Tweed Daily News promotes anti-vaccination and chemtrails conspiracy theorists

In its hard copy edition today, the Tweed Daily News gave a free plug to both the anti-vaccination movement and the antivax conspiracy theory movie, Vaxxed, produced by and starring the disgraced former gastroenterologist, anti-vaccination leader Andrew Wakefield. The dishonest vanity movie is being promoted around Australia, in secret venues, by the disreputable Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network, an anti-vaccination organisation with a public health warning against its name.

From the Bring Vaxxed to Australia/New Zealand public Facebook group:

In his article, journalist Mitchell Crawley published uncontested anti-vaccination lies from conspiracy theorists Donna Koscica and Robert Deutsch:

  • Koscica claimed that her husband died from cancer, which was caused by vaccines. There is no evidence that the latter is true.
  • Koscica repeated the long-debunked lie that SV-40 in the polio vaccines cause cancer.
  • Koscica wrongly implied that the government does not allow informed consent in the provision of immunisation.
  • Koscica wrongly claimed that vaccine ingredient lists are not available.
  • Robert Deutsch — a chemtrail conspiracy theorist — wrongly claimed that people are unaware of real vaccine adverse reactions.
  • Deutsch wrongly implied that immunisation providers do not discuss vaccine adverse events with patients.

This region of NSW has historically low rates of childhood immunisation. The Tweed Daily News should be ashamed of itself, and it should publish a retraction and an apology to its readership.

Full image of the newspaper article available here.


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5 Responses to Tweed Daily News promotes anti-vaccination and chemtrails conspiracy theorists

  1. William Hall says:

    It’s Mitchell Crawley (just checked by googling).

  2. Wow, her husband died 3 months after diagnosis & she says it’s because of vaccinations. My father was diagnosed with a 12cm mass on his right lung in May 1996. He died in August that same year. Barely 3 months later. As he wasn’t vaccinated… should I put the blame on his smoking, or his exposure to asbestos while consteucting our house out of Fibro in the 1950s? It is quite possible that her husband’s death had a similar cause. Not vaccinations.

  3. And a reply from says:

    An open letter to the Editor of the Tweed Daily News:

    Editor – in – chief
    Tweed Daily News

    25 January 2017

    An open letter to the Editor. *

    The Northern Rivers Vaccination Supporters (NRVS) would like to express our concern and deep dismay regarding Mitchell Crawley’s article “Anti-vaccine movement”, published on Wednesday 25 January 2017, on page 7 of the Tweed Daily News.
    NRVS was formed in 2012, when a group of concerned community members realised how low the vaccination rates are in the Northern Rivers region. There is much misinformation in this region regarding vaccines, and our mission is to correct this misinformation where we see it, and put out factual information regarding the efficacy and safety of vaccination. Our small community group has since grown substantially, and we were recently endorsed by the World Health Organisation as a reputable source of information on vaccine safety, and now appear on their website.

    We were very disappointed to see this article alongside a photo of two vaccine-denying activists. The photo alone is showing them promoting merchandise in relation to a film that maliciously spreads lies and misinformation, and contains information easily demonstrated to be blatantly deceptive. The film ‘Vaxxed’ is backed and promoted by discredited doctor Andrew Wakefield, stripped of his medical licence by the UK’s British Medical Council when it was revealed he performed unethical and unnecessary procedures on children, and fraudulently misrepresented findings from a study he was involved in, for which he stood to benefit financially. It is frankly astounding that any journalist writing about vaccination would not be aware of Wakefield’s history.

    The article’s sub-heading, ‘Tragedy prompts campaign’ is very misleading to the general public, implying a correlation when there isn’t one. It is well known that vaccines do not cause cancer and the SV40 factor has never been shown to have a causative link to cancer. In fact, there are now vaccines (Hep B & HPV) that protect against certain cancers. Was the contrary information from Ms Koscica taken as a given by the journalist and editor of the Tweed Daily News?

    Informed consent is mentioned. Informed consent is very important – but only when the information is gleaned from credible sources. Unfortunately, anti-vaccination proponents do not gather their information from credible sources. Often their misinformation is obtained from anecdotes, hearsay, and sometimes conspiracy-fuelled social media sites.

    Governments and doctors do, in fact, advise what is in vaccines. It is very easy to search this information from credible websites or your GP. It is interesting to note that often when trying to discredit vaccines, vaccine deniers will use the manufacturer’s inserts- the very same documents they claim are being hidden by the authorities.
    Vaccines are stringently tested for years and undergo various trials before being used in the community. On average it will take 10-15 years for a vaccine to be approved for public use.

    Parents do already have to sign a form, when their child is being vaccinated – to show they have received the information relevant to the vaccines being administered at the time. They do not need to sign the form until they are satisfied with the information given.

    Robert Deutsche is a well known conspiracy proponent who believes that condensation trails from planes are actually “chemtrails” and that the population is being poisoned from the air. It is concerning to think that worried parents may take advice from a conspiracy theorist and an anti-vaccination activist as a result of this irresponsible article.
    We would like to pose the question of whether the journalist and editor followed the journalistic code of conduct, or the principles of the Australian press council, in fact checking any of the information published in the article?

    NRVS have been involved in the past with your newspaper, regarding vaccination. The issue of ‘false balance’ has been discussed at length with your journalists. This makes it all the more disappointing that you have published such a fear-mongering article. If your readers would like credible information on vaccination, we would refer them to our website.

    A parting thought – would you interview a cosmologist regarding the complexities of the solar system and the known universe, and then refer to ‘Roger, who believes the earth is flat’ for an alternate view?

    Thank you for your time.

    Northern Rivers Vaccination Supporters

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