|Vaccine Related Autism Cases Killed in Press
by Michael Dorausch, DC
When it comes to the press, the near 5000 parents suggesting vaccines were the cause of their child's autism and who are seeking compensation from a federal vaccine fund, have a better chance of getting Paris Hilton elected as president in 2008 than they do getting their stories told without bias in the news.
It was late Saturday night when I noticed the first 50 or so articles appearing on Google News, related to hearings that began on Monday, involving parents of autistic children that believe vaccinations are the cause of their child's disorder.
These were all pre-release articles and they were being distributed by major newswires, appearing in the most local of papers, both on Sunday and Monday. By Sunday afternoon there were about five hundred indexed and the court cases had not even started.
The articles were written by different authors but nearly every one of them contained the same information, all content probably being derived from the same original source. You can do a Google News search to view articles that were published on Sunday, a day before the court hearings began.
The theme in nearly every article painted a picture of scientists versus activists. In every article I viewed there was a suggestion that scientists had strong evidence, citing government supported studies, that vaccinations have nothing to do with autism. In my opinion, the majority of articles also portrayed activists as hysterical parents that were not interested in science, but instead fear a government conspiracy cover-up.
In all articles I viewed, the scientific evidence cited comes from government supported studies and some even featured comments from "experts" that have ties to vaccine manufacturing. What I expect you won't see in the news are any independent studies that may suggest otherwise. However, what you may see in the news will be researchers and scientists that have taken a stance against the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal (thy-MEHR'-uh-sahl), having their credibility attacked.
Regardless whether who is wrong or right, both parties deserve an equal voice. In my opinion, methods used in creating and distributing current news, make this nearly impossible.
It would be nice to someday see an author actually do research on a topic such as this, and deliver a story that was equally weighted, providing unedited quotes from both governmental and nongovernmental scientists, parents, activists, researchers, and others knowledgeable on the topic. Getting it published and distributed in the major media is a whole other story.
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For clarity I just want to point out that this is not an issue of Google News. Their news system is automated and aggregates content from many different sources without bias or prejudice.