Flublogia receives little attention from the MSM. However, in a recent review of “Contagion” a blogger at the Huffington Post, Peter Christian Hall, discusses Flublogia. Well, part of it anyways.
In “Contagion” an anti-vaccine, magic-bean selling flu blogger is portrayed with calculated nastiness by Jude Law. It is ironic that a blogger at the Huffington Post would review this movie, and discuss its relationship to Flublogia, given that the Huffington Post has been the source of virulent anti-vaccine blogs. Bloggers at the Huffington Post like Jim Carrey, Joseph Mercola and Bill Maher are strongly anti-vaccine, and, frankly, anti-science. At a critical time in the pandemic when vaccine was just becoming available (September 2009) Dr. Frank Lipman wrote the following at the Huffington Post:
Summer is over and the question I am being asked most frequently in my practice is, “what do I do about Swine flu?” My patients are wondering whether or not they should get vaccinated and the simple answer I give most of the time is ..NO!
From what you may have read, you might think that the swine flu vaccine is the answer to swine flu. Unfortunately this is not true and until we know that the vaccine is safe, I cannot in good conscience recommend it to most of my patients.
All of the available evidence suggests that the pH1N1 vaccine given in the US was both safe and effective. However, due to belief in the anti-vaccine message, some parents did not vaccinate their children. Some of these children subsequently died of pH1N1. How many of these deaths is the Huffington Post responsible for? It is impossible to know. No-one collects statistics on death caused by misinformation.
In his article, Mr. Hall lists many members of Flublogia, but leaves out me and one of the most popular flu forums (which I moderate): Pandemic Flu Information (PFI) . Why? Well, one possibility is that I and many members of PFI_Forum were frequent critics of the Huffington Post and its team of anti-vaccine bloggers, any one of which would have been a good model for the anti-vaccine blogger in “Contagion”. We also criticised the CDC, not for promoting vaccine, but for not promoting vaccine effectively enough. We also criticised the CDC for its lousy testing throughput and incompetence in articulating the need for rapid treatment with Tamiflu. Although some would like to lump PFI in with the anti-science magic bean sellers, the fact is that this is the role the Huffington Post played during the pandemic. We were on the other side.
The continued blacklist of PFI bothers me. But not due to personal pique. I write anonymously and have no magic beans to sell. What bothers me is that the Director of the CDC is so insecure that he cannot countenance any criticism, even when its constructive and accurate. Although the CDC risk communicators claim that they want to “engage” the public, this is a lie. They wish to be praised lavishly and will reward only those who do so.
The Huffington Post also appears to be unable to handle the truth. Goju from PFI tried to post some links demonstrating HuffPo’s role as an anti-vaccine propaganda agent during the 2009 pandemic. His comments were censored. So much for the Huffington Post’s committment to free speech.
I don’t expect the people I criticise to like me. I’m OK with being called names or just being ignored. But censoring valid criticisms and only listening to people who tell you what you want to hear will lead to disaster. The many people who died unnecessarily during the 2009 pandemic are proof of that.