Pre-mature optimism about a Huffington Post shift away from anti-vaccine rhetoric

On Tuesday, I speculated that The Huffington Post might be toning down its anti-vaccine propaganda* based on the fact that David Kirby’s latest effort to foment fears that vaccines might cause autism had appeared on his personal website.

I’m not sure what caused HuffPo to decide it wanted to re-post Kirby’s piece in its entirety…but that’s exactly what they did, two hours ago.

[*] That post ran on my website on Tuesday, before my PLoS blog went live, and was posted here yesterday.

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13 Responses to Pre-mature optimism about a Huffington Post shift away from anti-vaccine rhetoric

  1. Pingback: A move away from anti-vaccine propaganda at the Huffington Post?

  2. Sharon says:

    I wanted to comment on this because I am so outraged. Yet fear I am only capable right now of libelous ranting.
    F#$% !

  3. JB Handley says:


    Perhaps your outrage enraged the HuffPo, causing them to post something they otherwise might not have, which, by your assessment, means you have fomented fears of vaccination, making you, perhaps unwittingly, “Anti-vaccine.”


  4. Rene Najera says:

    Seth, it’s not “anti-vaccine” anymore. You don’t want to hurt feelings by calling them that. Call them by their new moniker of “pro-100%-safe-100%-effective vaccine”.

  5. Matt Carey says:

    Mr. Mnookin,

    The answer to your question is likely very mundane.

    Mr Kirby wrote his piece. He then submitted it to HuffPo and published it on his blog at the same time. Huffpo’s editors took a while to approve it, so it appeared there after your criticism.

    Mr. Kirby has at least once published a piece on one blog and had it later show up on HuffPo.

    Simple crossposting with a built in delay from the editors.

    It’s possible.

  6. John Stone says:


    Why would you want to stop someone else reporting – what is the objection if the information is accurate?

  7. Kirby may be accurate in his details, but he’s misleading.

  8. If there was any question that you are not a real journalist, I think this answers it.

    When the White House decided it was going to give interviews to CBS, ABC, NBC and CNN, while cutting out Fox News, the other four networks refused to participate in the press event unless Fox was included. Those networks do not like Fox and they are regularly beat in the ratings by Fox, but they backed Fox, which they hate, over a President, who they love, because they understand that censorship is the worst enemy of journalism and a free society. They knew how dangerous prescient the White House was attempting to set, and they did not allow them to do it.

    They practiced real journalism.

  9. John Stone says:


    Seth ought to be able to answer for himself, moreover we can argue about who is misleading. Indeed, we could even talk in a civilised manner about what the information means, but if as you say the information is accurate then it is certainly misleading not to report it at all if you are supposed to be an authority on the history of the matter as in Seth’s case, or a self proclaimed news source in yours.

    It might also be mentioned in your case that you are a public relations professional, although admittedly we do not know for certain whether you are being paid to make out a case about autism and alleged vaccine safety.

    That said, while I am glad you confirm that David Kirby’s information is accurate, I am sure everyone would be much more interested to hear Seth’s response than yours.

  10. John Stone says:


    If David Kirby’s information is accurate – as ANB says – but you don’t want him to be able to report it, who is the propagandist?

  11. Dyson says:

    John, the information might be accurate, but as ANB said, it is quite misleading.

    If there is an article on the treatment of meningitis, and I deliberately start to expound on the risks of penicillin anaphylaxis and how life-threatening it may be, then I am being accurate, but quite misleading by generating irrational and disproportionate concern about it, without any application of any clinical perspective or significance. That’s propagandist.

  12. Pingback: Has the Huffington Post embraced science & closed the door on anti-vaccine quackery? | The Panic Virus