Beck and Limbaugh agree with far left, Satan shivers

By Phil Plait | October 12, 2009 10:25 am

One of the problems with being an ideologue who abandons reality is that it makes for very, very strange bedfellows.

For example, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh — two guys who would rather soul kiss Michael Moore than be identified as lefties — have both jumped on the antivax bandwagon. Beck is spouting long-debunked paranoid antivax rhetoric, and Limbaugh is, well, he’s just being Limbaugh. He’s long planted his flag in knee-jerk anti-government silliness, never admitting that maybe, just maybe, sometimes the government is right.

I don’t know who this speaks worse for; the antivaxxers or the talk show bloviators.

In the end, though, we all lose. Because either way, this shows that nonsense doesn’t have political boundaries. Once you step off that narrow path that is reality, you’re surrounded by antireality in every direction. So it doesn’t matter if you face left or right; you’re still wrong.

If you want arguments rebutting the offal flying from the above group, go to Antiantivax, Joe Albietz’s swine flu FAQ, and Steve Novella’s antivax FAQ.


Tip o’ the syringe to Hive Overmind writer Eliza Strickland.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Alt-Med, Antiscience, Politics
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Comments (115)

  1. There was a fascinating interview on this week’s “On the Media” NPR radio show about how nearly all antivax hysteria is politically motivated. The UK and Irish versions of the same newspaper had opposite hysterical editorials about the MMR vaccine. The paper was a right-wing paper, and it was opposed to vaccination in UK because the government was in support of vaccination. In Ireland, the same paper complained that the government DIDN’T provide vaccinations.

  2. cgray

    Rush Limbaugh is a conservative, not a libertarian. He has never said that government is always wrong. He simply wants government to be as small and efficient as possible, and have as little impact on able bodied and able minded adults as possible. If you want to be seen as a credible writer outside of your tiny little scientific niche, you might want to keep your ignorant political opinions to yourself.

  3. How can an imaginary creature shiver? 😛

    And don’t forget: http://factsnotfantasy.com/vaccines.html (Yeah, yeah, you linked to Todd’s page, but I like linking to this one too since it has additional sub menus with talks about people DYING from lack of vaccines, explains the conincidence, and things like that. Plus there is a regular update on news in the field. Plus, it also has the other hot topic there, evolution!)

  4. Gary

    Government rarely does anything right. Vaccine distribution is the exception to the usual bumbling, wasteful, corrupt day-to-day operation.

  5. Love Limbaugh’s statement that he is not going to get the flu shot exactly because the government says he should. When a bottle of rat poison is labeled that it is a poison because of government labeling regulations, isn’t that really just the government telling you not to eat the stuff? maybe we should remind Limbaugh and Beck that the government says “Don’t eat rat poison.” and see their response. It’s a win/win. Either they show themselves to be hypocrites or the world will be rid of them before they are responsible for more deaths.

    I particularly like Beck’s position that he won’t tell you to take the vaccine or not to take it because he doesn’t want to be responsible for anybody dying either way, but then tells you all about why you shouldn’t trust the government and why you shouldn’t take the vaccine. As if that will absolve him of blame.

    I guess it is time to start web sites for Beck and Limbaugh comparable to http://www.jennymccarthybodycount.com

  6. JoeSmithCA

    @Larian
    Oh sure, nit pick on dramatic effect :)

  7. John Keller

    Sorry Gary, but the government is still bumbling this too. I just called my kid’s pediatrician, and they are still waiting for the government guidelines on where to go to get the N1H1 Vaccine. They are hoping (not a pun) for this week. I’m not talking about getting the vaccine in their office, just where to go to get vaccinated.

  8. Alan

    Wow, a lot of people listen to those two guys (tens of millions per week?). I wonder how many more hundreds of thousands of kids will not be vaccinated now…

  9. The amount of bad information out there is astonishing. Last week, the CDC released info that 19 people had died in one week from the H1N1 flu; this has morphed into 19 people dying from the vaccine in one week on Twitter. Sigh.

  10. @John Keller,

    I’ve got to second your bumbling comment. We’re still trying to get our 2 year old vaccinated for the seasonal flu. Our doctor said he needs the preservative free version, but no one in the area has the preservative free version. We did some research and it turns out production on the preservative free version was halted to produce the H1N1 vaccine. We should have some preservative free seasonal flu vaccine sometime by the end of November.

    Meanwhile, my son has a history of febrile seizures including one time when he stopped breathing and didn’t start up again on his own due to a mucus plug. Needless to say the idea of him getting the flu freaks us out!

  11. I think this might explain some things. My father called me up to tell me that I shouldn’t get the H1N1 vaccine because it wasn’t safe (among other reasons). Invariably, when pressed, I find that his “information” comes from right wing talk shows and similar sources. (Like his “Obama’s a Muslim” comments – yes, he really believed that.) No amount of me telling him that the H1N1 vaccine is just a normal flu vaccine, albeit one targeted to a specific flu strain, could sway him. The Talk Shows declared it unsafe and therefore it is unsafe.

    Of course, if Limbaugh and Beck say to not get vaccinated, that’s just more reason in my mind to get vaccinated! 😉 (Just kidding of course, Limbaugh’s and Beck’s opinions don’t even merit that much consideration in my decision making.)

  12. Brandon

    It is interesting that they say the government should not be mandating things like vaccines:

    “and nobody in it [government] even comes close to being as competent as you are to run your life”

    …yet at the same time they wish to create laws against abortion.

    Now I don’t myself have a strong opinion on abortion either way. Being a guy, I think I just don’t deserve as much of an opinion since I will never have to go through anything like it.

    It is always amusing, though, to see people like Rush rail against something the government does on the one hand, then try to do something extremely similar (and likely even more invasive) on the other.

    I guess the difference is that what they are right and everyone else is wrong?

    Wait a second…

  13. khan

    Maybe Maher and Beck should be guests on each others shows?

  14. I really liked where Limbaugh basically said that he opposes the H1N1 vaccine because Obama’s administration is saying to get it. I wonder if the Obama administration came out with a Public Safety Message not to jump off of large bridges, would Rush jump off of one just to spite Obama?

  15. Beck is particularly insidious on this topic because he never comes out and actually SAYS it’s not safe. He just makes insinuations that it’s not… and that the government (who evidently is controlling the H1N1 vaccine production?) is incompetent… and that people (medial professionals) aren’t taking it…. and MOTHERS are refusing it for their children… and so on and so on.

    At least in this case, Limbaugh is just an outright moron.

  16. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, and again, and again. I don’t care what your politics are. Even if I think you’re wrong on every issue, I can still give you the benefits of a doubt or two. However listening to Rush Limbaugh is as sure a sign as any that no one should waste their time with you.

    The man is purely interested in political gains, and furthering his agenda at any cost, even if that cost is the lives of others (in this case). Glenn Beck is the same thing in a newer more teary-eyed package.

  17. How long before someone starts a Glenn Beck Body Count website? Seems like the right thing to do since he is promoting “swine flu chicken pox parties”.

  18. Tegan

    @TechyDad: I think it’s worth trying! Now, who has Obama’s ear?

  19. I heard Dr. Dean Edell talking about this on the radio yesterday:

    http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/topics/vaccines/understanding/vaccineBenefits.htm

    Of course, folks like Beck and Limbaugh are not interested in facts or data, only getting more listeners. Last time I checked, neither one of these guys are scientists of any kind, much less doctors.

    For real information on the importance of vaccines, talk to your REAL doctor.

    8)

  20. David S

    One thing is obvious, none of the critics of either talk show host has listened to their shows. Beck had almost a whole hour on tv, a debate on the issue of to get or not to get the shot. He had two respected doctors give their opposing views and then Beck said he was not advocating either position. Just what he would do. Rush just gave the reasons why he would not be getting the shot. Both men refered some of their reasons to the debacle of the 70’s flu shot which did far more damage to people’s lives than the precieved flu threat could have done. The government hammered people to get this shot and created a panic. Then they found out the vaccine was horribly flawed. I agree in principle with both men; that I will question the government’s judgement and conclusions in every case that they say “You MUST have this shot…drug…car….etc. or we will all die!” Oh, by the way Mr. The Chemist, just what polictical job is Rush or Beck running for? What “political gains” do they get? Sound like some of you chemicals may be illegal. And just because someone listens to a radio show, you are so superior that you will have nothing to do with them. Sounds like you a pretty closed minded and afraid of contrary opinions. So you follow your herd and get the shot.

  21. Will. M

    Besides going to websites to get info. on how to counter these bloviating anti-American’s disinformation about vaccines (or any of their other pet causes) do something more: write letters and phone the networks AND the sponsors who support these demagogues and let them know how you feel. It isn’t enough just to be able to counter the lies with the occasional deluded relative or friend; hit the advertisers of these fools where it hurts them the most – in the pocketbook.

    This is nothing less than a war with the right wing and their racist, bigoted opinion makers. Not to fight with anything less than an all-out assault is to let the bozos have the high ground – and perhaps win that war.

  22. Why would they be against vaccination?

    “In fact, they understand that if Barack Obama has a BLT sandwich tomorrow for lunch they would try and ban bacon.”

  23. cgray (#2): I should be more clear: anything a liberal government tells you to do must be wrong. He loved pretty much everything Bush did. That doesn’t make him any more credible. Quite the opposite, in fact.

    David S (#21) I have listened to both shows, much to the detriment of my ears and brain. Go to the link in the post and you’ll see the actual quotations of the two bloviators. Beck is clear that he is antivax, or at least likes to scare monger about them.

  24. Phillip M

    This just proves that idiots are on both the extreme right and extreme left.

  25. David S @ 21: Yes, that’s right, gummint bad, paranoia and radio hatemongers good. Don’t think, don’t question, just do what Beckerhead and Pigman tell you to. But don’t forget, everyone else is bad and evil and closed-minded TEH SHEEPUL.

    The irony, she drips, with the endless viscosity.

  26. Bob Dalanzo

    Seems to be a trend for unknown bloggers these days: Bash Glenn Beck or Limbaugh so you get some hits.

    As David S said, Beck had a whole show about this last week on TV. Funny thing though… He actually had doctors on who were on both sides of the issue in regards to the H1N1 vaccine. The bottom line to the whole thing was to talk to your doctor. If you think Beck is “antivax” you need to go back and listen again.

    Personally, all my kids are vaccinated – and will be getting the H1N1 vaccine. See there, I can think for myself.

  27. You MUST have this shot…drug…car….etc. or we will all die

    Hyperbolic strawman much?

    The science behind the flu shots is solid. People like Rush and Beck are just playing to the tin foil hatter crowd to drum up support and viewers/listeners.

    Beck is a tool and not even a good one.

    http://pandemicchronicle.com/2009/10/deadly-serious-ignorance/

  28. David

    Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are political shock jocks. There are people I know who are completely opposed to them and yet watch/listen for the entertainment. To write articles like this about them is to promote them, just as writing outraged articles about PETA’s latest publicity stunts is to promote PETA’s insanity (I say that as someone who is a vegetarian).

    My biggest problem is that the constant demonization of a couple of clowns on TV and radio takes the place of an intelligent discussion of government regulation’s effect on our health care, just as the demonization for many years of anyone in the media who criticized our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan halted our sorely-needed debate about those issues. We should talking about real issues, not saying, “Hey, listen to the crazy things those people who make money off of saying crazy things are saying today. They’re crazy!” Yeah, duh.

  29. I plan to get all my vax ASAP, but am surprised how widespread antivax stuff has become…so many ppl I know going on about ‘rushed’ h1n1 vax is etc etc

    Phil–how do you answer objection not about vax itself but about concerns over cases of tainted vax?

  30. Chris

    why do you imply, with the title of your post, that antivax is a far left idea? i don’t see anything inherently left or right about it. just simple ignorance and misinformation, which does not have any political affiliation.

  31. Lawrence

    These two, Rush in particular, are paid “Entertainers.” They aren’t politicians or even activists – they get paid by the size & loyalty of their audience. It isn’t in their best interest to be rational or deal with the “facts” – instead, the more they pander to their audience and generate controversy, the more attention they get & the more money they make.

    Rush used to be a standard morning drive/zoo disk jockey back in the day – he’s still doing the same job, just going after a different audience; he could care less if a single honest word is uttered on his program as long as people keep listening.

  32. Erik

    @David S: When you contract an illness that could’ve been prevented because you didn’t “follow the herd” and get a shot for it – we’ll be laughing at you. Love how you chastised others for having a holier-than-thou attitude, and then copped one yourself. Guess it takes one to know one?

  33. Nemo

    Phil, please stop presenting antivax as if it were a “far left” position. It is not, and not just because of these counterexamples. It never was.

    If you wanted to make the “strange bedfellows” point in a fairer way, you might’ve said “Beck and Limbaugh agree with Maher”. Not that Maher is far left, really (though doubtless Beck and Limbaugh would think he is).

  34. @David S,

    What political gains do they get? If enough people listen to them then they can affect elections. By affecting the outcome of elections, they gain the power to get their own personal agenda items made into laws.

    Now, this is true to some degree of pretty much anyone who speaks in public, but talk show hosts like Limbaugh and Beck have a particularly rabid following. They aren’t looking for a reasoned debate in which they present their evidence for Cause A and you present your evidence against it (or vice versa). Their mind is already made up on the topic of Cause A and disagreeing with them means that you are an elitist, communist, socialist, tree-hugging, liberal traitor.

    And, of course, they disavow any responsibility for their comments. They can paint someone as a dangerous threat to the country and insinuate that we’d all be better off if the person weren’t living anymore. However, if someone actually takes that advice to heart and tries something violent, they suddenly claim that their program is “for entertainment only” or “merely their own opinion, not meant to influence people in any way.” Of course, if the items they champion are pushed forward, they don’t hesitate to pat themselves on the backs as having influenced/guided matters. But if something bad happens, well don’t look at them! How would they know that spouting hate filled bile regularly would turn ugly?

  35. @Chris,

    It looks like the far left and far right are both jumping onto the anti-vax bandwagon but for different reasons. The far left uses the “toxins” and “flawed western medicine” arguments. The far right uses the “scary big government” reasons. It’s ironic in a sad way that they spend so much time sniping at each other over so many other positions and the one place they manage to find common ground is anti-vax!

  36. IBY

    @Phil
    Well, I think the irrationality with vaccines is not just a political ideology thingy. It strikes through all spectrum of ideology. After all, irrationality exists whether you believe in certain systems of government or not. Woo knows no boundaries, as far as I am concerned. Considering how paranoid they are all the time, I didn’t think that was a surprise.

  37. Gus Snarp

    @TechyDad Interesting that your pediatrician won’t give your kid the preservative containing vaccine. The preservative is Thimerasol, removed from most childhood vaccines on the precautionary principle just in case it is causing problems. Thimerasol is the main target of the autism related antivaxxers, even though the evidence is sketchy. The thing is, I think most pediatricians give the preservative containing version routinely, probably most don’t even know about the non-preservative version. So doe your kid’s health particularly give cause to avoid the preservative, or is your pediatrician being overly cautious with the preservative containing version? You could probably go to a different pediatrician and get the preservative containing version if it’s the latter.

  38. Kash

    I got my flu shot, at Walgreens no less, and haven’t started talking like Rainman… Yet.

    Apparently, the autism fairy skipped me over and landed it squarely on Rush.

  39. BJN

    It’s interesting to see how shallow the thinking is from the knee-jerk anti government reactionaries. The government isn’t producing the vaccine, that’s private enterprise at work. And the vaccine is shipping out as is becoming available, there’s no big “Indiana Jone” warehouse where stacks of unshipped vaccine lie ineffectual because some bureaucrat is conspiring to maky your life more difficult.

    Get real TechyDad et al. I don’t know why your doc is holding out for a preservative free vaccine (presumably waiting for the nasal dose) but vaccines are in short supply and you may need to either wait or get creative to find what you need. Shortages have much more to do with the practical timeline for vaccine manufacturing and the fact that the number of doses produced will almost certainly be less than the demand. Public perception can create huge annual flux in demand for vaccines.

  40. Lonny Eachus

    @ cgray (#2):

    Libertarians (at least the ones who aren’t kooks… every party has a few) also do not say that “the government is always wrong.” Where this myth came from is a mystery to me, but you have obviously picked it up somewhere. That is not their position, and never was.

    I get so weary of hearing this same nonsensical crap. If you want to be seen as a credible commentor, maybe you should learn a little about real politics, yourself.

  41. Brian Schlosser

    @#28 Bob Delanso: Unknown Blogger? Uh-huh… I don’t think Dr. Plait needs to reference Beck and Limbaugh to get hits. Doofus.

  42. tacitus

    @21: David S:

    Both men referred some of their reasons to the debacle of the 70’s flu shot which did far more damage to people’s lives than the perceived flu threat could have done. The government hammered people to get this shot and created a panic. Then they found out the vaccine was horribly flawed.

    And both men are wrong. The 1976 flu vaccine was not “horribly flawed”. Out of 50 million doses there were only 500 cases of GBS and 25 deaths attributed to the vaccine. Those death were tragic, of course, but if the worst fears of the medical establishment had come true, and H1N1 had appeared in the general population, the vaccine would have saved many times more lives than it hurt. The only reason why it was a tragic mistake was that the government jumped the gun in that case. The same cannot be said of this year’s outbreak. Hundreds of otherwise healthy people are already dying from H1N1.

    In any case, it’s been over 30 years since that vaccine was made, and there has never been a similar problem with any of the flu vaccines since that time. Refusing to take the vaccine today is like refusing to have open heart surgery today after looking at the survival rates of people who underwent the procedure back in 1976. Medical science has moved on in leaps and bounds since that time, as has the production and safety of vaccines.

    But even if the vaccine kills one in two million people injected with it, how does that compare with the fatality rate of today’s H1N1 outbreak? Unlike 1976, the virus *is* out in the general population and is already killing hundreds of Americans (over 800 at the last count). Even if the H1N1 turns out to be only a little more dangerous than the regular seasonal flu, as many as one in 10,000 Americans will die — and it could be as many as one in 4,000 according to the CDC’s worst case predictions.

    Let’s say the vaccine is only 50% effective (it could be as much as 85% effective), and all 300 million Americans were given it. It would reduce the number of deaths from H1N1 from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 20,000, thus saving 15,000 lives. If the vaccine was as “horribly flawed” as the 1976 vaccine, then 1 in 2 million people would die from taking it, meaning that only 150 people would die — in other words, even in the worst case scenario, the H1N1 vaccine would save 100 times more lives than the deaths it would cause.

    In reality, of course, the vaccine is far safer than that, and it’s entirely possible there will be no fatalities caused by it this year (or at most one or two). But it’s clear that by any measure, the vaccine is going to save many many times more lives than it harms. It’s also clear that your defense of Beck and Limbaugh is as bogus as their claims.

  43. Lawrence

    Very interesting that both the “Far-Left & Far Right” both agree that the government is not to be trusted – unless, of course, the government happens to be doing something they agree with (like Welfare & Health Care reform or starting wars or giving corporate tax breaks).

    Two sides of the same freaking coin. It is sad.

  44. Ugh, we have a lot of work to do. CNN.com has a poll up asking if you are planning to get the H1N1 vaccines. So far it’s only at about 32% yes…

  45. tacitus

    I heard Dr. Dean Edell talking about this on the radio yesterday

    Dean Edell is fighting the good fight. I saw him taking live questions a number of years ago, and after a series of anti-pharma type questions in a row, he interrupted the Q&A session to explain to the audience how far out of their tree they were (in far more respectful way than I would have been!). I doubt he had much impact on a audience who was also there to see the likes of Alex Jones and Art Bell, but he tried his best.

  46. Angela

    As someone who has had swine flu (unconfirmed due to the fact that the state health department can only test so many samples and I wasn’t in the ICU, but a perfect match for the symptoms), let me tell you that it was not fun. I was ill with the flu for a week, which was no fun in and of itself, but I also developed a number of bacterial infections as sequelae. So I was out of work for 2 weeks and had to take 3 different antibiotics to finally kill off the various bacteria that took advantage of my weakened state after the flu. Unfortunately, the H1N1 vaccine wasn’t yet available when I became ill so I had no way to prevent it other than the typical measures of hand-washing, etc. which I followed faithfully (I work with college students). I have asthma, and I’m just really lucky that it didn’t end up causing problems.

    There are risks with any and every medical intervention, but there are also risks with choosing not to follow medical advice. For the few who may be adversely affected by the H1N1 vaccine, I’m very sorry; many more potentially could be killed or face permanent damage from the flu or sequelae from the flu. So people should do their own research, talk to their physicians and make the best choice for themselves and not rely on “entertainers” to make their decisions for them!

  47. Utakata

    Just to add…

    …accept this left winger doesn’t agree with anti-vaxxers. Period.

    So who am I sleeping with?

  48. Mena

    Children cry and scream when they are going to get vaccinations. This all just seems like the same thing only less lachrymose and with actual words instead of a general howling, even though those words don’t actually make sense when strung together and compared with actual facts.

  49. Kevin

    Just think about the great possibility we have here.

    If both Beck and Limbaugh don’t get the shots, perhaps they will get the H1N1 and die from it.

    Then everyone wins. :)

  50. Gus Snarp

    You know, all this “the far left and the far right both agree that the government is not to be trusted” and “Beck and Limbaugh agree with far left” stuff is a bit annoying. I realize the use of the term “far” is supposed to placate people, but there are serious faulty assumptions here that distort any kind of argument made from them. Just because some, or even many anti-vaxers are far left does not mean that the far left is anti-vax. See that’s logic 101. Even if you took the extreme assumption “all anti-vaxers are on the far left politically” you cannot logically draw the conclusion that “the far left is anti-vax”. The same goes for the far right, although in this case Limbaugh and Beck are both seen as spokesmen for the far right, it still does not mean that the far right agrees with them. The same goes for the “government is not to be trusted” mentality. Just because many on the far right and far left believe the government is not to be trusted does not mean that everyone on the far right or left believe that the government is not to be trusted. On the other hand, anyone who thinks that they shouldn’t question the government isn’t really a skeptic or critical thinker, are they? There’s also a fundamental difference between saying the government can’t be trusted on vaccines (in spite of the fact that vaccination decisions are largely made by medical experts and outside the normal political loop) and saying the government can’t be trusted on when to go to war (which is an inherently political decision and there is a consistently bad track record on honesty with regard to such decisions). So OK, make a joke that these guys agree with Bill Maher (Oh Bill, say it ain’t so), but let’s not make faulty logic the basis of our arguments, because God kills a kitten every time a skeptic uses faulty logic.

  51. AnnJo

    Tom Cruise on psychiatry; Oprah on everything; Michael Moore on economics; Al Gore on atmospheric sciences; Michael Jackson on parenting, and now Beck and Limbaugh on epidemiology. It’s to laugh.

    Celebrities have influence vastly disproportionate to their wisdom, but surely distrust in the competence of government is not, in itself, irrational. The bigger problems are that

    1) fewer real journalists exist whose credibility is unimpaired by chronic political bias and who can understand, much less explain, the issues that need to be addressed in relation to the H1N1 vaccine;

    2) after decades of dumbed-down education, most of the population lacks the basic math, logic and statistical skills to evaluate those issues.

    The mass swine flu immunizations of 1976 did, apparently, cause greater health problems than they prevented so it also isn’t irrational for people to view a vaccine as risky. Since that pandemic never materialized, ANY health problems incident to that vaccine would make the whole program seem like a bad idea IN HINDSIGHT. Had the pandemic actually taken hold, of course, the few hundred cases of Guillain-Barre caused (maybe) by the vaccine would have been accepted as a small price to pay for the thousands of lives saved. Unfortunately, this is the kind of explanation that simply doesn’t resonate with journalists and would barely be understood by most of their readers.

  52. BMcP

    Actually I am not surprised by this as all. Anti-vaxx sentiment in some areas of those who would be considered “right wing” is fairly common. Most of this either springs from the religious segment, where vaccinations are seen from unnecessary to some sort of conspiracy, to that Alex Jones wing, where people are convinced they pump viruses into your body to make your more sickly. Trust me though, it is there and more widespread and pervasive then you may suspect.

  53. Jason

    Gary (4),

    It’s a shame the government “bumbles” almost everything. Otherwise we’d have clean running water, sewers, regular trash pickup, a reliable fire and rescue network, world-leading scientific research, police protection, a strong military, etc.

    Oh, wait a sec. We *do* have all of those things, and they’re the envy of most of the world. I’m not saying that those services are perfect but they’re all government-run and/or funded and they all work quite well.

    -Jason, tired of all of the anti-government rants that are disrespectful to the hard work put in behind the scenes by your government employees. Get to know one. You may be surprised.

  54. @Mena,

    At least children have a good reason to cry and scream when they get vaccinated. It does hurt (albeit for a very short time) and young children aren’t likely to fully understand why they are getting these shots. I certainly don’t expect my two year old to know just why Daddy is holding him down while this person approaches him with a needle. My doctor’s office gives my kids a plush animal afterwards and, of course, the pain is quickly forgotten.

    When it comes to adults, though, they should know what the vaccinations are for and just how bad the diseases are that vaccinations prevent. Unfortunately, too many take the “children’s eye view” of “needle = ouch = bad” and refuse to look any further.

  55. The ultimate irony would be if Limbaugh gets the flu and dies. I, for one, would laugh my ass off.

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  57. tacitus

    Jason, tired of all of the anti-government rants that are disrespectful to the hard work put in behind the scenes by your government employees. Get to know one. You may be surprised.

    Of course, the irony is that in many cases the only alternative — corporations and businesses — can be and are just as bumbling and incompetent as the civil service is at times — and they certainly don’t have our best interests in mind.

    I worked for one of the finest American corporations for over twenty years. It is a highly successful and profitable venture over all, but as anyone who has worked for long enough in the private sector will tell you, there is no shortage of horror stories about how badly dysfunctional things can be behind the scenes, and how many bozo mistakes are made on a daily basis — many of which can and do end up causing harm to people in oh so many ways.

  58. Brian Wood

    Phil,

    You can add Bill Maher to that list. I was amazed at how Bill Frist took him to task on Real Time Friday night. Maher was advocating that pregnant mothers should not get H1N1. Surprisingly, Huffington Post caught it:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/linda-bergthold/im-calling-bill-maher-out_b_316192.html

  59. I'd rather be fishin'

    I am a conservative, and even I know private enterprise isn’t the best thing since sliced bread and cold beer for all fields of endeavour. In fact, the Germans had a law since the 1500’s mandating what can be used to brew beer (and rice ain’t on the list).

    If private enterprise is so much better at running everything and the profit motive will ensure efficiencies, why doesn’t the US allow banks and other large companies to run everything? Glenn and Rush must think that Enron, AIG and Goldman Sachs are government conspiracies.

  60. Chris (#32): Antivax nonsense has long been a rallying point for the far, far left. I’ve written about this before.

  61. Lawrence

    There is a reason Dilbert is so popular – because it is soooo true!

  62. Miko

    Seeing as the “far” left (which is to say, people who call themselves left and whom other people call “too” left) promotes ideas at pretty much every point along the way from anarchism to totalitarianism, saying someone agrees with them isn’t really saying anything. (The far right, by contrast, is unified in support of totalitarianism; they just can’t agree on who the dictators should be.)

    @61: The myth that oppressive government and oppressive corporations are the only alternatives is the only thing keeping the insane left/right-spectrum idea alive.

  63. Alan

    David S said, “One thing is obvious, none of the critics of either talk show host has listened to their shows.”

    I’ve listened to Limbaugh enough to know that that’s often one of his first claims about critics of his show.

  64. Nemo

    Antivax nonsense has long been a rallying point for the far, far left. I’ve written about this before.

    And you were wrong, then as now.

  65. tacitus

    The myth that oppressive government and oppressive corporations are the only alternatives is the only thing keeping the insane left/right-spectrum idea alive.

    In many cases you really do only have two choices — for example, the only entities with deep enough pockets to pay for the research necessary to create new cancer treatments are corporations and government (or a combination of both).

    The real answer to the “insane left/right spectrum is to recognize that both public and private entities have their place in society and not be dogmatically attached to the notion that one is always going to be superior to the the other. You also need oversight and the ability to protect consumers and Joe public from the worst excesses of both. That’s why you need the government to oversee the actions of the private market and you need the law courts to oversee the other branches of governement. And just because it doesn’t always work correctly is no reason to throw it all on the trash heap.

  66. Pisces

    So Rush/Beck listeners are perhaps unlikely to get inoculated? Could this be natural selection playing out before our eyes?

  67. justcorbly

    Beck and Limbaugh could care less about swine flu. They’re just bashing on Democrats with a convenient tool. If the flu had hit during the Bush administration, they’d be ranting about”leftists” telling people not to take the vaccine. Both are modern versions of Father Coughlin.

    Meanwhile, I’m with Pisces. If conservatives don’t get the vaccine, that’s just fine with me.

  68. adam

    Phil, do you actually read the comments Beck makes before talking? does ANYONE read the actual, contextual comments Beck makes before freaking out and calling him a lunatic?

    read Beck’s comments. he is very fair and isn’t taking sides either way. he’s not jumping on any bandwagon. he’s saying “choose for yourself. this is what people are saying, this is what’s happening.”

    it’s really not that radical of a stance to take. be less transparently dramatic plz.

    it should also be noted that Beck and Limbaugh are entertainers first, political figures second. or third. or something.

  69. tacitus

    does ANYONE read the actual, contextual comments Beck makes before freaking out and calling him a lunatic?

    Yes — and the ONLY conclusion reasonable ANYONE can come to, is that Beck is a freaking lunatic. The evidence is legion.

  70. Joe

    As much as I love both commentators, I was disappointed to hear this reaction from them. I think there are far better reasons not to get vaccinated; namely because H1N1 has killed fewer people than seasonal flu normally does, and it’s not particularly lethal by any stretch of the imagination. What I DO think is that all the hype surrounding H1N1 is simply a plug for government-run healthcare, but that’s just crazy old government-suspicious me blathering about. Somehow I think the Founding Fathers may have felt the same way…

    And Dr. Plait, I love your blog dearly (and your most recent book, which i actually just finished 5 minutes ago) but I feel I must point out something most un-skeptic of you in this post. Rush and Beck are not kneejerk anti-government. I challenge you to listen to Limbaugh’s show for a week or so, disregard any antivax nonsense you may hear, and digest the substance of what they are talking about. The accusation towards Rush and Beck as being fringe, baseless shouters usually comes from people who have no experience with said hosts outside of select soundbytes perpetuated by the mainstream media.

    And totally unrelated, but Death From The Skies was probably the most enjoyable book I’ve read this year, outside of Asimov’s Foundation series. Pardon the fanboyish flattery, but it made me want to get a physics degree and join a lobby group for asteroid impact prevention, just for the fun of it.

  71. lefty27

    Phil, every time you make these wrong headed general associations describing antivaxers as the left, you damage your own credibilty. Sir, you are displaying willful ignorance of what the left is.

    At the very least I will fact check all I hear from you in future, even in areas like astronomy, and science, where you seem to have some knowledge.

  72. Zucchi

    An acquaintance of mine — a relatively young and healthy woman — recently died from H1N1. I wish she could have been vaccinated in time. That would have helped her not die.

  73. tacitus

    I think there are far better reasons not to get vaccinated; namely because H1N1 has killed fewer people than seasonal flu normally does, and it’s not particularly lethal by any stretch of the imagination.

    Again, this is simply not true. Over 800 Americans have already died from the flu and we’re not even into peak flu season yet — not even close. The best estimates are that at least as many Americans will die from H1N1 and perhaps up to three times as many could die.

    It is also becoming evident that children are dying at a much greater rate than they do during normal seasonal flu outbreaks.

    But explain this to me, Joe. Even if the flu virus only kills one in 20,000 Americans this season (about half the average for a normal flu), why is it sensible not to protect yourself anyway. The odds of being seriously harmed by the vaccine are less than one in several million (far safer than driving your car to work any day of the week) and yet you would refuse to take it even though you still have a one in 20,000 chance of dying from this “non-lethal” flu (as you would call it)?

    What I DO think is that all the hype surrounding H1N1 is simply a plug for government-run healthcare, but that’s just crazy old government-suspicious me blathering about.

    Yes it is. The CDC and the health department would have been doing this even if McCain had won the election and health reform was nowhere on the agenda. It”s what responsible governments do. People under the age of 50 have little or no resistance to this virus. If it mutates and gains in strength by any appreciable amount (which flu viruses often do) then without the vaccine the whole population is completely exposed and we would have a blood bath on our hands. Nobody knows if it will ever happen, but why on earth do you think the government should ignore the best medical and scientific advice and just sit on its hands and hope a mutant strain doesn’t arise?

    For all the people willing to defend Beck and Limbaugh on this thread, there has yet to be one rational argument given to support their anti-vaccination position. Not one.

  74. Chris

    Phil said:

    Chris (#32): Antivax nonsense has long been a rallying point for the far, far left. I’ve written about this before.

    I am a different Chris… and I also think you are wrong. Scientific stupidity does not have a political direction.

    You have lived a sheltered life when it comes to tangling with these guys. Many years ago on Usenet I tangled with a particular fellow who was a Schlafly (Roger). Perhaps you have heard of that family. One of the brothers is Andrew Schlafly who last I heard was re-writing the Bible as part of his involvement with Conservapedia.

    You have heard of Conservapedia, right?

    Andy Schlafly is also the legal counsel for the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons. This is not a real medical organization, but a conservative political group (they tend to support folks like the Geiers). See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_of_American_Physicians_and_Surgeons and neurodiversity.com/weblog/article/91/

    Anyway, their mother, Phyllis has long been anti-vax, and is definitely not a right-winger. Check out what this dub dub dub dot ratbags.com/rsoles/comment/eagleforum.htm page says about her:

    On balance, however, the racism (expressed as opposition to immigration), the religious and sexual bigotry, the opposition to vaccination, the denial of treatment (and even existence) of psychological and behavioural disorders, and the general tone that some people are inferior by birth and therefore less equal than others all make it an appropriate inclusion in the lists here. In fact, the Eagle Forum has set a new record by being listed in more categories than any other site.

    Then there are a whole host of conservative anti-vax cranks like Barbara Loe Fisher, Russell Blaylock, Donald Miller, Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell, Jane Orient, Len Horowitz, etc. etc.

  75. Chris

    Error Error… saw too late to edit… Phyllis Schlafly is definitely not a left winger!!!

  76. Randy

    I agree with some of the other people who have mentioned that anti-science folks, whether the science is global warming or vaccination or many other issues, cannot always be divided on a right/left axis. Usually people will be influenced more by their general political biases and then twist their science accordingly.

  77. @Tegan, Then again, since some of these guys don’t even care about facts, maybe we can just spread a rumor about it….

    …. So, did you see that great PSA that Barack Obama did on why no American should ever jump from a tall bridge? 😉

  78. For every commenter who thinks that no one who disagrees with Limbaugh has ever listened to his show- What are you, stupid? I’m sorry, I really have to ask in earnest whether or not you lack common sense. Of course people who disagree with Limbaugh have at least once, familiarized themselves with his show, the law of averages makes it so that at least some of the people who hate his guts have listened to his show on at least a few occasions. You must have a special kind of cultish personality to think for one second, that if people only listened to Limbaugh or Beck that they would fall into a languid rapture of admiration and agreement. There are entire websites devoted to listening to every utterance of every pundit at every channel and station, at every hour, ready to pounce on everything they say. Get real. Accept that we might know what their shows are really like. It’s not like a Rand novel- if we say we seen/heard it, then we’ve seen/heard it.

    Save me the whole “Buh-b-b-but Beck had TWO SIDES!” nonsense. No really, spare me. Being unbiased is not that same thing as dichotomizing every issue. Imagine doctors advise you not to remove your spleen for no good reason at a ratio of 9000 to 1. A host bringing on the one kook doctor who’s telling you “OMG UR SPLEEN CAWZES TEH CANCER!!!” to debate one of the 9000 isn’t doing his viewer any favors. (Unless viewers are getting a cut of that sweet, sweet, ratings-driven ad revenue) Giving a whack-job a platform on equal footing isn’t being unbiased, it’s being irresponsible.

    …. So, did you see that great PSA that Barack Obama did on why no American should ever jump from a tall bridge?

    SNL should totally do a skit like that. Then maybe they can get back to trying to be funny.

  79. I’m confused. I’ve never considered the anti-vaxers to be from the left side of the political spectrum.

    As such, your entire article reads as a non-sequitur.

  80. I think the touchy leftists and rightists should take note of what Phil actually said,
    “Because either way, this shows that nonsense doesn’t have political boundaries”
    and
    “So it doesn’t matter if you face left or right; you’re still wrong”.

  81. Well, what he said was, B&L agree w/far left.

    I don’t think so.

    There’s no evidence to back that headline.

  82. @86 Mike

    And there is no evidence either that Satan shivered. Why on earth must people get so tied up in such a small point and completely overlook Phil’s point?

    To whoever this reply applies to as I am too lazy to find the actual comment: Why is it that because Phil puts himself out there and expresses his scientifically based decision on vaccines people are now going to fact check everything he says? You know its not like Phil is deciding to re-write the laws of gravity here. He just wants people to get the real facts, suck it up, get vaccinated and save people’s lives. WOW Phil is a monster! And I do not want to hear that is what McCarthy et al are doing, but it is not. They don’t care if people die as long as it serves “the cause”. They consider the deaths causalities of war, plain and simple.

    How about we all hold hand and sing kumbaya and nitpick the little points while people get ill, infirmed and/or die. Then after we have done this we can look into the eyes of the family members who have to deal with the aftermath and explain to them why we were to busy singing songs and yelling at each other to get a bloody needle.

    Look into the eyes of Dana McCaffery and explain to her why she got whooping cough. OH WAIT! You can’t because she is dead. Explain it to the child then who had a heart transplant as a baby why his heart is being rejected because it was just a simple flu that does not kill like the regular flu does. Look into the eyes of the children you may orphan because their parents are immuno-compromised and explain to them why you are risking leaving them parentless.

    If you have the nerve to look into these people’s faces and say “Sorry we can’t get our needle because (insert poor excuse here unless it is a valid medical reason)” as they lay there really really sick… well then you don’t want to know what I think about that.

    I ranted about this last night on my personal blog. I ranted about it today when I was given a leaflet saying H1N1 is a man made vaccine and conspiracy to kill people and turn them into zombies type BS and for BigPharma to make millions and I am ranting about it again.

    Yes I am being a bit of an alarmist here but the above is many people’s reality. They have to worry about illness in ways many people do not even imagine. But I think it is time to stop being nice about it and shake people into reality. If McCarthy et al want to scare people into not vaccinating then why can’t people use the same shock and scare tactics but with science to back them up? And this flu (as someone has already pointed out) is not just killing those at higher risk, but normally healthy people as well.

  83. khan

    So Rush is opposed to flu vaccines?

    He has no problems with boner drugs or hillbilly heroin.

    How does he decide which are a good idea?

  84. Gary

    Jason (57) – I work for a state government (a public university) so I’ve seen both the good and the bad from the inside. As long as were making lists, how about: a bankrupt post office, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the War on Drugs, Congressional lifers, the National Debt, ….

  85. tacitus

    I must admit when I first came to live in the States I was very surprised to see how many conservative Christians were into “alternative medicine”, which means, I guess, that back in the UK where I used to live, it is quite likely that the lefty hippie types are indeed anti-pharma and the ones who are most suspicious of “traditional medicine.”

    So I think Phil is correct in saying the anti-vax movement is across the political spectrum. I think that in the USA it is more skewed to the fringe right, but I suspect that’s because there is such a large politically active religious right minority here that doesn’t exist in other countries. Certainly I think if you looked around at who the anti-vaxxers are in the UK, you’d be hard pressed to find a common political strain amongst them (and if there is one, it could easily be more left wing than right).

    So in a sense both sides of this left/right argument are right. In the USA suspicion of vaccinations is more noticeable on fringe right because it’s so large, but overall the fringe left is also well represented, especially in other countries.

  86. awesomekip

    This isn’t the first time the far-right has been antivax. Gardasil anyone? Though they mainly said it would somehow make girls more promiscuous, they were still against a vaccine that works.

  87. As I’ve observed it, if you travel far enough to the left, you ‘ll eventually meet the folks traveling to the far right at some point. I think that the further one pushes into the political and philosophical extremes indicates poor critical-thinking skills at work, thus you end up with credulous zealots out on both fringes. In those distant ideological outposts you have to work hard to force the tortured logic of such extreme views to gibe with reality. Right or left has little to do with it but the flavor.

  88. Tired

    Why are there idiots making comments here? Shouldn’t they read stupid blogs instead?

    And what’s this BS about “both sides”? As if there is one side that is consistently “anti-vax” when that sort of position would be so stupid it’s actually impossible. Everyone knows what good vaccines have done for our species. No one is against vaccines – that would be ignorant, stupid and dangerous.

  89. Gonzo

    @David (#22) When opinions are based on blatant lies and misinformation there isn’t a need to listen to them. It isn’t about fear, it’s about logic. Use your brain.

  90. Jim Carson

    Dang, people! Let’s have a cut from Occam’s Razor here.

    Rush doesn’t get flu shots because “Real men don’t get flu shots.” Rugged individualist machismo explains it all. Taking a whack at Kathleen Sebelius was just a bonus.

    I can’t comment on Beck because he’s unwatchable even when I agree with him.

    I don’t get flu shots because millions of people need it more than I do.

  91. Calli Arcale

    Khan@88:

    So Rush is opposed to flu vaccines?

    He has no problems with boner drugs or hillbilly heroin.

    How does he decide which are a good idea?

    Flu shots hurt, and don’t do him any good if he doesn’t catch the flu anyway.

    Boner drugs and hillbilly heroin make him feel good for sure.

    That may actually be the entire logic of his argument. I know it is for a lot of people. It’s the same reason why people put off tests and things. It hurts, it costs money, they’re not sick *now*, so why rush? Meanwhile, other drugs, etc make them feel good now, so don’t wait!

    People are, by nature, optimized for maximizing short-term returns, but not so good at long-term ones.

  92. Gus Snarp

    I used to listen to Rush Limbaugh every day. For several years. I know his shtick. He is a far right, anti-government loudmouth. Most of the criticisms of him I have seen are accurate, although there is one going around right now that is disingenuous, but it is not this one.

    I have never listened to Beck, but I did see the clip where he got himself so worked up over being challenged on health care that he started screaming like a little girl at a caller. That was enough for me.

    Here’s how the court of public opinion works, folks (or should). If you have a good track record, show yourself to be reasonable and generally factual, then people will tend to believe you without checking up on you. If, on the other hand, you have been spreading blatant lies for decades, you have a clear political agenda and an unwillingness to let facts get in the way of it, and you lose emotional control and scream like a little girl at people who disagree with you, then you can expect that everyone will believe your critics without checking up on them unless their claims are truly outrageous, and never believe you. In fact, if the outrageous claims about you have been borne out in the past, it raises the bar of outrageousness that must be passed before a claim is worth checking out. And generally speaking that’s the way it should be.

  93. adam

    “Yes — and the ONLY conclusion reasonable ANYONE can come to, is that Beck is a freaking lunatic. The evidence is legion.”

    nice argument. lots of supporting evidence. well done.

  94. David

    Phil, you should stick to what you’re good at, which is making Astronomy cool for the rest of us. I realize you’re an advocate for vaccinations, however your political opinions of cable and talk radio entertainers are irrelevant. Educated people like yourself who lean to the left like you do tend to be smug, arrogant, and condescending. I became a fan of your old blog because you didn’t seem to be that way. I’m tired of reading bad politics on the bad astronomy blog.

  95. David (#100): I am not left, I’m center. And feel free to note that this is my blog. If you don’t like it, there are lots of other ones.

  96. Quiet Desperation

    My father called me up to tell me that I shouldn’t get the H1N1 vaccine because it wasn’t safe (among other reasons). Invariably, when pressed, I find that his “information” comes from right wing talk shows and similar sources.

    My dad is the same way, sadly. Family, huh? He was into the Obama birth certificate stuff, too. The last birthday and father’s day cards to him from me were Obama cards. 😉 Fortunately he got a kick out of them.

    After Ted Kennedy died recently, he was on this trip about how Kennedy wasn’t even in the car at Chappaquiddick, that Kopechne was alone and drove the car off the bridge herself. Kennedy then wanted to act like a hero and say he tried to get her out, and the whole thing backfired on him.

    Anyone even heard of that conspiracy theory before? It left me speechless. I can’t figure out where he got that one. Google provides no hint of such a thing.

    I used to listen to Rush Limbaugh every day.

    He was actually OK for the first few years. The “Animal Rights Update!” and other gimmicks were fun. I admit it has a lot to do with me being a ice hearted misanthrope, so I like stories where good intentions built from unicorns and rainbows (as opposed to reason and intellect) blow up in people’s faces with the force of a tactical nuke.

    About the time the first Bush took office, it went downhill. I tuned in on a Monday because some sort of big political snafu had happened over the weekend, and I was curious about the buzz. Limbaugh spent the first two hours yakking about spending the night at the White House and dropping names. He bacame an insider at that point, and never recovered.

  97. Gus Snarp

    @Quiet Desperation – For me it was: there are more trees in this country now than when the first white man arrived. This was a common statement of Rush’s to explain why all environmentalists were crazy and we didn’t need to protect forests. It is such a gross oversimplification, and probably an outright fabrication (unless Limbaugh has traveled back in time to before the first European arrived and counted all the trees, as well as counting all the trees that currently exist – the only other way to estimate that I can think of would involve collecting sediment cores and analyzing pollen content – the same kind of science that provide evidence of global warming, so does he accept global warming too?).

  98. adam

    “Educated people like yourself who lean to the left like you do tend to be smug, arrogant, and condescending. I became a fan of your old blog because you didn’t seem to be that way. I’m tired of reading bad politics on the bad astronomy blog.”

    agreed.

    “David (#100): I am not left, I’m center. And feel free to note that this is my blog. If you don’t like it, there are lots of other ones.”

    no, you lean left. i’m not a creationist by any stretch, but your commentary towards creationism and your various posts about how it relates to the educational system (teachers in texas suggesting that it may be beneficial for other viewpoints to be considered in addition to the status quo == you calling them ignorant, stupid, etc) was arrogant and condescending and, not unlike other blogs like yours i read, you often fail to adequately attempt to understand what the other side is actually saying and instead jump to conclusions with reactionary headlines and tirades. both sides do it. but, as myself actually being center, it’s very irritating coming from the left because of the overbearing, smug self-righteousness. it doesn’t win you anyone new, that’s for sure.

    but if all you’re interested in is e-high fives from the chorus, by all means, keep it up.

    and for the rest of you slamming beck/rush for their tactics (one person mentioned beck yelling at a caller on his show), i know how tempting it can be to dismiss someone entirely because they did or said something you don’t like or agree with. unfortunately, THE WAY THEY GO ABOUT IT has nothing to do with whether or not they’re right or wrong. try to remember that.

  99. tacitus

    adam, you just don’t get it do you? Beck brings the crazy on every show. I’ve watch maybe two dozen of his shows on CNN and Fox and he can barely go five minutes without spouting some sort of nonsense. Forming a balanced opinion about Glenn Beck is as futile as trying to stand on the head of a pin.

    Limbaugh might not be that crazy, but he’s just as much a right-wing propagandist. I’ve listened to him plenty over the years and while he might have a point every now and then, why on earth do you expect anyone who’s not already a hard right-winger would want to listen to his show? He continually heaps abuse, mockery and scorn upon anyone even mildly to his left politically. Pulling your own teeth is more enjoyable.

    Explain why we should credit these two with any sense of balance when that’s the very last thing either of them would do?

    The last time I bothered to listen to Limbaugh for more than a couple of minutes he was ranting on about how global warming was bogus because the glaciers in Greenland were growing. The only problem was that the day before, NASA had just released satellite data showing that Greenland’s ice cap was, in fact, thinning dramatically. Balanced he his not.

  100. Freya

    Ugh, my mom listens to those kinds of people, and she’s super anti-vax when it comes to H1N1. I’m so happy my brother and I are adults and she can’t stop us cause we’re both super-high on the priority list – we’ve both got asthma, I’ve got kidney problems, and he’s a ‘health-care worker’. Fortunately, although my sister still needs my mom’s consent to get the vaccine, she’ll be an adult in a couple months and is so healthy you could take any health-related Chuck Norris jokes and substitute her name in =)

  101. StevoR

    Beck & Limbaugh are such stinking, rotten, hate-filled, bilious, odious, unbalanced, vile, putresecent windbags that I really fail to understand why anyone half-way sane would watch them or take seriously anything they say.

  102. David

    #106 StevoR, can I get you a bottle of Hater-aid?

  103. Dave

    I can’t wait to get my flu shot. I have my seasonal already, and am waiting for H1N1.

    H1N1 is not yet broadly available because the disease reached pandemic status just after the normal flu shot preparation time (yes, there is a 6 month lag time from start to finish of the new vaccine). So, those who are also eager to get it: realize this is a major endeavor and they are moving fast but wanted it to be safe – thus the extensive testing prior to delivery.

    But it is being shipped rapidly and everyone is scrambling.

    H1N1 is a particular difficult new illness. Essentially, it is fairly widespread already and few people under 64 have ANY immunity. Therefore, even though it is as ‘mild’ as regular flu – mortality rate of .1%, roughly – the infectiveness is unreal. And, the general immune response – high fever, myalgias, etc – is often intense. Pregnant women appear to be at high risk, as do children with chronic conditions.

    By offering their opinion that they won’t get the vaccine, Limbaugh and Beck are increasing the rate at which others won’t get the vaccine since they are public figures (entertainers) whose followers tend to imitate their attitudes. With fewer people vaccinated, more people in society will have the illness. When more people have the illness, the more it spreads and the number of people – children, pregnant women, others – who die will increase.

    These deaths will be actually due to the failure to get the treatment (as opposed to the low numbers and spurious correlations of the antivax folks). So, yes, you could say that Rush and Glenn Beck are helping to create a society where more people die from preventable causes and we are less safe. Good work. They should be so proud.

  104. Jon

    So, major multi-state hospital chains give their employees (nursing staff) the choice of (a) being vaccinated, (b) wearing a surgical mask until Spring or (c) being fired because… the science behind the vaccine isn’t sound? People who work in operating rooms are required to scrub, too. What a concept. Must be some sort of communist plot. Like hand washing.
    As to Limbaugh and Beck? Maybe Beck was brought on not because loyal listeners are tired of hearing what Rush has to say, but because they’re tired of him being the one saying it. The same thing out of the same mouth, day after day after day after day… Frankly, I don’t know how the man manages to keep up his pretense of anger.
    What Beck and Limbaugh share is simply a craving for respect. Which is sad (for them), because the people who respect them are too ignorant to understand them, and the people who do understand them don’t respect them. Not really. And they (the blowhards) know it. Oh, oooooooops, maybe THAT is where the anger comes from.
    Hahahahahahahahahaha…

  105. Jon

    So, major multi-state hospital chains give their employees (nursing staff) the choice of (a) being vaccinated, (b) wearing a surgical mask until Spring or (c) being fired because… the science behind the vaccine isn’t sound? People who work in operating rooms are required to scrub, too. What a concept. Must be some sort of communist plot. Like hand washing.
    As to Limbaugh and Beck? Maybe Beck was brought on not because loyal listeners are tired of hearing what Rush has to say, but because they’re tired of him being the one saying it. The same thing out of the same mouth, day after day after day after day… Frankly, I don’t know how the man manages to keep up his pretense of anger.
    What Beck and Limbaugh share is simply a craving for respect. Which is sad (for them), because the people who respect them are too ignorant to understand them, and the people who do understand them don’t respect them. Not really. And they (the blowhards) know it. Oh, oooooooops, maybe THAT is where the anger comes from.
    Hahahahahahahahahaha…

    Oh, and by the way? The reason educated people tend to be moderate (or call it “left” if you happen to be that far to the right of sanity and it makes you feel better) is BECAUSE they are educated. And, yes, educated people often come off as smug relative to those who are less educated. This is not arrogance, however. Arrogance is smugness without the justification. As in a radio talk show host pretending to be able to educate the public about anything other than being a radio talk show host.
    There is a solution to feeling talked down to by those more educated than one’s self: education. Works wonders for self esteem and rightly so. As does a job well done.

  106. Scott

    Why anyone would listen to these folks is beyond me. They’re entertainment, they exist to sell advertising, like General Hospital and CSI.

    They’re like the mildly insane guy on the streetcorner begging for change. Except they’re begging on behalf of their advertisers.

    You put coins in their hat by watching their shows (via Neilson ratings). The “value” they provide in return is to amuse, enrage, or confuse you.

    But inform you? Don’t be silly.

  107. StevoR

    @108. David Says:

    #106 StevoR, can I get you a bottle of Hater-aid?

    Nah, think I’m right thanks all the same! 😉

    That’d be stuff Limbaugh’s selling though yeah?

  108. David

    #110 StevoR – I’m aware that people like me who do listen to Rush, and mostly agree with him are called kool aid drinkers. Most of us are just plain nice folks who are every bit as good as people at the other end of the political spectrum. We want small government with a robust military and borders. We expect the constitution to be revered and upheld by our leaders, since it was designed to protect us from them.

    Rush has made his choice about the vaccine. My choice is different than his (I do my own thinking!) I’m grateful to live in a country where we can make choices.

  109. Disputanta Sue

    Who is the originator of the forementioned quote?
    I heard Dr. Dean Edell say these words verbatim…..and didn’t state that he was quoting anyone. And there is no reference to him on this page. Confusing.

    I’m pretty sure that Beck and Limbaugh have either been misquoted or taken out of context . Lets not have another NFL debacle.

    To much crap in media and on websites. Let’s raise the standard. If anyone wants to say that someone said something – prove it! Give us a link to the exact source. Otherwise, u r suspect in my book.

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