The Panic Virus

On the Media, one of my favorite podcasts, interviewed Seth Mnookin about his new book, The Panic Virus, which is about the vaccine scare brought on by Andrew Wakefield, who remains happily complicit in unprecedented child suffering and death.

I am excited about this in particular because host Bob Garfield uses the phrase “false balance” to describe the disproportional representation of vaccine fears in the media despite vaccines’ statistically insignificant risks.

We included On the Media in the podcast section of the website because Bob Garfield, Brooke Gladstone and their producers and contributors do a fantastic job of showing how often-unseen forces affect the news and media consumed by the public. I’ve been hooked ever since 2004, when they explained exactly how everyone on NPR sounds so damned good. The report is a classic, and I still recommend it.

Oh, this week they also mention Allen Gribben’s shamefully bowdlerized new edition of Huckleberry Finn, which substitutes the word “nigger” with the word “slave.” They are not the same thing, Allen. I was going to hurl a pithy Twain quote at him (“Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it”), but I can’t verify that it is actually Twain’s. Oh well.


One Response to The Panic Virus

  1. Pacal says:

    Well Mr. Wakefield makes my blood boil. The recent revelations of his systematic falsification of his case studies adds a thick layer of douchebaggery to already slime coated poser.

    As for the literary rape of Huckleberry Finn. Real stupid! The book is both great literature and a anti-racism masterpiece. Is our oh so wise censor unable to think that people can be educated about the context of the use of the “nigger” word and about how the book subverts the dehumanization of black people as exemplified by that horrible word.

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