ask your Doctor”…..

    Pharm corps. pimping their wares directly to the general public should be OUTLAWED.

    But then again, this being a capitalistic society, driven by PROFIT, not GENERAL health…what are we to expect?

    When I see honorable and ETHICAL physicians kick these Pharm-Pimps out of their offices …I will be satisfied.

    It’s called DIRECT MARKETING to people that have been dumbed downed to a 4th grade education level.

    If the medical community and Physicians band together, and say this is “Unethical”, …and review the drug studies on a case by case basis…and leave it up to the PHYSICIAN (if he or she hasn’t been taken like Congress and the Senate of our country by special interests and perks supplied by these Pharm-whores….then I will buy your argument.

  13. #13 donaldinks
    December 26, 2007

    …AND PLEASE…don’t shut ME out as the “dumbest poster of the year award”….ORAC! You people must comfort yourselves on being so smug and “Intelligent”.

    GO ON….TELL EVERYONE that vaccines CANNOT be made without preservatives…and explain WHY!!!

    Let me HELP you…it’s a CASH COW for the Pharmaceutical industry…and YOU, who are safeguarding the health and well being of millions of children and adults have a responsibility to the oaths you took upon being certified as PHYSICIANS. You left the HIPPOCRATIC oath…and have become Hypocrites….

  14. #14 Orac
    December 26, 2007

    Your entry into the competition for dumbest comment of the year is duly noted. Let’s see what you’ve got. You have five and a half days.

    Certainly, you have the requisite conspiracy-mongering down pat, but the excessive use of caps suggests to me that you’re trying too hard.

  15. #15 Bronze Dog
    December 26, 2007

    Let’s get the record STRAIGHT. People are NOT anti Vaccine…they are in favor of SAFE vaccines.

    They why are they so adamant about claiming vaccines aren’t safe when study after study continues to show their safety? I think many of them just want to have a martyr complex they don’t have to do any actual work to satisfy. It’s like those people who say seat belts are dangerous.

    They can be made safely in single dosages WITHOUT mercury-based preservatives. YOU know it, and I know it.

    Why do people like you deliberately ignore common points?

    1. Compounds and the elements that make them up can, and often do have radically different properties. Table-salt is “chlorine-based.” Chlorine is a deadly toxic gas.

    2. The dose makes the poison. If you’re whining about atoms and ions of mercury in the occasional vaccine, why aren’t you favoring a ban on milk and fish? They have orders of magnitude more, and are consumed much more often. Absolutely no sense of scale.

    And, of course, you have to throw in some paranoid, jingoistic ravings about alleged corporate controls, as if the world ends in an eternal waterfall after you get past America’s borders, or that there’s no such thing as university studies or the peer review process.

  16. #16 David Marjanović
    December 26, 2007

    There are people who say seat belts are dangerous? :-o I guess I live a very sheltered life…

  17. #17 HCN
    December 26, 2007

    And to continue Bronze Dog’s question on why do people ignore common points to donaldink’s “They can be made safely in single dosages WITHOUT mercury-based preservatives. YOU know it, and I know it.” comment:

    Why do they also ignore that all pediatric vaccines have been available without thimerosal in single doses for over five years?

    Of course, that makes them more expensive, which places an additional burden on public health services that actually pay for the vaccines. This is often not a problem in industrial nations like the UK, Denmark, Canada and the USA. But it can be an issue in other places:
    http://www.who.int/biologicals/areas/vaccines/thiomersal/en/ , which says “Making changes to the thiomersal content of vaccines containing this preservative that are already licensed is a complex issue that requires careful consideration. It should be borne in mind that any change in the formulation may have an important impact on the quality, safety and efficacy of a vaccine. Experience shows that eliminating or reducing thiomersal in an existing product can have some unexpected effects on vaccine quality, safety and efficacy. Effects on vaccine stability might also be expected. The amount of additional data required to demonstrate that a product with an altered thiomersal content is at least of the same quality as the previous licensed one containing thiomersal, including product stability, safety and efficacy, will need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Any decision regarding the elimination or reduction of thiomersal in vaccines should be science-based. ”

    and http://www.who.int/vaccine_safety/topics/thiomersal/statement200308/en/index.html , which says “On the basis of the foregoing, the GACVS concluded that the most recent pharmacokinetic and developmental studies do not support concerns over the safety of thiomersal (ethyl mercury) in vaccines. The Committee concluded, and advises accordingly, that there is no reason on grounds of safety to change current immunization practices with thiomersal-containing vaccines, as the risks are unproven.”

    Now since the subject of the HuffPo posting was New Jersey, which is not considered a developing country, I would again ask:

    Which of the offending vaccines are only available with thimerosal?

  18. #18 wfjag
    December 26, 2007

    “Why do people like you deliberately ignore common points?

    ***

    And, of course, you have to throw in some paranoid, jingoistic ravings about alleged corporate controls, as if the world ends in an eternal waterfall after you get past America’s borders, or that there’s no such thing as university studies or the peer review process.”

    Bronze Dog: I think you can find the answer at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Lie

    “The phrase was also used in a report prepared during the war by the United States Office of Strategic Services in describing Hitler’s psychological profile:

    His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.” (endnotes with citations omitted).

    It’s a tried and true technique, and at the center of all conspiracy theories.

  19. #19 Acleron
    December 26, 2007

    Donaldinks:-”OK.

    Let’s get the record STRAIGHT. People are NOT anti Vaccine…they are in favor of SAFE vaccines.

    The Medical field has a responsibility to shut out pharm-whores..

    They can be made safely in single dosages WITHOUT mercury-based preservatives. YOU know it, and I know it.”
    There is very little thimerosal in vaccines given to children in the USA compared to the past. Autism rates have not gone down. Null hypothesis thimerosal causes autism, result not proven. QED.

    If you were really concerned about illness rates in children, you would not try to persuade parents from vaccinating their children. Given you have no proof for your statements you are behaving in, at the very least, an amoral way.

  20. #20 notmercury
    December 26, 2007

    DL: “Let’s get the record STRAIGHT. People are NOT anti Vaccine…they are in favor of SAFE vaccines.”

    I disagree. I think there are plenty of anti-vaccine people out there but they may need to ease their conscience by claiming they are only interested in safe vaccines. The truth is, thimerosal could be outlawed for use in any vaccine in the world and the same group of people would be whining about aluminum or antifreeze or some other trace ingredient that they’ve looked up and decided it’s toxic.

    btw, why has Dierdre convinced a few hospitals to use her all natural, organic, non-toxic cleaning products? Because the disinfectants and cleaning products they use now are toxic, or do you suppose it is profit driven? I sure as hell wouldn’t want to depend on something whipped up on the Imus ranch to protect me against infection in the OR.

  21. #21 DLC
    December 26, 2007

    Hm… No, I can’t seem to find anything with a higher stupid-content than that of ChannelXRFR .
    Perhaps I haven’t been around this blog long enough.

    continuing to fight the good fight against pseudoscience, non-science and nonsense is worth it.

  22. #22 Phoenix Woman
    December 26, 2007

    Are these the same people who overdose themselves with colloidal silver and turn themselves purple? (“But but but silver’s not a poison!”)

    Repeat after me:

    1) “All things are poison, and nothing is without poison. The dose alone makes a thing not poison.” Paracelsus, half a millenium ago.

    2) “Just because something is safe in one setting doesn’t make it safe in another — and just because it’s unsafe in one setting doesn’t make it unsafe in others.” Me, just now. (For instance, the reason we have our blood confined to vessels and not sloshing around freely in our bodies isn’t just because it needs to get sent back to the lungs to recharge with oxygen; it’s also because oxygen is toxic if tissues are exposed to too much of it at once — the blood vessels regulate how much blood a given area gets at one time.)

  23. #24 Rich Stage
    December 26, 2007

    http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/246866

    Interesting…

    From that article:

    The two sites became a training ground for an army of Bloggers/Comentators who were not afraid to take on friend and foe alike taking any misrepresentation of The I-Man or his audience as a personal insult.
    People like Chanelxrfr a self-employed IT consultant from NJ*.

    So, he’s basically an Imus shill, spouting whichever brand of idiocy happens to froth from the Imus’ mouths any particular day.

    *Emphasis mine

  24. #25 Bruce
    December 27, 2007

    Glad the Imus Haters are still at it after all these days. Someday when you, a Son or Daughter or a dear friend is asking a simple question about why their child is Autistic, you can all explain to them. Imus’ wife didn’t do enough.

    Or it wasn’t the thimiserol…..It was genetic.

    Heaven help you all

    Bruce from Florida

  25. #26 Rev. BigDumbChimp`
    December 27, 2007

    Very nice Rich. I had a feeling that is what was going on. People who spend their time dealing with the all too important topic of defending Imus. Scouring the intarwebs for any ill mention of their shriveled old fake cowboy hero and his moronic wife.

    I think they need to have some sort of award for it.

  26. #27 Inquisitive Raven
    December 27, 2007

    “There are people who say seat belts are dangerous? ”

    Well, as a matter of fact, they are… if you use them incorrectly. The most notable example of using them incorrectly being using only a lap belt and fastening it across the abdomen instead of the pelvis. The lap belt can do a lot of damage to internal organs under those circumstances.

    I don’t know if it’s actually a hazard, but if a shoulder strap is anchored too high, it always feels like it’s going to strangle me. I love height adjustable shoulder straps, and probably got in the habit of driving Japanese cars because even before adjustable shoulder straps became available, the straps in Japanese cars fit me better than anything American, and I really haven’t had much experience with European cars.

  27. #28 vanderleun
    December 27, 2007

    I had originally believed that the only kind of person who could be dumber and more venal than Don Imus would have been someone dense or venal enough to marry the fossil.

    Now I can see that beyond that Dimension of Dumbth lurks the deeper dumbth of those that would worship the fossil. They must do all the sucking up and for no money. Sad.

  28. #29 komik resimler
    December 27, 2007

    I can’t seem to find anything with a higher stupid-content than that of ChannelXRFR .
    Perhaps I haven’t been around this blog long enough.

  29. #30 canlı tv
    December 27, 2007

    Very nice Rich. I had a feeling that is what was going on. People who spend their time dealing with the all too important topic of defending Imus. Scouring the intarwebs for any ill mention of their shriveled old fake cowboy hero and his moronic wife.

    I think they need to have some sort of award for it.

  30. #31 Brendan S
    December 27, 2007

    I wonder if you could get a rise out of these idiots if you mentioned Don Imus in EVERY POST. Maybe you could make up quotes that Imus supposedly said, supporting positions opposite of what he supports, and see if they come and defend him.

  31. #32 Orac
    December 27, 2007

    Why on earth would I want to do that? Mentioning Imus and his antivax wife twice in a couple of weeks is more than enough–too much, in fact. I see no reason to go further, as I truly think I lost brain cells reading some of the inane comments of Imus supporters. There wasn’t a single intelligent one that I can remember.

    Fun’s fun, but there is such a thing as carrying the fun too far. Of course, if Don or Deirdre Imus says something dumb about vaccines again I won’t hesitate to take it down.

  32. #33 Nomen Nescio
    December 27, 2007

    [...] an influx of Don Imus fans

    wait, wait, wait… Don Imus has fans left?! am i behind my times, or is the rest of the country?

  33. #34 ChannelXRFR
    December 27, 2007

    I stand by the original comment regarding “Deirdre Imus gives everyone the gift of stupid for Christmas” the post is merely a pretext for grieving the loss of C&K. As for me? I accept Orac’s boorish attempt at conveying an award with the sincere hope this person will move past the C&K loss and discover something new and interesting to occupy drive time and early office hours.

    ChanX

    If it helps, C&K program was done the day Kuby testified against Curtis in the Gotti trial. Otherwise C&K would have simply moved to another NY Station (WOR for example), instead Curtis opted to remain with WABC.

  34. #35 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 27, 2007

    I stand by the original comment regarding “Deirdre Imus gives everyone the gift of stupid for Christmas” the post is merely a pretext for grieving the loss of C&K.

    Then you Sir are an idiot. You view the entire world through the fanboy colored glasses of someone who spends their time worshiping at the feet of some radio host… any radio host. You’ve completely missed the point of the OP as well as this blog and the topic.

    People have more important things to do with their life than sit around worrying about how their favorite washed up radio host in a cowboy hat and his delusional wife are discussed. The fact you can’t see this was about the moronic views being espoused by he and his wife and not about some radio show is extremely telling as to how you view reality.

    Just because you have to look through the glasses of a Don Imus fan to make any of your decisions does not mean that the rest of us that reside in the reality based community need some radio host on which to base our life.

    Wow.

  35. #36 Adrian
    December 27, 2007

    ChannelXRFR: Do you ever tire of being wrong?

  36. #37 Orac
    December 27, 2007

    stand by the original comment regarding “Deirdre Imus gives everyone the gift of stupid for Christmas” the post is merely a pretext for grieving the loss of C&K. As for me? I accept Orac’s boorish attempt at conveying an award with the sincere hope this person will move past the C&K loss and discover something new and interesting to occupy drive time and early office hours.

    Typical.

    You have it exactly backwards. You’re such an obsessed fanboy that you assume that I’m a fanboy too. My dislike of Deirdre Imus’ antivaccination rants was the pretext for throwing in an additional complaint about Don Imus replacing Curtis & Kuby, not the other way around. If Imus had never been fired several months ago, I would have said the same things about Mrs. Imus’ idiotic Huffington Post articles, minus a mention of C&K, of course.

  37. #38 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 27, 2007

    Can he get dumbest comment of the Year and then turn right around and get dumbest of the month for that last one?

  38. #39 Kassiane
    December 27, 2007

    …wow…

    The stupid doesn’t just burn, it cauterizes.

  39. #40 ChannelXRFR
    December 27, 2007

    It’s not about fandom!,

    The Imus Sanction is a compelling situation involving social, political, economic, legal and regulatory issues. In fact, it is very similar to the issues raised by Orac and others here regarding antivaccination lunacy and autism.

    Although the catalyst for the Imus Sanction was Media Matters for America. The chattering classes were primarily enabled by Huffington. The commenters on HuffPo ripped through facts, taking snippets of Imus satirical performances (for example) without context and using those snippets as proof for whatever fit the purposes.

    Huffington Post may publish Deirdre Imus but they are anything but fair to Don Imus..

    ChanX
    “Dumbest comment of the year from an antivaccinationist” Awarded 2007

  40. #41 Bronze Dog
    December 27, 2007

    The commenters on HuffPo ripped through facts, taking snippets of Imus satirical performances (for example) without context and using those snippets as proof for whatever fit the purposes.

    I’m reminded of so many other cranks when they get caught with their pants down: They say it was a joke, a parody, satire, or whatever. And, of course, when complaining about context, they never, ever provide the context they say is missing. We just have to blindly trust that there’s some greater, unspecified context where the abject stupidity isn’t quite so abject.

  41. #42 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 28, 2007

    The Imus Sanction is a compelling situation involving social, political, economic, legal and regulatory issues.

    Oh oh oh oh they gave it a fancy name. The Imus Sanction.

    Great. /eyeroll

    Wait…we weren’t even talking about that.

    Where did you get the idea that this was about the Imus Sanction (I so love your titling of the event and bolding of the words). You still the point of the entire string of posts and comments on this. This had exactly zero to do with the Imus Sanction and everything to do with he and his wife’s blitheringly stupid comments on vaccinations. Not on Rutgers, not on some other radio show, not on whatever it is you see through those eyes clouded by your cult like following of that wrinkled skin 80 year old Marlboro Man wanna-be.

    Time for you to creep away with your tail tucked snuggly beside your ever shrinking genitals ChanX. You attempting to change the subject into some strangly unconnected event is more evidence for your inanity.

  42. #43 Rev. BigDumbChimp`
    December 28, 2007

    “Still miss the point” it should say

    sorry it’s getting late

  43. #44 barkdog
    December 28, 2007

    Perhaps I am revealing the ignorance at my household, but who the hell is Don Imus?

  44. #45 Orac
    December 28, 2007

    Although the catalyst for the Imus Sanction was Media Matters for America. The chattering classes were primarily enabled by Huffington. The commenters on HuffPo ripped through facts, taking snippets of Imus satirical performances (for example) without context and using those snippets as proof for whatever fit the purposes.

    Oh, please.

    Perhaps you could tell us which antivaccination screed by Imus or his “satirical” or taken out of context.

    Let’s see.

    Did Don Imus have mercury militia hysteria-monger supreme Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on his show for a sympathetic hearing at the height of the thimerosal scare two years ago?

    Yes, he did.

    Did Don Imus also give mercury militia enabler David Kirby a voice on his show as well?

    Yes, he did.

    Was the mercury militia devastated when Imus was fired, because it had lost one of its best friends in the media?

    Yes, they were.

    Is the mercury militia overjoyed that Imus is back on the air?

    Yes, it is.

    Did Imus just this month give his wife a platform on his show to rant about how autism is “not a genetic disorder” and how mercury causes autism and the media is covering it up?

    Why, yes, he did.

    Bottom line: On the issue of autism, both Imus and his wife are idiots who spread misinformation about vaccines and autism. Period. And he’s been at it a long time.

  45. #46 ChannelXRFR
    December 31, 2007

    The Imus sanctions were not about an “antivaccination screed”. Media Matters of America and the professionally outraged went after Imus to advance an unrelated political agenda to take out Talk Radio. Imus was the first target, since the April attack MMoA has been largely unsuccessful in taking on other targets, since the tactic has effectively been identified and countered.

    As for Kennedy and Kirby, neither were very convincing.

    Imus has often said he would welcome an opposing viewpoint on the topic. To be successful on the program It would take is a spokesperson who is confident, knowledgeable, self effacing, with an above average sense of humor. Imus’ audience is very different then other Talkers, thriving on opposing viewpoints.

    Contrarian View The central point Imus makes is that as a society we do not have nearly enough resources focused on resolving autism, regardless of the cause. Imus’ interest in autism as an opportunity to reach a broader constituency beyond families, medical professionals and researchers. This is an opportunity to be leveraged into a general awareness and commitment to resolving the causes of and treatments for autism.

  46. #47 Adrian
    December 31, 2007

    I just can’t fathom how someone could be so smitten with a public figure that they would spew this kind of defensive tripe.

    If someone I admire says or does something stupid, I call them on it. I don’t try to rationalize it away.

  47. #48 Orac
    December 31, 2007

    The Imus sanctions were not about an “antivaccination screed”.

    I never said they were, whatever the heck you mean by the conspiracy-mongering term “Imus sanction.”

    I said that my intense dislike of Imus comes largely from two things: his antivaccination stance and because to me he is not in the least bit entertaining or enlightening while at the same time being frequently offensive. The times I’ve had no choice but to listen to him, I left the experience wondering just what on earth anyone saw in such a droning, unfunny, boring, and unentertaining hack. I can only speculate that he must have been much better a couple of decades ago and now he’s just coasting on past glories, because now he seems to be nothing more than a washed-up shock jock.

    As for your excuse-making on the Imuses’ anti-vaccination views, their idiotic support of the mercury militia, and how supposedly Don Imus welcomes opposing viewpoints, going on the Imus show to refute his belief (and his wife’s apparently much stronger belief) that mercury in vaccines cause autism would be a waste of time and unwise for the very same reason that it’s a waste of time and unwise to debate homeopaths or creationists. It’s his show and he’s sympathetic to the antivaccination viewpoint, making the deck so utterly stacked against the opposing viewpoint that it’s virtually impossible to get the point across about why his view is so utterly wrong. Moreover, it gives the patina of respectability to the pseudoscientific nonsense that the Imuses push.

    As for whether or not you’re right about Imus’ wanting to produce a more general awareness and commitment on resolving the causes of autism and supporting better treatments for it, he does far more harm than good by including unscientific nonsense about vaccines causing autism in the mix.

  48. #49 ChannelXRFR
    December 31, 2007

    The washed up shock jock has over 2.5M listeners and is reportedly paid $8M per year. A point of reference his audience is 1,000X greater the ScienceBlogs. We should all be so washed up! Advertisers pay a premium for the Imus program because of the demographic; which is described as educated, affluent and influential.

    One tactic would be to let the autism discussion continue in a one sided unabated way. I would advise against this approach. Generally speaking, to maintain credibility Imus has both sides of any topic to represented (right-left, libs-conservatives). There is enough fact available to refute pseudoscience which confuses these issues. With the right spokesperson this discussion would be turned around, at least it wouldn’t be so one sided.

  49. #50 Orac
    December 31, 2007

    You obviously didn’t look at the links I provided that show why it’s usually a bad idea to “debate” pseudoscientists like antivaccinationists. It’s what they crave, to be on the same forum as seeming “equals” of legitimate scientists, and it’s what they don’t deserve. Moreover, pseudoscientists are not constrained by the facts and science. They’re free to cherry pick, distort, and misrepresent the evidence–just like Deirdre Imus did in her two Huffington Post articles. By the time a skeptic bats down one flurry of crap, there’s always another one on the way. It’s the death of a thousand flea bites. No matter how good a debater the skeptic is, the pseudoscientist will always have the advantage in such forums.

    Just look at the David Kirby-Arthur Allen debate. The result would be the same on the Imus show. In fact, it would probably be worse, because Imus doesn’t even give the pretense of being an objective moderator, and his wife is a rabid antivaccinationist.

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