Friday, February 1, 2013

Scare stories and gutter press

It's a sad, but true, fact that it is a lot easier to scare people than it is to unscare them. Certain newspapers love to scare people with any anecdotal association they can dig up.The picture to the left is from Britain's Daily Mail.

The Daily Mail has been campaigning against the HPV vaccine for some while. But they have a right to that opinion. Except it turns out they don't even have that opinion. On the other side of the Irish Sea the Irish edition of the SAME NEWSPAPER is campaigning FOR the HPV vaccine.

From Martin Robbins at

“Are they insane?! They’re printing scare stores about the dangers of the HPV vaccine in one country, while simultaneously campaigning for its introduction in another. It’s so absurdly cynical that I can’t quite form the words to convey just how shocked I am by this. Even by the piss-poor journalistic standards of the Daily Mail, this takes quite some beating.

What this means is that those of us who believed that the Daily Mail had some editorial, ideological stance against certain vaccines (such as MMR) were in fact wrong. The Daily Mail position on vaccines is whatever sells newspapers – and if those positions are completely self-contradictory, or might cause a bit more cancer in the readership, then who cares, as long as the advertisers are happy?

In many ways, this is worse than being anti-vaccine. Anti-vaccinationists may be cranks, but at least they ultimately care about the people affected. The revelation that the Mail is pushing two contradictory positions on a major public health issue on either side of the Irish Sea, proves once and for all that they don’t give a crap about the impact such stories may have on their readers. It’s a whole new level of sick. It’s crossing the line where misguided becomes truly evil.”

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