Article "Anti-vaccination activists should not be given a say in the media" - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 11 Old 10-17-2013, 03:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I saw this today and was wondering what you guys think about it. Apparently a new study showed that when "balance" is given in the media about vaccines people are more likely to question the safety of vaccines.  Even more so than if the only thing they heard was an anti vaccine article on its own.  She makes the point that, say, if you were covering a story about circumventing the globe and you interview a geographer to get their view point you don't then get a representative from the "Flat Earth Society" to weigh in for balance.  It's called false balance, "a term to describe giving more time to opposing view points than the evidence actually supports." 

 

"In the study, 320 undergraduate students were assigned a news item presenting either claims both for and against a vaccine/autism link (false balance), a purely anti-vax "vaccines-definitely-cause-autism" article and a "there is no link" article.

Unsurprisingly, the participants who read the article saying vaccines cause autism indicated they would be less likely to have their children vaccinated in the future. But what was surprising was those who read the false balance article were even less confident about the safety of vaccines than the "vaccines-definitely-cause-autism" article.

The authors suggested the reasons for this may be that false balance elicits a stronger perception that experts are divided, or that experts truly are uncertain whether vaccines cause autism (let me make this crystal clear, there is no good evidence to support a link between vaccines and autism...)

I thought the findings were pretty interesting and was wondering what you guys think about it? Should the media stop giving "false balance" on vaccines? 

Edit: Oops forgot to add the link to the article http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/16/anti-vaccination-activists-should-not-be-given-a-say-in-the-media

 


"While Galileo was a rebel, not all rebels are Galileo." - Norman Levitt, mathematician and critic of anti-science postmodernism
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#2 of 11 Old 10-17-2013, 03:48 PM
 
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Oops

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#3 of 11 Old 10-17-2013, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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@Dalia this is a support forum. Please read the support forum guidelines. 

 

"

Support Forums

The I'm Not Vaccinating, Selective & Delayed Vaccination and the Vaccinating on Schedule forums are for support only. Members should determine which forum best suits their needs and post to that forum to get and share information. These forums do not host discussions that denigrate, insult or otherwise negatively generalize about the vaccination advocacy or practice of others. " 

 

 


"While Galileo was a rebel, not all rebels are Galileo." - Norman Levitt, mathematician and critic of anti-science postmodernism
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#4 of 11 Old 10-17-2013, 03:57 PM
 
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I'm sorry! I honestly thought it was the debate forum.

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#5 of 11 Old 10-17-2013, 04:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Np...


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#6 of 11 Old 10-17-2013, 05:56 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by teacozy View Post

 

Should the media stop giving "false balance" on vaccines? 

 

Not necessarily, but I do think they should make clear the backgrounds of the opinion-havers (on both sides).


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#7 of 11 Old 10-20-2013, 08:43 PM
 
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I agree with chickabiddy. 

 

I do think an awful lot of what passes for science journalism is total crap anyway, and a frequent failure to cite decent sources, or represent sources correctly, is only one part of a manifold problem. This is by no means limited to coverage of vaccination-related issues. 

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#8 of 11 Old 01-19-2014, 10:54 AM
 
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Loved the article. The idea of "fair and balanced" news has been a joke to me at least as long as FOX news has used the tagline. False balance comes into play on so many off topic areas - evolution, climate change ... but I like the flat earth society analogy.

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#9 of 11 Old 02-14-2015, 07:30 AM
 
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I'm bumping this thread because I've been seeing a lot more articles like this lately.
VfV now has a false balance toolkit, for those of you inclined toward advocacy on this issue.
http://www.voicesforvaccines.org/wpv...oolkit-VFV.pdf

Amy Goodman made a good point in the latest discussion she hosted with Dorit Reiss, Dr. Paul Offit and Mary Holland from Age of Autism. Dr. Offit criticized journalists for giving false balance on the issue, but Amy Goodman responded that since it's not only a scientific issue but also gets into law and ethics in a way that some other mostly scientific discussions do not, then she thought it was fair to have two sides represented.

It's an important point to make, because there are other nonscientific issues at hand, but it goes too far when the layperson side (or even expert who is going against consensus) is given an extensive platform to make unscientific claims about a medical relationship between vaccines and diagnoses that aren't related to vaccines in any way.
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#10 of 11 Old 02-16-2015, 07:59 PM
 
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It kind of feels like when you have climate change deniers on TV arguing with real scientists.
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#11 of 11 Old 02-17-2015, 03:01 PM
 
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I can't even believe vaccine denial and climate change denial are real things.

I've doubted both vaccines and climate change, but it only went so far as my ignorance. When I actually learned the science behind it, it was obvious that the only controversy is political controversy.
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