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A Win for Science: AA Wont Air Antivax Interview

Meryl Dorey, Queen of the Quacks

A little protest was ignited among skeptics this week when it was announced that American Airlines would be playing an antivax interview in-flight as well as publishing the interview in their magazine. The interview is with a woman named Meryl Dorey, queen of the quacks, who asserts anti-scientific claims about vaccines causing autism and DNA alterations and more. She is a conspiracy theorist and a nutter, and like most people in those catagories she will believe anything as long as it is not connected to reality.

The danger of this interview being aired is that parents who are not sufficiently educated about medical issues, especially those concerning vaccines, might believe the things they hear Dorey spewing. If believing her conspiracy theories and lies leads a parent to not get their child vaccinated it puts that child at risk of horrible, life threatening diseases, and it puts everyone else at greater risk as well. The effects of the anti vaccination movement are already being felt in places with lower vaccination rates like Washington, where they have reached epidemic levels of pertussis (whooping cough).

These are the kinds of lies that are already killing people. Phil Plait pointed out on his blog that this is like “telling people that smoking is good for them, or that meth is just great!”. Anytime antivax campaigns are spotted there is an immediate attempt by skeptics, scientists, doctors, and generally concerned people to get it shut down. It’s important that this misinformation isn’t allowed to spread. Though, when the skeptic movement initially reached out to AA on twitter last week it looked like AA was going to take a rather unfavorable stance. This is how AA responded to it’s customers concerns:

Ouch. That is not a very enlightened response. Yes, listening is optional, and hopefully such a message will be ignored, but some people wont ignore it. The fact that people can choose to ignore what you are saying doesn’t get you off the hook, morally, for spreading blatant misinformation that is taking lives.

Luckily, AA changed their position rather dramatically after an online petition was started. The skeptical community raised some noise online and generated enough feedback for AA to take this matter seriously. Phill Plait updated his blog again yesterday with a brief twitter exchange he had with AA after directly questioning them about weather or not they were still going to publish the interview. AA responded:

And, after Phil requested clarification about weather or not they would print the interview he was answered with:

Yay! It’s another win for science. Hopefully this trend can be continued and we can keep using protests and petitions to keep nutters like Meryl Dorey from spreading dangerous lies. And, just to be clear, the science is in and it has been proven time and again that there is absolutely no truth in anitvax claims, and the history of the movement shows that it was all fabricated to begin with.

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1 Comment

  1. David

    04.24.2012

    Reply

    One thing that confused me the most about American Airlines choosing this interview is that the first reason given for the spread of most of these diseases is TRAVEL, while second being NON VACCINATION. What the hell where they thinking?

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