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Wakefield's Wake, Part 7: Blowback can be fierce and frightening for autism-vaccine stories

A good friend of mine read my recent posts about Andrew Wakefield and the controversy over whether vaccines have any role in causing autism and asked me whether I was concerned for my safety.

Don’t call it a witch hunt: Scientists who perpetrated autism-vaccine scare should be called out

For a field rooted in fact and reason, science sure loves witchcraft.

One of the most common responses to the decade-long effort to hold Andrew Wakefield and his colleagues accountable for creating one of the biggest public health scares in modern history – linking autism to the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine – is to call the effort a “witch hunt.”

Wakefield's Wake Part 2: Passionate parents of autistic children can be tricky sources

Anyone who has written about a topic as emotional as autism knows that patients and their families can be both invaluable and unreliable.

Wakefield's Wake, Part 1: Media should help undo damage from vaccine-autism hoax

Andrew Wakefield — creator of one of the greatest scares in medical history — had many accomplices in misleading the world about a link between vaccines and autism. Many in the media helped him spread his intellectual poison. Celebrities rallied behind his fake cause. And the scientific community helped keep the hoax alive by citing his work as if it were legitimate.

Oprah sells mind-body snake oil to the masses

The June 8 edition of Newsweek has a must-read story about the world's most influential celebrity.

Weston Kosova and Pat Wingert meticulously detail how Oprah Winfrey uses her show, her magazine and her Web site as a platform for some completely loony health advice, including needle-and-thread facelifts, avoiding vaccines, daily hormone injections into the vagina to stop aging and thinking positively as an alternative to surgery.

Announcements

Reporting on Health invites fellows and friends who are attending the AHCJ conference  to join us for drinks and appetizers from 6:30-8 p.m. April 24 at Pedro's Restaurant  & Cantina, 3935 Freedom Circle, Santa Clara.  We'll buy a drink for the first 30 folks who arrive and provide appetizers for all. RSVP here.

Since the passage of the ACA, hospital consolidation has dramatically increased. Our webinar will give an overview of this trend, clarify what’s at stake for consumers, and give journalists fresh ideas for reporting in new, incisive ways. Our panel will include experts Martin Gaynor and Paul Ginsburg, as well as NYT’s Margot Sanger-Katz. More info here.

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Reporting on Underserved Communities



How can journalists and foundations collaborate to deepen and improve reporting on underserved communities? Our USC Annenberg School of Journalism program in collaboration with The California Endowment, the Wyncote Foundation and Media Impact Funders, convened 75 leaders from both fields.

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