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30 May 2014

Disease, False Balance and Meryl Dorey - a Guide for Media

Because her opinion isn't news.

For the benefit of media who think it's worth consulting anti-vaccine lobbyists for "their side" when writing about the serious issue of immunisation, I'd like to suggest a few points, if I may:

1. Right now in Australia we're battling outbreaks of measles and whooping cough

2. Evidence has shown that creating false balance by providing anti-vaccine speakers (who have opinions based on opinions) a platform alongside medical experts (who have opinions based on evidence), makes people give more credence to the anti-vaccine view than if it was presented in isolation. 

3. As I see it, if you include an anti-vaccine lobbyist alongside an expert in a story about vaccination, you are hindering the success of public health initiatives and contributing to the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases.

4. This:

Who says having eyes to read stuff with trumps medical degrees?
Who says doctors murder babies? Yes, it’s (tut, sigh) Meryl Dorey.

Who says people who shake babies aren’t to blame for fractured ribs?
Who says death from Whooping Cough is just some mother’s made-up story?
Who says measles is a gift? That’s right, it’s (head-desk) Meryl Dorey.

Who says AIDS might not be real because she’s not seen HIV?
Who says polio’s still rife, but in a different category?
Who says vaccines cause autism? Same old (face palm) Meryl Dorey.

Who says Meryl Dorey’s incorrect? My state’s HCCC.
Who says Meryl’s claims are bulldust? People at the ABC.
Who says Meryl is misleading? Why, the Office of Fair Trading.
So don’t put her in your story, ‘less your story needs degrading.