New York Times Now 'Both Sides'-ing Measles, Whooping Cough, The Plague...


The New York Times, the paper of Robin Thicke records, won't stop with the "both sides" nonsense, even when one of the "sides" has measles. The New Jersey legislature tried to pass a law ending religious exemptions to vaccine requirements for students attending any public or private school and college. This seemed a good idea because schools are often buildings containing other people, many of whom don't want to catch infectious diseases. The bill was postponed, however, because legislators faced angry protestors shouting, "Don't touch my child!" To clarify, no one was going to touch anyone's child. That's creepy. The law would merely have prevented parents from unleashing an army of Typhoid Marys on New Jersey schools.

Here's how the Times summed up the debate in a tweet yesterday. It's screen-captured in case it's removed after Dean Baquet accidentally wanders into the Times offices.

The New York Times

Yes, sir, there are two sides here, both very serious, data-driven sides. We've been over this. Measles and other infectious diseases are bad. There's no compelling science to prove that vaccines are dangerous. Sue Collins, who heads up the flaky New Jersey Coalition for Vaccine Choice, thinks the state's parents were victorious today. Not only can they choose to listen to some crystal-huffing kook on the internet instead of a medical doctor, they can choose to share the joy of whooping cough with all their child's classmates and teachers.

The tweet states right out that the bill is "hotly contested," and we all know people can barely tolerate legislation that's contested at room temperature. The fact that the bill is a response to a measles outbreak is just offered as background. The outbreak this year was the worst since 2000. The majority of cases were reported in unvaccinated people and children. This is not the time to entertain conspiracy theories about "Big Pharma."

It wasn't just a rogue New York Times tweeter; the social media message is the same as the medium's:

The hotly contested bill, which comes on the heels of a measles outbreak in the region this year, has been portrayed as a crucial public health measure by its supporters, who point to the overwhelming consensus that vaccines are safe and effective. [...]

But a small, vocal group of opponents questions or dismisses the science, describing the legislation as an infringement on religious and personal rights.

You'll notice that the "pro" side of the bill is supported with data and facts. The other side just stands alone, like measles-infected cheese. Who cares if a "small, vocal group" rejects science? The group can describe the legislation however they like but that doesn't make it true. These people don't know what they're talking about and the Times elevates their featherweight theories by placing them in same the ring as heavyweight medicine.

Mary Colleen Foley, 33, a middle-school teacher in Brick Township and a mother of two children, said she believed that unvaccinated children were healthier than those who were vaccinated.

"God wouldn't give us anything that we can't handle," said Ms. Foley, who is Catholic.

I HATE THAT EXPRESSION. "God" is dealing out cancer to fools, but this woman is confident that the lady upstairs has their back. There is literally no serious evidence that unvaccinated children are healthier than children whose parents have brains in their heads. It's a good thing the Times notes that the mother is Catholic, so we don't think she's, you know, bat shit.

Look, we don't care what you personally believe. We don't mind if you're a devout snake handler. However, we do believe you should vaccinate your kids, just like you're legally obligated to feed and clothe them. No one likes getting shots but you can just bribe your kids with chocolate like all responsible parents.

Senators Loretta Weinberg and Joseph Vitale, the bill's co-sponsors and both Democrats naturally, promised to keep fighting. We beat the flat Earthers. We'll beat the anti-vaxxers. Of course, the New York Times wasn't "both sides"-ing on behalf of the Roman inquisition.

[The New York Times]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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