Andi Lew. Just a mum? On the media interviewing anti-vaccinationists.

The last few days have been a flurry of media stories regarding the release of new immunisation uptake rates in Australia. Rosalie Hilleman has a collection here.

False balance on health stories has long been a problem in media all around the world. Giving anti-vaccinationists a podium with real experts, in the interests of fairness and balance, does nothing but a disservice to the health of our children. Whose interests are benefited by interviewing people like Meryl Dorey and Judy Wilyman, who have actively vilified grieving families? How does public health benefit by allowing an anti-vaccinationist to lie to a national audience, only having to then require a real health expert to refute the lie which was always a lie? Is it really just filler? Is public health worthy of so little as to make it about advertising revenue? Do we preface every Holocaust story with David Irving, out of respect to fairness and balance?

I want to focus only on one egregious example from Melbourne’s Channel 9 newsroom. We’ve seen this sort of thing before from Channel 9; when interviewing an AVN committee member, and attempting to pass her off as just a parent.

You’ll need to search for the segment entitled, “Low vaccination rates putting children at risk”, in which you will find what would have been an okay vaccination story. Except the reporter did this:

Lew mumAndi Lew, introduced by journalist Martine Alpins as “Bayside mum”,  says:

If vaccinations work, then, why are you so worried about whether I vaccinate my child or not?

So, who is “Bayside mum” Andi Lew, who uses this weak, selfish argument to bleat to the world about how little she cares about babies too young to be immunised?

She is the co-author of an anti-vaccine book, 7 Things Your Doctor Forgot to Tell You, with her chiropractor husband Warren Sipser (a board member of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia, Victoria outlet). The book is sold online and throughout the chiropractic and wellness industry. It would have been nice for viewers to have this information. You have met Sipser, Lew and their book before in this post:  Anti-vaccine chiropractors 50 – the CAA Boards Extravaganza.

So, is Lew just a mum? Hardly. She profits from anti-vaccinationism. Viewers should have been told.

And experts need to stop appearing in the same segments as these public health menaces. Stop dragging yourselves down to the level of the anti-vaccine liars and the news story fillers.

Viewers deserve better. You would think news outlets, who are meant to be respectable, would have learnt from the WIN News/ACMA/Media Watch saga.

About reasonable hank

I'm reasonable, mostly.
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0 Responses to Andi Lew. Just a mum? On the media interviewing anti-vaccinationists.

  1. @advodiaboli says:

    “If vaccinations work, then, why are you so worried about whether I vaccinate my child or not?”

    If there is a mantra that underscores how little a person knows about vaccines and (more importantly) reasons for vaccinating children, it may well be this gaseous emanation that doth emerge constantly from the anti-vaccine lobby.

    It has all the logic of;

    “If driving at the speed limit is safer for you, then, why are you so worried about whether others speed or not?”

  2. Thinking_Chiro says:

    Interestingly, at the AHPRA meeting to discuss media rules it was noted that a chiropractor is not only responsible for what he/she posts online, but also their assistants. This would mean thet Warren Sipser may be responsible for what Andi Lew posts online and says, especially as she promotes herself as his chiropractic assistant and his website is featured on her home page for “7 things a Doctor forgot to tell you…..”.

  3. janedj378 says:

    These antivax types on false balance segments need a simple evidence-based response like that of John Cunningham’s classic reaction to nonsensical chiro claims: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7EiE237zyk

  4. Do Admit says:

    She has a financial interest in not vaccinating her kids. Are adults even allowed to think like that?

  5. Pingback: » How to avoid false balance and why you should

  6. Pingback: False Balance or, as Original as My Cat. | The View From The Hills

  7. Nilbeliever says:

    Went to the Ch9 video and watched the whole thing, all the way through.

    All 1:49 of it.

    Yep, less than 110 seconds to give a widely disparate audience an accurate understanding of one of *the* medical advancements in human history. It gives new meaning to the term “shallow treatment”.

    They also conveniently omitted to mention that Andi has appeared as on-air talent in a number of Ch9 shows (in fairness, she has also appeared on other networks), from what I could see. Unless I missed it?

  8. Am says:

    “Andi Lew Thanks Mel. It’ll be fine. Most people just don’t even realize it’s impossible to harm a baby during an adjustment when the pressure applied is that which you use to put your finger on your eyeball when putting in a contact lens! I’ve been more rigorous Breastfeeding!”

    1 October 2013 at 21:23

  9. Andi Lew says:

    I have been totally misquoted and I am deeply disappointed to let you know that the above is not true at all.

  10. Andi Lew says:

    Well first of all I don’t make a ‘living’ from that at all. I don’t know if you realise but I’m recently divorced and I find these attacks on me quite sad. I’m sure my books haven’t been read
    because if they were, you’d learn I’m not anti-vaccination at all. I’m pro choice.

    I don’t mind if people want to vaccinate. I’m just choosing not to and I don’t feel I should be attacked for it, that’s all.
    I didn’t even want to go on the show but the producer was a friend of a friend and she begged me over the phone and I kept saying but I’m not anti-vaccination and I won’t say the things you’re trying to make me say!
    I’m not sure of you understand the power of editing. It’s not true journalism. I was very upset when they aired this. I only agreed to go on if I could say this. They posted that I’m ‘anti’ and so now I’m under attack and that’s not fair.

    I wish everyone the best of health with any choice they make. Just make sure it’s an informed one and let us mothers be, who decide not to. My little boy is extremely healthy and hasn’t even suffered a cough or cold in his 5 years. It’s just my choice and that’s what I want to make clear. The story came about on tv because there were new stats reported about people in higher socio economic suburbs were vaccinating less and they wanted to ask me why I thought that was so. I spent half an hour answering other types of questions about maybe they had more money to invest in other natural forms of immune boosting care like homeopathic immunization etc. But of course, once again, propaganda journalism. No truth reported here. Please don’t believe everything you see.

    • Guy Chapman says:

      You profit from anti-vaccinationism. I notice you chose to pick up the careless exaggeration in order to avoid either confirming this rather obvious fact or lying. Well done.

      • Andi Lew says:

        I’m sorry but you’re very wrong. I certainly do not profit from ‘anti-vaccination’ and once again you’re making claims from an idea you have made up in your head. If you’d read my books, you’d understand otherwise. Any other opinions from you about me are just that. Perhaps pick on real anti-vaccine lobbyists and not a single mother who’d written a book about natural vaccination alternatives she had the right to choose for her very healthy son. I reiterate that the media has introduced me as an anti-vaccine and I am not. Accept it now and please move on.

        • You wrote a book with Sipser including an anti-vaccine chapter. This book is/was sold for money.

          Now, you claims the idea is “made up”. I have provided you with the link to my post, below, which includes the anti-vaccine chapter. Stop lying.

          And do not make yourself out to be a victim here, you odious person. DO NOT raise the issue of being a single mother, whose son has been attacked , when you are the only person to raise those two issues. Have you no decorum? No dignity?

          • Andi Lew says:

            Ok this is where I really draw the line with you and will come at you for defamation. There’s no such chapter. And if you read the book like I’ve said numerous times, you’ll note that the chapter is not titled ‘anti-vaccination’ but rather ‘vaccination alternatives’ where once again it explains other immune boosting types of care like homeopathy. Get your facts straight or else you’ll also look like the over zealous journalists fabricating stories and misquoting for profit of followers and cyber bullies.

          • All of the information in that chapter is against vaccination, and not in favour of it, asshole. Homeopathy is make-believe. Go and see your lawyer.

    • Sue says:

      The old mantra of the anti-vaxer: “I don’t mind if people want to vaccinate. I’m just choosing not to and I don’t feel I should be attacked for it, that’s all.”

      All that means is ”Please keep taking the miniscule risk with your children, so that herd immunity protects mine”.

      ”I spent half an hour answering other types of questions about maybe they had more money to invest in other natural forms of immune boosting care like homeopathic immunization ”

      Dangerous nonsense. This author has no credibility. Here she is proudly promoted by a discredited anti-vax group we all know well:
      http://avn.org.au/shop/downloadable-articles-books/interview-warren-sipser-and-andi-lew-crusaders-for-good-health-lw2/

      • Andi Lew says:

        Once again, you haven’t read my books. I think it’s time you leave cyber bullying alone. Take the time to read and then make your own choices, but please leave me and my son alone.

        • I have read your book. Specifically the anti-vaccine chapter you wrote with Sipser. How dare you pop your head up here and tell us that you’re anything other than anti-vaccine, and that you’ve been misquoted, and claim you are being cyber-bullied, when nothing of the sort has happened. You complain that you are hurt? GTFO. How about dead kids from VPDs. That is hurt. You have got a huge set of balls, I’ll give you that:
          http://reasonablehank.com/2013/09/11/anti-vaccine-chiropractors-50-the-caa-boards-extravaganza/

        • Sue says:

          Ms Lew – apart from that book chapter, you are publicly identifiable as being anti-vaccine. Please don’t think we are so disingenuous as to think that ”pro-choice” or promoting ”other natural forms of immune boosting care like homeopathic immunization” is anything other than denying the proven benefits of vaccination – publicly, and using your public profile to do so.

          I have no interest in your private life or your family whatsoever, and I am not a bully – but I do oppose dangerous misinformation where I have the opportunity to do so. This is not cyber-bullying – it is exposing misinformation that can harm the health of children.

          While we are on the topic of reading, I suggest you read what the ACCC had to say about the scam called ”homeopathic immunisation”, as well as the NHMRC review which found no evidence for efficacy of homeopathy above placebo. You may then want to revise your book.

    • Dr Dave Hawkes says:

      Hi Andy, I was actually contacted by the producer for that segment but refused to go on because she said that it would feature me and an antivax parent. A friend also got in touch with the producer to complain about false balance and was told you were the antivax parent. Obviously you were on board for this show much earlier that at least some of the evidence based people so I am not sure that you can claim you were misrepresented. Australia is a country with no mandatory chinois vaccination so your “pro-choice” stance lacks any meaning

      • Andi Lew says:

        That just makes me even more sad that I was told to you by the producer as this anti-vax parent. It really is upsetting and thank you for sharing this with me. I was obviously lied to because I had really not wanted to appear and they continued to beg me as they had nobody else. I said but I refuse to do it because I am NOT anti-vax!! She persisted in saying ok that’s fine then just appear and say what you want. They cut and paste and obviously had their own agenda. This once again is not true journalism and I’m glad we are sorting this out now.

        • Which vaccines would you recommend? Where have you presented the benefits of immunisation?

        • Dr Dave Hawkes says:

          You claim you are “pro-choice” but what does that even mean? As I said before no childhood vaccinations are mandatory. Talking about immune boosting alternatives like homeopathy is similar misinforming parents as there is not high quality evidence that a/ homeopathy boosts the immune system or b/ that a boosted immune system is necessarky a good thing. Could you explain what components of the immune system of a young child need boosting. Feel free to use technical jargon as au should be able to follow along. You claim that you were misinformed by the producer does not ring true especially coming from someone who featured on the front cover of the prominent anti-vaccination groups Australian Vaccination Network’s magazine Living Wisdom

        • Being “pro choice” is a figleaf used by antivaxers in order that their agenda seems less naked. Everybody in the medical community is pro choice – *informed* choice. You undermine that by placing lies alongside facts and claiming that the two have parity.

  11. Ken McLeod says:

    How could anyone be so stupid as to advocate ‘homeopathic vaccination’? Not only is it a giant fraud but a recent Federal Court judgment found it to be ‘misleading and deceptive conduct’ ie a giant fraud.

    Stupidity that registers Force 10 on the Richter Scale Of Stupidity. (Not vaccinating your children according to the recommended schedule scores 10.1).

  12. Bottom line is Lew is not ‘just a parent’. Divorced or not, she co-authored that book that does, whether she recognises it or not, have an anti-vax chapter.
    False balance yet again, with an undisclosed affiliation. Shame on Channel 9.

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