There's a bit of an urban myth that The Daily Mail was against the MMR triple jab.
- Mail editor Paul Dacre, giving evidence to the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee, April 23, 2009.
The Government has been accused of using a school exam paper to indoctrinate children about the controversial MMR vaccine.
Teenagers sitting a GCSE science exam were awarded marks only if they agreed that the study that first raised fears over the safety of MMR was bad science and biased because money changed hands.
- Paul Dacre's Daily Mail, May 9, 2009.
Well yes, they'd only be given marks for saying that, because that happens to be almost certainly true. And if it is 'a bit of an urban myth' that the Daily Mail was against the MMR triple jab - as Dacre claimed - then they'd think so too, given all the evidence which is now available.
The Mail itself can't dare to say the Government is brainwashing these poor lambs during their GCSEs - and since when did 'the Government' decide exactly what subjects got covered, and how, in exam papers? - but leads the story on the accusation that they are. Who's even saying this?
Dr Wakefield and a campaign group of parents who believe vaccines have damaged their children last night accused the Government of adopting sinister tactics over MMR.
Speaking from Texas, where he works at a centre for autistic children, Dr Wakefield said: ‘The thought police appear to be saying, “To pass this exam you have to adopt this particular point of view.”
Oh, it's Wakefield himself. Gosh, well I'm glad the Mail have got an unbiased source to lead the attack, rather than the discredited figure at the very centre of it all.
Jackie Fletcher, of campaign group JABS, said: ‘This is an insidious way of shaping young people’s opinions.’
Whereas making out that something's dangerous when there's no evidence that it is...? That's entirely responsible, then, I'd imagine.
Anyway, there's a happy ending to this particular story, by which I mean that Mail readers (on this story, anyway) aren't going to be 'brainwashed' by yet another spurious article on MMR:
Although not all of them:
Work still to be done. But you have to wonder, if the Mail really really isn't against MMR - as Dacre claimed - why it prints articles like this. Why it goes straight to Wakefield himself, who isn't entirely an objective viewpoint on these matters, and to a campaign group who are bound to react against this, rather than speaking to anyone else. What are they trying to achieve as regards MMR?