STFU Parents: How To Build An Immunity To Idiotic Vaccine Discussions On Facebook
Ever since vaccination started getting billed as “a parent’s right to choose,” there’s been a growing resistance against the anti-vax movement. But it wasn’t until the recent measles outbreak at Disneyland that a rash (pun alert!) of articles, news segments, blog posts, and tweets have spread across the internet like smallpox in an outhouse circa 1750. Everywhere I turn, there’s a token vaccination article, to which I say, “You go, media!” For once, the media seems united in an effort to eradicate, or at least ameliorate, the idea that not vaccinating babies and children is a valid choice. And in a sense, everyone who’s dedicating time and/or internet clicks to sounding the anti-vax alarm is attempting to do what vaccines are designed to do, too — protect the public. By building a “herd” mentality and creating a digital stack of pro-vaccination articles, this abundance of content serves to “protect” parents who are researching vaccination against giving credence to the smaller number of articles that are anti-vaccine.
Is it possible to inoculate the population at large by doing this in the media? I’m not so sure. Until recently, most outlets were happy to collect pageviews by posting controversial articles filled with suspicion and lies, written by quack doctors or crunchy moms (or Jenny McCarthy), and the effects of those articles, which reinforced anti-vaxxer’s sentiments, have been considerable. And technically, pro-vaccination articles are also big business for media outlets, which are currently churning out post after post with the knowledge that those posts will do well and get shared on social platforms. But if I had to choose between being “fair and balanced” and publishing anti-vaxxer propaganda for the clicks, versus doubling down and spamming the shit out of newsfeeds with pro-vaccination content, I’d choose the latter in a second. It appears that finally — finally — some of those mainstream outlets realize that what they’ve being doing all this time is damaging — and that the internet has played a huge role in the decline of vaccinations in the U.S.