Katie Couric admits disproportionate reporting on HPV vaccine - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 31 Old 12-11-2013, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sure most of you have been reading about Katie Couric's show that recently aired that featured two mothers who claim their daughters were injured by the HPV vaccine.  It has been strongly criticized in the media and other science blogs (science based medicine, skeptical raptor, respectful insolence, redwineandapplesauce etc). 

 

Katie Couric has since apologized for the segment on her show, and thought I would share.  http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2013/12/10/katie-couric-hpv-segment-apology/3958423/

 

Here's a link to her actual piece on huffingtonpost http://www.huffingtonpost.com/katie-couric/vaccine-hpv-furthering-conversation_b_4418568.html?utm_hp_ref=yahoo&ir=Yahoo

 

"Following the show, and in fact before it even aired, there was criticism that the program was too anti-vaccine and anti-science, and in retrospect, some of that criticism was valid. We simply spent too much time on the serious adverse events that have been reported in very rare cases following the vaccine. More emphasis should have been given to the safety and efficacy of the HPV vaccines.

 

There is no definitive proof that these two situations were related to the vaccine. Every life is important. However, the time spent telling these stories was disproportionate to the statistical risk attendant to the vaccines and greater perspective is needed.

 

I know there is a segment of the population that has expressed intense concern over vaccines in general and that this is an emotional issue for some. But based on the science, my personal view is that the benefits of the HPV vaccine far outweigh its risks. That is why, as I said on my show, I had my own two daughters vaccinated against HPV. I hope that other parents will look at the research and the facts, and make a reasoned decision on the HPV vaccine and what is best for their children." 

 

So what do you guys think? was an apology warranted in this case? Did she spend too much time talking with these two mothers and not enough talking about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine? 


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#2 of 31 Old 12-11-2013, 09:22 AM
 
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I think that there's a lot about the HPV vaccine that's out of proportion.  I spend time on a university campus, and one of the things that struck me was that on a bulletin board of sexual health information there were 4 pamphlets about HPV, versus 11 covering all other STI's combined (and HPV was mentioned on a couple of those), and all of the HPV pamphlets were in colour, whereas only 3 of the other pamphlets were.  There were also advertisements for the HPV vaccines in washrooms. It's anecdotal, but I think that the massive marketing campaigns have set a rather dramatic tone for the conversation, making it inevitable that much of the conversation about HPV will be out of proportion in one way or another.  And the apology just meant that yet more time was spent discussing HPV and the vaccine.  Her time would have been better spent encouraging parents to make sure their kids know about drug resistant chlamydia, or one of the other STI's that's getting far too little discussion.

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So what do you guys think? was an apology warranted in this case? Did she spend too much time talking with these two mothers and not enough talking about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine? 

I did not see the piece so will not comment on it. 

 

Overall, I do not think any private media entity needs to apologise to the public for a pro-vax piece, a non-vaccine piece or anything in between.  

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#4 of 31 Old 12-11-2013, 11:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I did not see the piece so will not comment on it. 

 

Overall, I do not think any private media entity needs to apologise to the public for a pro-vax piece, a non-vaccine piece or anything in between.  

 

Well, I disagree.  Unfortunately, people do make medical decisions based on what they see on these kinds of shows and if a non medical doctor is going to have a whole show devoted to a medical procedure, it should be balanced and not fear mongering.  


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#5 of 31 Old 12-11-2013, 01:27 PM
 
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Well, I disagree. Shocking :p

 

 Unfortunately, people do make medical decisions based on what they see on these kinds of shows and if a non medical doctor is going to have a whole show devoted to a medical procedure, it should be balanced and not fear mongering.  

 

Does piece after piece of pro-vax journalism that does involve fear-mongerring concern you? 


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#6 of 31 Old 12-11-2013, 02:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Does piece after piece of pro-vax journalism that does involve fear-mongerring concern you? 

 

If you have an example of a show or segment where a mother talks about a reaction her child had to a VPD that was not medically or scientifically proven, I'd love to see it.  Or if you have an example of a popular show inviting mothers to fear monger people into getting their child vaccinated against, say, chickenpox by letting them argue that they are 100% positive that chickenpox causes autism, I'd love to see that too.   


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#7 of 31 Old 12-11-2013, 04:34 PM
 
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I think that there's a lot about the HPV vaccine that's out of proportion.  I spend time on a university campus, and one of the things that struck me was that on a bulletin board of sexual health information there were 4 pamphlets about HPV, versus 11 covering all other STI's combined (and HPV was mentioned on a couple of those), and all of the HPV pamphlets were in colour, whereas only 3 of the other pamphlets were.  There were also advertisements for the HPV vaccines in washrooms. It's anecdotal, but I think that the massive marketing campaigns have set a rather dramatic tone for the conversation, making it inevitable that much of the conversation about HPV will be out of proportion in one way or another.  And the apology just meant that yet more time was spent discussing HPV and the vaccine.  Her time would have been better spent encouraging parents to make sure their kids know about drug resistant chlamydia, or one of the other STI's that's getting far too little discussion.

 

 

Well, considering that HPV is the most prevalent STD in the USA, and up to 80% of women are infected with it at some point, it probably deserves more information dissemination.

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#8 of 31 Old 12-11-2013, 05:46 PM
 
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Well, I disagree. SHOCKING!   :laughUnfortunately, people do make medical decisions based on what they see on these kinds of shows and if a non medical doctor is going to have a whole show devoted to a medical procedure, it should be balanced and not fear mongering.  

 

In the big world, I know you and I'm sure Katie too, would like to think she has that much influence but really this show doesn't have that type of impact. As far as balanced (fair) the only ones that seem to want that are the 65+ age group and they don't make too many HPV vaccine decisions. The parents that are deciding are not simply going off of one TV show :wink
As with politics, most things are local - the vast majority will have their child get it or not based on what others close to them influence them to do. 
 
Tea, I wouldn't get so steamed up about it!
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#9 of 31 Old 12-11-2013, 07:18 PM
 
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Katie Couric is pretty damn influential.

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12860585

 

It's actually known as the "Katie Couric Effect"- The increase in colonoscopies after she had hers on the air.

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#10 of 31 Old 12-12-2013, 04:47 AM
 
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Katie Couric is pretty damn influential.

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12860585

 

It's actually known as the "Katie Couric Effect"- The increase in colonoscopies after she had hers on the air.

It's a joke! Oprah also has an "effect" http://www.investopedia.com/terms/o/oprah-effect.asp

 

Katie is not appealing to the age group that most parents making the decision to vaccinate their children are in - http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/daytime-tv-faces-age-old-problem-article-1.1286244 daytime TV in general appeals much older audience.

 

Being worked up over a TV show that has already aired is a joke, it can't be undone.


 

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#11 of 31 Old 12-12-2013, 05:54 AM
 
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Katie Couric is pretty damn influential.

 

Even if she is - so what?

 

She is not a servant of the public and does not have to give a balanced view.  She might pay for "bad" programming through lack of advertising, annoyed producers, low ratings (or not).  She should be free to produce the kind of programming her and her producers see fit.  

 

Really, she could do a piece on the wonders of infant formula, and while I might write angry letters, as long as she has not lied I do not have any right to demand or expect an apology.  I can accuse her of bad journalism and refuse to watch her show again - that is my right - but I do not get to dictate content of her shows.  


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#12 of 31 Old 12-12-2013, 07:10 AM
 
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It's a joke! Oprah also has an "effect" http://www.investopedia.com/terms/o/oprah-effect.asp

 

Katie is not appealing to the age group that most parents making the decision to vaccinate their children are in - http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/daytime-tv-faces-age-old-problem-article-1.1286244 daytime TV in general appeals much older audience.

 

Being worked up over a TV show that has already aired is a joke, it can't be undone.

Wrong.  The Katie show is the top new syndicated talk show in the female 25-54 demographic. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/tv-column/post/katie-courics-daytime-talk-show-renewed-for-second-season/2013/01/30/9cd6392c-6b28-11e2-af53-7b2b2a7510a8_blog.html

 

The Daily News article you quote is weird.  It's talking about median ages for veiwership, which is not particularly helpful.

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#13 of 31 Old 12-12-2013, 07:12 AM
 
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Even if she is - so what?

 

She is not a servant of the public and does not have to give a balanced view.  She might pay for "bad" programming through lack of advertising, annoyed producers, low ratings (or not).  She should be free to produce the kind of programming her and her producers see fit.  

 

Really, she could do a piece on the wonders of infant formula, and while I might write angry letters, as long as she has not lied I do not have any right to demand or expect an apology.  I can accuse her of bad journalism and refuse to watch her show again - that is my right - but I do not get to dictate content of her shows.  

 

No, she's not a public servant, but she is a journalist.  They are supposed to abide by a code of ethics.  Part of that code discusses not being biased and public accountability. 
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#15 of 31 Old 12-12-2013, 07:30 AM
 
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Wrong.  The Katie show is the top new syndicated talk show in the female 25-54 demographic. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/tv-column/post/katie-courics-daytime-talk-show-renewed-for-second-season/2013/01/30/9cd6392c-6b28-11e2-af53-7b2b2a7510a8_blog.html

 

The Daily News article you quote is weird.  It's talking about median ages for veiwership, which is not particularly helpful.

 

Median is very helpful.  The median age of the Katie Couric show is 60.8 according to the link Serenbat posted -which is a very useful figure.  It means half the people are above 60.8.  
 

Being the top show in a certain demographic is not particulalry helpful information. 8 is top out of 5, 6, 7 and 8;  99 is highest out of 0, 10, 12 and 99.  "Top" means nothing without context.  

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#16 of 31 Old 12-12-2013, 08:05 AM
 
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The quote feature is not working on my computer.  I dug up the code of ethics for journalists.  It does not mention bias.  There is a lot in it, so I suppose if anyone feels so inclined they can watch the Couric piece and then see how she followed and/or broke the code of ethics.

 

http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

 

Really, though, if people are going to insist on balanced, biased free and accountable journalism (all not bad things) then I think they need to take very hard look at:

 

A.  How the mainstream news has handled vaccine issues in general.  Typically, most news articles I see tend to downplay vaccines reactions, side effects, etc, and up-play disease risks.  

 

Here is an example of an article that is pro-vax skewed.

 

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10855638

 

It goes on, at length, about the horrors of tetanus (fine - tetanus is no walk in the park) but fails to mentions that:

1.  tetanus is very rare, even in unvaccinated people

2.  that tetanus is more likely in the elderly, drug users, diabetics, those on farms, etc.  The only risk factor it mentions is being unvaccinated.

3.  It does not discuss wound management at all

4.  A doctor lies - lies! - or at a minimum is very loose with the words "a lot"

"People used to die of it a lot. If you don't immunise against it, then it's definitely a risk."  

This is not true.  I can dig up the stats if anyone insists, but IIRC, the pre-vaccine era rate or fatality rate (can't remember which) of tetanus is about 1/250 000.  I would not consider 1/250 000  "a lot."  It is also worth noting that many more people lived on farms in the pre-vaccine era.

 

B.  As I am sure many of you are aware, many pro-vaxxers do not want journalists to give any space to those who have concerns about vaccines.  They babble on about "false balance" (or in laymans terms, let's censor stuff we do not want out there, as people might believe it).  So calling out Katie for being one-sided when many pro-vaxxers very much want only one-side to be portrayed is pretty rich.  


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#17 of 31 Old 12-12-2013, 08:15 AM
 
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Chknlovr  the show Katie is currently doing is a "talk" show not the evening news - if you have this much problem with it, turn the channel - how about the View? - Barbra is also a journalist and she still has Jenny! :wink 
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#18 of 31 Old 12-12-2013, 08:44 AM
 
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Wrong.  The Katie show is the top new syndicated talk show in the female 25-54 demographic. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/tv-column/post/katie-courics-daytime-talk-show-renewed-for-second-season/2013/01/30/9cd6392c-6b28-11e2-af53-7b2b2a7510a8_blog.html

 

The Daily News article you quote is weird.  It's talking about median ages for veiwership, which is not particularly helpful.

as Kathy so rightly pointed out median age certainly does matter 

 

IF you even think a "younger" generation is only taking what a "talk" show hosts says and not seeking out more information on a subject I can certainly see why you didn't find my link helpful-sad.


 

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#19 of 31 Old 12-12-2013, 09:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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@ Kathymuggle

 

He may not use the exact words "tetanus is rare" but he says he has seen 5 cases in 10 years.  Anyone should be able to interpret that as something that is rare.  

 

Tetanus *is* scary. Even with modern medical care 10 percent of people who get it will die.  There is no doubt that this child suffered from tetanus, unlike in the Katie Couric show where there was no evidence that what these mothers were claiming was a reaction from the vaccine actually was. Creating fear with absolutely no proof or evidence. Big difference. 

 

Before the vaccine, 600 people a year got tetanus.  The population has roughly increased two and a half times since then.  So we could expect around 1500 cases a year.  We usually have around 20-30.  There is no doubt that the vaccine has saved thousands of lives. 

 

Your best chance of preventing it *is* the vaccine. You can get tetanus from a scrape, it doesn't have to be a deep puncture wound. Kids that are out playing may not tell you they got a scrape, making it impossible to clean thoroughly. You can't keep kids in a bubble


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#20 of 31 Old 12-12-2013, 11:05 AM
 
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Median is only helpful for me if I also know the age range of the viewership the median is based on.  Without it it really doesn't tell us anything about potential influence.  Consider the following two groups of viewer ages

 

Group A: 20 years, 25 years, 30years, 32years, 33 years, 60.8 years, 61 years, 61 years, 61 years, 61 years ,61 years

 

Group B: 56 years,57 years , 58 years ,59 years ,60 years, 60.8years ,65 years ,70 years,75 years,80 years,85 years

 

Both groups have a median age of 60.8.  However group A with a Mean/average age of 45.98 is clearly going to have more influence on a vaccine age considering 50% of the viewership is in the prime age range for making these decision compared to group B with an average age of 65.98 and 0% in the age range.

 

Research on age demos would be more important than a median age without a range of age values.

 

 

That said her current show isn't a news show.  It is a talk show.  I don't think she owes an obligation for balance anymore than Maury Povich does. I am glad she is acknowledging it though.

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#21 of 31 Old 12-12-2013, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That said her current show isn't a news show.  It is a talk show.  I don't think she owes an obligation for balance anymore than Maury Povich does. I am glad she is acknowledging it though.

 

To be fair, she is also a journalist and does do news segments and is a " special correspondent for ABC News, contributing to ABC World NewsNightline20/20Good Morning AmericaThis Week and primetime news specials. She has anchored the CBS Evening News,reported for 60 Minutes, and hosted Today and reported for Dateline NBC. " 

 

I don't really think it's fair to compare her potential influence to that of Maury Povich.  

 

Having said that, I was never trying to argue that she should *have* to apologize. I mean, it shouldn't be a law. Legally she should be able to say whatever she wants.  But there is a code of ethics in journalism and if she was really trying to "show both sides" then she should have had mothers whose daughters have died from cervical cancer on the show as well, and spent more than 5 minutes at the very end of the show talking to a doctor. I think it was really irresponsible reporting, and am glad she acknowledged it, too. 


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#22 of 31 Old 12-12-2013, 11:52 AM
 
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To be fair, she is also a journalist and does do news segments and is a " special correspondent for ABC News, contributing to ABC World NewsNightline20/20Good Morning AmericaThis Week and primetime news specials. She has anchored the CBS Evening News,reported for 60 Minutes, and hosted Today and reported for Dateline NBC. " 

 

I don't really think it's fair to compare her potential influence to that of Maury Povich.  

 

Having said that, I was never trying to argue that she should *have* to apologize. I mean, it shouldn't be a law. Legally she should be able to say whatever she wants.  But there is a code of ethics in journalism and if she was really trying to "show both sides" then she should have had mothers whose daughters have died from cervical cancer on the show as well, and spent more than 5 minutes at the very end of the show talking to a doctor. I think it was really irresponsible reporting, and am glad she acknowledged it, too. 

you are missing the point - regardless what ELSE she does at other times, this is a "talk" show, not a news show


 

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#23 of 31 Old 12-12-2013, 12:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Dakotacakes View Post
 

Median is only helpful for me if I also know the age range of the viewership the median is based on.  Without it it really doesn't tell us anything about potential influence.  Consider the following two groups of viewer ages

 

Group A: 20 years, 25 years, 30years, 32years, 33 years, 60.8 years, 61 years, 61 years, 61 years, 61 years ,61 years

 

Group B: 56 years,57 years , 58 years ,59 years ,60 years, 60.8years ,65 years ,70 years,75 years,80 years,85 years

 

Both groups have a median age of 60.8.  However group A with a Mean/average age of 45.98 is clearly going to have more influence on a vaccine age considering 50% of the viewership is in the prime age range for making these decision compared to group B with an average age of 65.98 and 0% in the age range.

 

Research on age demos would be more important than a median age without a range of age values.

 

 

That said her current show isn't a news show.  It is a talk show.  I don't think she owes an obligation for balance anymore than Maury Povich does. I am glad she is acknowledging it though.

the median age of mothers in the US is 25, add 11 years (age they say is best to start the vaccine) and you get 36 -even if you go at the high end of 35 for the mother, it's still not the target group that watches her talk show

http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2010/05/06/the-new-demography-of-american-motherhood/

 

if you look at any of the targeting (and the studies) that is being done for the undecided parent, they still are primarily saying the main impact is coming from physician pressure, they even are having women who have had HPV not want to give the vaccine - this "talk" show will blow over so quickly

 

frankly the PRO side really isn't doing themselves any favor going after this, she's still a darling with girls of her own, it's drawing attention and thus more will question it :bgbounce I see keep this madness up!


 

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#24 of 31 Old 12-12-2013, 12:29 PM
 
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The median age of motherhood also doesn't tell us anything about Katie Couric's potential influence.  It has nothing to do with the target group that watches Katie's SHow.  What I am saying is we have no idea what the viewership of Katie's show is from the Median age unless we also know the age range from which that Median is drawn.  To know the potential you would need to know The size of the 25-54 female demographic (which is the age range that would be facing this decision) that watches daytime television, and the percentage of that demographic that watches Katie Couric as opposed to other shows.

 

I am not exactly sure what the Pro-vaccine side is exactly supposed to be "going after" here?  I really don't think that discussing statistics in television viewership is going to make anyone question vaccines because that makes zero sense to me.  I don't understand how that is madness, diving into statistical details seems more like research to me and basing a health decision off of love of a television personality with cute children  seems more like madness.

 

I think that when she is doing news stories for 20/20 etc.  she owes her viewership journalistic integrity just like the news but when on her talk show it is more of an editorial format.  That said I really hope no one bases their health decisions off of any media personality at all regardless of what their opinion is.

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#25 of 31 Old 12-12-2013, 12:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakotacakes View Post
 

The median age of motherhood also doesn't tell us anything about Katie Couric's potential influence.  It has nothing to do with the target group that watches Katie's SHow.  What I am saying is we have no idea what the viewership of Katie's show is from the Median age unless we also know the age range from which that Median is drawn.  To know the potential you would need to know The size of the 25-54 female demographic (which is the age range that would be facing this decision) that watches daytime television, and the percentage of that demographic that watches Katie Couric as opposed to other shows.

 

I am not exactly sure what the Pro-vaccine side is exactly supposed to be "going after" here?  I really don't think that discussing statistics in television viewership is going to make anyone question vaccines because that makes zero sense to me.  I don't understand how that is madness, diving into statistical details seems more like research to me and basing a health decision off of love of a television personality with cute children  seems more like madness.

 

I think that when she is doing news stories for 20/20 etc.  she owes her viewership journalistic integrity just like the news but when on her talk show it is more of an editorial format.  That said I really hope no one bases their health decisions off of any media personality at all regardless of what their opinion is.

I think it's just so crazy! I have no idea why a PRO vaccine person would want so much news attention drawn to this- but please keep it going, more and more people can talk about it and yes, question it too!

 

It's real simple - those who watch her show are not the prime group who will make the decision and that same group also looks at MANY sources when they make any decisions - saying she has this influence over them is not accurate, it's laughable.

 

Going after her as is if this a hard core news show and how dare she because-gasp! she is a journalist doing a "talk show" also IMO is just as nutty! Don't like her message so attack her - never mind that no matter if she said it or someone else, or it not even being said, this vaccines is not going over in general with the parents it's designed to impress. Keep it in the news and keep drawing more attention to it!!!!!!!!


 

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#26 of 31 Old 12-12-2013, 01:20 PM
 
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1.)  No one has attacked Katie Couric in this thread.

 

2.) It isn't simple.  We have no idea if the people who watch Katie Couric's show are the  making decisions on HPV vaccines!  That is what all of my posts have been clearly demonstrating.  We know the age group of those making a decision on HPV (mothers of 11-18 year old females so around  women 36-54).  But we do not have enough information on Katie Couric viewership to draw inference into whether or not they are the prime audience of Katie Couric.  As I have said repeatedly a median age without the age range from which that median is taken doesn't provide enough information.

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#27 of 31 Old 12-12-2013, 01:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakotacakes View Post
 

1.)  No one has attacked Katie Couric in this thread.

 

 

 

  Hmmm…perhaps not on this thread, but many pro-vax sites are having a jolly-good ranty time.  Serenbat's point is correct - the hyper focus on the Couric segment might make more people aware there is an HPV issue and question it (if it does anything at all).

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#28 of 31 Old 12-12-2013, 02:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakotacakes View Post
 

1.)  No one has attacked Katie Couric in this thread. yes, it's just been one big love fest and all flattery-no condemnation on her journalist integrity & responsibility, I must have been reading something else!

 

2.) It isn't simple.  We have no idea if the people who watch Katie Couric's show are the  making decisions on HPV vaccines!  That is what all of my posts have been clearly demonstrating.  We know the age group of those making a decision on HPV (mothers of 11-18 year old females so around  women 36-54).  But we do not have enough information on Katie Couric viewership to draw inference into whether or not they are the prime audience of Katie Couric.  As I have said repeatedly a median age without the age range from which that median is taken doesn't provide enough information. here this one might help you better - http://nypost.com/2013/12/01/katie-courics-demographic-might-not-make-it-to-yahoo/ As the website Mashable pointed out last week, Couric’s ABC daytime show, “Katie,” has attracted an average of roughly 2.2 million viewers; further, the average age of her audience is about 61, a demographic that isn’t widely known to be tied to the Internet.

if a non "journalist" would have done a PRO story on HPV I'm sure the PRO side would be pushing for that person to get a Pulitzer 


 

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#29 of 31 Old 12-12-2013, 07:15 PM
 
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To those who yearn for a code of ethics within the media, please read this,

Quote:
 the FCC policy against falsification was not a "law, rule, or regulation"

Meaning, news media outlets are not legally obligated to tell the truth......in other words, they can lie and there is no law against it! If you would like to read more about the court case, the ruling, and how FOX lied and got away with it, here you go http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Akre

 

I am wondering why the Katie Couric show was allowed to air this segment in the first place? A show requires a lot of work from many different people, so this was no accident. They had to know there would be extreme backlash---remember what happened to presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann? As a matter of fact, I cannot think of any person who can get away with saying anything bad about vaccines, and this now includes TV's darling Katie Couric.

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#30 of 31 Old 12-12-2013, 09:13 PM
 
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Well what if we were to apply this ethic to other situations, like the amount of time the ProChoice movement spends telling Fetal Anomaly termination tales, when these are a tiny, fractional percentage of late term procedures? Or the amount if time the media spends on Stranger Abduction, when almost all abductions are by relatives?
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