Add Readers Digest to the growing number of media outlets that have criticized the anti-vaccine fringe. “Childhood vaccines save lives by preventing killer diseases,” writes Anne Underwood. “They’re not risk-free, but an immense amount of evidence says the risks do not include autism.”
The Trouble with Celebrity Science singles out three icons of our news and entertainment culture, and their causes célèbres: Oprah Winfrey (hormone replacement therapy); Jenny McCarthy (vaccine rejectionism); and Elizabeth Hasselback (gluten free diets). In classic RD fashion, the article sketches the background for each claim, efficiently outlines the scientific evidence against, and neatly summarized with a no-nonsense “Reader’s Digest version” of the best available evidence.
Missing is the false balance and credulous appeal to authority that is the staple of most mainstream media stories about autism. Clearly, the magazine that publishes “I Am Joe’s Duodenum” and “Humor in Uniform” can teach most journalists something about accurate science reporting.