Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Why Shouldn't We Watch TLC? Keep Reading.

Yeah I'll show you, I'm getting that immunization!
Why shouldn't we vaccinate our children?

The question some folks at Discovery might wish one of their employees never asked.

The Learning Channel, aka TLC, the supposedly smart one, got reprimanded by pediatricians and children's health experts last week for a remarkably inaccurate anti-vaccine article on its website that inflamed not only professionals but parents and journalist Seth Mnookin, author of the Panic Virus. The disaster of a post, written by Josh Clark of HowStuffWorks - Why Shouldn’t We Vaccinate Our Children? - disappeared the day after 19 organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics signed a letter sent to TLC documenting the plethora of falsehoods posted on the site:
Parents need accurate, complete information about immunizations — which they often look for online. So we were astounded when we found an article on a Discovery Company website that perpetuates dangerous myths and untruths about vaccines. We cannot understand how a company that celebrates the latest in scientific achievements* would feature an article so inaccurate and wholly biased against science. Excerpt from Time Healthland, May 23.
Read the whole letter at Shot of Prevention.  A concerned parent alerted the ShotofPrevention people to the TLC mess on their Facebook page.  So we can thank Mark Zuckerberg for helping suss out pseudoscientific misinformation. 

I'd been following the botched vax job beginning with Seth Mnookin's May 15th priceless near point-by-point refutation of the speculated link between vaccines and autism.  Taking stupid to a whole new level: TLC’s entry for the “Worst piece written about vaccines."  Mnookin, no stranger to faulty vaccine factoids, planned on refuting the whole article but the level of stupidity overwhelmed him although he managed to write a bit more about it in the following days.

Glad to see Bonnie Rochman at Time Healthland picked up the story but I'm not entirely pleased with the title - Are Vaccines Safe? A Major Media Outlet’s Specious Story Fans the Debate.  There's not much of a debate among professionals who despite acknowledging relatively small risks roundly recommend vaccination.

Why shouldn't we vaccinate our children?

Because I have a third-grader I automatically translate contractions so it really reads as "why should not we vaccinate" which sounds down right biblical.

It also sounds like a challenge but in the wrong direction as if the author is daring us to tell him not to vaccinate his kids.

CLARK: Go ahead, tell me I shouldn't get those shots. I dare you. Why shoudn't I vaccinate my kids!!!

POLLY:  No, Mr. Clark, please, you'll regret it. Don't do it. Don't even think of protecting your children from disease. 

It would be like trying to reason with an insistent 11-year old.

Why shouldn't I pierce my ear with a paper clip?

Why shouldn't I put the aluminum foil in the microwave?

Or kindergartner. 

Why shouldn't I jump off that boulder? 

Why shouldn't I eat the french fry off the floor of Friendly's? 

Why shouldn't I play soccer in  Crocs?

Why shouldn't I superglue my homework back together?

Please note I cannot recommend any of the activities above.

Ah, homework.  Almost over for the summer.  I admit to being cranky. It's the final weeks of school. Teacher gifts, room mother gifts (not kidding), scrapbook pages to be made, graduation clothes for 5th grader, mother's lunches, fun fairs, snacks to bring, teacher appreciation breakfasts, music programs, author celebrations, field trips, lost gym shoes (in the locker room, how??? they're neon orange), lost books, exams. 

Speaking of education or really the lack thereof in the final week of school.....

The Learning Channel's selections include but not are not limited to this fare of uncertain educational value:

Say Yes to the Dress
What Not to Wear**
Toddlers and Tiaras
My Big Fat American Gyspy Wedding
World's Only Tatoo School
Hoarders (my personal favorite)

My apologies to those who actually learned valuable tips or life skills from the no doubt riveting reality shows but let's be clear. TLC left behind any pretense of intellectual or supposed scientific rigor long before it booked any sister wives or psychics.

2 comments:

Mujahid Shaikh said...

We must have to vaccinate our children's as it's keeps our kid's health good. Don't want to take the risk

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D. said...

All three of my kids up to date!