A PBS series injects doubt back into the autism issue

The Los Angeles Times has published an interesting take on "Autism Now."

A PBS series injects doubt back into the autism issue
By James Rainey
April 27, 2011

[Excerpt only -- read the full column via the link above!]

I asked her father whether he should have told the television audience more about his daughter, given her strong positions, which have been expressed on blogs for several years. MacNeil said it "never occurred" to him to make such a disclosure since he said the community of families involved in autism is familiar with her activism.

I suggested that there were likely many others watching PBS who didn't frequent autism chat rooms, who had no idea that Alison MacNeil, a psychiatric social worker living in Cambridge, Mass., was such an activist.

The veteran newsman — who has written a biography, novels and appeared occasionally on PBS since leaving in 1995 — said he was dismayed at the heated atmosphere that surrounds the autism question. "It's like so much in American politics right now," he said, "there is less than zero tolerance for anyone's view that is not the same as yours."

But that incivility has been administered in great measure by the anti-vaccine crowd, who have vilified anyone who dared suggest that mainstream science might be acting in good faith. If the PBS autism series insisted on broaching the causation theorizing, it at least should have issued clearer and stronger admonitions that have come from public health officials: The flight away from childhood vaccination has allowed a slow resurrection, with occasionally deadly results, of measles and other diseases.
Sorry, but again, not open for comments on this particular link. If you wish to comment on the column, do so at the L. A. Times website. I didn't see the show, and don't plan to see it, but the reactions are interesting -- and predictable. Unfortunately, "Autism Now" reignited passions I can't edit and screen at the moment.

My apologies, but you should read the full article anyway.


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