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Wednesday, February 17, 2016
MRC Anti-Gay Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center -- which doesn't exactly like gays in the first place -- has been on a bit of a tear with anti-gay sniping the past few days.

In a Feb. 14 post, Dylan Gwinn cheered an episode of "Family Guy" in which cartoon protagonist Peter Griffin being glad his son sent sent a picture of his gential to a girl instead of a guy: "So how about that, huh? An expression of relief and joy that your son isn’t gay on major network television? Not necessarily something you see every day. So that would be good."

A couple days later, Gwinn was distressed that boxer Manny Pacquiao, a candidate for political office in the Philippines, was being held accountable for likening gays to animals, lamenting that "Predictably, Pacquiao apologized for causing any offense in a Facebook video."

Gwinn sarcastically groused that "Pacquiao’s comments were greeted with warmth and understanding by the media and LGBT activists."But he quoted only Filipinos commenting on it, not Americans.

Meanwhile, Mairead McArdle picked Gwinn's anti-gay baton for a Feb. 15 rant attacking Adidas:

Adidas has jumped on the politically correct bandwagon with a Valentine’s Day Instagram post showing a same sex couple.

The picture of what looks like two women in a romantic embrace is captioned with the old Beatles line, “The love you take is equal to the love you make.” By Monday it had over 96,000 comments and counting.

Adidas responded to some of the displeased comments, “No, this is a day for love. Happy Valentine’s Day.”

Business Insider, Buzzfeed, Mic.com, and other news outlets rushed to lionize the company for standing up for LGBT people.

Adidas has been a vigilant promoter of the LGBT agenda.

[...]

Adidas and the other companies should keep in mind that the LGBT lifestyle is still hotly debated in psychological circles.

Note that McArdle is ranting over something that she says merely "looks like two women in a romantic embrace." The Adidas Instagram post in question shows only legs and is arguably ambiguous as to the sex of the people involved. Adidas never explicitly confirmed that it's a same-sex couple, and McArdle seems angry that Adidas would invoke "love" in defending it.

The screenshot of the Instagram post accompanying McArdle's post is weirdly and needlessly cropped, as if the upper thighs of what might be a same-sex couple were somehow offensive.

And McArdle's proof that "the LGBT lifestyle is still hotly debated in psychological circles" is of an article at the conservative National Review -- which convolutedly asks, "Is it possible to to avoid 'homophobia' (a deliberately imprecise term) while preserving 'heteronormativity' (which at least sounds more scientific)?" -- not the first place one would go to find a fair "debate" on the subject. 


Posted by Terry K. at 4:35 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, February 17, 2016 5:13 PM EST
WND Can't Decide Whether Obama Or God Is Ruining The Economy
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Last week, WorldNetDaily was blaming President Obama for economic problems. Now it's blaming God.

Remember the Shemitah? That's the prophecy theory promoted by WND friend Jonathan Cahn that various world disasters and cataclysms operate according to a biblically dictated 7-year cycle. When things didn't happen exactly to plan last year -- Cahn and WND had strongly hinted that the U.S. would suffer an economic calamity last Sept. 13 -- they moved the goalposts to claim that as long as something happened in, oh, the next year or so, the Shemitah prophecy was fulfilled.

Cahn takes full advantage of this in a Feb. 14 WND column, in which he declares that "I shared how the Shemitah of 2015 caused stock markets to collapse all over the world, wiping out trillions of dollars from the global economy." He continued with the credit-taking:

Though it is one of the most overlooked and significant of stories, the Shemitah of 2015 caused global trade to literally collapse!

As the Shemitah began, industrial export orders in the world’s economic engine, China, began to crash. The collapsed continued throughout the Shemitah, month after month after month.

[...]

The Shemitah of 2015 collapsed the Baltic Dry Index to the point where it stood at its worst levels ever recorded since the index began! When 2014 began, the index was over 2,000. By the time 2015 had ended, it had descended to the 400s! The Shemitah of 2008 had pulverized world trade. The Shemitah of 2015 had now decimated it.

[...]

The Shemitah of 2015 caused global commodities to collapse. Demand dried up. Prices plummeted. Commodities were, in effect, abandoned. The Shemitah of 2015 caused global commodities to collapse so dramatically that it matched that of the Shemitah of 2008, and then exceeded it. The Commodity Index crashed to its worst levels of the 21st century. 

[...]

One of the most important commodities in the modern world is oil. The effect of the Shemitah of 2015 could be seen every time one drove into a gas station. The decline in trade and production caused a collapse in the oil market. What was welcomed by those filling up their cars was bad for the global economy. During the Shemitah of 2015, the price of oil plunged, and the average energy stock collapsed by 52 percent! 

Cahn's explanation of falling oil prices runs counter to the facts. The idea that a "decline in trade and production" of oil caused prices to decline doesn't make sense. In fact, what happened is that Saudi Arabia increased oil production specifically to drive down prices to the point that high-cost producers like fracking operations in the U.S. would be forced to halt production, thus preserving Saudi Arabia's share of the oil market.

We don't know enough about the commodies market to know if Cahn's being accurate about it, but his misinformation about oil is not a good sign.

Also of note: Cahn does not mention Obama once in his column. Which brings up the flaw in WND's economic philosophy: If the Shemitah is to blame for economic problems, then Obama cannot be. If the economic cycle is a slave to the Shemitah, as Cahn insists, then it's impossible for Obama to affect it.

WND cannot worship both God and mammon -- or in this case, blame a bad economy on both Obama and the Shemitah.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:35 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, February 17, 2016 12:37 AM EST
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
AP Subscriber CNS Criticizes AP Over Cruz Photo, Doesn't Understand How AP Works
Topic: CNSNews.com

Susan Jones complains in a Feb. 16 CNSNews.com article:

You have to wonder how long the Associated Press photographer waited for the chance to snap the photograph reprinted here -- the one that shows Republican Ted Cruz standing against the backdrop of a sign that reads "TRUSTED."

Except Cruz is blocking the "T," so the signed reads "RUSTED."

The photograph is one of two that accompanies an AP article about Cruz's experience arguing before the Supreme Court.

[...]

The "RUSTED" photo calls to mind an earlier AP swipe at Cruz.

In June 2015, the Associated Press published two photographs that appeared to show a large gun aimed at Cruz's head. Cruz was at a gun range in Iowa, standing in front of a large poster of a gun, but nevertheless, the image was jarring.

Jones leaves out a couple of important things here.

First, she apparently has no understanding of how the AP works. It's a news cooperative, not a media organization per se.  While the AP has a website on which it publishes stories, its main business is making content -- hundreds of articles and photos per day -- available to its subscribers. And the subscribers have the final say on what gets used: The AP does not force any subscriber to use any article or photo.

Which brings us to Jones' second big omission: CNS is an AP subscriber. As we've noted, CNS parent the Media Research Center has long bashed the AP for purported "liberal bias," but still pays it to use AP content on CNS, presumably because it gives CNS the veneer of a real "news" organization.

If CNS really wanted to send a message to the AP for it purported bias -- Jones' unsupported accusation that the AP is deliberately trying to make Cruz look bad aside -- it would stop paying what is believed to be hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a month for access to AP's content. But it won't -- for all its hand-biting, CNS and the MRC apparently willing to put up with the occasional example of "liberal bias" in exchange for its assistance in masquerading as a real "news" organization.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:19 PM EST
WND Pushes Conspiracy That Scalia Was Murdered, Probably By Obama
Topic: WorldNetDaily

There are conspiracy theories floating around that Justice Antonin Scalia did not die a natural death, and WorldNetDaily wants to be at the forefront of promoting them.

The day after  Scalia's death was reported, WND was quick to push a suggestion by far-right anti-immigration activist William Gheen that President Obama might have had Scalia killed:

“Anytime a head of state, member of Congress, or the most conservative member of the U.S. Supreme Court is found dead, an extensive autopsy and toxicology examination should be both immediate and mandatory,” said Gheen. “The horrid reaction and comments about his death expressed by many liberals online illustrate that Scalia was hated by many people.”

Gheen said Scalia’s death “hands the power of the Supreme Court to the modern left for the first time in American history.”

“The court can now vote, even without a replacement of Scalia, to radically change the United States of America,” he said. “Scalia’s death means the Supreme Court is now very likely to rubber stamp Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty orders, tear down Republican drawn districts in many states including North Carolina, and take deep left turns on abortion, gun rights, or anything the liberals have ever dreamed of. Scalia was a solid vote against Obama’s immigration orders to be decided by April of this year.

“We do not contend there is a conspiracy, we contend that there should be no doubts, and the way authorities and the media are rushing conclusions will leave major doubts and legitimate concerns about a death that could lead to a radical political transformation of America to the left,” said Gheen.

Sorry, Mr. Gheen, if you are suggesting that Scalia was murdered and that the president may have been involved, you are indeed pushing a conspiracy.

WND then noted a minor detail in an interview with the owner of the Texas ranch resort where Scalia died, in which he said that Scalia's body had "a pillow over his head" -- and elevated it as the focus of its own article.

On Feb. 15, WND published a rant from right-wing talker (and friend of WND) Michael Savage demanding "a Warren Commission-like federal investigation" to look into Scalia's death because he may have been "murdered." He too suggested Obama had a hand in Obama's death because Scalia was pronounced dead "by telephone from a U.S. Marshal appointed by Obama himself."

Interstingly, all three of these WND articles lack bylines -- apparently, even WND writers don't want to be associated with pushing wild conspiracy theories.

Bob Unruh, meanwhile, apparently has no such shame. His Feb. 15 article begins by stating that "A local official’s quick determination that a staunch opponent on the U.S. Supreme Court of the progressive social agenda died of 'natural causes' and there would be no autopsy even though a pillow was found over his head has prompted a multitude of conspiracy theories along with a political firestorm." Unruh then uncritically rounds up said conspiracy theories, including an "unscientific online poll" at a right-wing website where "nearly 80 percent of the more than 45,000 respondents said they suspected foul play in Scalia’s death."

Obviously, Unruh found the poll to be credible enough to highlight in his article.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:48 AM EST
Monday, February 15, 2016
CNS Censors The Truth About Schumer Remarks About Supreme Court Picks
Topic: CNSNews.com

Eric Scheiner rushed to report the big news in a Feb. 14 CNSNews.com article:

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is describing current GOP calls to let the next president make a Supreme Court nomination “obstructionism”, but in 2007 Schumer said, “I will do everything in my power to prevent one more ideological ally from joining (Justices John) Roberts and (Samuel) Alito,” and recommended the Senate, “should not confirm any Bush nominee to the Supreme Court except in extraordinary circumstances.”

“The Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance,” Schumer told the American Constitution Society on July 27, 2007.

“With respect to the Supreme Court at least, I will recommend to my colleagues that we should not confirm any Bush nominee to the Supreme Court except in extraordinary circumstances.”

“I will do everything in my power to prevent one more ideological ally from joining (John) Roberts and (Samuel) Alito on the court,” Schumer later added.

CNS being a very biased "news" organization, Scheiner left out a couple things. First, he failed to note that Schumer's comments were effectively hypothetical since no further Supreme Court openings occured during the Bush administration.

Second Scheiner failed to mention the Republican response to Schumer's comments. From a July 2007 Politico article:

A White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino, said Schumer's comments show "a tremendous disrespect for the Constitution" by suggesting that the Senate not confirm nominees.

"This is the kind of blind obstruction that people have come to expect from Sen. Schumer," Perino said. "He has an alarming habit of attacking people whose character and position make them unwilling or unable to respond. That is the sign of a bully. If the past is any indication, I would bet that we would see a Democratic senatorial fundraising appeal in the next few days."

Somehow, we don't think Scheiner will remind Republicans that its current stance on opposing any and every Obama Supreme Court nomination in the next year was called "blind obstruction" and "disrespect for the Constitution" by Republicans.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:30 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE: Refined Race-Baiting At WorldNetDaily
Topic: WorldNetDaily
The lesson WND learned from Google threatening to cut off ad revenue over its obsession with "black mobs": Be a little less blatant about it. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 8:57 AM EST
Sunday, February 14, 2016
MRC-Mark Levin Business Arrangement/Love Affair Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

Last month, the Media Research Center was rushing to the defense of right-wing radio host (and friend of MRC chief Brent Bozell) Mark Levin over a mild swipe by a TV host. This month -- presumably brought on at least in part by the fact the MRC and Levin have a business arrangement to promote each other -- it's back to full-fledged drool mode.

Michael Morris devotes an entire Feb. 11 CNSNews.com blog post to telling us how "Westwood One just announced a 'lifetime extension' for 'The Mark Levin Show' hosted by nationally syndicated radio talk show host Mark Levin." Morris' only source is the press release issued by Levin and Westwood One, andhe makes sure to include the slobbering declaration that Levin is "one of the most important, popular, and trusted voices in radio."

But given that the MRC pretty much forbids criticism of Levin on his websites and aggressively attacks anyone else to dares to do so, rewriting a press release -- and the complete censorship of the MRC-Levin business arrangement -- was all one could hope for here.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:41 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, February 14, 2016 10:41 PM EST
Saturday, February 13, 2016
WND Blames 'Obama Economy' For Capitalism At Work
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Bob Unruh declares in a Feb. 10 WorldNetDaily article:

The impact of the “Obama economy,” those ups and downs attributed to the tax-and-spend policies implemented by the president’s administration, is moving further into negative territory with the announcement that dozens of additional retail stores across America are being closed down sooner than planned.

WND had reported only a few days ago on the effective retail apocalypse that was leaving stores closed and, in some places, entire malls shuttered because of the downward spiral of the nation’s economy.

But the examples Unruh cites to back this up have nothing to do with Obama. For instance:

Most recently, CNN reported Sears, which owns the Sears chain as well as the Kmart string of stores, said this week it was accelerating the closing of at least 50 locations that are unprofitable.

The closures had been planned over coming months, but the company, which said it expects fourth quarter revenue of $7.3 billion, down from $8.1 billion a year ago, said it was hurrying those closures because of losses.

Inn fact, Sears has been a dying company for years. One analytics firm highlights how shopper preference for Sears has been plummeting over the past decade -- well before Obama took office -- and even its most loyal customers have ceased going there. And the company seems not to care.

Unruh also features analyst Michael Snyder claiming, "In impoverished urban centers all over the nation, it is not uncommon to find entire malls that have now been completely abandoned." That's true, but again, that has nothing to do with the "Obama economy." The conservative Daily Caller points out that "the mall itself is an inefficient system" and that shopping preferences have shifted to other types of retail, as well as the Internet.

Also, malls as a general rule are not built in "impoverished urban centers," as Snyder claims; they're mostly found in prosperous suburban and exurban areas.

Unruh ultimately concedes some of this, admitting that "online shopping, maxed out credit and other factors were creating a shadow for America’s retail climate." Again, that's not the "Obama economy" at work; that's capitalism.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:30 AM EST
Friday, February 12, 2016
CNS Oil Industry Stenography Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

The Media Research Center gets a significant amount of money from fossil-fuel interests, so its "news" division CNSNews.com is always happy to serve as stenographers for the industry. Here are the latest examples.

A Feb. 8 CNS article by Barbara Hollingsworth uncritically repeats spin from the American Petroleum Institute that President Obama’s proposal to impose a $10 per barrel tax on oil "increases the hostile campaign the administration is waging against the American consumer." Hollingsworth made no attempt to seek out a point of view in response.

CNS' chief oil industry stenographer, Penny Starr, used a Feb. 9 article to tout a claim by ExxonMobil that "in the 2040 market, oil, natural gas, and coal will meet 80% of the world’s energy needs and that carbon emissions should peak by 2030." Starr failed to disclose that ExxonMobil has donated more than $400,000 to her employer over the years.

This stenography -- press releases, really -- is obviously good for the API and ExxonMobil, but it does CNS' readers a grave disservice.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:29 PM EST
Another Dubious WND Doc Peddles Misinformation About Obamacare
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Lee Hieb -- a former official with the fringe-right Association of American Physicians and Surgeons who has issues with the facts -- claims to "recap the Obamacare reality" in her Feb. 5 WorldNetDaily column:

To the surprise of no thinking person, over the last year costs have skyrocketed. Government spending on Medicare has increased more in 2015 than in the first seven years of President Obama’s terms of office. People who previously had coverage have seen their insurance costs go up two and three and in some places fourfold – while accepting higher deductibles. How could it be otherwise when the government is creating a playing field of insecurity and over-regulation? Medicines have become vastly more expensive. Forteo – a bone-promoting injectable that prevents many expensive osteoporotic fractures – in 2011 cost $700/ month if paying cash. Now it is $2,700/month and for Medicare patients $700/month – so basically it is priced out of the reach of patients in need. My old-time thyroid medicine cash price has gone from $10/month to $90/month as have other drugs that have been cheap for decades. Even the veterinarians are feeling it. My local vet decried the price of sedation for animals rising from $8 a vial to over $40.

Let's break this down and see where Hieb gets it wrong this time:

-- The average health care rate increase for mid-size and large companies in 2015 was actually the lowest rate increase since 1996. And the average race increase under Obamacare did not skyrocket.

-- The 2015 numbers for Medicare are not out, but the main reason spending is increasing is because more baby boomers are retiring. But increases in per capita Medicare spending have been much lower between 2010 and 2014 than they were between 2000 and  2010.

-- The main reason "medicines have become vastly more expensive" is because drug companies are increasing their prices arbitrarily, not because of Obamacare. Martin Shkreli, anyone? And Forteo was considered overpriced compared with its benefits as early as 2006, so that concern predates the existence of Obamacare.

-- And we're pretty sure Obamacare isn't responsible for increases in veterinary drugs.

Hieb goes on to blame Obamacare for a number of hospital closings in the past few years, but the answer is more complicated than that. One leading cause is cuts to reimbursement rates to hospitals that treat medicare patients, which began in the 2013 budget sequester and have been upheld in later budget deals between Obama and the Congress, most recently in the deal reached last November.

Also, part of the Obamacare plan was that states would expand Medicare eligibility, but several states -- most of which are controlled by Republicans -- have refused to do that, meaning that hospitals mostly aren't reimbursed for treatment of uninsured patients who might be covered had all states expanded Medicare.

In a follow-up column the next day, Hieb purported to offer "what to do about" all this, but she mostly whined that "Obamacare exists because we have at least one generation of Americans, if not more, who do not understand 'entitlement'" and cheered that "More doctors will continue to opt out of the system and practice for cash." The latter, of course, does nothing for people who can't afford treatment -- the reason Obamacare was created.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:31 AM EST
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Confused Bozell Is Unhappy Trump Voters Got Criticized
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Reseatch Center chief Brent Bozell hates Donald Trump. So why is he mad that Trump's voters got mocked?

In a Feb. 10 appearance on Fox Business (where he gets to continue to appear in part because of how he has sucked up to them so well), Bozell complained about a New York Daily News cover after the New Hampshire primary depicting Trump as a column and calling his voters "mindless zombies." But Bozell has somehow decided that the cover was calling all Republican voters "mindless zombies" despite the context being clear, ranting that this was "character assassination."

Bozell then went further, insisting that "These left-wingers are always pontificating about right-wing haters" but "there's no conservative type of newspaper that does this sort of thing and is this hate-filled toward liberals."

Apparently Bozell has never heard of the New York Post.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:43 PM EST
WND's Corsi Still Obsessing About Hillary's Supposed Health Issues
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Last time, if you'll remember, WorldNetDaily's Jerome Corsi found a couple of doctors -- none of whom has ever examined Hillary Clinton and one of whom lost his license to practice medicine for unilaterally discontinuing life-saving medication for a patient -- to opine on Hillary taking the blood thinner warfarin (brand name: Coumadin). Now Corsi has dug up another doctor to engage in baseless speculation:

Hillary Clinton’s underactive hypothyroid condition complicates the medical treatment she is receiving for her genetic propensity to form blood clots, warns a prominent New York physician.

“Hillary’s hypothyroid condition can lead to hypercoagulability, a tendency toward excessive blood clotting, that makes more complicated the use of the blood-thinning medicines she needs to control what appears to be a possibly genetic tendency of her body to produce blood clots,” Dr. Ronald Hoffman told WND in a telephone interview.

[...]

“The medical literature cautions that patients on Armour Thyroid may need to reduce the amount of Coumadin they are taking, and this requires constant blood testing to make sure the mixture of Armour Thyroid and Coumadin are adjusted just right,” Hoffman said.

“Too much Coumadin could result in Hillary experiencing potentially fatal hemorrhaging from even minor injuries, and too little Coumadin could cause her to form a potentially fatal blood clot.”

Again, Hoffman, like Corsi, has never examined Clinton, so anything he has to say is nothing but speculation.

And, again, Corsi doesn't care about Hillary's health -- he's out to destroy her presidential campaign. He's a key component of WND's anti-Hillary jihad, after all. And if raising concerns (based in ignorance) about her health can do that, he has no qualms about it. Remember, Corsi doesn't care about the truth, either.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 AM EST
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
CNS Reporter Still Touting Iran Propaganda to Attack Obama
Topic: CNSNews.com

When we wrote a couple weeks ago about how CNSNews.com reporter Patrick Goodenough appeared to be promoting Iranian propaganda to further right-wing attacks against President Obama, Goodenough objected, tweeting, "Don't be ridiculous. I report on Iran's propaganda to inform readers about the regime's nature, not to 'make Obama look bad.'"

But he didn't stop doing so.

A Jan. 31 article highlights how "More than two weeks after Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) personnel detained 10 U.S. Navy sailors overnight in the Persian Gulf supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday awarded medals to the men involved."

On Feb. 2, Goodenough wrote that "The head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy said Monday that if the U.S. seeks to humiliate Iran, the IRGC would release footage of ten U.S. sailors detained last month that is much more embarrassing than images released earlier."

And the following day, Goodenough touted how "An Iranian state-run television network is highlighting social media postings that mock the U.S. military, juxtaposing images of the Hollywood action character Rambo with one of U.S. Navy sailors kneeling at gunpoint after being apprehended last month by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps."

With the earlier stories, that's a total of five articles Goodenough wrote repeating Iranian propaganda regarding the detention of the sailors.

In the full context of CNS' general anti-Obama agenda and, specifically, its uncritical reproduction of right-wing attacks on the Obama administration for quickly negotiating a release of those sailors -- indeed, Goodenough wrote one of those pieces, headlined "GOP Senators: Iranians Humiliated Our Sailors; We Thanked Them" -- Goodenough's reproduction of Iranian propaganda can only be seen as an attempt to, yes, make Obama look bad.

Which is too bad, because Goodenough is a better reporter than that. We actually praised him some years back for running CNS like a real news organization when he served as interim editor between the death of David Thibault and the hiring of Terry Jeffrey and Michael W. Chapman. Under the latter two, CNS is a bastion of right-wing bias, and it seems clear that Goodenough has to play along.

How ironic -- the Media Research Center purports to hate media bias, but it apparently won't let one of the few people on its staff actually capable of writing unbiased news actually do that.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:55 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, February 10, 2016 6:03 PM EST
WND's Dubious Doctor Blames Vaccines For Zika, Wants To Bring Back DDT
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jane Orient's Feb. 8 column is headlined "Zika virus: What should we do about it?" What Orient plans to do about is spin a conspiracy theory that vaccines, not Zika virus, are responsible for the microcephaly epidemic in Brazil:

There is, however, still no definitive proof that microcephaly and associated defects are caused by ZVD. Some interesting facts:

  • So far, the microcephaly cases are all in Brazil, not in the 35 other countries with ZVD, though an earlier cluster was observed in 2014 in French Polynesia.
  • As of Feb. 3, only 17 of 404 cases of confirmed microcephaly tested positive for Zika.
  • Brazil had seen an increase in pertussis in fully vaccinated children, so early in 2015 officials mandated immunizing all pregnant women with DTaP (diphtheria/tetanus/acellular pertussis) vaccine, without awaiting proof of efficacy or safety in the developing baby. Only 32 pregnant women were enrolled in a trial of this vaccine, and no results are posted yet.
  • A variable number of months after the vaccinations, the number of microcephaly cases increased from essentially zero in October 2015 to 1,200 in November, and continued to climb.
  • Because of a measles outbreak, there was a major vaccination campaign with MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) in Pernambuco, Brazil, in late 2014. This is a live virus vaccine, and many women likely received it in early pregnancy or shortly before becoming pregnant. Congenital rubella syndrome can cause microcephaly among many other problems, but this was not found in surveillance of American women who inadvertently received MMR around the time of conception.

Except that, well, the science doesn't really support Orient going anti-vaxxer on what's happening in Brazil. As Tara C. Smith points out, the DTaP vaccine is suggested in the 27th to 36th week of pregnancy, too late in pregnancy to have such a severe effect on brain and skull development. She adds:

Biologically, this makes zero sense–and furthermore, why wouldn’t other countries be seeing this spike, if Tdap is truly the cause? Women in the U.S. and other countries also receive this vaccine during pregnancy, but we haven’t seen an increase in microcephaly cases. Furthermore, a recent study has demonstrated yet again that Tdap is very safe during pregnancy.

Further, as a prominent Australian website (owned by Rupert Murdoch, no less) reports:

There is no evidence to support a link between the resurgence of the Zika virus in Brazil and the increase in women having the [Tdap] vaccine, said the president of the Australasian Society of Infectious Diseases, professor Cheryl Jones.

“The bottom line is that [anti vaxxers’] proposed concerns have no scientific basis,” she told news.com.au.

[...]

“By coincidence, that move to have more mothers immunised happened just before the Zika virus started turning up. It’s pure coincidence and they’re [anti vaxxers] are jumping on that link,” said Professor [Peter] McIntyre [director of the Australia's National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance].

“That vaccine has been administered to millions of women. There have been a couple of big studies in the US comparing the health of thousands of pregnant women who had the vaccine compared to women who didn’t, and they found there was absolutely no difference in things like stillborns, birth defects, C-sections, premature birth, bleeding ... all the things that can go wrong in a pregnancy.”

Professor McIntyre says the suggestion that Zika virus is caused by the whooping cough vaccine is “absurd”.

“It shows absolutely no knowledge of the science that underlies all this.”

The sad thing is that Orient is a doctor -- albeit the executive director of the far-right Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. She loves to fearmonger, bash vaccines and push dubious medical information.

As befitting a not-very-credible doctor, Orient's solution to Zika virus is that old right-wing standard, DDT:

Mosquito-borne diseases, after a time when it was thought that even malaria might be wiped out, began increasing worldwide when the U.S. banned the most effective public health weapon of all time: DDT. If Zika causes rethinking of this disastrous decision, even though other deadly threats like malaria have not, it will save millions of lives – and even help us win the war on bed bugs.

As we've pointed out, most bedbugs and most mosquitoes are immune to DDT because of past overuse, so bringing it back would accomplish little beyond creating more DDT-resistant buggers.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:47 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, February 10, 2016 12:49 AM EST
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
MRC: It's 'Politics' To Show A Gay Couple In Love
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center continues to be mad that gays are permitted to be gay in public.

In a Feb. 2 NewsBusters post, Katie Yoder notes that "To advertise greeting cards for Valentine’s Day this year, Hallmark released multiple videos of couples sharing their love stories. Among them: a gay and a lesbian couple." But first she asserts: "Hallmark is using politics to sell cards this Valentine’s Day."

Gosh, we thought that showing loving gay couples was a way to, you know, sell more greeting cards. We thought Yoder and the MRC supported the free market in which goods can be sold to anyone.

And wouldn't be more obviously "using politics" if Hallmark refused to acknowledge gay couples as Yoder wants?

Yoder doesn't answer that. Instead she complains that "In 2011, NPR pushed Hallmark to start creating Valentine’s Day cards for the LGBT community," citing a post by the MRC's Tim Graham whining that NPR once did a story on a company that made them that also quoted a Hallmark spokesperson stating that the company was moving in that direction. So it seems Hallmark hardly needed the "push" NPR supposedly gave them.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:21 PM EST

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