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Merely 'believing' something does not qualify as 'controversy'

Because Katie Couric did a show giving voice to meritless anti-vaccine forces, people are going to die. You really can't get around that; the deaths may be decades from now, and the links from here to there may never be recognized even by the people around whom the threads are tied, but somewhere in the Katie Couric audience there are going to be people who are not going to vaccinate their children against a deadly disease because Katie Couric put it in their heads that there was a risk in doing it that simply is not there, and those children are going to someday get that disease, and they are going to die from it. Think of any defense you like, but the outcome is the same. Oh, but we were just raising questions is the well-worn excuse of sensationalists everywhere, but if you are raising questions where there are, in fact, no serious questions, you are doing harm.

The problem here is, once again, scientific illiteracy. Presenting a mother who believes her daughter died from a vaccine and that other daughters are dying from a vaccine does not count as evidence of it happening, and certainly does not count as a counterargument to vast reams of evidence demonstrating the opposite. I could not go on television and claim that if my daughter died ten days after watching Dora the Explorer, it was clearly Dora the Explorer that killed her. I could not go on television and claim that because I ate a cheeseburger only days before my neighbor had a car accident, cheeseburgers are a cause of neighborhood bad luck. I could claim these things, mind you, but even the more gullible minds among us would not generally think that those claims were worthy of a television appearance. You would not have programs devoted to the Dora the Explorer hypothesis, programs that were just asking questions as to whether Dora was mass-murdering our children via some unknown force. You would not have magazines asking the cheeseburger question on their covers, even after the statistical evidence confirmed that almost every car accident in America happened to someone who lived in a neighborhood where some other person recently consumed a cheeseburger. At least, we hope we would not--there is still room for surprise, I suppose.

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