4 responses to “The Power of the Press

  1. I think there is plenty of blame to go around for this sort of thing, whether it be Wakefield himself, the media, or the increasingly vocal and uninformed anti-vaccination movement. It’s common for people not to have the critical thinking tools to determine for themselves whether a particular claim about vaccines or medicine is true. And so, they often end up paying attention to and absorbing the most widespread and fearful voices. It’s encouraging that this phenomenon seems to be losing ground, as scientists and responsible journalists are standing up and debunking a lot of the misinformation out there. One book I’d like to get around to reading is “Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All” by Paul Offit. The title is a bit inflammatory, but I’ve heard it’s well written and informative.

  2. I had talked about this same topic in our 3 min presentations,

    It is indeed a very great topic. People are putting themselves and their children at great risks by having general conclusions on vaccine safety.
    I did find a lot of other articles in the media bringing awareness to the public about this scandal.

    There is a book written on this, “The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear” by Seth Mnookin. One of the articles in the Wall Street Journal titled An Epidemic of Ignorance by Micheal Shermer, clearly gives a review of this book. It also shows a very good example of how the public should scrutinized what so ever they are presented with.

    This article is a good insight in evaluating some scientific material presented to the public if interested here is the link to this last article :

  3. AH! I’m just working on a blog post regarding this exact same topic! I guess it’s back to the drawing board for my blog, haha.

    Nonetheless, a very interesting topic! A lot of the background research I had gotten for it was from the Frontline documentary, “The Vaccine War”. It was released last year before Wakefield’s research has been proved falcified. It also mentioned the case of Desiree Jennings – a woman who had claimed she obtained a neurological disorder after a regular booster shot. A Youtube video of her in her new state went viral through the media, and, despite the fact that many of her symptoms were proven extremely “questionable”, the anti-vaccination campaign gained further support.

    Anyways, definitely worth checking out the documentary if you’re looking for more information into this topic.

  4. This is an interesting article, and it definitely brings up an important point. The press is a great tool to gain relevant and up to date information and knowledge. However, it is certainly true that the press makes errors from time to time, whether it was done purposely or accidentally. Hence, we should always question the authenticity of what we are reading and evaluate its sources in order to determine whether they are correct. In the case of the MMR scandal, it was unfortunate that such a well respected scientist had to create a false eye-catching study in order to advance personal gain. The consequences of his actions were not only immoral, but have now potentially put large populations at risk of measles, mumps, and rubella. When the press constantly and persistently reports such negative news, it becomes difficult to change the opinions of the public. People are essentially putting themselves at risk by not taking the vaccine, and hence more public awareness regarding the false study should be available. The press tends to exaggerate negative news, but they also tend to keep a low profile when they report incorrect news.