Trust in the media is at an all-time low. But should it be? Why do fewer and fewer Americans trust the mainstream media. Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson, author of The Smear, explains.
What I am saying is that many of the anecdotal positions I have heard taken on this issue do not stand up to the fact. And what we need is clear thinking. Like in other posts refuting Food Inc., and the many anthropogenic global warming supporters, what I am not saying is that we shouldn’t consider reducing the amount of vaccines given, or how they are bunched up. Just like I am not saying we should continue to eat sugar and corn-syrup laced foods, or that we shouldn’t be concerned for the environment. People tend to make these conversations either or. Again, what I am saying is that the facts used by many of these persons are just plain wrong.
The issue came up, in fact, in the latest CNN GOP debate:
I have noticed a pattern in this debate though.Those that are religious and have wild “New World Order” views and that like Prison Planet (Alex Jones), tend toward the view that vaccines cause all sorts of ills. Others on the left that have a distrust of Big-Money, corporations, likewise see all sorts of nefarious issues with them. (Why the left then loves Big-Government is beyond me, and treat IT as a non-corporation.) So lets begin this short trek that will surely grow over the years.
The first challenge I think is important is one I hear made against global warming skeptics, or creationists/Intelligent design persons, etc. It is the charge that “Big-Money” is powerful enough to change facts. So those that support “Al-Gorian” positions in global warming point out that because big-oil has lots of money… that this MUST influence decisions made in the general public. For instance, we can see how this type of argument backfires. In this small excerpt of a larger debate (seen here), Marc Morano responded to the Director of the Sierra Club, Michael Brune, who charged that Marc’s organization receive (cue *evil laughter*) “big-oil money.”
The same happened in conversation on the topic of vaccines. One person told me that “the billion dollar industry is attempting to discredit, and bury, things.” And, “There is also billions at stake, so buried data is the M.O.” So I invite those reading this to watch the two videos. The first video deals more factually with the main study people use to support their autism connection to vaccines. The second video gets into motivation. And one must keep in mind that in philosophy there is a fallacy that states that one’s view of truth is built into the geography of one’s birth: the genetic fallacy. But no matter if you were born in the very animistic view of nature via a Papua New Guinea birth, or a Canadian birth… Einstein’s theory of relativity is JUST AS TRUE. In other words, no matter how much money is involved, we can know the truth evidentially and not based on which side has more money.
To enforce the point one should have gotten already. If position “a” is true and “b” is false because of the “Big-Health Inc.” behind it, then I will use the same argument to say that the biggest donor block to Democrats, injury lawyers (after unions, teacher unions to be specific), who have a vested interest in supporting the “counter-vaccine” position and have pumped “Big-Money” into this view — ergo makes my position true/correct.
One can hopefully see the futility of weighing one’s argument on this approach.
In another conversation I gave an example of how people first attributed Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) to vaccines. But later it was found to be trauma, either through accidental means or abuse. The anecdotal position gave way to the evidential one.
The person I was talking to thought I meant something else and tried to correct me:
I responded that “No, I didn’t mean SIDS, I meant shaking baby syndrome.” However, i followed that with, “But okay, lets deal with SIDS.”
SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
SIDS as been studied well since the 80’s. There have been control groups, and babies without vaccinations as opposed to those with vaccinations shows no difference in SIDS. In one of the largest studies babies who were vaccinated fared better in the SIDS arena.
Note as well that babies of black families are twice as likely and to die of SIDS — Native-American infants are about three times more likely than Caucasian infants. So there is something else going on. Incorporating the above ethnic disparities with the rate of vaccines being “up-to-date,” we already see an issue of where evidence doesn’t meet the claim:
So SIDS should be highest in the Asian communities, next in the white, etc., ~ you get the point. It is interesting to note as well that SIDS is at an all-time low:
- As a result of efforts by the Institute and other organizations, the sudden infant death rate is at an all-time low. However there are still about 4,000 sleep-related infant deaths that occur each year in the US. (SIDS.org).
But how is this possible? America is at an all-time high in vaccinations? You can see how the anecdotal “illogic” starts to fall apart.
As with other issues in our political and religious realms [and the conspiracies/sloppy thinking that accompany both — from the New World Order to the above example of SIDS], many claims are not self-challenged by the people that hold them.
Rate of Vaccinations
Autism is on the rise… or, is being diagnosed more as we refine our ability to detect it. And I was — in conversation — given a link to a columnist I like who has a large database of articles supporting to one extent or another the position that vaccines are harmful. One article I thought was promising to challenge my point of view was an article entitle, “Where are the Autistic Amish?“
What a great study [I though to myself] that is truly a “double-blind” isolated population. However, I was soon wagging my head that a journalist I like left behind her critical skills in self-challenging her position. Whereas a schlub like myself can critique a story like this.
First, some background.
Like in the videos talking about this supposed link, Olmsted’s anecdotal evidence is cited ad nauseum as evidence that thimerosal causes autism. Thimerosal is a form of mercury, and almost always in anti-vaccine sites (like the two examples to the right). However, thimerosal is not mercury as you know it. Which is important. Before 2001, some vaccines contained thimerosal, a preservative made with ethyl mercury. But ethyl mercury, which is safe, is very different from methyl mercury, which is toxic.
Again, this safe product is not in vaccines any longer, except for, multi-dose flu shots. So when I get my flu shot, I make sure that I am getting a single-dose version that will not have this safe preservative that is not mercury. But autism is still on the rise, to wit,
Let’s get back to the article that Sharly thought was interesting (as did I). In a response to it from Autism News Beat: An Evidence-Based Resource for Journalists, we read a great excerpt from a critique:
Again, we see that the anecdotal evidence does not stand under even a minimal checking of the facts. Let us continue to dig into some other evidences that undermine the mercury connection.
In an article entitled “Autism rises despite MMR ban in Japan,” we find that countries that have completely removed the “mercury” from its vaccines, as well as offer much less mandatory vaccines to boot.
For instance, The United States requires infants to receive 26 vaccines, whereas Sweden and Japan administer 12 vaccines to infants, the least amount (Mercola). Yet, autism is on the rise in these least vaccinated countries. Continuing with Japan:
In the New Scientist article where the above graphic is from, the author ends with this:
The end is important, because Sharyl Attkisson links to another article by Dr. Frank DeStefano, Director of the CDC Immunization Safety Office, saying,
This is what science is… leaving open possibilities. However, we KNOW “mercury” [thimerosal] is not connected. But all the variables involved with vaccinations leaves open the possibility of future evidence. This same scientific approach is not in the eco-fascist response to anthropogenic global warming skeptics. Scientism is in the later example. Science ~ proper ~ is in the possibility left open in cause-effects of vaccines.
In another exchange, I was challenged with the Vaccine Court awarding settlements to people as an evidence of the issue herein discussed.
Here is the challenge:
Firstly, there is flawed logic to this, and I will explain with a recent case.
Freddie Gray was taken into custody and died a week after his arrest, in jail. People blame the officers and six of them have been charged and the court proceeding are a long way off. However, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s decided to pay Freddie Gray’s family a $6.4 million civil settlement even before the officers were found guilty/innocent in the legal proceedings, which again, are a long way off.
So payment has no correlation to guilt, or innocence. Likewise paying off someone in the Vaccine Court doesn’t necessarily correlate to proving that vaccines cause particular illnesses.
So with these few examples I have encountered, we see that there is A LOT of bad thinking surrounding the issue. And it is by-and-large by well-meaning persons who are looking for behavior in their children they rightly or wrongly attribute to vaccinations. Us not being able to explain things is a digging issue for the human race. We think we can find answers — immediately — to issues that perplex us. But sometimes we need calmer heads in the matter… like Dr. Carson in the video near the beginning of the post.
Ways to think through tough issues:
In a continuing conversation I was challenged with this:
- Find a great deal of unvaccinated autistic children yet? Or still searching? Yea, me too. smile emoticon
So I provided one example to get this person to think critically:
I got a response. And mind you… this is from a person who is a believer and deals with the confounded logic of atheists and evolutionists. And so here is his response. And his response was merely a cut-n-paste:
- Vaccinated boys were 155% more likely to have a neurological disorder (RR 2.55)
- Vaccinated boys were 224% more likely to have ADHD (RR 3.24)
- Vaccinated boys were 61% more likely to have autism (RR 1.61)
I merely mentioned that this was a s-u-r-v-e-y… by phone. There were not control groups, much of a criteria to test the claims made by these persons called, etc. Here is a bit more:
I linked to an article with this comment: That was a phone-call survey Dan. Here is a more reliable study noted in this science blog:
A couple other blog posts I recommend from Respectful Insolence:
Via The Blaze
Left leaning media bias is nothing new to those who are of the investigative mindset. But this example is a little more than having a 5-to-1 ratio of those that oppose the 2nd Amendment to those that support it. It is done to sway elections.
And I often hear about how horribly biased Fox News is. I will take a right leaning bias as compared to CBS, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, NPR, and the like — any day!
Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson said in a Fox News appearance that her former CBS News bosses purposely hid a clip of President Obama refusing to call the Benghazi attacks an act of terrorism in order to help him get re-elected.
Mr. Obama told Steve Kroft of “60 Minutes” the Sunday after the attack, “Well, it’s too early to know exactly how this came about, what group was involved. But obviously, it was an attack on Americans.”
The clip didn’t air, though the transcript with that portion was sent to “CBS Evening News” staff, Ms. Attkisson told Fox.
Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, took Mr. Obama to task during a presidential debate for his failure to call the attack an act of terror for 14 days — a perfect, and missed, opportunity for CBS to air the clip, Ms. Attkisson said.
“That exchange, I believe, should have been pulled out immediately after the debate, which would have been very newsy at the time,” she said. “It was exclusive to CBS. It would have, it appears to me, proven Romney’s point against Obama. But that clip was kept secret.”
Ms. Attkisson said she was covering Benghazi at the time, yet no one at CBS advised her to use that clip from Mr. Obama as part of her coverage. Instead, she was directed to use other clips that showed Mr. Obama suggesting he had called the attack an act of terror from the very beginning, she said.
“And it was only right before the election that somebody kind of leaked out the transcript to others of us at CBS and we were really shocked,” Ms. Attkisson said during the interview. “We felt that … something very unethical had been done.”….
This comes via The Blaze, and is merely a confirmation of what many fair minded people already know, these are some quotes from Sharyl Attkisson during an interview on CNN. I think that CNN was a bit late to the party, maybe, feeling the hit to their ratings for not doing what Fox had already done with Miss Attkisson, that is, interview her:
Attkisson added in her interview with CNN’s “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter that while she never was discouraged from hard-hitting reports on the George W. Bush administration, when it came to her critical coverage of the Obama White House, CBS regularly balked.
“There are very sophisticated efforts to manipulate the images and the information that you see every day, in ways that you won’t recognize,” she said. “And I think we can all be a little more savvy about that.”
As for the differences between how CBS News brass treated and covered the Bush compared to the Obama administration, Attkisson noted that she “didn’t sense any resistance to doing stories that were perceived to be negative to the Bush administration by anybody ever.” But as for the Obama White House, she said “I have done stories that were not received well because people thought they would reflect poorly upon this administration.”
Attkisson went further, noting a “fairly well-discussed” topic inside CBS News “that there are some managers recently who have been so ideologically entrenched that there is a feeling and discussion that some of them, certainly not all of them, have a difficult time viewing a story that may reflect negatively upon government or the administration as a story of value.”
“So you’re saying they are liberal or Democrats?” Stelter asked.
“I don’t know what their registered party is, I just know that the tendency on the part of some of these managers who have key influences has been they never mind the stories that seem to, for example — and I did plenty of them — go against the grain of the Republican Party, but they do often seem to feel defensive about, almost, personally defensive about stories that could make the government look bad. Even if it’s something as simple as a government waste story that doesn’t pinpoint anybody in particularly and it takes on both parties. It seems as though some of them were sensitive about any story that might appear as though it criticizes the government.”
The Blaze continues the story with the video interview:
This brings us back to some older news, but refreshing it in our minds helps us remember the uphill battle we face. Lets compare the first 100-days of each of our recent presidents. And as you will see, the media was most fair (down the middle, so-to-speak) with Clinton. But as the Left gets more entrenched due to brainwashing at the university, you see a slide to one end:
Overall, roughly four out of ten stories, editorials and op ed columns about Obama have been clearly positive in tone, compared with 22% for Bush and 27% for Clinton in the same mix of seven national media outlets during the same first two months in office, according to a study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. HotAir mentioned the Pew Poll a while back, noting: “In their 100-day look released last week, Pew notes that Obama got twice as much good press as Bush and 50% more than Clinton.” They continue by quoting Pew:
Well, Sharyl Attkisson, a 21-year vet at CBS confirms to us what Bernie Goldberg years ago already did. That CBS (obviously not the only network) has sold its soul to the gods of progressivism. While Fox should remain center-right, they should always allow the other voice an opportunity to speak. Scott Whitlock at NewsBusters, for instance, noted that “as of April 3, 2014, it’s been 140 days since the once-vaunted Nightline covered ObamaCare or any of the problems associated with it. Instead, the ABC News program has mostly avoided hard news, focusing on tabloid-heavy topics such as a city in Brazil that has become known as the “model factory.” So it isn’t just WHAT you report as it is what you choose to ignore that affects the public’s perception. Sad.
BTW, CNN doesn’t escape this malaise either.
…with Gateway Pundit’s erudite fishing into what was just revealed (that I missed):
What has not been widely known until today was the Democratic Party front group’s role in actually producing the news.
Attkisson: “Media Matters, as my understanding, is a far left blog group that I think holds itself out to be sort of an independent watchdog group. And yes, they clearly targeted me at some point. They used to work with me on stories and tried to help me produce my stories, and at some point…”
After Sunday’s broadcast, CNN posted a follow-up story that included a response from Media Matters. The response does not mention previous collaborations with Attkisson and CBS News in producing news reports for the network.
“We also sought comment from Media Matters; Attkisson said she thought it was possible that the liberal media monitoring group had been paid to discredit her. Media Matters responded:
‘Sharyl Attkisson is continuing a pattern of evidence-free speculation that started at the end of her tenure at CBS. We have never taken contributions to target her or any other reporter. Our decision to post any research on Attkisson is based only on her shoddy reporting’.”
There was no mention of Media Matters working with Attkisson to produce news reports for CBS News in the recent hit piece by David Brock’s Senior Fellow attack poodle Eric Boehlert posted at Media Matters on April 17th with the laughably dishonest headline (if Attkisson is to be believed):
Sharyl Attkisson Keeps Peddling Hollow ‘Liberal Media Bias’ Claim Former CBS Reporter Apparently Can’t Produce Any Proof For Conspiracy
CBS News should disclose which reports by the network were done in collaboration with the Democratic Party front group Media Matters. Attkisson should also disclose on which stories she collaborated with Media Matters.
This will unfold more over the weeks to come, if the pressure is kept on CBS.
Appearing on Thursday’s O’Reilly Factor, former CBS investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson claimed that CBS “had barely begun to scratch the surface” of the “Fast and Furious” scandal before the network moved on from the story. She noted that the network showed similar reluctance for its coverage of Benghazi and the ObamaCare rollout.
Via Atlas Shrugs:
Top Obama official’s brother is president of CBS News, may drop reporter over “aggressive” Benghazi coverage (thanks to Robert Spencer)
Sharyl Attkisson should know the basic rule of American journalism: do not investigate scandals perpetrated by Leftist presidents. Instead, cover them up. “Top Obama official’s brother is president of CBS News, may drop reporter over Benghazi coverage,” by Patrick Howley in the Daily Caller, May 11:
The brother of a top Obama administration official is also the president of CBS News, and the network may be days away from dropping one of its top investigative reporters for covering the administration’s scandals too aggressively.CBS News executives have reportedly expressed frustration with their own reporter, Sharyl Attkisson, who has steadily covered the Obama administration’s handling of the Benghazi terrorist attack in Libya since late last year.
“Network sources” told Politico Wednesday that CBS executives feel Attkisson’s Benghazi coverage is bordering on advocacy, and Attkisson “can’t get some of her stories on the air.”
Attkisson, who is in talks to leave the network before her contract expires, has been attempting to figure out who changed the Benghazi talking points for more than five months.
“We still don’t know who changed talking points but have had at least 4 diff explanations so far,” Attkisson tweeted on November 27, 2012.
But on Friday, ABC News reported that the Benghazi talking points went through 12 revisions before they were used on the public. The White House was intimately involved in that process, ABC reported, and the talking points were scrubbed free of their original references to a terror attack.
That reporting revealed that President Obama’s deputy national security advisor, Ben Rhodes — brother of CBS News president David Rhodes — was instrumental in changing the talking points in September 2012.
The disastrous Obama Administration operation “Fast and Furious”, which deliberately put guns in the hands of the Mexican cartel, exploded this week with new revelations of a cover-up, and emails which tie the scandal directly to the White House for the first time.
“Fast and Furious” was an attempt to intercept gun-trafficking that sent 2,000 guns to cartel operatives via straw buyers. Critics believe that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder saw the program as an opportunity to embarrass U.S.-based gun dealers, and help galvanize support for increased gun-control measures, while controlling where and how the guns would be “walked” across the border. But the operation went horribly wrong as the guns went unaccounted for, leading to the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry last December in Arizona, and the deaths of untold others inside Mexico – all using guns provided by the ATF. Holder denied knowledge of the operation at a U.S. House hearing on May 3rd, but subsequent revelations clearly show both Holder and the White House had been informed about this program as it ran off the rails.
Rep. Alan West has called for Holder to resign or be fired as a result.
Now it has been revealed that after the death of Agent Terry, Assistant U.S. Attorney Emory Hurley and then-U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke colluded to cover-up the fact that Terry was killed using one of the guns from ‘Fast and Furious’. Evidence shows that Hurley – who knew “almost immediately” that the guns could be traced to the program, contacted Burke, and they agreed to cover it up:
In an internal email the day after the murder, Hurley, and then-U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, decided not to disclose the connection, saying ” … this way we do not divulge our current case (Fast and Furious) or the Border Patrol shooting case.”
As Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said “The level of involvement of the United States Attorney’s Office … in the genesis and implementation of this case is striking.” Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) are investigating the scandal, and AG Holder’s knowledge and role in its implementation.
New e-mails obtained yesterday by The Los Angeles Times show at least three national security officials received information about Operation Fast and Furious. An anonymous administration official says these e-mails don’t prove anyone in the White House knew about the covert “investigative tactics” used in the program — but they do show William Newell, then the ATF field supervisor for Arizona and New Mexico, was in close contact with Kevin O’Reilly, director of North American affairs for the White House national security staff, between July 2010 and February of this year.
In fact, Newell sought the White House’s help to persuade the Mexican government to let ATF agents recover U.S. guns across the border, and O’Reilly on several occasions sounded out Newell to see how efforts to combat gun trafficking in Arizona were going. In response to O’Reilly’s requests, Newell praised ATF agents’ work on “firearms trafficking investigations with direct links to Mexican” cartels.
O’Reilly forwarded the information Newell provided to two other officials – Dan Restrepo, the president’s senior Latin American advisor, and Greg Gatjanis, a White House national security official. But O’Reilly reassured Newell the information “would not leave NSS.” Newell answered, “Sure, just don’t want ATF HQ to find out, especially since this is what they should be doing (briefing you)!”
Evidence of another kind of cover-up in the scandal has surfaced, too. Late last night, Sen. Chuck Grassley’s office revealed 21 Fast and Furious guns have been found at violent crime scenes in Mexico….
On Friday, the administration reluctantly released new and incriminating documents showing then-Special Agent William Newell with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) had discussed details of Fast and Furious in a series of emails with White House National Security Council staff member Kevin O’Reilly. In one of the communications, Mr. Newell gave Mr. O’Reilly a heads-up about an upcoming press conference announcing indictments in a dozen “straw purchaser” firearms trafficking cases and a Gun Runner Impact Teams performance report containing statistics on investigations.
The congressional probe is no longer limited to just the ATF. Early on, the White House denied it had any knowledge of the gunrunning program. Agent Newell, who headed the Phoenix, Ariz., office from which the scheme’s operations were directed, contradicted that claim when he testified on Capitol Hill in July. The just-released emails reveal that not only did briefings on the shady gambit reach inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but the information provided was extensive.
On its face, the ATF’s plan made no sense. Agents directed U.S. gun stores to sell semi-automatic rifles to front men who then smuggled the weapons into Mexico for resale to drug cartels. Agents were supposed to follow the firearms all the way to the lairs of the drug kingpins – except they had no realistic means of doing so. Thus, thousands of the guns have fueled bloody drug crimes south of the border.
Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican, who is leading the House probe of the operation, has characterized the endeavor as “felony stupid.” Mr. Issa estimated the number of murders committed with Fast and Furious weapons at around 150, including the shooting death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, who was killed in December while on duty.
INGRAHAM: So they were literally screaming at you?
ATTKISSON: Yes. Well, the DOJ woman was just yelling at me. A guy from the White House–
INGRAHAM: Who was it?
ATTKISSON: On Friday night literally screamed at me and cussed at me–
INGRAHAM: Who was the person? Who was the person at Justice screaming?
ATTKISSON: Eric Schultz- oh, the person screaming was [DOJ spokeswoman] Tracy Schmaler. She was yelling, not screaming–
INGRAHAM: Oh, really?
ATKISSON: And the person who screamed at me was Eric Schultz at the White House.
INGRAHAM: Hmm- I thought we were supposed to be so transparent. This is a new era of transparency. And Pelosi was draining the swamp, and the White House was going to turn a new page, and that was actually good to hear. I mean, we were like- okay, that’s- we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. And then, the first time a reporter asked a serious question about, at least, a Justice Department move here, the reporter is yelled at and screamed at.
And I would imagine, Sharyl, that if- let’s say, a NBC reporter had been yelled at and screamed at by Karl Rove, we would have been hearing about it for years afterward (laughs) in the Bush administration. It would be, ‘Oh, those bullies over at the White House, once again, shutting down true inquiries into their goings-on behind closed doors.’