I’m beginning to wonder if maybe, just maybe, the tide is starting to turn when it comes to the public zeitgeist regarding the anti-vaccine movement. Not only have there been a lot of stories lately that eschew the false “balance” that used to be so common in news stories about vaccines, but even comedy magazines are dumping on the anti-vaccine movement. For instance, Cracked.com has an article entitled 5 Things The Media Loves Pretending Are News. What’s #5?
Let’s ask the idiots about science:
When it comes to matters of opinion or personal beliefs, it is absolutely the duty of the news media to report both sides (and any extra sides there may be, on those rare odd occasions when there are somehow more than two). It doesn’t matter which one they agree with, they need to acknowledge the fact that some people think gay marriage is a right and others think the gays are forming a unicorn army that will kill us all.
When it comes to matters of fact, however, they absolutely do not have that duty. Particularly when it comes to technical or scientific matters where it takes somebody with training to speak knowledgably on the subject.
If we’re talking about if, say, vaccines cause autism, we need to hear from scientists. That’s a scientific issue. We do not need to hear from Jenny McCarthy or Jim fucking Carrey, in the name of giving “both sides.” Jim and Jenny don’t get a side. They have no background in the subject, and it’s one that requires fucking background.
Sure, they can talk about poisonous vaccines to Oprah or whoever is sitting next to them at the Lakers game all they want. They have freedom of speech. That freedom does not guarantee them a seat on a panel of experts.
Exactly. Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey are not experts. Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey are so incredibly ignorant of science and medicine that one can safely discount virtually anything they have to say about the topics. Fortunately, the mainstream media and comedians are starting to notice.