Frank Bruni sees a larger problem arising from the increase in measles cases resulting from parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.
“What’s in play is more than one affliction’s resurgence. The size and sway of the anti-vaccine movement reflect a chilling disregard for science — or at least a pick-and-choose, cafeteria approach to it — that’s also evident, for example, in many Americans’ refusal to recognize climate change. We’re a curious species, and sometimes a sad one, chasing knowledge only to deny it, making progress only to turn away from its benefits.”
“The movement underscores the robust market for pure conjecture — not just about vaccines, but about all sorts of ostensible threats and putative remedies — and the number of merchants willing to traffic in it.”
“The sheer variety and saturation of media today amplify crackpot hypotheses to a point where they seem misleadingly worthy of consideration. ‘People say things enough times, there must be some truth to it … Look at the proportion of people who question where our president was born or his religion.’”
“And we in the traditional media don’t always help, covering the news in an on-one-hand, on-the-other-hand fashion that sometimes gives nearly equal time to people citing facts and people weaving fiction.”