Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Height of Irresponsibility

You may have heard that ABC is debuting a new drama show on Thursday about a crusading trial lawyer who successfully sues a vaccine manufacturer for causing a child's autism. The American Academy of Pediatrics has written to ABC calling on them to cancel the show, arguing that "If parents watch this program and choose to deny their children immunizations, ABC will share in the responsibility for the suffering and deaths that occur as a result. The consequences of a decline in immunization rates could be devastating to the health of our nation's children." True enough. ABC says they'd feel just awful if any parents opted not to have their kids vaccinated as a result of seeing the show, but what do they expect? Evidently they're planning to feel just awful.

According to the CNN story, "Greg Berlanti, a co-creator of the show, said the episode is fictional but designed 'to participate in what is a national conversation' about a controversial subject." First of all, the subject is no more controversial than whether the earth is 6,000 years old. Second, the show does not "participate in a . . . conversation," it perpetuates a falsehood. Airing this show would constitute reckless endangerment and a fraud upon the public.

The world needs to get this straight: childhood vaccines do not, and never have, caused autism. Period. Not probably. Not by the consensus of informed opinion. We know this as surely as we can know anything. This is a fraud which has become viral largely because of the dishonest and self-serving activities of Robert Kennedy Jr., an upper class twit who has traded on his famous name to cause immeasurable damage to the public, and brought dishonor and shame to his family and his employers.

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