The bait-and-switch is a term usually applied to retail, however, it applies equally to broader issues, such as political or social debates:
Bait-and-switch is a form of fraud used in retail sales but also employed in other contexts. First, customers are “baited” by merchants’ advertising products or services at a low price, but when customers visit the store, they discover that the advertised goods are not available, or the customers are pressured by sales people to consider similar, but higher priced items (“switching”). [from Wikipedia]
It is used when the product actually being sold is less palatable to the consumer than the advertised product. In the case of the anti-vaccination movement, what they are selling is their anti-vaccination ideology. What they use as the hook is freedom fighting rhetoric; they fight for your rights, and they advertise that they are fighting against compulsory immunisation to bait their hook.
In Australia, the anti-vaccination pressure group, the Australian Vaccination Network, have been doing this for twenty years. A twenty year bait-and-switch. The group’s leader, Meryl Dorey, sounds her barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world that neither she, nor her anti-vaccination group, are anti-vaccine:
But, Dorey’s quotes, above, are again an obfuscation of what the AVN do. They may not tell people not to vaccinate. They know the Health Care Complaints Commission would have a slam-dunk if they did. But, they only provide information against vaccination. And, when anyone provides information to show that the AVN is wrong, by providing accurate information, those people are swiftly banned and attacked, leaving only incorrect and anti-vaccination information to be viewed by onlookers:
By Dorey’s, and the AVN’s, own admission the AVN only provide “the other side” in the vaccination debate. There is the overwhelming body of literature and evidence, as supported by the WHO, governments, and health departments around the world which are rightly supportive of immunisation as a safe and effective health intervention which saves lives and misery. Then there is the other side. The side which is against, or opposed to, immunisation, by their own admission. It’s not hard. Really:
Amongst my cohort I don’t know of too many people who are in favour of blanket compulsory immunisation. Apart from those who work in health, and childcare (which I see as Workplace Health and Safety, and Public Health issues), I am not in favour of it. Blanket compulsory immunisation would backfire spectacularly. Immunisation should be a choice. I am completely in favour of parents having that choice. But, they must exercise that choice based on accurate information about real risks and benefits, with a clear eye to the consequences for their child, and to others more vulnerable in our community. Babies, children, and adults still die from vaccine preventable diseases, not to mention the long-term sequelae of illness. This is the reality. Citizenry and decency must trump personal ideology, every single time.
And it is to this that Dorey and her cabal play the most. It is no accident that her AVN blog is called No Compulsory Vaccination, and that her Twitter account is called @nocompulsoryvac. It is no accident that she was able to worm her way into the offices of the then Senator Bob Brown, under the pretense of the health freedom fighter, only to inject her anti-vaccine venom into the 1997 Senate, via Dr Brown. It is entirely pleasing that Dr Brown has now disowned the AVN, and he is to be applauded:
In the public letter released last Wednesday, Mr Brown wrote: “I do not support AVN’s campaign against public vaccination.
If Dorey and her AVN were honest, and they called themselves the Anti Vaccination Network, and Dorey called her blog No Vaccines, how much traction would they get in decent society? None. That they are now universally known as the “anti-vaccination organisation” in Australian media is a welcome occurrence. It wasn’t always this way.
They know that “anti-vaccine” is an unpalatable ideology to sell. So, they do the old bait-and-switch, and sell the more palatable freedom fight, opposing compulsory immunisation; fighting for your health consumer rights, just like a wasp helping a caterpillar.