ABC News teaches WIN News a lesson in responsible public health broadcasting

I want you to compare the pair.

On September 21 2012 ABC News included a segment on a Measles outbreak which originated in South West Sydney. The report is accurate and responsible, and highlights the importance of Measles immunisation in halting outbreaks of this potentially deadly disease. For an excellent overview of the concerns surrounding the sometimes disastrous complications of Measles, and the importance of accurate media coverage of this subject, please read this article from Medical Observer: Measles, mumps and rubella infections. This timely article was only published a few days ago.

Here is the ABC News report about the “worst Measles outbreak in fourteen years”:

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The viewer should note that this outbreak has unfortunately, and coincidentally, spread as far as Wollongong. Wollongong is the home of WIN News.

I want you to compare the accurate, responsible ABC News story, above, with this segment from WIN News, which aired on the evening of August 16 2012. The WIN News segment is also responsible and accurate; until 1:03, when things go off the rails in a horrible and dangerous manner. Reporter Michaela Gray raised the vaccines/autism zombie, and went to anti-vaccinationist Meryl Dorey to substantiate the zombie’s existence. What on Earth was WIN News thinking, you might ask.

Here is the WIN News story. Note that the doctor warns about inter-regional travel between the Wollongong/Illawarra region, and the centre of the outbreak in South West Sydney. In retrospect, a not so surprising portent:

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What were they thinking? Here’s what they were thinking…

At 1044 hours, on the morning of that evening’s broadcast, reporter Michaela Gray sent out this tweet:

Cynical folks might argue that the false balance of Gray’s story was already in the bag

So, Michaela Gray, acting under the auspices of #WINNews, providing the WIN News email address, puts out a public call to hear from parents who are, for whatever reason, against immunising their children. She did this in the middle of a Measles outbreak which eventually spread to her region.

You will note in the screen capture that two people responded to Gray’s tweet, the day after the WIN News story aired. What did Gray do in response? She blocked them both, immediately. Nice.

One needs to wonder if this is a cultural phenomenon of WIN TV, in general – this aversion to accountability. Or just the actions of a reporter more interested in creating stories, rather than just reporting on them, accurately. ACMA will be the judge of that, I guess. And, Questions on Notice have already been placed in NSW Parliament, surrounding the WIN News story. Watch this space.

So, again, huge props for ABC News, who again show why the ABC is a more trusted news source than any of its commercial counterparts. Instances like this magnify why this is so.

Much thanks goes to the YouTube Channel owners for uploading the videos included above.

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Update: October 1 2012.

Huge thanks must also go to Prime 7 News, for their own accurate, responsible coverage of the NSW Measles outbreak. The Northern Rivers region (Prime’s base), has the second lowest immunisation rates in Australia. Below is the Prime 7 News Measles story, which first aired on September 27 2012.

As an aside, look out for the awesome-sauce in the shape of Dr Chris Ingall, paediatrician and tireless advocate for children’s health. I am one of the fortunate people whose children have been treated by Dr Ingall (he wouldn’t remember this, of course), and have witnessed him to be one very genuine, caring, committed, and gentle medical professional. This is in stark contrast to the slurs which have been directed towards him by the anti-vaccine Australian Vaccination Network, and its anti-vaccine President Meryl Dorey.

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About reasonable hank

I'm reasonable, mostly.
This entry was posted in anti-vaccination dishonesty, australian vaccination network, AVN, Immunisation, Measles, meryl dorey, stop the australian vaccination network and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to ABC News teaches WIN News a lesson in responsible public health broadcasting

  1. renay newman...Mother of a son who died through complications of ''chickenpox'' in 2001 says:

    I am gobsmacked that you people think at WIN News Meryl Dorey’s opinion count’s for anything…Pfffffft

  2. I really should have included this in the post, but, here is the reason WIN News should not have even considered Meryl Dorey as a reputable source (well, one reason, among multitudes):
    http://reasonablehank.com/2012/08/18/that-measles-lie-by-meryl-dorey/

    And, for a brilliant example of how Dorey’s inaccurate scaremongering, in regards to Measles, has played out in the past; see the table in this Wikipedia article:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Measles_Control_Campaign

  3. littlepowder says:

    Thank you for publishing this clear evidence of irresponsible journalism during a serious measles outbreak.
    The fact that Michaela Gray blocked two dissenting voices from her Twitter feed rather puts the lie to WIN NEWS Illawarra’s coy defence of providing “balance” by giving a forum to a notorious and unqualified anti-vaccination propagandist in their news report.
    The Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice states that news broadcasts “must broadcast FACTUAL material accurately” and “must not present material in a manner that creates public panic”.
    To paraphrase Ms Gray “ACMA would like to hear of it”.

  4. littlepowder says:

    Ms Dorey made a similar attack on public health measures to control disease during the measles outbreak in Beerwah on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland in 2009. This outbreak occurred
    a month after Australia was declared measles-free in the Bulletin of the World Health Organisation and was directly attributed to poor immunisation rates in the area.
    Ms Dorey’s comment “My grandparents, if they were alive, would be laughing like anything”
    http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/story/2009/03/05/beerwah-vaccination-push-challenged/

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  6. Andrea Leong says:

    My jaw literally dropped at 1:28 of the WIN news clip!
    Would have liked to see the two clips at the top, prior to any comments about them, so it couldn’t be suggested that the reader might be influenced by the way they were framed before reading them. That said, I came to the same conclusions about the respective news sources.

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