Is Anyone Happy With Frontline's The Vaccine War?

No seems to be happy with the PBS: Frontline documentary The Vaccine War. Jenny McCarthy and co say they were misrepresented and censored; those who disagree with JM think science was sacrificed for "balance":
    I am inclined to agree with the more comprehensive and balanced review on Left Brain/Right Brain, where Sullivan wrote:
    I both appreciated the program and had my fears realized. In this case, my fears were that people would be given a platform to spread misinformation. And it happened. Jenny McCarthy and others made statements that were, in my view, misinformation. But, I appreciated the fact that Frontline took the time to counter much of the misinformation with actual experts discussing real science.
    [Full Review]
    Added 4.30: Emily Willingham contributed Jennifer Margulis, public health officials' nightmare to the commentary. I encourage you to read her entire post. Here's an excerpt:
    How can it help the cause of a group ostensibly arguing for change on behalf of children if people speaking for them don't give a rap what happens to other people's children? What [Jennifer Margulis] says seems to be a carefully articulated but pretzeled logic barely masking selfish and irrational fear. It's a Me! Mine! Mommy mindset that cannot be helpful in any way to society, to children, or to public health. More than anything, it demonstrates the impossibility of arguing that not vaccinating will somehow make children healthier. There's no defensible, logical way to pull that one off. The fallback rationale, invariably, is the "I have a right to be selfish" argument.
    For the record, I vaccinate my kids though I didn't used do (thank you, Dr. Wakefield), and consider Jenny McCarthy and her constantly shifting story/opinion on vaccines and autism a danger to public health. But I'm also really tired of the smackdowns and nastiness as evidenced in all but the L.A. Times & LBRB links above. Vaccines are a complicated issue -- my hope is that those who don't vaccinate for philosophical reasons are also absolutely up-to-date on the latest research and findings.

    Regardless, I'm always happy to discuss the matter with reciprocal respect.


    This post is a slightly modified version of an email sent in response to a group list member's query on reactions to Frontline: The Vaccine War.


    1. I do the whole vaccination thing only because I've seen the alternative in my godmother's son who was severely brain damaged following 'harmless' measles, not to mention others who were left with learning and life difficulties pre-mass vaccination.
      Autism was around before vaccinations.

    2. I'm so on the fence with vaccines. I know that my son changed with the DTaP, however, I will admit, he had quirky flags prior to that, so really, who knows (he's PDD-NOS), and I've struggled with vaccinating my daughter. I lean towards no, and not because I'm afraid, I mean, yes, I am, but more because I think my kids are at risk for ADHD and other disorders already. I don't like the idea of putting so many preservatives in their system the way they do.

      I think JM is a moron. I think she has good intentions, and I'll agree with her on the fact that vaccines shouldn't have so much crap in them, but that's pretty much where I end with that.

      I guess my thought is, that I'm probably just more hippie, I guess? I don't use conventional shampoo for them, I don't give them dyes or artificial things, why would I load them up with aluminum and formaldehyde? That's what scares me. Not so much Autism. I'm already living with that, and there could definitely be worse things to go through.

    3. I vaccinate but I spread them far apart. No more uneducated mommy that used to let them slam 4-5 different Vaccs in my kids per visit (it was a few months after my baby's 5 vacc shot that his Autism signs began to appear. I do believe in triggers, I do feel that was my sons trigger...but he may have been predisposed to have Autism. I have friends that don't vaccinate for Religious and Medical reasons and I stand by them. Jenny McCarthy gives me a headache.

    4. Anonymous1:48 PM

      My view on autism is that there's a genetic component/variant coupled with many different triggers. I think for some kids, autism is a neurological difference and for some it is a medical issue.

      I didn't used to believe that - it was only because my son was so altered in terms of his autism when we treated him for his constant stomach ache. We weren't aiming to treat his autism, but interestingly when his stomach felt better, his speech (and other things) changed dramatically.

      I think it's wrong to say that autism was around before vaccines and therefore vaccines can't be responsible. I think for some kids, it can definitely trigger (not cause, but trigger, which is different) autism. But by no means do I think vaccines are the whole - or even the most part - of the picture.

      I still haven't watched the Frontline show - taped it but didn't watch. I'm kind of tired of the whole discussion because I think people are going to continue to feel the way they feel and engaging in debate doesn't do any good. But I'm also non-confrontational by nature. :-)

      I'm all about making my kid feel better, not "curing" him of his autism. I just want him healthy, whatever that means for his autism.


    Respectful disagreement encouraged.