I'm writing after having just finished reading an article in today's paper, "Fearful mothers explain stance against vaccines" (May 12).
I have a lot of thoughts on the subject of anti-vaxxers in general, but there was one specific aspect of the article itself that frustrated me greatly. This article is an interview with people who have, as the very article itself states, a controversial opinion; but the article presents both sides of this issue as completely neutral, on even ground.
There's a specific line that stood out to me, "She also cited claims that some make about vaccines leading to or causing autism." The 'vaccines cause autism' argument came from one single study that has not only been disproved, but was verified to be fraudulent as well.
Is it not the responsibility of a publication trying to stay neutral to at least present the facts, the truth, of the information as it is? This is not an opinion piece, and that claim is not an argument, and has been proven to not be an argument. It feels incredibly irresponsible to publish an article that makes no attempt to fact-check dangerous and genuinely harmful views such as this one. All it would take would be a small footnote, or parenthetical remark on the verified falsehood of that belief.
Even at the end of the article, where you interview the medical community, you present their views as also just being claims that they are making. Throughout the entire article, there isn't even a word towards verifying or disproving any of the claims given.
The article ends on the note that it's important to do your own research; I feel it is likely that many turn towards you, as their local newspaper, for information and details. This article presents two sides of a currently huge issue, but fails to provide any deeper insight or details into it that might actually help readers make an informed decision. It is irresponsible at best, and dangerous at worst.