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Monday, March 18, 2013
WND Ramps Up Anti-Vaccine Fearmongering
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has long been anti-vaccine -- a dishonest instinct that appears to be rearing its ugly head again.

On the heels of factually challenged fearmongering about HPV vaccines,  a March 15 WND article by Garth Kant promotes a billboard campaign by the National Vaccination Information Center "urging parents inform themselves about potential dangers from vaccines." But Kant is silent on just how anti-vaccine the organization is.

Slate's Phil Plait reports:

NVIC is an antivax group, plain and simple. Despite hugely overwhelming tsunami-level amounts of evidence showing no link between vaccines and autism, they still think there is one. They go on and on about “vaccine injuries”, yet actual severe side effects from vaccines are very rare, especially when you realize that many millions of vaccines are given every year. The NVIC relies on anecdotes of injuries as evidence, but that's very dangerous thinking. Stories and personal observations are a good place to start—it’s how you might notice a connection between two things—but it’s not where you end. You must apply rigorous testing to your ideas, so that you can make sure you’re not seeing a connection where none exists.

But that’s not what NVIC is about. They are convinced vaccines cause injuries, and ignore evidence that there isn’t.

Sounds a lot like WND. In an attempt at false balance, Kant writes: "WND has long attempted to provide such information by reporting on the controversies surrounding vaccines for small pox, human papillomavirus (HPV), autism and the wide variety of vaccinations given babies." But much of that reporting has been misleading, unbalanced, or just plain false.

And to apparently prove that, Kant rehashes some of WND's past fearmongering on vaccines. Among those is the claim that HPV vaccines guard against only two of the 100 strains of HPV; in fact, the vaccines protect against four strains, and Kant fails to note that those strains are responsible for 90 percent of genital warts cases and 75 percent of all cervical cancers.

Kant also repeats a claim by Dr. Joseph Mercola without noting that Mercola is a conspiracy theorist who has been twice ordered by the Food and Drug Administration to stop making claims about his supplements that go beyond their intended uses.

Kant goes on to dishonestly overstate the danger of vaccines by writing, "But, just because vaccinations are safe for most doesn’t mean they are safe for all." The reality is that "most" is actually "nearly everyone." As even WND has conceded, the rate of adverse reactions of the more than 35 million doses administered of the HPV vaccine Gardasil is a paltry 0.05 percent.

Kant even cites his WND boss, Joseph Farah as some kind of medical authority: "Because HPV can be transmitted by sexual activity, Farah recommends parents talk to their sons and daughters about chastity." Apparently, Farah thinks an HPV vaccine is some sort of green light for reckless sexual activity -- an ignorant notion.

Kant even rehashes the debate over whether the preservative thimerosal causes autism, spending several paragraphs on the issue before getting around to nothing that no actual researcher has found a link between thimerosal and autism.

Kant is just engaging in irresponsible fearmongering, and WND's readers will be stupider for it. Then again, that's the kind of reader WND seems to want.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:38 AM EDT

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