My irony meter goes to 11

2 Aug

This has been an amazing couple of weeks for irony in the autism world and not just from CBS. Just when I thought it was calming down, CBS News responds to Voices for Vaccines. As a recap–CBS news ran a short piece on potential conflicts of interest by groups and people who support vaccines (discussed AutismVox, Autism News Beat, LeftBrainRightBrain, Orac, . V4V called defamatory the Sheryl Attkisson piece.

Well, CBS news has responded…to an Orange County blogger. (presumably, a version of this was sent to V4V as well). (It’s worth noting that the Orange County blogger, not being satisfied with the mistakes that CBS had made, pushed the limits of misinterpretation a tad further–see the comments here)

Our report last Friday represents one part of the extensive reporting CBS News has done, and will continue to do, on the issues surrounding vaccines and possible links to autism. That continuing coverage has repeatedly reported on the critical importance of the nation’s maintaining a robust vaccination program for children. Reporting on what critics, including members of Congress, believe to be potential conflicts of interest for vaccine advocates who receive funding from vaccine makers is also an entirely legitimate aspect of our overall coverage. We believe our report was in no way defamatory of any institution or individual, and that no retraction is warranted.

Oh, kay. CBS decided internally that they had acted properly in their piece.

This is of course being trumpeted in the usual quarters. Let’s say we did a cut and paste, switching, say, CBS for CDC? That’s right, shouts of “Conflict of Interest” would echo the virtual halls of the blogosphere.

But apparantly no conflict of interest in CBS deciding that CBS acted appropriately.

This didn’t peg the Irony Meter 2000 (which goes to 11). But, it is amusing.

I don’t know the legal term for a news piece that reports inaccurate information, and other information in a leading way due to lack of analysis. That part is not amusing. The days of Walter Cronkite are long gone, I’m afraid.

One Response to “My irony meter goes to 11”

  1. isles August 3, 2008 at 15:40 #

    Nope, the news reporting ideal has gone from Walter Cronkite to Jerry Springer. I’m thinking of a line from “The American President” about the sleazy candidate – something like this:

    He’s not interested in telling you anything unless he can make you afraid of it or tell you who’s to blame for it.

    Today’s news editors only care about making people feel as though they would have been missing out by not watching the broadcast – and if that requires them to make stuff up, so be it.

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