I used to write for the Huffington Post, an online news and blog collective. It was started by Arianna Huffington during the Bush Era as a response to all the far-right online media. I didn’t agree with a lot of what was on there — I am more centrist — but at the time I thought it was necessary.
Then they started to promote far-left New Age nonsense, and when it came to vaccinations, HuffPo started posting all kinds of opinions that amounted to nothing more than out-and-out health threats. While they do sometimes post a counter-argument, it’s still almost all alt-med, all the time.
Here’s the latest: a doctor named Frank Lipman is telling people not to get vaccinated against Swine Flu. Instead he says you should wash your hands a lot, eat well, and take homeopathic medicine.
Yes, seriously. And he does it while spouting quite a few of the standard antivax memes, like the flu won’t be that bad (maybe he should consult with Dr. Joe Albietz, who I’m sure would disagree) and my favorite, we don’t know how well the vaccine will work. In fact, the vaccine for Swine Flu is based on many decades of research on how vaccines are produced, and will certainly work better than Dr. Lipman’s homeopathic "medicine" which we know is just plain old water, and totally useless. I’ll note that on his own site he promotes acupuncture and chiropractic, too.
It’s the peddling of antivax rhetoric like this that drove me from HuffPo, and I’ve let them know why. I was a minor cog there, so I know it made no difference… and the proof is that they still post articles promoting procedures known to be useless. In fact, it’s worse than that, since someone might try the homeopathic water rather than get actual treatment.
So, as always, don’t listen to people like Lipman, or even to me when it comes to this stuff. Instead, go to your doctor, a board-certified and science-based doctor, and ask them about the H1N1 swine flu, and see if they recommend getting the shot. And yes, as soon as it’s available here I’ll get vaccinated, as will my wife and daughter. We talked to a real doctor about it, and we understand the threat of H1N1, and we understand what vaccines do.
Tip o’ the syringe to Dan Gilbert and Richard Saunders. Note added after I wrote this: Mike’s Weekly Skeptical Rant has also weighed in on Lipman, and Salon.com has an article excoriating HuffPo as well.