Will a TV show be canceled because it features an attorney who successfully argues that a mercury-containing flu vaccine caused autism in one kid?
On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics will release the contents of a foreboding letter sent last week to ABC/Disney executives, demanding they cancel the January 31 premiere of a new legal drama series, Eli Stone, because it features a family attorney who successfully argues in court that a mercury-containing flu vaccine caused autism in one child.
The letter, signed by AAP President Renee Jenkins, borders on near-hysteria over a fictional television entertainment. It ominously warns that ABC “will bear responsibility for the needless suffering and potential deaths of children from parents’ decisions not to immunize based on the content of the episode.”
Dr. Jenkins calls on ABC to cancel the episode but, anticipating a refusal, urges executives to run a disclaimer that “no scientific link exists between vaccines and autism,” if the offending network “persists” in airing the show.
I share the AAP’s concern that parents should not be driven away from protecting their children from dangerous, even deadly diseases. But parents are far too smart to base such an important decision as immunization on the “content of the episode” of a single drama on broadcast television.
In fact, if I were Dr. Jenkins, I would be far more concerned about real news happening in the real world — events that not only suggest the possibility of some sort of link between mercury, vaccines and autism, but might alarm parents more than any fictional account written for ratings-grabbing mass entertainment.
If I were Dr. Jenkins, instead of fretting over a fake family engaged in a mock trial held in a make-believe court on some LA soundstage, I would be up at night wondering why the Federal Government recently conceded a real vaccine-autism lawsuit in a real court and will soon pay a real (taxpayer-funded) settlement to a real American family and a very real child with autism….