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A Modest Proposal
April 20, 2009 6:54 AM   Subscribe

Depending on which side of the Irish Sea you live, the HPV jab is either a killer that shouldn't be given to young women or it's a necessary and life saving vaccination. Layscience.net exposes the disturbingly awful cynicism of The Daily Mail. (via badscience.net)
posted by seanyboy (28 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Perfect. Is the Irish edition pro-European Union as well?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:04 AM on April 20, 2009


Even for the Mail that is pretty amazing.
posted by ninebelow at 7:06 AM on April 20, 2009


Every time I think that 'newspaper' can't stoop any lower, they do.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:07 AM on April 20, 2009


Ah, the Daily Fail. And here I thought that we had a monopoly on media duplicity here in the States.
posted by Jon_Evil at 7:08 AM on April 20, 2009


The Indie on the verge of extinction and yet the Daily Hell still lives...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:12 AM on April 20, 2009


Linked from the comments to the original piece:
There has long been strong evidence that The Daily Mail wished a slow and painful death on anyone of a different colour or ethnic background to it’s editorial staff.

However this is the first time their hunger for blood has driven them to actively pursue a policy of higher death rates among the white, northern European, English-speaking population.

“Both editorial policies can’t both be right,” said one concerned Daily Mail reader.

“Obviously they want the women of one country to suffer higher rates of cervical cancer than the other, it’s just not entirely clear which is which.”
posted by ninebelow at 7:15 AM on April 20, 2009


Yet more evidence that British newspapers regard their proletarian readers as subhuman swine who'll believe anything.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:22 AM on April 20, 2009


Unpleasantly, this is a numbers game. Like any major health initiative, you will help X, harm Y, and the goal is to make X very much larger than Y. Cervical cancer might well become a rare disease if this is widely successful. Yes, a few will die, just as they do for practically any health measure you take. Of course, we could watch them closely after the injection to minimize the risk of a reaction spiraling out of control, but that seems to be too much to ask.

Of course, people's sexual hangups do not help with this. I've seen very intelligent people not want to give their daughters the jab because *facepalm* "it would only encourage them to have sex early." I just ask, "Even if that were true, which I do not think it is, you'd rather your daughter hang onto her virginity for a couple years longer and risk death via cervical cancer versus a daughter who might be an early bloomer and relatively safer a couple of decades on?" I'd rather have a quite slutty daughter who bangs out the football team after a win versus a pristine daughter in a wooden box six feet under, but then, I'm not a parent.

It seems that newspapers will play upon people's fears to sell copies, just as it did during the Summer of the Shark. Sometimes I think that some newspapers just cannot die fast enough.
posted by adipocere at 7:26 AM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Even if that were true, which I do not think it is, you'd rather your daughter hang onto her virginity for a couple years longer and risk death via cervical cancer versus a daughter who might be an early bloomer and relatively safer a couple of decades on?"

The wages of sin are death, I guess.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:42 AM on April 20, 2009


There are, sadly, people who would rather have a dead daughter than an impure one.
posted by RussHy at 8:07 AM on April 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


I enjoyed this fuckuppery all weekend, after seeing it on Graham Linehan's blog. One can only hope their sway is limited enough in Ireland for this not to damage the campaign for the vaccine.
posted by carbide at 8:23 AM on April 20, 2009


Sometimes I think that some newspapers just cannot die fast enough.

Would you rather have a quite slutty newspaper who bangs out controversy after controversy, versus a pristine newspaper in a wooden box six feet under?
posted by fleetmouse at 8:30 AM on April 20, 2009 [10 favorites]


I'd prefer the Daily Mail and its ilk to be buried alive, if that's what you're asking, fleetmouse.
posted by grouse at 8:35 AM on April 20, 2009


A little more about the Daily Mail.
posted by adamvasco at 8:36 AM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Unpleasantly, this is a numbers game. Like any major health initiative, you will help X, harm Y, and the goal is to make X very much larger than Y. Cervical cancer might well become a rare disease if this is widely successful. Yes, a few will die, just as they do for practically any health measure you take. Of course, we could watch them closely after the injection to minimize the risk of a reaction spiraling out of control, but that seems to be too much to ask.

That's true, and certainly the rationale behind introducing the HPV vaccine. On those grounds, I support it. But there was an article in the NYT about how the overall gain may be very small due as many recipients - and their parents - are not well informed about either the potential need for booster shots or regular screening tests to catch unaffected strains. The vaccination may simply move the occurence of cancer from the 'unlucky' to the 'uninformed', but not lead to a significant overall decrease. Given that the cost of the vaccination is not trivial, the argument is that the same money could better improve women's health elsewhere.

I don't know enough to really evaulate the argument fully, and understand that a lot depends on whether revaccination is needed within an unreasonable timeframe, and the unpredictability of human action. I




(PS, I have a sneaking suspicion that 'gardasil' sounds funny in Gaelic.)
posted by Sova at 8:39 AM on April 20, 2009


Oh, and Boooo! Down with the Daily Mail!
posted by Sova at 8:42 AM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


'A month spent reading the nation's leading mid-market newspaper took me into a terrifying, depressing world, filled with suspicion.'

See also: Charlie Brooker's Daily Mail Island series on the old TV Go Home website.
posted by permafrost at 8:51 AM on April 20, 2009


At risk of derailing our happy Torches-and-Pitchforks festival before we have a chance to get in full swing, I think it's worth noting that the two stories linked to in the FPP were apparently (if the datelines are to be believed) posted a full year apart.

So, whatever other sins this publication may be guilty of, this particular discrepancy can potentially be something other than rank hypocrisy. Perhaps either a genuine change of heart or position as new data emerged?
posted by BigLankyBastard at 9:11 AM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


No. Most of the articles, from both sides, are from the last six months.
posted by ryanrs at 9:35 AM on April 20, 2009


I think it's worth noting that the first link makes it pretty clear that the Mail has been running interleaved opposing stories on each side of the Irish Sea for quite some time now. They've posted anti-jab stories as recently as this month. But maybe we shouldn't let taking ten seconds to look at the summary article get in the way of knee-jerk contrarian positions.

Also, anyone who believes this could possibly be something other than rank hypocrisy is obviously ignorant of the Daily Mail's modus operandi. You can't have a "genuine change of heart" when you don't have a heart.
posted by grouse at 9:42 AM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


But there's an utter consistency in their approach, it's called "what sells papers 101"

Where you vaccinate large numbers of people some weird and wonderful side effects come to the fore. Also there is the issue that the NHS went with the lowest tender and got, in my opinion as the mom of an 18 year old an inferior vaccine. So a Rag newspaper covers stories of "Paralysed teen " etc., no surprise there.

So in Ireland the Mail covered the issue that the government U-turned on the issue of vaccinating the deserving maidens of Ireland, schock/horror. It was only a few years ago that we slated the Star, Sun, whatever for using their UK stories without alteration in the Irish editions.

There's no inconsistency if what you expect a paper to do is engage in lurid headlines to sell more. Which is pretty much all I ever expect from this section of the media.
posted by Wilder at 10:03 AM on April 20, 2009


BigLankyBastard:
The two links in the FPP are intended, I think, to be illustrative only. The key link here is the "Depending on which side" one, which lists eight Daily Mail British "against" articles and eleven Daily Mail "for" articles.

adipocere:
These people who are against the shot really haven't thought this through. This is one of the major ways these kinds of views spread; for whatever reason, the people who believe them had accepted, unanalyzed, what they have been told about the vaccine. We all do this all the time; who actually goes out and investigates every piece of news presented to them? Who can?

So people budget their thought resources, and one way they do this is by picking a trusted source. Sources often get picked as trusted due to ideological slant. The ways to fight this are two-fold: attack the misplaced trust (with revealing articles such as this), and reveal to the trusting parties how they made this mistake to begin with.
posted by JHarris at 10:06 AM on April 20, 2009


Disappointing. I thought one of the benefits of conglomerated news sources is that the messages would be coordinated, consolidated and pro-agenda. ;>

I'm reluctant to call the Daily Mail out as the bad guy here. I'm not surprised by the maelstrom of statements and counter-statements and impassioned pleas to save the lives of our daughters RIGHT NOW--pharmaceutical direct-to-consumer marketing has outstanding efficacy. Target our fears, exploit the emotions ("Your daughter will DIE!"), and posit their product as the essential prevention.

For such efforts, Merck last May swept the 2008 Pharmaceutical Advertising and Marketing Excellence awards, and Gardasil was named Brand of the Year by Pharmaceutical Executive magazine.

A moment's hesitation before funding huge programs to immunize entire populations is probably healthy. And has anyone taken a look at the impact of Cervical Cancer from a Public Health perspective? I am a proponent of immunizations and have never hesitated to have my children immunized, even when grilled by the excessivly hip moms at my local Starbucks ("Oh, I'm just waaaay too worried about my little Dakota developing Autism..."). But where scarce public funding is considered (in the US or any country), I'm for making deliberate decisions that have the biggest impact on health status.
posted by njbradburn at 10:43 AM on April 20, 2009


And has anyone taken a look at the impact of Cervical Cancer from a Public Health perspective?

Yes. Here's 9662 articles to get you started. There are more but I used fairly narrow search terms.

I'm for making deliberate decisions that have the biggest impact on health status.

Sure, who isn't?
posted by grouse at 11:00 AM on April 20, 2009


Thank you, Grouse, for calling me out on taking the shorthand approach to Mefi debate. Specific to a Public Health considerations, such as the economic impact of diagnosis and treatment (time off work for patient and family, out-of-pocket expenses for nursing care, etc) and the psychosocial impact on patient/family Quality of Life. A cost-benefit anlysis, like this one.
posted by njbradburn at 11:34 AM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't really understand the difference between the Irish and English editions, but could this all be because each paper has it's own staff with differing ideas on if the vaccination is good or not.

It seems that the English edition has reported on other vaccination scares before so this could not that surprising.

Then again it's probably just some ingenious plot to kill the population of Ireland or England depending on who you believe is right.
posted by Allan Gordon at 11:54 AM on April 20, 2009


Good post. Thanks for introducing me to The Lay Scientist, seanyboy.
posted by homunculus at 12:58 PM on April 20, 2009


I don't really understand the difference between the Irish and English editions, but could this all be because each paper has it's own staff with differing ideas on if the vaccination is good or not.

You've got it. But getting upset and outraged! at the Daily Mail is much more enjoyable than considering something like that.
posted by SamuelBowman at 5:53 AM on April 21, 2009


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