Swine Flu Hysteria: A medical reporter’s perspective on the media

by Jon Rappoport

October 17, 2009 -- After working for 20 years as a freelance reporter (LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, CBS Healthwatch, Stern, etc.), I’ve learned what distinguishes a big story from a little story. I know what reporters and editors, under ordinary circumstances, will go after like hounds with the scent of blood in their nostrils.
Yet I’ve seen, time and time again, these reporters and their bosses give up the trail when the story is medical. They stop barking and running, and they retreat back to the manor with their tails between their legs. They have an aversion to upsetting the status quo.  They suddenly develop a profound lack of imagination and ambition. In particular, they refuse to follow up on their own findings.
Example: A recent article in the British press (The Telegraph, Sept. 21, 2009) states, “One in six NHS [National Health Service] patients misdiagnosed.” Every resident of England lives under the NHS umbrella.
This is a staggering revelation. Yet, no doctors were interviewed in depth. No follow-up was developed. And certainly, no one at the paper cared to infer a link to Swine Flu misdiagnosis and what that could mean. The story appeared, and it sank like a stone.
Example:  Print and television reporters all over the world have been breathlessly citing WHO statistics on the number of deaths, globally, from swine flu. The latest estimate is roughly 4,500.  But lost in the shuffle is another easily available WHO stat: Somewhere between 300,000 to 500,000 people die every year from ordinary run-of-the-mill flu. So why is Swine Flu a pandemic, and why is ordinary flu not a pandemic? No major media outlet, from Greenland to Tierra del Fuego, is willing to pursue that track and, in the process, expose the entire WHO swine flu effort as propaganda.
Example:  On August 25, 2009, The Daily Mail headlined an article with this: “Half of GPs [General Practitioners] refuse swine flu vaccine over fears.” Doctors in England, in massive numbers, are not going to take the vaccine. But where is the follow-up?
Michael Jackson dies and the press runs down every person he ever knew for quotes. But no one starts interviewing defecting British doctors and getting their full statements about swine flu vaccine. Hundreds of potential interviews are just sitting there, waiting to be tapped, waiting to overturn all the conventional wisdom on swine flu. Gigantic story.  Nothing happens.
Example: The Seattle Times, in the first week of October, runs an article with the headline, “State lifts limit on mercury preservative in swine-flu shots.” Here is a quote from the article:
“In preparation for swine-flu vaccinations next month, the state’s Health department on Thursday temporarily suspended a rule that limits the amount of mercury preservative in vaccines given to pregnant women and children under the age of 3.”
There is no follow-up, even though mercury is a universally known poison. That’s precisely why the rule the Health Department suspended was there in the first place. Here is an excerpt from the BusinessDictionary.com definition of mercury:
“Heavy metal (liquid at normal temperatures) is a systemic poison that attacks brain, bowels, kidney and other body organs. It most severely affects the central nervous system, and children and the elderly are most susceptible to its poisoning…”
Does The Seattle Times go on a crusade?  Does it run a series defending children from poison? Does it interview, in depth, experts on toxins? Nothing.
Example:  Have you noticed how news broadcasts are so very fond of going back into their archives to recount events similar to those they are reporting on now?  “Well, Jim, exactly ten years ago, we had a storm like the one that is devastating the city today. Let’s watch those old clips.”  “Bob, the kidnapping of baby Esther reminds us of the kidnapping of baby Julie sixteen years ago. Let’s look at that report again. The similarities are striking.”
But when it comes to the manufacturing of a new vaccine, do these news people recall scandals from the past?  Do they bring us back to the infamous Chiron flu-vaccine debacle of 2004, when 60 million doses were found, on spot-check, to be contaminated with Serratia bacteria, a germ that can cause pneumonia and death?
In that case, the revelations (underreported, as usual) involved millions of doses that had been shipped to U.S. distributors’ warehouses, before final safety tests had been done by Chiron, and before the contamination was discovered.
The San Francisco Chronicle spoke with David Webster, a health care consultant in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, about the possibility that unscrupulous people could move the worthless and dangerous vaccine out of those warehouses, and onto the street.  Webster said, “Because of the shortage [created by the Chiron disaster], the spot market for flu vaccines is going to go through the roof. Anytime there is an extremely valuable commodity, the potential exists that it will work its way onto the black market. It is a legitimate cause for concern.”
What concern? In the U.S. press? To this day, no one knows whether, or how much of, that Chiron vaccine was sold out of warehouses in the U.S.
No major media outlets see a need for nostalgic reporting on past vaccine-manufacturing catastrophes, as the new swine flu vaccine is rushed to market.
There are dozens of other examples where mainstream media, reporting on Swine Flu, puts on the brakes and simply parrots public health bureaucrats from the CDC and WHO.
Why do they do it? Of course, media are supported up to their eyeballs by pharmaceutical advertisers. But in my experience, something else is going on here. A relentless decades-long PR campaign has succeeded in making it politically incorrect to attack public health agencies. To expose, for instance, the declaration of an epidemic as a piece of lying propaganda is now tantamount to posting a story on page one defaming God. The whole status quo would be thrown into doubt with, “If we can’t trust doctors who can we trust?”
This past week, even the beloved iconoclast, Jon Stewart (The Daily Show, Comedy Central), pilloried people who think the swine flu vaccine might be dangerous.
Working reporters develop a good nose for what their editors (bosses) will allow and what they won’t allow. No conversation is necessary. These reporters understand where the boundaries are, and what will happen to their jobs if they cross those lines. At ground level, the unspoken rules are quite clear. The media machines grind sausage in acceptable ways. In 2009, rarely does a very rich man sitting in a penthouse high above a city need to pick up a phone, call a publisher or an editor, and ax a story.
When I was writing my first book, AIDS INC., I began to research dangerous vaccines. I found a quite lengthy, penetrating special supplement on the DPT shot that was published in a Rochester, New York paper, The Democrat and Chronicle. Jennifer Hyman was the reporter. In April of 1987, Hyman wrote:
“... Based on the only U.S. findings on adverse DPT reactions, an FDA-financed study at the University of California, Los Angeles, [found that] one out of every 350 children will have a convulsion; one in 180 children will experience high-pitched screaming; and one in 66 will have a fever of 105 degrees or more.”
Believe me, those days of mainstream reporting are over. The world has changed. Reporters have learned their lesson.
I recently phoned that newspaper and asked for a copy of the Hyman supplement. The archive clerk told me he would look for it and send it to me if he could locate it. I’ve heard nothing. I’ve received nothing. It’s turned to dust.
In the BMJ (British Medical Journal) online, volume 339 (b3471), author Peter Doshi recently made two stark points about the current swine flu situation:
“On April 26 [2009], with 20 cases and no deaths in the US, the Department of Health and Human Services declared a nationwide public health emergency.”
“WHO, for example, for years defined pandemics as outbreaks ‘causing enormous             numbers of deaths and illness,’ but in early May [2009], removed this phrase from        the definition.”
These two points speak volumes about the swine flu madness, but it will be up to writers who do not exist inside the politically correct bubble to emphasize them.
Back in 1987, when I was writing AIDS INC. for a small publisher, there was a period when I was talking on the phone almost every week to a smart public-communication officer at the CDC. He knew I was critical of the CDC portrait of AIDS, and yet he was available.
Try that now. The doors are much tighter these days. It takes more sleuthing and more reading and more digging to find the answers that reveal who is lying about what.

Fortunately, we have many more independent researchers, and more determination. As Jello Biafra said years ago, “Don’t hate the media, become the media.”  In 2009 I would add, “You can do some of both.”