This is going to be uncharacteristically short, for me that is. I sometimes listen to NPR as I drive home from work, and I happened to be doing just that yesterday evening when I heard a story about the new Institute of Medicine report on vaccines and the vaccine schedule. (Stay tuned for my post on that in a few hours.) The report was crisp and summarized the findings of the report quite well. Then, at around what I know to be the three minute mark (now that the audio is up) I heard something most dismaying. Yes, believe it or not, for the “other side” of an issue for which there is no other side, NPR interviewed the grande dame of the antivaccine movement and founder of the virulently antivaccine group the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), Barbara Loe Fisher. Seriously. NPR did, but it’s worse than that. NPR didn’t describe NVIC as what it is, antivaccine, it simply described it as a “nonprofit advocacy group,” who let loose with her usual antivaccine misinformation.
Stunned, I immediately looked for the audio online and, as I said above, found it. All I can say is For shame! For shame, NPR! Just as I’ve noticed journalists not falling for false “balance” between antivaccine quacks and real scientists, what does NPR do? It falls for false “balance” between and antivaccine quackery supporter like Barbara Loe Fisher and the real scientists of the IOM.
Get in the sack, Barbara Loe Fisher. You too, NPR!