I got an email from my old ‘friend’, Jane Hansen this morning and really, it’s been far too long since we two have communicated. You know how it is. Life gets busy, kids are growing, places to go, people to see…
But Jane took the time to drop me a quick line and for that, I’m very grateful
I had just sent a copy of Dr Brian Martin’s latest article, News with a negative frame: a vaccination case study, to some social networking pages I follow and the email lists I help maintain. And darned if I didn’t forget to include Jane on that email – so sorry! But all’s well because she got the email anyway.
For those who haven’t yet read this article, I highly recommend you do! It concerns negative and biased coverage regarding Dr Judy Wilyman’s PhD from the University of Wollongong by Kylar Loussikian of the Australian newspaper in particular, and the Australian media in general.
You see, there are some journalists out there who apparently believe that those who hold a contrary position on scientific issues (such as vaccination) should not be able to obtain a PhD – nor, it seems, should they be allowed a voice in the public debate. Hard to imagine, I know!
And Jane, bless her little heart, appears to be one of those journalists too. Jane, we really do have to talk…
In her usual spontaneous style, Jane’s email to me was direct and straight to the point:
You’re the queen of twisting truth MerylGardasil is one of the most heavily studies vaccines around and one of the most effective. To ignore the vast body of science on this is pure ignorance.
Now Jane, I really am trying to work with you on this – really! But I have searched Dr Martin’s article for even one mention of Gardasil and it might surprise you (or not) to know that it is not mentioned even once. There is a short mention of HPV – the virus that Gardasil is meant to protect against – but that mention is made, not to discuss the science behind HPV vaccination, but simply to quote a paragraph from the Australian newspaper article in question.
So, trying to be helpful because after all, I really ‘get’ you, I offered the following response:
Did you actually read the article, Jane? If so, what is your objection to what Dr Martin has said? Where has he gone wrong? Please feel free to share your insight on this article with either myself or Dr Martin.He was most particularly NOT not talking about the science behind vaccination which is what leads me to believe that you did not read the article you are replying to. Dr Martin was speaking about how the media uses language to frame an argument in such a way that the truth of matters is ignored and instead, a particular barrow is pushed based purely on what it is the media wishes to propound.Please read Dr Martin’s article and if you have any criticisms, I am sure he would be most happy to hear them and to respond to you.MerylPS – why are you bringing up Gardasil? What did that have to do with Dr Martin’s article or Dr Wilyman’s PhD from the UOW? You seem to have strayed very far from the point, Jane.
Instead of thanking me for so kindly and politely pointing out the errors of your way, Jane, you instead sent me the following email:
I don’t engage with cherry pickers. Goodbye
Well! May I remind you, Jane, that you were the one who contacted me! So any engagement was totally and absolutely down to you.
Is this any way to carry on a conversation? You start talking and when someone gives a reasoned and civil reply, you attack them and storm off in a virtual huff? That’s neither mature nor is it productive.
These are Australia’s children we are talking about here, Jane. Their health, wellbeing and their very lives. Don’t they deserve better than what you are giving them?
Oh, forgive me! How silly.
I seem to have forgotten that you work for Murdoch.
Forget I said anything.
by Meryl Dorey
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