Yesterday, news.dot.com.au published an interesting article on some tactics being proposed to sway anti-vaccinationists from their destructive course:
THEY SAY a picture is worth a thousand words, and in the case of winning the war over anti-vaxxers, an image like this may be enough to change the mind of even the most extreme sceptics.
In a study conducted by PNAS, graphic images of children plagued with measles, mumps and rubella were shown to a group of parents who were sceptical about of the benefits of vaccination. After the intervention, the results revealed that some parents might change their view on vaccinations.
The article investigates whether or not the use of graphic imagery works. It is well worth a read.
Then, at the end of the article, they embed this:
Investigates claims by anti-vaxxers on the safety of vaccines. It’s a rare and controversial look inside the anti-vaxxer camp and the fear, hype and politics that have polarised the vaccine debate in America.
Well, it is “controversial” in that it is a piece of anti-vaccine propaganda; an infomercial for the anti-vaccine movement. And, I don’t really think it really “investigates claims by antivaxxers.” The Greater Good has been reviewed by Orac, here. I’ll let his conclusion demonstrate why news.dot.com.au really ought to have been more selective in their choice of documentary:
Unfortunately, The Greater Good, which could have been a provocative debate about current vaccine policy based on asking which vaccines are necessary and why, in the end opts to be nothing more than pure anti-vaccine propaganda of the lowest and most vile sort. It give the pretense of “balance” by including prominent pro-vaccine scientists, but in the end it is very clear where the message of the movie lies, particularly given the three main families profiled in the film. Worse, from correspondence with a couple of the pro-vaccine doctors interviewed in the movie, to me it appears that the resemblance between this movie and Expelled! is more than just its denialist tendencies in that the filmmakers apparently were less than straightforward with scientists about their viewpoint when interviewing them. All of this leads me to conclude that The Greater Good is to vaccines what Expelled! was to evolution: Science denialist propaganda of the most blatant sort. In fact, it’s so bad that even Orac’s Tarial cell was seriously strained to have to absorb the content of the video.
Now, obviously, this counter-productive selection of The Greater Good – which really flies in the face of the intent of the good article in which it is embedded – could have been included by mistake. Maybe the real, anti-vaccine proselytising intent of The Greater Good is just so very well hidden under it’s disingenuous inclusion of a couple of very good, legitimate immunisation experts and its slick production. You would probably need to be across the anti-vaccine sagas to have your jimmies immediately rustled by its presence. But, if anyone was to sit down and watch the documentary – and they were not completely across the intricacies of the claims of anti-vaccinationists – then, you could very well lead some people to cease immunising their kids. And this is obviously not what the article’s author intended.