Needed At WorldNetDaily: A Vaccination Against Lies
When WND isn't falsely claiming the measles vaccine is worse than actually having the disease, it's falsely blaming illegal immigrants for the measles outbreak.
By Terry Krepel
WorldNetDaily has always had a strong anti-vaccination streak. The recent Disneyland-sourced measles outbreak prompted that unfortunate trait to surface again.
WND writers have endeavored to blame everyone else but those who refused to vaccinate their children, including illegal immigrants and the vaccine itself.
Attacking the vaccine
Barbara Simpson's Feb. 1 WND column displays her anti-vaxxer streak:
The move to immunize children from whatever diseases someone developed a vaccine against has resulted in parents’ concerns about the components in the shots and their side effects.
Of course, Simpson is silent about the millions of lives that have been saved by vaccines.
Dr. Lee Hieb -- a far-right fearmongerer who's linked with the fringe medical group Association of American Physicians and Surgeons -- took it further in a Feb. 4 WND column (in which she portrays mandatory vaccination as "the argument all dictators and totalitarians have used") by asserting that the measles vaccine is actually killing people:
So, I’ve been asked, “Why not vaccinate your children? Why not take the influenza vaccine?” Well, I believe the choice is up to you. I’ve covered my thinking about the influenza vaccine in an article in the Journal of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, available online, but here are some facts about childhood vaccines that make me think twice about their use. I traced these points back to the source, so these are not blindly reprinted from hearsay Internet articles. In some cases I found public references to be wrong but the data to be correct when I got to the source. Much of this comes from government reporting. Anyone can research disease incidence by reading MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report) from the CDC and accessing the search engine for VAERS (Vaccine complication reporting site) at http://www.medalerts.org/vaersdb/index.php.
Dr. Lee Hieb
Beyond the fact that one key reason there have been no deaths from measles in the past 12 years in the U.S. is because there is a measles vaccine, Hieb and WND are guilty of lying about VAERS data.
VAERS does not claim that the reported adverse reactions to vaccines it documents are directly attributable to the vaccine. VAERS explicitly states on its website:
When evaluating data from VAERS, it is important to note that for any reported event, no cause-and-effect relationship has been established. Reports of all possible associations between vaccines and adverse events (possible side effects) are filed in VAERS. Therefore, VAERS collects data on any adverse event following vaccination, be it coincidental or truly caused by a vaccine. The report of an adverse event to VAERS is not documentation that a vaccine caused the event.
For Hieb and WND to claim that VAERS proves that vaccines kill is, thus, a lie.
Of course, WND editor Farah completely swallowed Hieb's false claim in his Feb. 9 column:
When was the last death from measles in the U.S.? Anyone know.
In a delicious irony, Farah's column appeared at WND the same day it published the latest from syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell, who points out that "false claims, based on other false claims, led many parents to stop getting their children vaccinated against measles."
Sowell also noted that "crusading movements are seldom stopped by facts." As a man who pretends to be a journalist but embraces lies, Farah provides a clear example that even Sowell could not have anticipated.
Blaming illegal immigrants
A Jan. 30 WND article promoted a rant by far-right radio host Michael Savage (who's so buddy-buddy with WND that it hosts Savage's website) claiming that the measles outbreak is President Obama's fault somehow: “Measles had been nearly eradicated until about 15 years ago. When Clinton busted our border with Mexico, the floodgates were opened to infected migrants. Measles, TB, even malaria is returning! This is a form of medical genocide.” The article was silent on anti-vaxxers.
In the same Feb. 1 column -- headlined "Obama's plague" -- in which she went anti-vaxxer Simpson blamed Obama and immigrants for the outbreak:
We’re told it all started in Disneyland and that it surely originated with a foreign visitor, but that the worst of it, is because of those retro-parents who didn’t vaccinate their children. On top of that, many doctors are saying they will not accept any patients who are not vaccinated.
A Feb. 4 article by Bob Unruh rehashed Savage's smear that Obama is committing "medical genocide" through his "reckless policy of bringing in unscreened, unvaccinated masses from south of the border," also quoting right-wing darling Ben Carson blaming "undocumented people, who perhaps have diseases that we had under control."
WND then called on Elizabeth Lee Vliet -- like Hieb, a fearmongerer who's linked with AAPS -- to pile the blame on illegal immigrants (and to make sure anti-vaxxers like herself do not get held accountable) in a Feb. 5 column:
The focus of the Obama administration and media in the measles outbreak in the U.S. has been on American parents not vaccinating their children.
There's just one problem with WND's blaming illegal immigrants from Latin America for the measles outbreak: Those central American countries have a measles vaccination rate that is as high, if not higher, than the U.S.
Further, as the Washington Post detailed, according to the World Health Organization no Central American country had more confirmed measles cases than the U.S. did in 2014.
Even though the facts aren't on her side, Vliet continued to whine: "Now the government that fails to follow its own laws is saying it will mandate that all parents vaccinate their children to protect against the disease it allowed to enter the U.S."
Of course, Vliet will never admit that vaccinating as many people as possible keeps diseases like measles from spreading.
WND's wild immigrant-bashing
WND's Aaron Klein tried to ratchet the scapegoat treatment with a Feb. 12 article attempting to blame illegal immigrants for as many diseases as he could come up with, from measles to enterovirus, but all he could come up with in support of his assertions were speculation, not solid facts. At one point, Klein claims: "While medical literature backs up the argument that Latin America is currently safely immunized against measles, a WND review of the history of outbreaks in the U.S. since the 1980s shows two major themes: Almost all of the outbreaks came from overseas, and California saw some of the largest concentrations of the disease." Which, again, is speculation and inference, not actual proof.
(Also, the Centers for Disease Control have found no evidence of a link between illegal immigrants and enterovirus outbreaks in the U.S. -- which Klein concedes a few paragraphs after he reports all his baseless speculation.)
Finally, Klein attempted to blame undocumented immigrants for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne tropical disease that he speculates is being spread through mosquitoes that "could just as easily have been transported into the U.S. in baggage, clothing, food, or liquids carried by illegal aliens crossing the border." But once more, he can only rely on speculation, not actual proof.
WND senior staff writer Jerome Corsi took immigrant-bashing to a new, ludicrous level in a Feb. 13 video posted on WND's Facebook feed, bloviating that "various diseases that have been eradicated from the United States, including smallpox and other diseases coming from Latin America, Mexico, South America through illegal immigration."