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"It is well known that in war, the first casualty is truth - that during any war truth is forsaken for propaganda." ~ Harry Browne
The war against so-called 'vaccine preventable' diseases has a new frontier: the internet, and most recently The Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) has entered the fray with the publication of an interactive map that it claims "visually plots global outbreaks of measles, mumps, whooping cough, polio, rubella, and other diseases that are easily preventable by inexpensive and effective vaccines." This widely referenced map generated news headlines such as:
- LA Times: "The toll of the anti-vaccination movement, in one devastating graphic"
- The Verge: "Map of preventable disease outbreaks shows the influence of anti-vaccination movements"
CFR's map is "made possible by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation," and is part of The Global Health Program at the Council on Foreign Relations, which it claims "provides independent, evidence-based analysis and recommendations to help policymakers, business leaders, journalists, and the general public meet the health challenges of a globalized world." The problem, however, with this map is that is not based on peer-reviewed biomedical evidence as one would expect, but largely anecdotal evidence aggregated from unconfirmed and often unverifiable news stories.
With not a shred of evidence, reporters like Michael Hiltzik from the LA Times opine that the prevalence of measles in Europe -- especially Britain -- and the U.S are an "artifact of the anti-vaccination movement, which has associated the vaccine with autism." Really? Why no mention of the extensive evidence within the published literature of measles vaccine failure in the US since 1995 in immunization compliant populations, revealing that measles epidemics are often due to a failing vaccine and not the failure to vaccinate? If the CFR's map is 'evidence-based,' why no references to the primary literature?
Take a quick peek at a few examples of the explicitly not evidence-based sources for this map, which are simply re-broadcasted official statements of state- or private medical establishment-sponsored propaganda:
- www.BrownwoodNews.com: "Record Cases of Pertussis Reported Across the State, Three Reported in Brown County"
- www.davisclipper.com: "Adults also need pertussis vaccine"
- www.springfieldnewsun.com: "Clark pertussis cases still rising"