Is the Daily Mail killing children?

No. Obviously not. Saying such a thing would constitute sensationalist reporting of the crudest kind, and I'm not going to resort to that. But remember this:

No. Obviously not. Saying such a thing would constitute sensationalist reporting of the crudest kind, and I’m not going to resort to that.

But remember this:

And this:

MMR autism

And this:

MMR autism2

And this:

Mail scaremongering

The “evidence” reported by the Daily Mail in the above instances turned out of course to be nothing of the sort, and was completely discredited years ago.

The “stories” came after the Lancet had published a study in 1998, led by Dr Andrew Wakefield, which linked the MMR jab with autism and bowel disease.

The Lancet, which originally published the research linking autism and MMR, issued a full retraction of the paper in 2010, describing it as “false”. Dr Wakefield was later struck off from the medical register for “offences relating to dishonesty and failing to act in the best interests of vulnerable child patients”.

Three years on, however, and the consequences of the scaremongering about MMR and autism are still being felt.

This week it was reported that a measles outbreak in Swansea has reached 588 cases, with the number of those contracting measles increasing by 116 in a single week with 51 people hospitalised. Measles is a disease which can cause brain damage and death in children.

Dr Roland Salmon, a consultant epidemiologist from Public Health Wales, told the BBC that local GPs were seeing a lot of children aged between 10 and 15. He added that they would have been the babies who missed out on the vaccine following the now-discredited 1998 report linking the MMR jab and autism.

The graphs below show the rough correlation between immunisation levels and rates of measles.

Immunisation levels

Measles cases

And this one shows that the UK has the fifth highest proportion of measles cases in Europe.

Top 10 measles countries
And to think, it was expected by the World Health Organisation as recently as 2008 that measles would have been eradicated by now. If some of our newspapers had behaved a bit more responsibly, it might have been.
But of course it goes on. Here’s what I find via a quick search today. Date: 15 January 2013.
Mail new
I think it’s best simply to leave you with the words of Public Health Wales in this instance: it said that it was “just a matter of time” before a child was left with serious and permanent complications, such as eye disorders, deafness or brain damage, or even dies.

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45 Responses to “Is the Daily Mail killing children?”

  1. JonathanBagley

    In this case I think the Lancet was more to blame than the press. It launched Wakefield’s paper with a torrent of publicity and parents didn’t need to be told by the Daily Mail that the MMR vaccine might be harmful – some of their GPs weren’t that confident several years later. Note how long before the paper was retracted by the Lancet.

  2. SadButMadLad

    So everything is the fault of the Daily Mail is it?

    It has its faults, and it is a crap newspaper which panders to the lowest common denominator (all the better for readership numbers which feeds into advertising which means more money for the DM), and it makes many mistakes. But saying that the Daily Mail is the reason why children are dying from measles pushes it. I thought the left didn’t use dead children for political purposes to prove a point.

    As Jonathan says, this is more a fault of the BMA, Lancet, and government who didn’t disprove the original false premise quickly and adequately enough. It was the fault of the authorities. Not the fault of a trashy newspaper which spouts rubbish all the time.

  3. Jill Buck

    Too bad the Single Measles vaccine was pulled from the Market right after the Lancet Paper came out- giving parents no choice. The government is the ones who should be blamed and ashamed. If they really cared about Measles and not MMR program…($) they would allow the single measles vaccine.

  4. Alun Parsons

    But the post clearly states that the Daily Mail is not responsible for children dying of measels. Firstly the post says that no one has actually died of measels yet. Secondly, read the very first sentence of the post.

    “Is the Daily Mail killing children.

    “No. Obviously not.”

    So the very first sentence says obviously the Mail isn’t.

    This is about irresponsible journalism. The Mail exaggerates and sensationalises all the time. The title of this post is an example of just such an exaggeration. But the post at öeast has the decency to admit that the title is not true in the first sentence. When does the Mail ever do that?

    I wonder if you actually read this post at all? It looks like you have merely responded to the title, and not read the blog post.

    That undermines your credibility.

  5. Alun Parsons

    But the post clearly states that the Daily Mail is not responsible for children dying of measels. Firstly the post says that no one has actually died of measels yet. Secondly, read the very first sentence of the post.

    “Is the Daily Mail killing children.

    “No. Obviously not.”

    So the very first sentence says obviously the Mail isn’t.

    This is about irresponsible journalism. The Mail exaggerates and sensationalises all the time. The title of this post is an example of just such an exaggeration. But the post at öeast has the decency to admit that the title is not true in the first sentence. When does the Mail ever do that?

    I wonder if you actually read this post at all? It looks like you have merely responded to the title, and not read the blog post.

    That undermines your credibility.

Comments are closed.