Calls to ban anti-vaccination video portrays people as thick
If free speech is the freedom to make an arse of yourself, the story of moves to ban Andrew Wakefield’s video is one we should baulk at. The Times has ‘discovered’ that Amazon and Apple ‘are profiting from an anti-vaccination documentary directed by the discredited former doctor Andrew Wakefield’.
They’ll profit if anyone’s dumb enough to download the thing. But buyer beware and all that.
The film, which backs his fraudulent research linking vaccines with autism, is available for customers to watch for 99p on Amazon Instant Video and £6.99 on Apple’s iTunes. On Vimeo, a popular YouTube-style streaming service, it costs £3.17.
How’s about that for price difference. If you want to watch this video you need to go to Amazon Instant Video, where you can buy seven versions of the thing for the price of one on iTunes. Give it to your friends. But don’t give them measles, Best to get the jab.
The paper says, ‘Scientists and autism campaigners urged the web companies to remove the film.’ They want it banned. That’s weak.
The Times hears from Edzard Ernst, professor emeritus of complementary medicine at Exeter university, who warns: “Any company or person trying to make money by alarming people and thus endangering public health is not just unethical and immoral but also despicable and irresponsible. Wakefield’s data has been shown to be wrong. That he still insists on discouraging people from getting vaccinated is disturbing and a risk to public health. I just hope that the British public recognises a charlatan when they see one.”
Chances are that the kind of person who lashes out good money to watch a documentary on vaccinations and follows its advice without consulting doctors, voices in a raucous media or other jab videos – think of the fun nights in – isn’t all that interested in reason. What’s concerning is when experts sure of the science seek to save the stupid people from themselves by banning things with which they disagree.