I’ve been meaning to cover this topic for a couple of weeks. Given the recent Media Watch coverage of WIN News, and their inclusion of an anti-vaccination campaigner in a news segment, I thought now was as good a time as any.
During the recent news coverage of changes to childcare immunisation requirements in NSW, there were a few segments on various channels, and newspaper articles, investigating the possible detriment the new legislation could have on unimmunised kids, and their early childhood education. Non-immunising parents were interviewed, as well as childcare industry stakeholders. There is nothing wrong with this. Given that this is an issue about access to education, I don’t have a problem with those who are likely to be affected being asked for their opinion.
As it turns out, the legislation is quite weak. Nothing has really changed except that childcare centres can now be fined for not ensuring they have full immunisation records of all attendees. This is already federal legislation. Vaccine refusers and religious objectors are still allowed to enroll. They just need to provide all the paperwork they were required to provide anyway.
But, getting back to the media aspect of this coverage. One of my bugbears is when a member of the public passes themselves off as just any old “parent”, “mum”, or “dad” who is concerned about something. I don’t wholly blame the media when one slips past. In the case of anti-vaccinationists, it is often the case that they will deliberately not declare any specific, related activism or affiliation to the journalist. I know this is the case with anti-vaccination activist Anna Stancombe, who recently appeared in the Caboolture News, on this very same issue of childcare access. The story does not appear to have made it online. Stancombe did not declare to the journalist that she is an anti-vaccination campaigner, with her own anti-vaccination Facebook page.
So, getting back to Tasha David. On May 19 2013, David gave a few interviews to various outlets, on the subject of the childcare changes (which aren’t really changes). Here is a still from Channel 9 News in Sydney:
Here is the whole segment:
On May 16 David also gave an interview to conspiracy internet podcast, Fair Dinkum Radio. Fair dinkum cobber. Here is David’s preface to the interview:
Our story in a nutshell is basically we had 8 children, 6 of them vaccinated to varying stages and 2 completely unvaccinated. Out of the 6; 2 were diagnosed with Autism and severe Global developmental delay, 1 with Autism and severe language disorder, 1 with a severe language disorder, 1 with ADHD and 1 with mood swings and food allergies. They also suffered from Eczema, Asthma, Gastrointestinal disorders, Urinary Tract infections, Psoriasis, Ear infections, food allergies and chemical sensitivities. All of them have also been to hospital for various ailments. The two youngest unvaccinated children have none of their siblings disorders, have never had antibiotics and never been admitted to hospital. [34 minute video at bottom of post]
We see this so often. I can’t blame David for looking for answers. I can’t blame her for thinking she has found those answers. But, David is someone who has crossed the gulf from misled to misleading, and she is now taking it as far as she can. None of the conditions listed above are linked to immunisation. I’m not going to get into a discussion about that here as it has been done, and done, and done before. What is very telling is that at the start of her interview David notes that one of the first books she read, on her search, was Evidence of Harm, by David Kirby. Well, there you go. She never stood a chance.
So here we have a “parent” who thinks she has 6/8 vaccine injured children (she doesn’t), who has now taken to the media to spread her message (previously she has also written two blog posts for the AVN).
I have some questions for the media who interviewed her: did David declare to you that she is a sitting committee member of Australia’s most prominent and vocal anti-vaccination organisation, the Australian Vaccination Network? How did you source David for her interviews? Was she presented to you by the AVN, and did the AVN declare that David is a sitting committee member who mistakenly believes that vaccines caused her children’s conditions? These sorts of disclosures are important, so that readers and viewers are not misled into thinking that it’s just any old parent, mum, or dad giving their reckons. If an activist is presenting their reckons, then, the audience needs to know that they are an activist, especially when they are in one of the driving seats of an organisation directly related to the subject matter. She’s on The Board, as it were.
Enquiring minds want to know.
Here is the full Fair Dinkum interview. Leon Pittard immediately illuminates what it is all about for him and his fellow travelers. It’s all about conspiracy, cartels, freedom warriors and the like. What I wasn’t expecting was the same sort of callousness as previously exhibited by Meryl Dorey and her grubby ilk. I guess he is just as grubby and callous as his friends:
The corporate media continue to wheel out people whose children have died supposedly because they were not vaccinated.
Update: June 11 2013
I had forgotten about this video, from November 26 2012. Thanks to a friend for the reminder. The 9 News video above is not the first time 9 News have gone to David for her reckons. Unfortunately, when the excellent Science of Immunisation booklet was released, last year, 9 News thought it was a good idea to allow David to have the first and last words. Incredible stuff. Just a mum, sharing her opinions up against evidence based medicine. Nowhere in the segment is it stated that David is an AVN committee member. Nowhere are David’s claims debunked. Nowhere.
I hope 9 News weren’t told about David’s affiliations. That would be much better for them.