PBS’ Steve Outing talks about Andrew Wakefield and vaxxed

Written by Staff Writer

Smerconish is in the midst of a podcast-length interview with the founder of a United States anti-vaccination organization. This lengthy interview took place while Andrew Wakefield sat at her side. For the past two weeks, Smerconish has been explaining why it’s legitimate to consider not vaccinating and questioning Dr. Wakefield’s involvement in his organization.

I thought she handled herself well, and I found her remarks on this topic to be very compelling and thought-provoking.

But don’t expect to hear my sentiments on it. In the near future, I’m going to expose that primary driver behind this ill-advised activity.

In the interview, Dr. Wakefield said that he wasn’t representing anyone but himself. He is an iconoclast, and he enjoys, to some degree, revving up the conspiracy theorist base in order to gain attention, and my job is not to be “co-opted” by politicians who have resigned.

CNN’s Smerconish: What did you learn from this?

Smerconish: Oh, God, I learned I’ve got a limit to my sympathy and compassion. A lot of people – including those in the anti-vaccination movement – believe in what they do. To the degree I can discern, there are a couple of distinctions between them and the Jacob Rummells I’ve encountered in the past.

I’ll never forget a blog post by Gwyneth Paltrow — “This sounds a lot like vaccine-autism people, I wouldn’t know.” It is my ultimate confidence that there is no brainwashing going on here. I don’t believe there’s anyone actively brainwashing me here.

But if you’ve got the war on drugs on the clock, and your basic group is taking one every other day, your state will soon have to address it. When we didn’t have immunizations 40 years ago, we had cholera. You can’t keep animals off the street. I don’t want a society of 6,000 cats living on my block. Maybe they’re as clever as squirrels, but your children will be susceptible to all sorts of viruses.

That’s what happened in swine flu in China. It started as a mathematical number, and the locals thought to kill off the data. You can’t kill numbers; there’s no “do.” Numbers are yours — and living in a government hospital is not your normal occupation.

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