ABC News Brisbane regurgitates antivax PR spin from the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network

As most readers would already be aware, the anti-vaccination propaganda film, Vaxxed, is being given another run around the country by the antivaxers from the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network. The film is already freely available online. I even posted recently, showing that the film is indeed antivax, as are its stars and producers, as proved by their own words. Most antivaxers who will pay to attend this round of screenings would have already paid to see it, either at previous screenings or online.

The promoters are also heavily marketing the film’s merchandise. It is clear that this is about cold, hard cash and, just today, the public were informed that four overseas representatives/stars of the movie have quietly slipped into Australia. This is, no doubt, a commercial enterprise:

This, of course, raises questions of the propriety of accepting demonstrable health menaces into the country – we certainly raise valid questions over the propriety of allowing pick-up artists entry, to hold seminars – as well as other questions about their visas.

Before we see the ABC news segment it should be noted, in passing, that, in the last few days, the AVN has made the following posts on its Facebook fora.

On July 20 2017, the AVN posted the lie that vaccines cause shaken baby syndrome. Remember, Meryl Dorey has previously made the quip that it should be called “shaken maybe syndrome”:

That’s correct: the AVN literally defends baby murderers. This is apart from the fact that Dorey and her AVN compare childhood immunisation to the “rape of a child” by doctors; or that Dorey frequently incites the vilification of bereaved parents who have lost babies to vaccine preventable diseases, or the abuse of and threats against public health personnel. Only two days ago Dorey posted a public warning to Malcolm Turnbull that she will “fight to the death” against his “evil plans”.

On July 19 2017, the AVN posted that vaccines are linked to depression:

Last night, July 22 2017, on its main Brisbane news broadcast, ABC News interviewed Meryl Dorey:

Now, thankfully the AVN was repeatedly called “anti-vaccination,” and Dorey’s comments were certainly surrounded by a complete shellacking of the debunked arguments underpinning Vaxxed, that vaccines cause autism; but, Dorey’s comments, in isolation, were not rebutted. And this is not the first time the ABC has erred in interviewing Dorey, to its own detriment.

Meryl Dorey has had numerous complaints upheld against her – well, against the poor producers and hosts who interviewed her – by ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs. In fact, so disreputable is Dorey that the ABC was forced to send out a memo warning its producers and hosts against interviewing her, due to Dorey’s inability to tell the truth.

Indeed, Dorey’s dishonesty even made it onto ABC’s Media Watch, in 2013, when a complaint was upheld against WIN News, by the media regulator, ACMA.

And let’s not forget about the oft-ignored glaring headline article that the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network, and Dorey – named specifically – have a 2014 public health warning against them from the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission.

Why would anyone interview her at all? Does Australian media have such a short attention span?

Dorey featured in last night’s ABC News segment, twice.

First, Dorey was allowed to argue that her organisation is not anti-vaccine, because they don’t tell anyone not to vaccinate:

We do not tell people not to vaccinate. We don’t tell them to vaccinate. We simply say that vaccines are a medical procedure. And all medical  procedures have risks.

Whilst we will be hard-pressed to find anywhere where Dorey and her group have stated “do not vaccinate”, apart from their own words and merchandise, this old sleight-of-hand from Dorey is shown for the lie that it is by her own members, fans, and followers.

This 50-page document is an appendix that I added to a HCCC complaint that I submitted in 2012: Testimonials and examples from AVN members and supporters published by Meryl Dorey and the AVN:

This document sets out in detail how Meryl Dorey and the Australian Vaccination Network have affected the health decisions of AVN members and supporters. The document contains concrete examples of individual cases, taken from the years 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.

The examples are taken from many official AVN and related fora.

The document is full of comments like this:

It is thanks to [Meryl Dorey and the AVN] that we…decided not to vaccinate our daughter

And Dorey basked in the supportive comments from her followers. Her misinformation frequently got the results she was seeking: parents refused to immunise themselves and their children.

Second, Dorey was allowed to claim that previous screenings of the film were cancelled due to “threats” against the theatre. Dorey’s comments were wrapped by the reporter’s:

Jessica Lodge (reporter): Organisers are so concerned about the public backlash, they won’t reveal the locations of the screenings until shortly before it goes ahead.

Dorey: We had two screenings that were cancelled because of threats against the theatres where the screening were being held.

Jessica Lodge: And the group is expecting there’ll be even more to come.

This claim is one of Dorey’s stock-standard PR tools. The problem with this claim is that there is absolutely no evidence backing her claims about the theatre having received threats. The theatre in question is the Castlemaine Theatre, in Victoria. The lie that the theatre received threats was first told by Castlemaine Film Festival organiser – and antivaxer and Sandy Hook hoaxer – David Thrussell.  It was untrue then and it is untrue now.

Indeed, the only venues to receive threats over the holding of an anti-vaccination event received them from an anti-vaccination activist named Frank Vazquez, of Adelaide, who made bomb and arson threats against Australian venues who were eventually to cancel seminars being planned by US antivax nutter Sherri Tenpenny.

The reason that Dorey and her pressure group refuse to state the names of the venues is so that venues don’t see the public revulsion at their decision to host demonstrable public health threats in their premises.  No one likes to be linked to an organisation whose endeavours will see more dead babies, if successful. It is, as the AVN knows, bad PR.

So, here we are again. Dorey lies to the media. The media swallows her lies – and the ABC isn’t the only one, of late – and the AVN gets a free kick in the media for its latest money-making venture. And there’s nary a mention of any public health warnings, or Dorey’s and the AVN’s previous form.


Update July 23 2017

Right on cue, the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network proves to us just how despicable they are, sharing a meme from No Vaccines Australia which compares the death of Riley Hughes to unsubstantiated, imagined deaths from vaccines:


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