Wednesday, December 07, 2005

60 Minutes misleads the Public About Avian Flu

I'm on a rampage today...

Last weekend 60 Minutes ran a piece about avian bird flu. There was only one misleading statement made, but the tone of the piece and what they didn't focus on is what caught my attention. In the intro to the piece, Steve Kroft said that "there are no proven drugs or vaccines to stop [H5N1]." While this is not an outright lie, thanks to the inclusion of the word "proven," that statement and the following piece focused soley on the virus, how it can spread, how much damage it would do, how unprepared we are, etc. etc. There was no mention of the vaccines that already do exist nor the many scientists who are working on perfecting them and getting them ready for public consumption.

At this point in the virus' life, it is impossible to have a "proven" vaccine because thankfully, the virus is not transmutable from human-to-human. The fact that the 60 minutes piece didn't even mention any medicine other than Tamiflu is interesting, to say the least. Why would they leave that aspect out of their findings when there's so much going on?

For instance, The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has been testing a vaccine.

St. Judes has one too.

Vietnam began testing a vaccine in June.

Azko Noebl is developing a human H5N1 vaccine.

The US Department of Health and Human Services awarded a contract for the mass production of the vaccine last August. This contract will provide approximately two (2) million doses of monovalent inactivated influenza vaccine in multi-dose vials produced by a U.S.-licensed manufacturer. The vaccine will be kept in the Strategic National Stockpile for usage in the event of influenza pandemic involving avian influenza H5N1.

And I could go on... Or you could ask google yourself... My point is--why didn't 60 Minutes see it worthy of their piece to include any of this information or talk to any of the people who are working on vaccines? Why are they only telling us half of the story?


Blogger chuck said...

You have some really thoughtful blogs.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Alex said...

Its odd, what the government will hold back from us. The media misleading the public, not uncommen. I stopped watching the news on tv. the conseritve view, are not my views.

8:34 PM  
Blogger Bucher said...

I think you know the answer to your question, but I suppose it was rhetorical, to spur your reader to think through that one themselves. You're a clever one, I'll give you that.

12:00 AM  

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