Antivaxxers grow increasingly bolder

December 30, 2011

Over the last year, the anti-vaccination movement has grown more bold in their misinformation campaigns. It began Thanksgiving weekend of 2010, where they tried to advertise their propaganda in AMC movie theaters. This effort was thwarted however in no small part because of SkepChick activist Elyse Anders. Then months later, they succeeded in getting a commercial running on the Time Square CBS Jumbotron. And last month, they succeeded in getting Delta Airlines to air their propaganda on flights.

Each time Elyse Anders used a change.org petition to influence those who have agreed to work with these antivaccine groups and I discussed this during my recent SkeptiCamp talk, which was focused on promoting more skeptical activism in NYC because as great as Elyse has been for NYC, she doesn’t live here and I hate needing her to fight our local battles when we have a sizable skeptical community, many of whom I suspect would be interested in skeptical activism.

Well now the inaccurately named National Vaccine Information Center is back to their old tricks and are currently, as well as during New Years, running another dishonest ad in Times Square on ABC Full Circle’s 5000 square foot TSQ Digital Screen. And the ad is scheduled to run during the New Years celebration. Also, Jenny McCarthy will be part of the televised show and has promised to try to draw attention to the ad.

And again, since there’s no organized NYC skeptical activism…yet (hopefully more on this soon!), New York’s protector, Elyse Anders, is back with another change.org petition. Please sign this petition urging ABC to pull the ad at once.

Yay! Sweet, sweet death!

Now unfortunately, that’s not the only antivaccine news story lately. The antivaccine Australian Vaccination Network is currently promoting a children’s book that teaching kids that measles is awesome. I shit you not. The book is called Melanie’s Marvelous Measles, and it’s written by a woman named Stephanie Messenger. I’m reminded of another children’s author who wrote about measles, Roald Dahl. Though he wasn’t marveling at the disease so much as cursing it for having killed his kid. For more commentary on this sickening book, check out PZ Myers, Ophelia Benson and Reasonable Hank.

The other big news from Australia was that the head of the Australian Vaccination Network, Meryl Dorey was originally scheduled to give a talk at the Woodford Folk Festival about the evils of vaccines. After our friends at the Australian Skeptics campaigned against it, her talk transformed into a panel featuring Dorey and a bunch of actual qualified experts with the know-how to demolish her arguments. But the Australian Skeptics didn’t stop there. They amusingly paid to have an airplane fly over the Festival with a sign reading:  VACCINATION SAVES LIVES.

Bravo Australian Skeptics on a job well done. Now we just need to bring the same level of activism to NYC.

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Anti-vaccine ad running on CBS Jumbotron in Time Square

April 11, 2011

Fuck you, CBS!

Joseph Mercola and the mis-named National Vaccine Information Center have formed an unholy alliance to bring a anti-vaccine commercial to the heart of Time Square on the CBS Jumpotron, which will be seen by hundreds of thousands of passersby.

The latest report is that the ad is already running and will continue to broadcast once an hour for the next two and a half weeks. So like with the recent AMC Theater debacle, Elyse Anders from Skepchick is leading the charge in organizing a protest against CBS:

Please sign this petition at Change.org telling CBS Outdoor to take the ads down.

Tweet @CBSOutdoor and @CBSTweet with the hashtag #VaxCBS to tell them how you feel about them running this ad.

Then, you can send an email CBS Outdoor’s board of directors and CBS Network executives asking them to stop running the ad IMMEDIATELY.

More information is available in my previous post and at Respectful Insolence.

And pass it on!

And if you’d like, you can use my email to the CBS executives as a template:

I am contacting you to express my deep outrage at your company’s decision to value money over child welfare. Joseph Mercola and the so-called “National Vaccine Information Center” are lying to the American people about vaccine safety because of a cult-like devotion to the belief that vaccines are dangerous. This is in fact not true. Vaccines are the single greatest medical achievement in human history and millions of lives have been saved around the world by vaccines. Every reputable health organization on Earth endorses vaccination and agrees that the risks from vaccines are minimal and rarely ever serious.

I am an regular viewer of a number of shows on your network, but as long as you continue to propagate deadly anti-vaccine propaganda that endangers the lives of children, either via your Time Square Jumbotron or by continuing to let sham journalist Sharyl Attkisson editorialize about the harms of vaccines when the facts clearly disagree with her, I can no longer in good conscience watch your network.

Please remove this ad and fire Ms. Attkisson at once.

-Michael

PS: Here are a number of reputable, well-sourced websites attesting to the safety of vaccines and debunking the misinformation of anti-vaccine propagandists:

Video testimonials from Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases:
http://www.youtube.com/user/PKIDsOrg#p/u

Other great sources:
http://www.who.int/topics/vaccines/en/
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/index.htm
http://www.historyofvaccines.org/
http://hugmeimvaccinated.org
http://www.ecbt.org/
http://www.immunizeforgood.com
http://www.antivaxxers.com
http://www.vaccinateyourbaby.org
http://antiantivax.flurf.net/
http://www.childrensimmunization.org/
http://www.whyichoose.org
http://www.jennymccarthybodycount.com/
http://www.GiveVaccines.org
http://health.nv.gov/Immunization.htm
http://shotbyshot.org/
http://justthevax.blogspot.com
http://shotofprevention.com/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/

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NECSS and why I haven’t posted lately

April 8, 2011

Yes, I have been fairly absent from this blog lately. Some of you may have noticed. I promise I will be get back to producing more substantial comment here soon. It’s just been a busy few weeks.

First of all, it’s NECSS weekend and I’m just now sobering up from a night of pre-NECSS Drinking Skeptically debauchery. What is NECSS? If you don’t know, it’s the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism, an annual event held in New York City, organized by the NYC Skeptics and the New England Skeptic Society. This is its third year and the first year it’s grown to a two-day event. I’m going to be busy this weekend attending and working as a volunteer at NECSS, so don’t expect anything this weekend…though I might be posting about the fucking anti-vax ad that will be shown on the CBS jumbo TV in Time Square soon enough.

As for my other excuses for not posting anything lately, I’ve been working on a short film I wrote with a skeptical bent that will begin shooting next weekend. Once that’s finished, I’ll almost definitely be embedding or posting a link to that video here, so stay tuned for that.

And lastly, I just haven’t been very motivated to post any news items here lately. Sure, there have been a few small skeptical stories that have caught my interest, but nothing that would motivate more than a sentence or two on the subject. I feel like I’m even getting bored by the nonsense at Age of Autism. It’s all the same ad hominem shit they always do and I’m sick of sick of finding new ways of mocking their rubbish.

So yeah, I guess I’m calling this a brief hiatus, but don’t worry. I’ll be back soon.

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