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Thursday

Frontline, Autism and knotted Knickers at Age of Autism

I agree with Anne Dachel that the Frontline Show "The Vaccine War" is getting a great deal of reaction from the online autism community.   Just for Fun, Giggles etc I have corrected the rest of her write up to suit myself.
WARNING!!! CONTENT MAY BE UPSETTING, RUDE, SARCASTIC, HURTFUL ETC TO SOME READERS.  GET OVER IT.
Sarcasm by A Sodee

Tuesday night’s PBS Frontline show, “The Vaccine War,” is getting a lot of reaction within the autism community today.  Before watching Frontline, I’d heard enough about the show not to expect the typical false 'two sided' coverage. The very title was misleading.  The word “war” makes one think of a conflict with two sides.  That’s what PBS presented to the public and anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of the vaccine controversy could recognize that finally the media was getting it right.  There are indeed two sides to this battle-facts vs feelings. 

On their website, PBS promoted this show saying, “In The Vaccine War, FRONTLINE lays bare the science of vaccine safety and examines the increasingly bitter debate between the public health establishment and a formidable populist coalition of parents, celebrities, politicians and activists who are armed with the latest social media tools -- including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter -- and are determined to resist pressure from the medical and public health establishments to vaccinate, despite established scientific consensus about vaccine safety.”

In truth, what we witnessed on PBS was an example of media  reporting of the facts.  Logical parents have grown weary of the mantra, “vaccines cause Autism, it's a conspiracy!.”  How many times has this issue been declared settled?  How many studies have been announced showing vaccines don’t have serious side effects like autism?  This debate shows no signs of stopping, despite the ardent efforts of shows like Frontline.

The emotional yet unfounded claims of parents were noted and dismissed on Frontline.

A growing number of parents say that vaccines can cause autism and that more studies need to be done.  Frontline reported that the science is in.  There’s no need for more research because multiple, large-scale studies from around the world have looked at the question and the answer is no. 

Ten of thousands of parents report that they feel that their children were normally developing until they were vaccinated.  These parents believe that their children regressed and became autistic due to vaccinations.  While discussing these parental concerns Paul Offit, MD, Anthony Fauci, MD and Eric Fombonne, MD explain that regression following vaccinations is mere coincidence-after a decade of extensive research scientific studies have ruled out vaccines as a cause of autism.

Some parents are worried about the number of vaccine in the schedule, another feeling based theory that is contrary to scientific findings.  Frontline had Melinda Wharton, MD, MPH in her Public Health Service uniform telling us about all the disease-preventing vaccines that are out there now.

The autism numbers have been portrayed as "skyrocketed coincidentally with the dramatic expansion of the vaccine schedule".  Frontline called autism “mysterious” and said it “appears” to have increased.

On their website, PBS included this interview with Montreal psychiatrist, Eric Fombonne.
In it Fombonne explained why autism is not an epidemic.

I think a better name for the show would have been, “The Anti-vaccine Movement: Misguided and Dangerous.” 

PBS portrayed parents as impassioned and determined but totally without any science on their side.  We see Jenny McCarthy, JB Handley, Barbara Loe Fisher, and Robert Kennedy Jr, along with a number of non-vaccinating parents.  To the general public the message was clear:  The medical community is lined up against them.  Their movement is based on fraudulent research (Andrew Wakefield) and celebrity leadership (Jenny McCarthy). 

Thank goodness Frontline did this show.

It is about time mainstream media gave publicity to these dangerous emotional based claims and allowed the experts to explain the facts.
The sad truth is that despite the best efforts of health officials and their few followers in the media, the public was not listening.  Some parents were scared.  Autistic children are more commonly diagnosed and no one can reasonably explain to hysterical parents who are determined that vaccines cause autism, where they’re  coming from. 

A lot of the Frontline show was about the power of the Internet.  Offit explained that people are getting phony information from watching YouTube videos for example.  The Internet is the dangerous influence, further explain some  health experts.  Fisher, McCarthy, and Handley use this forum to influence the public.  Parents are exempting their children and we’re losing herd immunity.  This has become a national health threat.

There was nothing new in what the trained experts had to say.  We were reminded that they’re focused saving lives.  Nothing was new from the other side either.  Parents continue to hang on to the false belief that vaccines can harm children.  It’s easy to imagine what PBS hoped to accomplish with this show. A logically balanced view of the so called 'debate'.

Frotnline thankfully did not use the shady tactics seen too many times:

They did not play into the conspiracy theory aimed at spreading fear and hatred.  The did not lend weight to the handful of emotional parents that 'just know, just feel' that autism was caused by vaccines.  Media sources like PBS demonstrated that this controversy is over.  Logic and facts (Scientific studies) have proven that vaccines do not cause autism.  Any logical clear thinking person can accept this.

There was another element that was thankfully missing from the PBS coverage.  The fake experts ranting that regardless of science, facts and evidence they know better!   PBS clearly demonstrated that while some parents are concerned about vaccine safety their concerns are emotion based and contrary to evidence.  PBS also demonstrated that none of  the well-credentialed scientists and doctors disagree with the main-stream medical community regardless of what the anti-fact profiteers would like us to believe.

 While PBS had  interviewed Jay Gordon, MD and Robert Sears, MD they were not included on the airing. Neither of them had any fact based information to share, perhaps.

The only way the story presented by Frontline works is if we just forget about hysterical ranting and face facts.  We have to understand that there’s been no real increase in autism  The vaccine schedule has not been upped to three times what it was in 1983.  The only epidemics we need to worry about are the ones caused by non-vaccinating parents.

The real problem is, HYSTERICAL PARENTS ARE NOT GOING AWAY.  They will continue to misprepresent statistics (example "One percent of children have it.  One in every 70 boys")  We’re talking about hundreds of logically impaired parents who will live long lives, many severely active online and totally misrepresenting and twisting facts

These parents may try to change the subject and ignore the reality of what’s happened to our children.  The resurgence of preventable disease, the stereotyping caused by misrepresenting children with autism, the harmful alternative medicine being practised on children by their misguided parents- but the public will hear more and more about autism everyday in the news.  Parents and self touted experts that are fear mongering with statements like this "As these affected children age into adulthood, they will cost billion of dollars each year for their support and care and their numbers will be replaced by another generation of children.  This is the scariest scenario I can image.  And no one is talking about it." will have their small followings of loons but very little clout.


Those that think Kate McMahon should have asked these two questions: What if vaccines turn out to be the cause of the autism epidemic?  What if all those questioning vaccine safety are right?- well persons who still are asking the questions we already have answers to can not take in the answers.  Vaccines have been proven to not cause autism.  The theory of an autism epidemic has been thoroughly debunked, the persons who claim vaccines are a conpiracy causing autism have been proven wrong.   

Perhaps now it is time for parents to learn acceptance for their children and advocate for better support and inclusion in schools and communities.

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