Home > motherhood, Politics > Check your sources, people

Check your sources, people

If I could teach the world one thing… okay, two… ten, okay, a really important thing that I wish people in the world would is this simple rule: check your sources.

In the age of the internet, this has become an imperative.

I’m on a local listserve for moms in my town. It’s a fairly interesting if sometimes inane list, but it keeps me in touch with the local pulse. (I’m lucky to live in a community in flux so we’ve got all social and economic and educational niches represented, from the ultra-rich with live-in nannies to the working single mom who uses the local library for internet access.) This morning, there was a post titled: “ Interesting Vaccine update – worth a read if you have a girl

The post was just a wholesale cut’n’paste of a press release by Judicial Watch decrying the myriad and fatal adverse reactions of the HPV vaccine. Here’s the thing — laying aside any vaccine debate, please — Judicial Watch is a bunch of self-appointed white people (mostly males) who have an explicit and clearly stated conservative agenda.

(They still have an article on their front page defending Gonzales, for the love of little green apples. They wrote an amicus brief defending an anti-gay marriage law. They assume that a male leading a Girl Scout troop would take part in gang showers and “could possibly become intrigued, titillated or excited by the opportunities and the trust the young girls place in an adult male authority figure” — which is sick enough — and then they use that sick logic to say that gay men shouldn’t be troop leaders. (I always wonder about people who assume all adult males are looking to prey on children. makes me want to send DCF to their house and check on their kids.) Their “coverage” of Hilary Clinton’s campaign opens with a scary Photoshopped picture of the lady in question, making her look like a demon. )

This is not a fair and balanced opinion. Especially in regards to a vaccine that protects women who have sex. They are big on women not having sex. (Or, I guess, women who have sex getting what they deserve?)

But some woman — probably just a very nice, concerned mother who was taught to listen to authority figures rather than question them — got this email, likely from another mother in the same position, and passed it on with all good intentions. She may have scared a mom away from giving her daughter the vaccine. Maybe more than one. For bad reasons.  If you have a thoughtful stand against vaccines, that’s one thing. I disagree with you, but at least you thought about it. But if you just swallow the crap that’s floating around out there and leave your child open to the possibility of cervical cancer because the advice of a group that is so right wing as to be comical…. well, that pisses me off.

What’s more, she just cut’n’paste it without a link to the organization, where she got it (like, say, a reputable news outlet that would have fact-checked it), or any citations at all. Certainly she didn’t include any alternate views.

So I will not be guilty of the same thing, please read the excellent Feministing post on the issue.

Or, better yet, do what I did and plow through the whole FDA report. (I hope I got that link right. The FDA website leaves much to be desired. I got a copy from a doctor friend of the family.)

And know that I’m going to make sure my little girl gets the frigging vaccine.

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Categories: motherhood, Politics
  1. June 30, 2007 at 11:27 am

    Isn’t it weird how some people will not even consider an unconvential view on some topics IRL conversation. But send them an e-mail that has been forwarded 10,000 times from a wacky web site and they take it as gospel. Cause you should believe everything you read right @@

  2. June 30, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    Are you trying to say that not everything on the Internet is true? I may have to rethink my whole parenting ideas? j/k

  3. speakingaut
    August 29, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    What kills me is the parents who think the vaccine will turn their little girls into tramps.

    It’s like… OK, fine. So, let’s say I know you (hypothetical you) and trust you to raise your daughter to have responsible sex. Can you still trust that the people she eventually has sex with have been just as responsible? Maybe there are a few mistakes in their pasts, and mistakes can be asymptomatic. Can you trust that she will never be raped, no matter how responsible she is? (Answer: no.)

    If the HPV vaccine prevented 90 percent of prostate cancer instead of cervical cancer, it would be mandatory for all little boys by now.

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