The MRC's Double Standard on Vaccines
The Media Research Center hates it when people fearmonger about vaccines -- while it fearmongers about anti-HPV vaccines like Gardasil.
By Terry Krepel
Julia Seymour wrote in an April 3 Media Research Center Business & Media Institute item:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found further evidence that childhood vaccines and autism are “not related,” in spite of high profile anti-vaccination voices like actress Jenny McCarthy and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Not only does Seymour make no mention of anti-vaccine fearmongering in conservative media -- where WorldNetDaily serves as a leader -- she makes no mention of the MRC's own anti-vaccine fearmongering, particularly on the subject of vaccines like Gardasil that help prevent cervical cancer by stopping the human papillomavirus:
Apparently, it's OK to fearmonger against vaccines at the MRC when a moral case can be devised. And the MRC has continued to rail against vaccine fearmongering while carving out an exception for Gardasil.
A July 10 CMI item by Katie Yoder complained that news reports were giving Gardasil credit for a dramatic drop on HPV infections among teenage girls while ignoring its supposed "dangerous side effects." But as ConWebWatch has documented, anti-HPV vaccines are considered safe -- no less than the Centers for Disease Control agrees -- and the serious side effects Yoder warns about are extremely rare.
Yoder cited the Washington Times to claim that "the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program recently lost almost $6 million in response to 49 victims’ complaints claims against HPV vaccines. Between 2010 and 2011, there were 26 deaths reported in correlation with Gardasil in addition to seizures, paralysis, blindness, pancreatitis, speech problems, short term memory loss and Guillain-Barré Syndrome all this according to the FDA’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System."
Second, it was not a Washington Times article Yoder was quoting but, rather, an article by Dr. Peter Lind at a separate site, Washington Times Communities, where "individual contributors are responsible for their content, which is not edited by The Washington Times." Lind -- the kind of anti-vaccine activist the MRC otherwise criticizes -- is citing the right-wing Judicial Watch, which is opposed to Gardasil apparently because it opposes everything remotely linked to the Obama administration.
If Yoder is going to attack Gardasil's supposed severe side effects, she should also tell the truth about the agenda behind its critics.
A week later, however, Scott Whitlock howled in a July 15 MRC item that "ABC has officially announced that one of the vacant spots on The View will be filled by Catholic-bashing, anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist Jenny McCarthy":
In addition to spewing disgust for the religious, the former nude model notably not a doctor and someone with zero scientific experience has led a crusade against childhood vaccinations. Despite there being no connection between autism and vaccinations, McCarthy has pushed this falsehood for years.
Whitlock's outrage over McCarthy anti-vaccine activism might be taken more seriously if his employer wasn't doing the same thing.
In the same vein, a July 15 BMI item by Kristine Marsh laments "vaccination scares led by the media and celebrities championing outdated science." Like Whitlock, Marsh makes no mention of her employer's own vaccination scares.
The MRC is so opposed to Gardasil, in fact, that it considers an effort to promote use of it to be a waste of money.
One entry in CNSNews.com's curiously anti-gay "Waste Watch" feature is a July 24 article by Eric Scheiner complaining that "The National Institutes of Health has awarded $544,188 to the University of California this year for a study on how to boost the number of young girls getting Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccinations in Los Angeles County."
Scheiner doesn't explain why he considers this money to be a waste; rather, he tries to fearmonger about the vaccine, hyping "772 serious adverse side effects, including 32 deaths, among the millions of doses administered to young girls between June 2006 and December 2008."
Scheiner then skews what the Centers for Disease Control has said about HPV vaccine to suggest that it's on the verge of banning it:
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it continues to recommend HPV vaccination -- "based on information available today."
In fact, the CDC has been much more affirmative about the overall safety of the vaccine that Scheiner suggests, stating that "No new or unusual patterns of adverse events to suggest a HPV vaccine safety concern."
It seems that the MRC needs to explain to its readers why anti-HPV vaccines are exempt from its criticism of anti-vaccine fearmongering.