By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
NBC accuses Republicans of accepting bad “science” on vaccines, while Fox News fires back, accusing liberals of spreading bad “science” on vaccines. Each side is trying to score partisan political points. The message from both sides is that vaccines are completely safe. But that message is absolutely and demonstrably false.
As I noted in a recent column, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program exists to compensate victims of vaccines. The latest Statistics Report shows nearly 4,000 claims were awarded financial damages.
Why do both sides of this “debate” pretend that vaccine-related injuries do not occur? Why not just report the facts? It doesn’t take a lot of work to dig them out.
Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) tells me that she has given more than 100 interviews in the last two weeks on the subject of the measles outbreak, but that the media simply will NOT report on the existence of this federal program and the implications for the subject of vaccine safety.
“Vaccines are the only pharmaceutical products that government mandates and completely indemnifies,” she notes. She is referring to federal legislation that takes legal responsibility for their actions away from the companies making the vaccines.
“I’ve been talking about it in every interview I do and I have been bringing it up. But whenever I talk about liability protection for the companies—that this is the only pharmaceutical product that is mandated by government and indemnified by government—they [the media] don’t want to talk about it,” she said.
Observers believe the glaring omission reflects the power of pharmaceutical companies or their advertising agencies in the major media. It is in the interest of these companies to make pariahs out of those favoring vaccine choice by playing down—or even suppressing—questions about vaccine safety.
Simply put, the evidence and history show that the vaccine makers have been given total liability protection for injuries and deaths caused by government-mandated vaccines. Vaccine safety is not “settled science,” as we have been hearing repeatedly in the media. To the contrary, for purposes of the law, vaccines are considered sometimes unsafe, even deadly.
The “Vaccine injury table” associated with the legislation includes a list of the injuries, disabilities, illnesses, conditions, and deaths resulting from the administration of such vaccines.
But why is it so difficult for the media to report on the existence of these health problems?
The vaccines that are covered include:
- diptheria and tetanus vaccines
- pertussis vaccines
- measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines
- polio vaccines
- hepatitis A vaccines
- hepatitis B vaccines
- Haemophilus influenza type b polysaccharide conjugate vaccines
- varicella vaccines
- rotavirus vaccines
- pneumococcal conjugate vaccines
- seasonal influenza vaccines
- human papillomavirus vaccines
- meningococcal vaccines
As I reported in my column, the one exception to this drumbeat of misleading and inaccurate coverage about “vaccine safety” is on the local level, where correspondent Michael Chen of ABC 10 News in San Diego, California noted a case of a boy who suffered serious injuries, including fever, seizures, nervous tics and autism, as a result of two vaccines. The mother, almost in tears as she described what happened to her son, was paid $55,000 in damages through the federal program. But the damage award didn’t cover the autism diagnosis. She said she wished she had more thoroughly researched the safety of vaccines.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program grew out of the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. Fisher explains what happened: “The companies threatened Congress that they were going to leave the people without any childhood vaccines if they did not get liability protection. The companies wanted this liability protection and it was mainly for losses at that time for DPT and oral polio vaccine. MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine at that point was a relatively new combination vaccine.”
The DPT vaccine had been associated with brain inflammation and brain damage, while polio paralysis can be caused by the vaccine.
Fisher explains what the federal protection means for the companies: “Nobody who makes or profits from the sale of the vaccine, nobody who regulates the vaccine, who promotes the vaccine, who votes to mandate the vaccine—nobody is accountable or liable in a civil court of law in front of a jury of our peers when we get hurt because we’ve been told we have to take it, or when the vaccine fails to work.”
The compensation program, with total liability protection for injuries and deaths caused by government-mandated vaccines, was upheld by the Supreme Court in a 2011 case in which vaccines were acknowledged to be “unavoidably unsafe.”
My column actually underestimated the total financial damages paid through the program. The figure is actually $2.8 billion to the victims or the families of victims themselves.
Liberal and conservative media are trying to make political points over who’s right and wrong about vaccine safety. But Fisher says people who support her group and vaccine choice come from across the political spectrum and include Democrats, Republicans, libertarians, and independents. In the media, however, each side is trying to smear the other side, as if there is a partisan divide.
The coverage has led to cases of strange bedfellows, such as the George Soros-funded blog Think Progress running a story praising Megyn Kelly of Fox News under the headline, “Megyn Kelly Speaks Up For Mandatory Vaccination On Fox: ‘Some Things Do Require Big Brother.’”
Indeed, Kelly defended mandatory vaccines, saying, “…some things do require some involvement of Big Brother.”
What she and many others in the media have consistently ignored is the role of Big Brother in shielding the companies making the vaccines from the side effects of their products.
As I asked in my column: If there are no problems associated with vaccines, then why did Congress pass the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, which created a national Vaccine Injury Compensation Program?
The media on the left and right have no answer to this question. So they pretend there is no debate or dispute over the safety of vaccines. They simply point fingers about one side or the other being guilty of ignoring what they pretend is settled science.
The only thing “settled” about the science is that while vaccines work for a large majority of people, they can also cause serious health problems, even death, for some.
The commentators who ignore the truth are either lying or so utterly ignorant that they should not be in a position of offering “news” on a national basis. Whatever the case, the public is being denied the facts about decisions affecting the lives of their children. Fortunately, the public can go to sites like www.aim.org and the National Vaccine Information Center for information that is being denied to them.
A troubling aspect of the current debate is how people in the media act like experts on subjects that they know so little about. They seem to think that by huffing and puffing and sounding authoritative, they will be taken seriously. They have large staffs which seem incapable of making phone calls or doing elementary research.
If news organizations on the left and right can’t even dig out the facts in life-and-death matters involving children, then what can they be trusted to report accurately on?