By Erin K. Costello
Yesterday MAM published a blog post in which she claimed victory for the AV (anti-vaccination) cult of dumbassery. First and foremost, one reason why I can say with absolute confidence that the anti-vaccination community has already lost is simply because they have MAM on their team, and most of what she claims is just flat out bullshit. But, I do digress.
Her blog post mostly centers around a Facebook post by Peter Hotez. In his post Peter lists a couple things needed for solving the measles problem the US is currently facing and has faced for months. One of his ideas on this list is "A POLICY solution: to close vaccine exemptions..." To which MAM, of course, incorrectly replies with the accusation, "So, no big deal. He's just going to get rid of all vaccine exemptions.." THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN. Let me explain. For granted, many states are introducing legislation to end certain vaccine exemptions such as religious and philosophical exemptions, no state can ever or will ever try to end medical exemptions. I should clarify that by “medical exemptions” I mean actual and real medical causes that prevent vaccinations from being overwhelmingly safe for an individual, as well as carry to high of a risk for the benefit to be worth it. This does not refer to made up claims about MTHFR, or familial auto-immune disorders of distant relatives. When it comes to real medical issues, the State can not force anyone to knowingly endanger themselves for the purpose of inoculation. This means that infants who are not yet old enough to safely or effectively receive a vaccine can not be forced to receive one, or that individuals who are likely to suffer greater risks/effects than benefits from vaccination can not be forced to receive vaccinations. So long as these medical risks exists, MEDICAL EXEMPTIONS WILL EXIST. No one on the pro-vaccination side of this debate has ever said or suggested to do away with medical exemptions. No medical professional, no politician, no mommy blogger, and no one who understands the issue of vaccinations has ever suggested or pushed for the elimination of medical exemptions. And, so long as there is a medical need for such exemptions, none ever will push or suggest their removal. Every time Kate Tietje, The mOdeRN AltErNatIvE MamA, tries to claim otherwise, she is hoping to manipulate readers, to scare them into helping her fight this fight of hers against mainstream ________ (fill in the blank with medicine, parenting, education, diet, science, doctors, experts, etc...if it’s a common practice backed by science and study data, MAM HATES it). I would love to be able to explain why it is that MAM does this, but all I can do is speculate. I get the feeling that at some point in her life, she was harmed and angered by the status quo. I don’t know what it could've been that hurt Kate so deeply in her past, or that caused Kate to adamantly vow against commonly practiced, proven effective, and “normal” choices in life. Her disdain for anything widely accepted is not normal or healthy. In fact, her constant badgering against anything mainstream, or against those who post highly of anything mainstream, must be derived from something traumatic enough to turn Kate into this hate filled, scorned, bitter, militaristic anti-mainstream mama. This causes her to obsess over common practices and ban them from her life and social media, even at the detriment of herself, her family, and her followers. This also causes Kate to routinely make up claims that are not true, nor are they even loosely based in truth. The removal of medical exemptions is only her latest example. But for now, let’s move on.
Peter continues his list of ideas for what is needed to solve the ongoing measles problem in America by saying, "....and begin dismantling anti-vax media empire (500 websites, social media, phony books, documentaries, PACs.." He continues with, "ADVOCACY solution: rebuilding through public private partnership between DHHS and Facebook, Google, Twitter, Amazon. With adequate political will we could do this in the span of 18 months." Kate, naturally, assumes this to mean, "removing access to ALL websites, books, and documentaries that question vaccines: and get the government to push large private businesses to censor/remove all vaccine information from their platforms." Can we just calm down a bit? No one said anything about removing ALL access to anything. Peter said, and I quote, "dismantling anti-vax media empire." Make no mistake, Stop Mandatory Vaccination, Vaxxed, The Truth About Vaccines, Mercola and his Nut News wife Erin, David Wolfe, “Billboard Brandy,” and many others ARE media empires. I don’t think MAM quite qualifies as a media empire since the only media she’s shown any amount of success on is Facebook and maybe her website. Those listed here before her have successes on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Amazon, websites, on-line stores, movies or other media, speaking engagements, advertising, and or wide spread publications. Such empires that are built on known falsehoods at the cost of public health should be dismantled on such platforms. Social media platforms are not required to guarantee first amendment rights to Americans. These companies do not have to give you, me, or the strangers on the street the same equal and fair space for us to post anything we wish. If anyone posts material that goes against their terms of service that material can be deleted at any time, furthermore, the person posting the material can also be banned from using their platform. They can ban just your account, or they can ban your IP address. If you don’t like this, you are free to create your own social media platform with different terms of service guidelines.
In an interview Peter gave to the The Hill, he elaborated on what he means by dismantling. The article in The Hill explains, "[One] potential argument was, "Well, this is a fringe group and by calling it out, giving attention to it, you only give it oxygen."" Hotez who researches vaccine hesitancy, told The Hill. "I think that probably was a good strategy in the early 2000s, but I think there's a lack of recognition that this has now become a media empire that now needs to be dismantled." "They dominate the internet," Hotez told The Hill. "Not only social media--they also have almost 500 anti-vaccine websites by some accounts. They use social media to amplify those websites."
Basically, by dismantling books and documentaries, what this means is not banning the viewing or owning of such materials, but applying pressure to sites like Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and the like from featuring such media or selling such books. Dismantling PACs means exposing those who donate to such harmful political action committees and voting to removing/replace politicians from office who benefit from these PACs or support their legislative policy. Freedom of speech is only guaranteed by the State, or the government. This freedom does not protect you from any and all consequence though, it only protects you from State sanctioned consequence such fines, arrest, punishment, or imprisonment. The State can not retaliate against you because of your speech, providing your speech does not incite violence, a riot, or commit hate crimes.
By working with these companies, by partnering in advocacy efforts, we can stop these dangerous anti-vaccination empires from monetizing off their media accounts. Once you implement several of these demonetization tactics, their websites will less likely to be able to fund themselves, or turn a profit. Once the anti-vax empires cease to be financially viable, and begin to be more work than they’re worth, those maintaining them will not longer put in the effort. No matter how loud or often they testify to their readers that their efforts are not about the money and are only about “getting the truth out there,” it will not become true. They will move on to the next con.
Now, as far as anti-vaccination misinformation remaining protected by the first amendment, I can’t help but to see an argument in why it should not be legally protected. We have all heard the explanation of how yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, while knowing there is no fire, is not an example of protected speech. This is because the act of lying and yelling “fire” causes mass panic, chaos, physical injury, and possibly even death. Well, when a public figure (someone with thousands to tens of thousands who follow them) spreads lies and misinformation about vaccine safety and vaccine science on a public venue such as social media with millions of users, how is this any different? As a result people will panic, they will fear the claims they heard could be true and will deny safe and effective vaccinations for themselves and their loved ones, resulting in the spread of vaccine preventable diseases that bring about unnecessary suffering to people who can’t vaccinate or even to people who have vaccinated, and could also cause death. I want to be clear, I am only referring to those who have an audience in their large following (the crowd), and who make these fraudulent claims on a public venue (the theater). I am not concerned with someone talking to their friends in a private setting or in their own home. If you lie and yell “fire” from inside your home you’ll likely piss off family members but no one is likely to be harmed as a result. If while eating dinner you tell your family vaccines are deadly you’ll likely annoy those around your table, but herd immunity numbers aren’t going to drop. If while sitting on a park bench among friends drinking coffee you suddenly yell “fire” when there is no fire you’ll likely reveal to your friends that you are a little crazy, but no one will be trampled on. If while on that park bench you begin to explain to your friends how vaccines kill and harm more people than they save, your friends will likely change the subject to avoid prolonging the cringe-worthy moment you created, but again, herd immunity numbers will not be in danger of dropping.
MAM goes on to say, "What authority do they have to literally squash the viewpoint of millions of people? Remove people's private websites and ban their books and movies? This would be North Korea -level censorship." Well, it’s also the viewpoint of many incels that women shouldn’t have rights and are inferior to men, and it’s the viewpoint to many racists that minorities are not capable of the same successes that white men are capable of, and it’s also the viewpoint that Sandy Hook was false flag staged event and the govt is drugging us all with chem trails. Yet, these viewpoints, much like anti-vaccination viewpoints, are still and will still be accessible. Having access in itself is exactly NOT like North Korea-level censorship. I’ve already covered the authority social media platforms have to remove content. As for removing websites, that would all depend on who it is that is hosting the website. Host servers can remove or deny websites as they see fit. Go Daddy and Google have refused to host NEO-Nazi websites in the past. Google can also prevent a website from appearing in the top search results. This still doesn’t ban the ability to create and own such websites though. You can find ANY HORRIFIC website you could imagine on the dark web., and the dark web is as easy to access as the clear web. Instead of downloading Chrome or Firefox, you download Tor. Tor becomes your web browser for the .onion network. Instead of websites ending in .com/.net/.edu/.org/.info/.gov they end in .onion. One downside though is that onion websites are not indexed like clear web websites are on Google. It is more difficult to search a subject term like “vaccines cause autism” and get a list of all the relative websites. There are dark net sites that have a data base of some indexed .onion websites, though none are complete, nor can anyone really know how incomplete they are, and often times the websites that do appear in results are no longer active. In addition to Tor, there is also i2P and Freenet for accessing the dark web, as well as smaller p2p (peer to peer) networks. Having websites or accessing websites on the dark web is not illegal, providing the websites aren’t displaying illegal images of minors or other illegal actions. Even the existence of marketplaces that sell drugs and firearms aren’t themselves illegal. What becomes a crime is when a sale or a purchase is made. People can have all the little anti-vax dark web sites they wish without consequence, censorship, or removal.
MAM then goes into a claim from “this guy” who knows a Facebook insider, in other words, “this guy, who knows this guy, who is somehow employed by some company that could be contracted out by a someone associated with Facebook somehow” whatever that means. This person claims vaccine posts are about 50/50 between pro and anti-vax. This may be true, I have no idea. I do see it as being possible to being true, however, this does not prove, like MAM claims, that the anti-vax community is not some fringe movement. Most of the pro-vaccination people I know in real life do not sit on Facebook making PV posts or even sharing many PV posts. But, people who are AV will often make such posts, in fact, most AV people are not openly AV in real lifE, but treat social media as their outlet. In other words, there are so many active AV people on social media because it’s the only place they feel safe in being out of the AV closet. Also, being AV is not the common position to take, so many AVers will often feel a need to establish themselves with some form of community who they feel they can relate to since most won't understand their thinking. Since supporting vaccines is the more common position when it comes to vaccinations, most PVers don't feel a need to find or establish a community of like minded people to relate with since most the people they know already relate to their decision. This is why there isn't much of an active PV community on social media. PVers visit social media for all kinds of reasons besides vaccinations. Their choice to vaccinate is not one they feel compelled to clarify or debate. Despite the majority of vaccination activity on social media appearing to be AV activity, the AV movement is still very small when compared to their area population, compared to PVers, and even compared to many other obscure groups of people. However, I can't estimate exactly how small or fringe the AV community is or is not, though, there are not as many AVers as there are PVers. Not even close.
Kate even goes on to claim that when “forced vaccination” bills pop up in state legislation that hundreds and thousands show up in protest. I have to call bullshit on this claim. Let me first clarify that there have been no forced vaccination bills introduced. Even with states having only medical exemptions, people can still refuse to vaccinate. For granted, they won’t be allowed to send their kids to public school or day cares, but they still have a choice. There is no forced anything. Lastly, I have never seen a protest at a state house in response to a vaccine bill that had thousands in attendance, or even one thousand people protesting. I have seen some with maybe a couple, or few hundred, but mostly none of them have more than a couple hundred.
Kate thinks that people who question vaccines are seen as part of an anti-science movement. She also thinks that people who question vaccines are met with hate and anger. None of this is true. No one has an issue with anyone who has questions about vaccines. How else will people learn if they don’t ask questions? I still have some questions and I likely will continue to have questions as I learn more about vaccinations. This is science. Science is asking questions about the things we do not understand. What we end up calling anti-science behavior is when after having asked questions, people then deny and refuse the answers to their questions because they don’t like the answers they were given. It is also anti-science to accuse proven data as being false without any evidence of your accusations, or to deny study after study that shows your claims are wrong, and to deny vaccine science in favor of what some strangers on Facebook claim to have experienced. What angers people is when after being faced with irrefutable evidence that your “beliefs” are wrong, you then accuse those presenting the evidence as being shills or sheep and say “I don’t care what you say, I believe I am right.”
Kate then explains how she intends to humanize the AV movement. When PVers hear about all the kids suffering needlessly with measles, or when a newborn dies from VKDB after being denied the vitamin K shot, or when we see a video of a newborn with whooping cough, or hear about the dozens of children dying each year from the flu after never being vaccinated, the AV movement can not possibly become more humanized to us then they do in these moments. Sure, we don’t care for the parents too much after learning of all this unnecessary suffering inflicted on children, but this isn’t about the parents. This is about the VICTIMS. The parents are the perpetrators when they cause their kids to become these victims. If Kate feels entitled to scold strangers on-line who practice “cry it out” with babies, you can bet your ass that strangers will feel entitled to tell Kate how dangerous her AV lies and bullshit are to her kids and the children of her readers.
MAM wraps this up with a “call to action.” Her first order of business I wholeheartedly agree with; All AVers need to come out to friends, family, work colleagues, schools, etc.. and declare themselves as anti-vaccination. We have a right to know who among us is capable of risking our health and lives, and those of our loved ones, not to mention the health and lives of their own children. Next, she brings up the HELP (Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions) Committee hearing; Vaccines Save Lives: What is Driving Preventable Disease Outbreaks?, on Tuesday March 5, at 10:00 am. Naturally she doesn’t call for a protest since, well…..no one would show up. Instead, she encourages readers to “flood their representatives,” though I don’t know why she doesn’t make it clear that the members of congress they need to contact are their senators, and not their house representatives.
You know what PVers don’t feel a need to do? Make up claims, exaggerate or even imagine persecution from the State, or write articles explaining to readers why our competitive measures like mainstream medicine are corrupt, lying, and dangerous in one sentence, while the next sentence tells you, “No need to worry about giving your money to things that work like doctors, OTC meds, or pharma, we have the answer to the anxiety we just manufactured inside of you. Our untested unregulated answers deserve your money more than trusted science., so buy our shit instead” They don’t even try and hide their greedy cons. Take a minute and visit AV websites and count the ads, the product placement and pushing, the long advertisements written by the website disguised as vapid blog posts, and notice how so many of these known AVers sell their own brand of supplements, herbal remedies, or natural alternative medicine. Then take a minute to scroll through the websites of those who are pro-medicine and pro-vaccination. I’ll provide a list of PV links at the end of the post for your convenience. You’ll find that some of those who are medical professionals or who specialize in vaccine medicine or science will be selling a book or two, books mind you that did not have to be self published. There may also be a couple who list a Patreon account, or sell their own t-shirts. None of them, though, tell you how you need to donate, buy their items, or read their books. More importantly, many of these websites wouldn’t even exist if the spread of anti-vax lies hadn’t created a need for such websites. One more thing pro-vax websites don’t feel a need to do is type out an assertion, imagined or otherwise, that the pro-vax movement has already won. This isn’t a game or a competition, there is no crown to fight for. Those who support vaccinations are not worried about winning or losing. We are worried about how many unsuspecting vulnerable people will pay the price while anti-vaxers pretend they are doing something important with their lives. It's like watching a new kind of LARPing where only the sadistic and narcissistic care to play.
List of pro-vaccination and pro-science website links:
Doctor Anna's Imaginarium
Vaccines Work Blog
Left Brain Right Brain
What Is The Harm?
Insufferable Intolerant Science Nerd
What's The Harm?