Green Island Letters



The bizarre and scary measles witch hunt of 2015 Part V
- my response to the Ombudsman re the response of Ms Moroz to original complaint

Mar 31 2015

TO Esther Enkin CBC Ombudsman, ombudsman@cbc.ca

From Dave Patterson

re email - complaint to CBC Ombudsman re Current show Feb 8 2015 on measles vaccinations CC JENNIFER MOROZ jennifer.moroz@cbc.ca

Dear Ms Enkin,
I received a reply about this complaint from Ms Moroz last week, and it does not, in my view, provide an 'acceptable' response to my criticisms of the show in question. I am going to have to ask you to make a decision of some kind on this matter - my original complaint still stands: The show was dishonest in various serious ways, and behaved in other various ethically reprehensible ways in its treatment of one of its guests, who, any impartial listening would suggest, was/is a quiet and sincere, softly spoken, polite, non-confrontational Canadian woman very obviously having no idea she was going to be 'eviscerated' (in the words of one Ottawa columnist, although Ms Moroz prefers the word 'corrected') the way she was by Ms Tremonti. In the end, the episode quite clearly seriously breached quite a number of CBC 'standards' as expressed on your journalism standards webpage, and was pretty contrary to what I would think of as normal Canadian standards of simple decency and civility and honesty and fairness Canadians should, and used to, expect from and show to one another, and hear on their national broadcaster, and should be central to how the CBC hosts behave. And notwithstanding Ms Moroz's protests, I think the case is also pretty clear that Ms Tremonti was, indeed, bullying Ms Tindall throughout, which is just not something we should be hearing a well-known CBC host of a popular program doing to a Canadian citizen asked on the show to express her opinion on a matter of national controversy.

I understand these are serious charges, for which I think serious recompenses ought to be offered. Let me see if I can make my 'case' clear for you, Ms Ombudsman, based on the response I received recently from Ms Jennifer Moroz and her defence of my accusations. It is evident Ms Moroz sees things differently than do I, or at least, acting as a 'defence attorney' responding to serious allegations against her client, or show, wants others to see them differently, but I have no doubt that any 'impartial jury' reviewing the show with an open and impartial mind could not seriously challenge anything I say in my complaint. I would not normally push this kind of thing beyond the initial complaint and response, whether or not I found the response acceptable, but in my opinion this was a very serious breach of any kind of acceptable conduct on the part of a CBC host, and a serious offence against an apparently decent Canadian citizen who was quite clearly set up for a hatchet job by the CBC she assuredly did not deserve, and I am writing about this one more time because I still believe this offence was so serious that it really needs to be acknowledged, so there is some 'deterrent' effect against anyone planning similar things in the future and the CBC doesn't get itself on a slippery slope leading towards some kind of American attack/ambush radio which is the complete antithesis of what a lot of us at least expect from the CBC, and which will be ever harder to recover from. An apology is owing to Ms Tindall for the way she was treated on this show, and further, given the dishonesty throughout this segment as it very unfairly attacked the 'anti vaxxer' position and portrayed it very unfairly through an obviously prejudiced host beating down an ineffective spokesperson who in no way was able to present her case clearly due to her inability to stand up to the endless bullying of Ms Tremonti, they have an obligation to rectify this dishonest presentation by carrying a followup segment giving someone more able to deal with Ms Tremonti's challenges than was Ms Tindall a chance to explain why so many people have serious, and legitimate, concerns about this measles vaccination program.

Really, I just want the CBC to do what the CBC itself claims it does on your 'standards' page, which says, in various places, '...On issues of controversy, we ensure that divergent views are reflected respectfully...', '..We do not promote any particular point of view on matters of public debate...' (!!!!!), '..We are committed to reflecting accurately the range of experiences and points of view of all citizens..' - all of which were very seriously breached in this show, (esp the bit about 'not promoting any particular point of view'!!!), and really require both apologies and rectification.

Also on the 'standards' page they say - 'The office of the Ombudsman reviews our practices against the standards set out in these policies..' - and this is what I am requesting you to do, Ms Ombudsman. I understand your first action was necessary, to send my complaint to Ms Moroz for her comments, and now she has replied, and as noted I found her reply completely unsatisfactory, so I am sorry to take your time, I am sure you are very busy, but as noted, I do believe this situation is serious enough to take to the level of asking you to judge that Current episode, and of course Ms Moroz's response against my original complaint, and really the actions of Ms Tremonti on that segment against your own 'standards' - I really don't think you can find any way to deny the truth of what I am saying about the dishonesty, unfairness, incivility, and bullying that was evident throughout the show, all very, very contrary to your expressed 'standards', and to the things we have some kind of right to expect from the CBC, even in these somewhat dark days.

Here is a 'summary' of some of the major 'charges':

  • Dishonesty:
    • - false advertising
    • - prejudicial labeling
    • - prejudicial framing
    • - dishonest presentation of severity of the disease
    • - dishonest presentation/exclusion of 'evidence'
    • - dishonest use of 'science'
    • - dishonestly claiming 'our' anecdotes are science, but 'yours' are inadmissible because they're 'not science'
  • Unfair
    • - constantly challenging one guest to 'prove' everything, no challenges at all of the other guest, even when she made grossly exaggerated claims
    • - giving an exaggerated view of the severity of the disease, and refusing to allow the other guest to talk about how it is actually mild in most cases
    • - in a program advertised as a 'chance for two people to give their views', having the experienced, prepared host take over as 'prosecutor', attacking one of the guests, frequently denying her a right to express her ideas fully, while supporting the other guest, asking her sympathetic questions and allowing her to say even wildly inaccurate things without challenge
    • - obviously planning ahead of time that this show would be supporting the 'pro vax' side, and inviting a guest who was obviously not warned of this, and who was equally obviously not well equipped to stand up to Ms Tremonti's interrogation and present her case clearly and effectively - an honest and fair show would have advertised itself honestly as a challenge to those who questioned the vaccination program, and invited a guest to defend it who was ready and competent to do so.
  • Bullying - a strong, confident well-known public figure used to managing conversations and aggressive interviewing using her 'authority' to intimidate a quiet, respectful, non-assertive citizen whose views she does not agree with and ensure that person's ideas do not get an honest airing - blatant bullying

I will explain all of these in some more detail, as 'yes you did, no I didn't, did so!!, etc' is not very helpful, but before I proceed to the details, I would first note two things that should 'inform' your consideration of my personal complaints about the show:

First, I was not the only one who heard this segment as a rather brutal attack on Ms Tindall - the column from the Ottawa Citizen a day or two after the segment aired that I think I told you about was positively exulting at the way Ms Tremonti 'eviscerated' Ms Tindall - http://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/how-to-talk-to-anti-vaxxers - and obviously a lot of people heard it the same way, they even played a few of these 'well done!' responses on the Thursday 'look at the mail day' show that week - and if someone uses the term 'eviscerate', it is pretty clearly not referring to a mild 'well done old chap!' conversation of some kind ... 'evisceration' is a pretty brutal process, generally speaking, including metaphorically ... but, I stress again, not something you expect on the CBC, generally speaking (where '..We seek out the truth in all matters of public interest..', '..we treat individuals and organizations with openness and respect..', and etc ..), or that we should tolerate, especially directed towards a victim very evidently lured to the studio under false pretenses (which I am sure is an accusation you are objecting to already, and I'll have more to say about this shortly), a heretic lured into the lion's den for some public spanking for not obediently recanting their heresy and accepting the True Faith when ordered to do so by the Cdn media .. can we imagine Gzowski 'eviscerating' someone he invited on to his show??? I think not - different times, certainly ... the deeper phenomenon this show is an example of, of the decreasing civility in this country the last few years in public debates like this, is another worrying trend that the CBC might do well to have a look at - including their role in it, as exemplified, for example, by this very interview ...

- and Second - Please note clearly here - I am not questioning the oft-used 'aggressive interview' style 'per se' that Ms Tremonti and other experienced program hosts often use in dealing with controversial public figures - there are times when this is an appropriate approach by an experienced interviewer to a public figure who has a controversial opinion to try to get to some 'truth', a figure who is knowingly appearing at an interview for the publicity, perhaps trying to present his own spin on something, expecting hard questions and being used to dealing with such questions as they defend their position, and can be both informative and entertaining. BUT - this aggressive style should NOT be used, at least on the CBC, to essentially ambush a guest invited on to the show under apparently false pretenses, a guest not normally in the public light and NOT used to dealing with aggressive interrogation and challenges about her beliefs on a public radio or tv program, and (again, very apparently) not warned ahead of time she would be subjected to such an attack and should have her facts and proofs well prepared. This is, I would suggest, very unethical, and something the CBC should not be involved with or condone. (again, I am sure you will protest this idea of 'not warned' - I will have more to say later about it)

Let me briefly review a few of the more egregious examples of the way the CBC standards were breached on this show - I could do a very lengthy 'deconstruction' essay, as almost every interaction by Ms Tremonti with Ms Tindall was either breaching directly one of your standards, or pushing hard against them, but I don't really have the time right now, and I'm sure you don't either - but just a few of the more serious points should be more than enough to 'convict' the accused here (if you want more details, of course, about anything I say here you feel isn't well enough explained, or anything else, I would be happy to provide additional comments ...)

CBC Standards Breached 1: Dishonesty

DIS 1: This show was pre-advertised as 'pro-vaxxer and anti-vaxxer make their cases', but the show was barely underway when it became obvious it was actually a show supporting the 'pro-vax' position, through an attack by an experienced journalist used to aggressive questioning and controlling and 'managing' the course of an interview on a person who was very obviously not prepared for the endless 'challenges' (or 'corrections' is Ms Moroz's preferred interpretation, but I'll have a bit more on that ongoing) to almost everything she said, and almost as obviously the kind of quiet, polite person not really able to defend herself against this aggressive attack by an experienced journalist used to 'hardball interviews' very, very apparently on a victim in no way forewarned of the attack - something in the nature of an experienced, forceful teacher standing up a difficult student who keeps asking hard questions in class and beating them down verbally in front of the other students to teach them not to question their superiors, or something similar. There wasn't even a hint of 'fairness' in the way the whole segment was conducted, advertised simply as 'two people presenting their cases', but then with Ms Tremonti quickly emerging as the well-prepared and aggressive 'advocate' for one side, challenging pretty much everything one guest said on her 'witness stand' and then moving on to the next well-prepared question without giving the 'witness' time to think or respond to the unexpected attacks/'challenges' or question Ms Tremonti in return - and then feeding the other guest 'softball questions' and allowing her pretty much complete freedom to say what she wanted challenge-free. An 'honest' pre-show advertisement would have been much more along the lines of 'The Current puts an anti-vaxxer on the hot seat, and challenges her unscientific beliefs and why she doesn't care about the health of other people in her country' or something, relating to:

DIS 1b: Obviously there is no 'confession' about this from anyone, but the 'prima facie' evidence is in the neighborhood of 100% that Ms Tindall was not honestly briefed about the plan as noted above for this show before agreeing to appear - she did not seem the kind of person who wanted to be, or was prepared to be, in the serious 'gloves off' hot seat responding to the aggressive 'challenges' about this controversy that Ms Tremonti continually confronted her with. I really think, Ms Ombudsman, considering the way that Ms Tindall was treated, and her apparent unpreparedness and inability to defend herself properly against Ms Tremonti's segment-long aggressive questioning that is very easy to see as bullying, you need to contact Ms Tindall and ask her about this. The show was advertised as 'pro- and anti-vaxxers make their cases', as if it was nothing different than sitting down with a neighbor at a kitchen table and having a conversation - if she was indeed invited on to the show under such false pretenses, without a full warning about the way Ms Tremonti planned to assume the role of 'lawyer for the pro-vax side', and let the other guest say anything she wanted, while aggressively questioning Ms Tindall with 'prove everything you say or it's not true!!' questions, that indeed this would be a kind of serious debate between Ms Tremonti and Ms Tindall with the other guest mainly a 'friendly witness' for Ms Tremonti's prosecution - that would be a very, very serious ethical breach on the part of the Current - and the 'prima facie' evidence leads one very strongly to this suspicion.

DIS 2: The very term 'anti-vaxxer' is both derogatory and simply dishonest, and although it is of course widely used by those attacking anyone who does not agree with their 'everyone needs to get vaccinated!!' program, the CBC should not be using this kind of term, which is, as noted, simply dishonest, and also uncivil and prejudicial, tactics the CBC should not be engaging in, in any seriously controversial matter in the county. Ms Tremonti didn't even try to clarify this point for whatever reason, but Ms Tremonti never asked Ms Tindall if she was against measles vaccinations for all children (there were a lot of things Ms Tindall did not have a chance to explain in any depth, as Ms Tremonti controlled the interview throughout), which she apparently wasn't, or against all vaccinations, which was not even asked, both of which would need to be true to term someone (truthfully) an actual 'anti-vaxxer'. Like most non-simple situations, which the measles vaccine controversy certainly is, there are many facets to the issue, and this one does not lend itself to the kind of simple derogatory term which is so useful for inciting mobs or marginalizing a demonized group, and an honest framing or presentation of this situation would be something much closer to "Ms Tindall, like many others, does not agree that the measles is a serious enough disease, in Canada in 2015, to require everyone to get a vaccination against it.', rather than the loaded and dishonest 'Ms Tindall is an anti-vaxxer' slur. Of course, one suspects that everyone pushing the vaccination program well sees the danger of getting into that more nuanced debate, so 'framing' these people incorrectly as simplistic 'anti-vaxxers' is a much easier straw-dog demon to create and shoot down. But it is very dishonest, and the CBC is not supposed to be, and should not be, engaging in this kind of lowest-common-denominator dishonesty in a controversial debate. Read over the 'standards' and think about how many of them this derogatory, false term breaches. (you might find some information on 'propaganda' in general also, and see where this kind of 'simplistic negative framing' thing fits in there ...)

DIS 3: To tease this out specifically as a 3rd point of serious dishonesty, this entire debate is dishonestly framed, after the highly dishonest and misleading 'anti vaxxer' slur. The basic position of the 'pro vaxxers' (at least as far as I can make it out, I don't think they ever lay out any clear position) seems to be that the measles is very dangerous, the measles vaccine is very safe, so you really need to get this vaccination, there is no good reason not to get vaccinated, to help prevent some large number of deaths and worse in our country! But. But that is false framing, very false in some important ways, with some scientific 'truth' at the core, and then some very unscientific opinion and fear-mongering layered around it, trying, I suppose, to include the opinion and fear-mongering in the 'scientific' envelope of 'the vaccine is safe (therefore everything else we say is scientific too!, which certainly seemed to be Ms Tremonti's general approach)', and fooling the simple minded into believing the fear mongering and opinion without examining it closely (Ms Moroz noted in her response that they believe at the CBC their audience is susceptible to such things, not that well equipped for critical thinking, and they think that their audience will believe whatever the CBC or guests appearing thereon tell them, thus Ms Tremonti's need to 'correct' people like Ms Tindall when Ms Tremonti noted her saying something Ms Tremonti believed to be not factual) - an old con-artist 'bait and switch' kind of trick. Yes, the vaccine is pretty much accepted as safe and effective - but that is where the real, verified 'science' and 'fact' end, and a big area very legitimately opens up for discussion about things around this fact.

Because, most importantly, there is no serious and 'hard' scientific evidence that the disease is actually significantly dangerous ***to the generally healthy Canadian population****, dangerous enough to warrant a population-wide vaccination program or incite mass anger at those with questions about the vaccination, and that is where Ms Tremonti and so many others are being very dishonest, and Ms Tindall, and many others out here, want more information, an open and honest discussion of the various things other than 'but the vaccine is safe!!' surrounding the demand that everyone get vaccinated, to get some better clarity on this before getting a vaccination that might have a low rate of potential complications, but still does have scientifically well documented, not argued cases of serious consequences, and added to the fact that there is no evidence at all that not getting the measles vaccine is going to have any significant danger for the average healthy Canadian. There is simply no serious 'scientific' evidence that a few cases of measles in Canada means that a large number of people could die, or suffer one of the other serious sequelae such as brain damage that are talked about, if we don't all run down to the nearest clinic and get vaccinated - and attempting to create the impression this is a disease that could kill or seriously injure a very large number of people if we don't all get vaccinated is simply dishonest, and definitely very **not** scientific. And it is very much NOT part of the mandate of the CBC to encourage this kind of mindless fear, a mandate and standards which, as I must note again, is '..to inform, to reveal, to contribute to the understanding of issues of public interest and to encourage citizens to participate in our free and democratic society.' Fear-mongering and attacking people with questions about some proposed policies are not part of that definition.

I am sure you are seriously resisting what I am saying, and this is going to require a bit of unpacking, as it always takes more words to shine some truthful or nuanced light on the deception or falsity of some popular misperception, especially one promoted vigorously by the media most people trust, than it does to go around shouting the slogan and getting people believing things they shouldn't believe in the first place, but it is important here, in order to clearly see the injustice done to Ms Tindall, and the way so many CBC standards were seriously breached, as Ms Tremonti continually insisted that 'science' supported everything she was saying and it was her job (as Ms Moroz tells us in her response) not to let the 'unscientific' claims or 'untruths' of Ms Tindall stand and deceive her listeners. But what if Ms Tremonti was not justified in her continual insistences that 'science' supported her, and Ms Tindall had 'no science' so was just wrong in her beliefs? What if, indeed, Ms Tremonti was simply wrong in many of her assertions, and was very unjustly trying to declare Ms Tindall wrong on what was not 'science' at all, but simply, at best, Ms Tremonti's opinion about what science was saying or not saying - a somewhat ironic, and highly unjust, reversal of one of Ms Tremonti's 'coup de grace' statements near the end to Ms Tindall, that she is welcome to her opinions, but not her facts? What if these words were even more applicable to Ms Tremonti herself, as she uses her bully pulpit to claim the support of a 'science' she did not really have for her opinions, against a guest on her show who was not ready or able to defend herself but who had a right to her opinions as much as Ms Tremonti did or does? (We do all understand that 'might does not make right', I hope, and the fact that Ms Tremonti, the well-experienced interviewer defending a position obviously she believed in was able to verbally outduel a rather meek and ineffective opponent does not make her 'right' about what she was saying? Facts are facts, and science is science, and the fact is - in this show, Ms Tremonti was claiming a lot of the support of 'science' she did not actually have, and which was a very dishonest way to run the show.)

Unfortunately, it takes a few more words to explain why she was wrong than her various 'Science is not on your side, Ms Tindall' declarations took to make. But if you are interested in truth and justice, Ms Ombudsman, and the integrity of the CBC, and some wider related issues, you must consider these things in a little more depth, and with considerably more honesty, than the Current did.

What is 'science' here and what is not? - Part I
There is one and only one relatively uncontroversial 'fact' in this discussion - the measles vaccine is quite safe and effective, and the chances of getting some serious complication from it are rare. Most people you call 'anti-vaxxers' don't deny this. And this is **not** what the resistance to the 'must get vaccinated!!' program is all about for most people with questions - it is a secondary or derived concern only, and it is very dishonest of people pushing the 'pro-vax' side to try to pretend this is the only or major area of contention.

But although there is little question about the 'science' proving the vaccine is quite safe and effective - there is pretty much zero 'scientific evidence' that the measles itself is a highly dangerous disease **in a modern country like Canada**, and thus the push to get everyone vaccinated is, without much more compelling evidence, a quite vast media-created over-reaction to a relatively minor (**in Canada**) potential problem. In order to make their case, the people pushing the 'all people must vaccinate!!' program have an obligation to provide evidence that the disease represents a serious threat **in modern Canada** to justify their demands, yet they never do, they never really try, they seem to think their fear-mongering is 'proof' enough - and shows for actually intelligent and engaged citizens on the CBC such as the Current is supposed to be should be standing tall and calm and trying to get some better information concerning such things rather than mindlessly leaping on the 'The Sky is Falling Get Your Vaccination You Stupid Anti Vaxxers!!!!' bandwagon, not only fear-mongering itself but actually trying to silence questioning voices, instead of examining the actual situation calmly and rationally to give it good perspective. (as, I might note again, your 'standards' assure us you do, but ......)

Let me briefly do what the CBC should have done - indeed, according to your own standards had an obligation to do ('..We seek out the truth in all matters of public interest. We invest our time and our skills to learn, understand and clearly explain the facts to our audience. ..' !!!! wow ... seem to have missed that bit when considering how to present the show I am complaining about!! (of course, as I note here, they missed pretty much all the other 'standards' too ..) - check things out as any prudent person would do - when chicken Little starts running around and screaming about the sky is falling, the first reaction of the prudent citizen, let alone the prudent, experienced, watchful journalist aware that 'looking for the story behind the story' should always be a first priority, should be to verify Mr Little's story before joining the panic (actually, of course, the adult citizen or journalist doesn't panic at all, they just try to calmly decide what is the best course of action in the circumstances, which should usually first be getting a clear picture of what is actually happening before deciding on any course of action - more than a bit disappointing to see the CBC so dead set against any investigation of the 'let's panic now!!' claims of others). In particular at this time about this story, the first and major unanswered question we need to look at is to establish just what level of actual danger we might be in from a few cases of measles being reported in Canada and a few people expressing their unwillingness to get vaccinated against this disease because, they feel, it is not a serious danger to them - is this potentially going to lead to some great number of deaths if immediate action is not taken, or is it a relatively minor public health issue and all the semi-hysteria more just another media 'part of the spectacle' creation than actual danger? Given that measles has more or less been completely off the radar for decades now, at least in Canada, this sudden urgency and claims of great danger seem a bit odd, to say the least, coming out of nowhere as they seem to have done. Do a few reported cases here and there justify widespread near-panic and outrage at a few people with some questions about the 'get your vaccination now!!' commands emerging from the media, or is there something else going on here? The truly curious journalist asks questions like this, and does not jump on bandwagons making up stories about the emperor's great new clothes along with everyone on the bandwagon. At least they used to.

{{Just for a bit of perspective before we go on: How 'dangerous' is 'dangerous'?? Do we have anything to compare the measles stories with? - well, ebola is dangerous - http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/ - WHO: '..The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks...' now that's seriously dangerous, and would definitely warrant some widespread concern and action if a few cases turned up in Canada, especially if they claimed there was no danger or something and wanted to be free to wander around our streets. But the measles? Not really - let's have a little *calm* look around .... }}

Ms Moroz provided some 'context' in her response, which seems to be part of the standard spiel of most of the more strident pro-vaxxers, who like to tell us that, according to the 'world gold standard of health' CDC, 2-3 people per 1000 will die from measles if they contract it, and somewhere between 150-200 thousand die each year from the disease. Sounds pretty serious, but the context is missing some context. First we might note that that second figure is a worldwide figure, and it should be obvious enough that a person getting a disease like the measles in some 3rd world undeveloped country with high poverty and malnutrition is far, far more likely to die or suffer serious consequences from a disease like the measles than a person in a modern country like Canada - and if we check the WHO info (again pretty much as 'world class' as anyone, I don't think we would find any 'pro-vaxxers' claiming the WHO was some kind of internet crank) admits that '.. The overwhelming majority (more than 95%) of measles deaths occur in countries with low per capita incomes and weak health infrastructures...' ( http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs286/en/ ) - so now we have something under 10,000 deaths (5% x 200,000) worldwide per year in 'developed' countries like Canada - all deaths are tragic for someone, of course, but is this something we need to be doing a 'chicken little' act about in Canada when there are reports of a few dozen or even a couple of hundred more or less isolated cases? Does this worldwide figure justify the demonization and mass almost-hysteria the media is stirring up because a few people don't want to get vaccinated in a country with a very low level of disease and already high level of vaccination and healthy population much less susceptible to serious problems from this disease than in less developed countries which are the basis of the stats? Hmmm - at the very least, that would certainly seem to me to be something some public discussion would be justified about, between those who seem very fearful and think you should be forced to be vaccinated or suffer serious consequences, and those who think the low level of risk of getting the measles in the first place, followed by the low risk of complications if you do get the measles, does not justify getting a vaccination with a risk, low though it may be, of equally serious consequences.

And the figure of 1-3 people dying per 1000 cases, that also seems somewhat exaggerated, as I and many others recall a childhood in which measles was a common childhood disease, and nobody panicked when it was 'going around' - and a bit of reading of some more modern studies checking that figure tells us 1 per 10,000 is a much more probable number ( http://www.riskscience.umich.edu/risk-dying-catch-measles/ (the 1-2/1000 figure is deaths from *reported* cases, but very obviously not all cases of anything not serious get reported, and it is very possible most cases of the measles in earlier times were not reported - whatever, this is not 'cranks' talking, just some more information that should be on the table as we actually try to figure out what level of danger we are all actually in, before we start demanding some people get medical treatments they do not want - we might also note this person writes from a 'pro-vax' position, making the point that honesty is better in the long run, in terms of 'trust', which is a very good point, as many people who want more information about starting some kind of 'enforced' vaccination are suspicious of what they are being told by the pro-side ... for reasons that the show I complained about makes clear enough - a very dishonest presentation of what 'facts' you have, a refusal to talk rationally about questions, etc)) - again, any death is serious, but is the danger in Canada serious enough to warrant a full compulsory vaccination program? Whatever figure you want, 1 in one thousand or ten thousand - how many people get the measles each year in Canada, how many people die per year? - why don't the pro-vax side have these up-to-date relevant figures for Canada, if they are so sure of their position, and have such 'scientific information' to support them? At the very least, in any setting where getting to some kind of 'most probable truth' was the objective, we would spend a bit of time going over the various claims of the CDC and others relying on their data, and the ideas of this writer (Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Michigan), and other related data, and seeing if we could come to some accepted figure of what the actual risk of death is here in Canada, once you become one of that very small number who do catch the measles. What I (and many others like Ms Tindall) want to know is - how dangerous is the measles in a modern, developed country like Canada? - just show me that there is a 'clear and present danger' that justifies this big compulsory vaccination program you are demanding, why can't you do that? - and no matter how often I ask this question, I never get any kind of clear and direct answer beyond the non-Cdn stats above, which, as I have shown, are considerably exaggerated in terms of showing any big danger in Canada, and of course when someone trying to sell me something absolutely refuses to answer some pretty important questions, what else can that do but to make me even more suspicious that somebody is trying to sell me something under false pretences? - the old 'bait and switch' trick common to used-car salesmen and other shysters (lots of kids die in Africa - we have to get vaccinated in Canada!! Don't ask questions, just get down to the clinic before we all start dying!!! - sorry, some of us have been fooled before, now we ask questions ... ).

There is, right from the beginning for someone just starting to read about this controversy, and actually thinking about what she or he is being told, rather than leaping on the bandwagon offered by the media, some very important contextual information missing from this 'the measles is so dangerous and the vaccine can save us all but we're all in danger if the stupid anti-vaxxers won't get vaccinated!!!' media monolog-aka-'discussion' - actually, if the fears of those pushing the vaccination are justified, some very mysterious missing information, one immediately thinks of Holmes and his dog barking (not!) in the night, it is so revelatory. For if the measles really is that dangerous even in a modern country like Canada, and the vaccine so effective in preventing deaths - where is the obvious evidence proving this, that should be easily available in Canada with modern public health records, indeed it is quite remarkable it is not front and center in these discussions - which would be a chart of say the years 1900 to 2000, with a couple of simple lines tracing the numbers of measles cases, deaths, and serious sequelae by year during this time - and then with a line showing when the measles vaccine was introduced, and, assuming your insinuations are correct about the great toll measles could have if it got loose in Canada, and the great saving power of the vaccine, the dramatic drop off in all 3 stats following that line? Assuming there is the big drop in measles cases and deaths after the introduction of the vaccine, your case would be pretty much unassailable that even a modern country like Canada 'needs' to keep vaccinated, and since very early on when I got interested in this story and started adding my voice to the 'what the heck is the urgency here??' side of the discussion I have wondered why nobody is showing such a chart to pretty much prove the 'pro vaxxer' case beyond argument - this chart (you should be able to say) proves beyond doubt it was a serious disease with significant mortality in Canada before the vaccine was introduced, and the vaccine had a dramatic impact on this death rate, and if we don't maintain almost universal vaccination it could become very deadly again, and so you silly anti-vaxxers should just shut up and get your shot, science has proven our case beyond doubt!

Of course, if, as seems to be the actual case from what I can find on the net, measles deaths had dropped to almost nothing a decade *before* the introduction of the vaccine in Canada - then the opposite would happen, your exasperated demand that "all you stupid anti-vaxxer people get the vaccine or we're all in great danger!" would face some very serious questions (including why is the Cdn media en masse trying to raise such hysteria over a relatively non-dangerous disease - have you just not done your 'due diligence' as 'journalists' and found some verifiable Canadian information before spreading panic and division among Cdns, or do you have some other motive?), which you wouldn't really have any good answers for. Regardless, such a graph would be very obviously included in any true 'context of issue' story, and considering all the public health people pushing this 'get vaccinated!!!' story, and experienced media people and their research capability, the fact there is no such graph pretty much leads to only one conclusion - there are no such data proving 'clear and present danger', just some massive selling job going on here, trying to turn a very low-level public health concern into a national panic, with no real evidence available of the actual 'urgency' of the situation here in Canada. (There are various graphs from the US, all showing that measles deaths had dropped to very small numbers well before the introduction of the vaccine, you could find easily using Google if interested).) (and I might note this information applies equally to the people who respond to the query about low death rates for measles the last lot of years by saying, well of course the vaccine is effective so there have been low death rates since the 60s when it was introduced - but if the death rates were very low before the vaccine was introduced ... well, why don't the public health people just produce the chart and let it speak for itself??)

- based on the 1 death in 10,000 figure for measles, which seems much more credible in the light of our personal experience in Canada and the lack of any real data from here, how realistic is the 'clear and present danger!!' assumption that seems to underlie the demands that anti-vaxxers quit protesting and get the shot to save others if they don't care about themselves? Again, not a whisper of 'hard data' to be had - In Canada last year we had X measles cases, in Canada during the last decade we had Y cases, in this year or some group of years we had Z deaths and A cases of serious complications - absolutely not a whisper of hard evidence no matter how I beg and prod those who seem primarily interested in name-calling - and there can only be one reason for that, there is no hard evidence to be had that would add to the desire of those pushing the vaccination program to have everyone believe that there is some 'clear and present' danger, and any release of such data would more likely lead to questions about 'Why is everyone panicing over a disease with such low risks?'. More questions could be asked - for example, are all Cdns who get the disease at equal risk, or are some people, such as Ms Olsheshki's immuno-compromised baby, at higher risk (and thus most Cdns at even lower risk than 1 in 10,000)? It is a difficult thing for such people, of course, but at what point do we, with full information, decree that 'X people are at risk in Canada - maybe only 10 or 100 - therefore all Canadians must have the vaccination, regardless of their personal objections? Or yet again - since most Canadians are willingly vaccinated, and many others immune naturally from having had the disease, there is virtually negligible risk of any 'epidemic' which would endanger many people, so exactly what is the problem with a few people not wanting the vaccination? Why can't we leave them alone, other than in certain clear cases - i.e. to help qualm the fears of people like Ms Olsheshki, we could have certain days when people without a measles vaccination will be asked not to attend certain clinics, or we will not allow them to travel to certain countries until they have had the vaccination, and etc? I don't want to make a list, I am just suggesting that some well-focused measures like this might make a lot more sense than this demonization of those people who, for whatever reasons, do not feel the risk is great enough to them personally to justify this vaccination, and such policies might well be the result of a more honest and informed discussion of this issue. And why is the CBC not asking these questions, and behaving like its standards suggest it should be?

I note again - I am sorry for taking so much space, but it seems to be one of the basic tenets of the pro-vax crowd, which the CBC is obviously part of, that the measles represents some kind of great threat - but although the actual science indicates that the measles can indeed kill some people and cause some serious problems in others - whether the level of deaths and serious sequelae, or potential thereof, **in Canada** represents a 'great threat' justifying the demand for everyone to get vaccinated, or is actually a relatively minor threat which less authoritarian measures could deal with quite adequately, is very much opinion, and Ms Tremonti, and others, have no right to assert their *opinion* 'has the backing of science', when it surely does not. As Ms Tremonti notes later, you are welcome to your opinions, but not your facts.

DIS 4: Whatever the actual danger of catching measles, it is simply fact that for most people it is *not* going to result in death or serious sequelae, and to talk about this disease as if it is probably going to affect you, if you get it, in very serious ways is simply dishonest. Yet from the very opening of the segment, it seems it is Ms Tremonti's purpose to make her listeners believe that catching the measles is a very high risk proposition. She begins by telling her listeners 'what is at stake' - and gives two stories of two people who had some serious problems following contracting the measles, and then she brings on her first guest, Ms Olsheshki, who says "....measles is not a little fever and a little cough, it's horrible, it's high fevers up to a hundred and four, and febrile seizures, and encephalitis, and all these things that comes (sic) along with it ..' Ms Tremonti soon begins her interview with Ms Tindall, who tries to explain that she does not believe measles is that dangerous to her children, and Ms Tremonti responds with another 'clip' of another case of someone who suffered serious consequences from measles. Ms Tremonti seems very determined that any discussion about how the measles has the severe consequences she talks about only in a very small percent of cases will not be allowed - it is her obvious intention to create the impression in her listeners that the measles is, as noted, and as Ms Olsheshki very incorrectly was allowed to assert, a very high risk disease for everyone - which is simply untrue, and dishonest. From your own 'measles information' website - "..Symptoms of measles can begin seven to 18 days after exposure and initially include fever, cough, runny nose, sleepiness, irritability and red eyes. A red blotchy rash that develops on the face and spreads down the body appears three to seven days later..." - and this is the case for the great majority of people in a modern country full of pretty healthy-to-begin-with people like Canada, and it was very, very dishonest of Ms Tremonti not to allow Ms Tindall to get this information into the discussion, and to honestly acknowledge it. And again shows that Ms Tremonti was completely dedicated to guiding this 'exchange of views' in one direction only - any impartial interviewer would have a duty to make it clear that the measles is a generally non-fatal, non-serious disease - although a very small number of people suffer serious effects, by far the great majority do not. That she not only failed to get this information out, but actually turned the conversation in another direction when Ms Tindall obviously wanted to talk about this, is in contravention of every 'standard' you mention on your page. WSE 2: - a note re the reference above - I am well aware that any time somebody says there is some k

ind of research questioning the 'science' of the pro-vaxxers, they pretty much automatically dismiss the study unread as 'unscientific' (as Ms Tremonti does throughout - note near the end, around 17 minutes, she laughs dismissively when Ms Tindall says she has read something - 'But you've admitted what you read is not scientific..' - which is not only bullying, it is not even true, we have no idea what Ms Tindall read, as Ms Tremonti never asked her, or gave her an opportunity to tell us - early in the show, as noted above, Ms Tremonti just challenged Ms Tindall about the 'anecdotes' (longer discussion in the next section), got her to agree with Ms Tremonti that her anecdotes were 'not scientific research', and then seems to have decided that thus nothing Ms Tindall had read or done was 'scientific', without even asking what she had read - more serious dishonesty on her part). Just how honest is it, Ms Ombudsman, to have an attitude of, essentially, any studies that support our position we will call science, and any studies you refer to that disagree with our position we will simply dismiss unread categorically as unscientific and say we don't have to look at them and science supports our position!? - there are many legitimate studies out there by many legitimate people questioning many aspects of the 'pro-vax' position, including much insightful and intelligent and very relevant commentary - it is completely invalid and simply dishonest to simply say you don't have to consider anything that disagrees with your personal position - children or 'debaters' trying to win an argument do this when challenged with information they don't want to hear and have an opponent who allows them to get away with it, but it's not the kind of tactic senior CBC hosts should be using to 'score points' in national discussions, with your 'standard' of '..reflecting accurately the range of experiences and points of view of all citizens..', honesty, fairness, etc. An honest presentation of the situation, actually looking for some 'best current state of knowledge' rather than simply trying to bury something she wanted buried, would have asked Ms Tindall to bring in some of the articles or videos she found persuasive, and have a talk about them, perhaps have your own 'medical expert' on hand to comment - but again, however, an issue that would be firmly on the table in any discussion truly examining the validity of the drive to get everyone vaccinated - not simply thrust aside as something we 'don't have to talk about because in our Great Power we simply decree them not scientific'. (one might note in passing that while Ms Tremonti continually refers to 'science', she has no references herself whatsoever, beyond general statements along the lines of 'well, science supports what I say but not what you say' - again, wouldn't an honest debate have some medical expert on hand to discuss the actual 'science' Ms Tremonti claims supports her, with someone from the side that has questions about the science, and other studies to talk about, on hand to point out what they considered problems with the 'science'? How is it that in '...Our mission .. to inform, to reveal, to contribute to the understanding of issues of public interest and to encourage citizens to participate in our free and democratic society..' you prefer emotional stories from people who have had problems, or who have somewhat irrational fears, to make your case, rather than science? It's altogether an interesting approach you have - use emotional stories to get people's sympathies, and then appeal to 'science' as supporting your position, without actually referring clearly to any science at all, or without talking to any actual medical scientist about the actual science ... and then, adding dishonesty and injustice and irony on top, dismissing the 'anti-vaxxer's' fears as irrelevant because they are not, in your opinion, 'science-backed' !! The hypocrisy, and dishonesty, is actually quite stunning when you put it on the table and shine a bit of light on it - and again breaching seriously pretty much every 'standard' you claim to follow. WSE 2a: - and related also - surely you are aware, as journalists aware of what is going on in the w

orld, that in recent years there have been many serious studies questioning the validity of some aspects of modern science, and particularly medical science, due to interference in various ways from the very wealthy and thus powerful pharmaceutical industry trying to hide unfavorable research and promote their drugs in general? I included a short list of some of these in my original complaint, but experienced journalists wishing to explore the issue could find such things easily through the internet. It is, again, completely dishonest to ignore things like this because they throw some doubt on your claims, the action of an advocate for some position wanting to avoid anything casting doubt on your case rather than the actions of someone searching for enlightenment concerning some current controversy. As your standards tell us, '..Our mission is to inform, to reveal, to contribute to the understanding of issues of public interest..' If you were truly promoting any honest discussion about a proposed public health measure involving any drugs, these things questioning the influence the pharmaceutical industry exerts on 'science' in general would have to be on the table - not as any conclusive evidence of anything, just as something pertinent that needs to be considered in the truly informed debate, to help your concerned listeners decide if there is any connection to the drugs in question or not. I have some suspicions, but don't pretend to have any answers, I just know it is a very legitimate concern, and it is not your job to try to hide or refuse to examine anything that might weaken the position you obviously support using the very weak argument that you simply decree anything that disagrees with you as 'nuts on the internet' you don't have to acknowledge - again, that is contrary to your standards in various ways, and good journalism in general, and the interests of the Cdn people you are supposed to be looking out for. Like any matters of true national concern, there are many factors to be considered and weighed, this is a nuanced discussion that should be taking place over time, allowing people to question anything they find unconvincing, as they slowly come to a well-informed, rational, facts-based conclusion about what is going on here in their country, in the light of all evidence. Which is another reason the 'ambush' interview Ms Tremonti conducted on Ms Tindall, a kind of very unbalanced, 'winner take all' contest conducted in a short period of time, very clearly heavily rigged in favor of Ms Tremonti and designed to have one and only one outcome, was very, very unfair, and a very reprehensible, and unethical, thing for the CBC to have done.

WSE 3: The anecdote - science for some, but not for others!! - at the beginning of the show, they started by, they say, hearing from some people who 'know what is at stake', with 3 anecdotes from or about people who suffered some serious complications from measles. A few minutes later, Ms Tindall says she talked to some people personally who had suffered from the vaccination -

{{~ 9 minutes, AM asks DT why she believes what she does, DT says she has done her research, talking with other parents, and made her decisions based on that research - AM says 'what research?' DT says 'oh, a lot - reading, watching videos, talking with people who have had first hand experience with children who have had complications ..' AM - ok, but we're talking anecdotal research, you didn't actually do scientific research? DT 'correct' - and AM moves on.}}}

- but Ms Tremonti was having none of it - when Ms Tindall says she had talked to people who had suffered from the vaccination, Ms Tremonti immediately asks if she had actually done her own 'scientific research', and when Ms Tindall answered 'no', Ms Tremonti informs her that such anecdotes, such 'talking to people' by Ms Tindall, are not 'scientific', so (I guess the implication is), didn't really prove anything and we don't need to hear them, and went on to her next area of interrogation without allowing Ms Tindall to explain any more about who she had talked to, or their stories, or anything else about why she had concerns about the vaccination.

When I noted this very different and very biased treatment of anecdotes in the original complaint, Ms Moroz informed me that they personally at the Current had verified their own stories, so they were not somehow 'anecdotes', but 'scientific', and thus there was no discrimination, since Ms Tindall could not somehow 'scientifically' verify the stories she wanted to tell. Well, I'm afraid that is not even remotely satisfactory, actually it just makes their position even less honest and fair, as this short exchange raises a number of questions that once again show clearly the dishonesty and unfairness of the way this entire show was conducted.

First, what exactly is the 'science' that Ms Tremonti keeps referring to, stating (with no attempt at verifying anything) that whatever she says is 'backed by science', and anything Ms Tindall says is not? It's a good trick if you can get away with it, but not all of us are as susceptible to this kind of 'I'm right and you're wrong because I say so!' trickery as Ms Tindall was, or as willing to be cowed by a famous and very capable radio host. In terms of this 'my anecdotes are ok, yours are 'not scientific' so we don't have to listen to them', do you at the CBC, or the Current, understand there is a fairly wide difference between a journalist 'confirming' some story by a phone call, and 'scientific research'? Ms Tremonti's comments here would indicate not - she seemed to feel that for some reason her anecdotes qualified as 'scientific research', perhaps because the Current's research people made a phone call or two to make sure the people were real people as Ms Moroz informed me later, while Ms Tindall's were not (for unclear reasons - Ms Tremonti never explained to Ms Tindall why the Current's anecdotes were 'scientific' while Ms Tindall's were not, but one can only assume, based on what Ms Moroz later wrote, that they felt that since they had personally confirmed the cases, their information was 'scientific' - which is, of course, simply untrue - a journalist's phone calls are not 'scientific research', even if they talk to someone who says 'Sure, that happened!', or even found out there is some sort of medical record of the case - a 'medical record' is not 'scientific research', and a phone call confirming the existence of a medical record is not 'scientific research' either. I would hope you people understand that, but it would appear not, given what happened on this show. So to accost Ms Tindall by saying the conversations she had with other people were 'unscientific', but (at least implying by contrast) that Ms Tremonti's were 'scientific' because her staff phoned someone, is simply either a falsehood, and/or a bullying tactic to stop Ms Tindall from saying anything contrary to the case Ms Tremonti was building, as Ms Tremonti made no attempt whatsoever to give Ms Tindall a chance to explain herself.

Secondly, more confirmation of the obvious bias and dishonest approach of the show from the beginning, if the Current was going to 'set the scene' by getting in touch with some people who had suffered from the measles and tell their (anecdotal) stories, and they were doing some kind of 'impartial' episode where 'pro' and 'anti' vaxxers present their case - why weren't they in touch with Ms Tindall ahead of time, to find some stories of people who had suffered (even died, Ms Tindall said) from the vaccine itself which they could equally confirm via journalistic phone calls to 'set the scene' equally and impartially from both sides? If they can confirm some anecdotes with a phone call, why couldn't they - why didn't they - at least try to confirm the anecdotes from the other side? You know, that thing in the standards about 'fairness' to all participants, and presenting fairly both sides of a controversy, and things like that? And even if they didn't feel obligated to do Ms Tindall's research for her, they surely had an obligation to inform her ahead of time that she would be expected to have at least the same standards of confirmation of her stories as the Current, since it would be very obvious that some kind of 'anecdotes' were going to play a part from both sides - it is, of course, ridiculously unfair to wait until she gets on the show, and tell her they were going to dismiss her stories because she could not confirm any information by her own phone calls, which she very probably could have done had she been forewarned. Again, this kind of ambush tactic might be fine in US talk radio where everything goes, but for the CBC, which is supposed to be following various standards such as 'fairness', it's just really amateurish, among other things the CBC should not be engaging in, to be playing this kind of game.

DIS 5: But mostly, this bit in the show is, again, very dishonest, and Ms Tremonti obviously uses her position as experienced interviewer to just ride roughshod over a quiet, unprotesting guest wanting to be accommodating and not quarrelsome (a problem obviously not faced by Ms Tremonti) - a guest who obviously had some good points to make, but Ms Tremonti simply did not let her, cutting her off or challenging her with completely false accusations of not being 'scientific', with equally false assertions that she (Ms Tremonti) was telling her the 'scientific' truth. Note at the beginning when Ms Tremonti gives her anecdotal stories to 'set the scene' that measles can have dire consequences - but these anecdotes, 'journalistically confirmed' or otherwise, have nothing whatsoever to do with 'science', other than in the most remote way. Nothing. I am sure the stories are true, I wouldn't accuse them of making them up, you can find 'horror stories' about pretty much anything - but telling some stories is not science, surely you know that, whether 'verified' by a phone call or not? 'Science' would involve going to some actual 'scientific studies', and giving us some 'hard data' - how many cases of measles have there been in Canada in the last year or 5 or 20, how many of these cases resulted in serious sequelae during the same time, as documented in medical research articles published in reputable medical journals? - and etc. (and I might note - going to the CDC website and reading their 'summary' of whatever is NOT 'science', and NOT 'scientific research') Then you can tell your anecdotes if you wanted, which would then have some context, and you would be setting the stage in an at least partially rational rather than wholly emotional way. Likewise Ms Tindall's stories are just as valid as the Current's were - there are many medically verified stories of people suffering problems from the measles vaccine, that could have been entered into the discussion if Ms Tremonti was not so obviously determined to do just the reverse, and keep them out. To what degree Ms Tremonti's are 'significant' risk and Ms Tindall's not is NOT something Ms Tremonti can just declare 'scientific' - it might be her opinion, but as she noted, opinions are not 'facts'.

DOUBLE STANDARD - and let me add another thing here - another aspect of the very obvious bias Ms Tremonti shows throughout the show (remember, standards? - 'treat guests equally and with respect' ??) - when Ms Tremonti first talks with Ms Olsheshki, Ms Olsheshki is NOT asked 'what scientific research' she has done personally, and when she makes obviously wild and untrue claims about the impact of measles not remotely related to 'science', not a whisper of challenge from Ms Tremonti, as she challenged almost everything Ms Tindall said later. At about 7 minutes Ms Olsheshki says "..measles is not a little fever and a little cough, it's horrible, it's high fevers up to a hundred and four, and febrile seizures, and encephalitis, and all these things that comes (sic) along with it ..' - now has Ms Tremonti done her homework or what? Measles is **not** all these things *for most people* (as Ms Olsheshki is allowed to imply), and thus Ms Tremonti, very obviously according to the program standards as explained by Ms Moroz, should have, in the interests of not allowing a guest to spread false information to her audience, as she frequently did with Ms Tindall (even doing so without justification, as I have explained above) immediately interrupted and corrected Ms Olsheshki - 'No, no, Ms Olsheshki, actually for the great majority of people, measles is not all those terrible things at all, but not much more than a bit of fever and red spots and discomfort for a few days - and then off you go, good as new - with the added benefit of pretty much guaranteed lifelong immunity as well, much better immunity, really, than you get from the measles vaccine ... ', is how Ms Tremonti should have responded, according to the Current's own standards of not letting a guest get away with spreading incorrect information, to that emotional and simply incorrect outburst. ( From your own 'measles information' website - "..Symptoms of measles can begin seven to 18 days after exposure and initially include fever, cough, runny nose, sleepiness, irritability and red eyes. A red blotchy rash that develops on the face and spreads down the body appears three to seven days later... most people recover within two to three weeks ..") Ms Tremonti might then have gone on to note that Ms Olsheshki's feelings about her own rare situation and related fears should not be confused with the lives of people with normal children, and that the natural mother's fears she has for her own child should not be confused with the risk to all the normal people in the country - if, of course, the intent of the show was a 'fair' exchange of views ....

(but was it, of course - this observation leads to another disturbing idea - given the introduction to the show, with three extreme and rare examples of measles complications, and Ms Olsheshki's exaggerations about the severity of the disease, and not a word clarifying that these were indeed extreme and rare cases and not the norm, and Ms Tremonti dismissing Ms Tindall's attempt to make the point that for most healthy people measles was not something to be overly fearful of, as 'unscientific' - was it indeed the purpose of the Current to intentionally 'spread false news' about the risk of the measles to the great majority of people? This would be a very, very serious breach of ethics - yet if it was not their intention - why did they allow this entire introductory section to give the impression that measles is normally associated with severe complications with no balanced information that these cases were exceptions, not the norm, including cutting short any attempt of Ms Tindall to try to explain that she did not believe measles was normally very risky - which would be true????

WSE 5: How much about 'science' and 'scientific research' do you actually understand there at the Current??
And Ms Tremonti's challenge ' So you admit you have not done any scientific research yourself?' - leads to another quite serious question, with quite serious implications - does Ms Tremonti understand 'scientific research' herself? This comment would put some doubt into your undoubted answer that 'of course she does / you do' - but do you? - 'Scientific research' involves a lengthy process of planning and setting up a carefully controlled study of some kind, observing the results in some careful way, and writing it up - surely Ms Tremonti did not expect Ms Tindall to have done all that before she has/had a right to comment on this issue? But that is what she asked ... but if so - it raises the obvious question - how much of this 'real' scientific research has Ms Tremonti done herself concerning this issue? She seems to be a very busy woman, hosting the Current 5 mornings a week, which undoubtedly involves a lot of hours of 'journalistic' research (not to be confused, I hope, with 'scientific research') - and I doubt if she has time to be doing any 'scientific research' on every science-related thing she features on her show, and talks about. What I expect is, Ms Tremonti either 'misspoke' or simply does not understand what real 'scientific research' is and involves, and what she actually meant to ask was if Ms Tindall had done any reading of 'real' scientific articles about the vaccine etc other than her 'internet unscientific' stuff - but this is a very different question than actually doing your own 'scientific research', and who knows what Ms Tindall's answer would have been had this different question been asked? Ms Tindall seems to be a well-read and intelligent, and honest, woman, and it is quite probable that she understands what the term 'scientific research' actually means, and while being quite widely read in this and many other things, has not actually done any herself, as have not most people who form opinions about scientific things, and thus, being honest, truthfully answered 'no' when Ms Tremonti sprung the question on her. But as far as an accurate question goes - 'Have you read any actual scientific articles about the measles vaccine?' - her answer might well have been the reverse, and for Ms Tremonti to then carry on through the show as if Ms Tindall had never read any 'scientific papers' may have been at best a serious injustice to Ms Tindall, compounded by Ms Tremonti accusing her later of 'admitting' she had done no 'scientific' research. Given Ms Tindall's overall comments on the show, I expect she has done at least as much of this kind of 'research' as Ms Tremonti and the Current did for this show, and quite possibly more - it would appear that the Current's 'research' was limited to looking up measles on some public health sites such as the CDC and Canadian Government Public Health websites and taking some information from the summaries of research such sites provide supporting the vaccination program - which is not, I should not have to inform you, 'scientific research' in itself either, and if the people at the Current are unclear about that, they might want to find themselves a real scientist and get themselves a bit better informed about what 'scientific research' is and is not before criticizing and dismissing people like Ms Tindall, and accusing her of things they probably should not be accusing her of. In actual fact, it is probable that Ms Tindall has done quite a bit more research than anyone at the Current - the Current evidently confined their 'research' to a bit of reading the summary information from a couple of public health websites which confirmed what they wanted to say, while Ms Tindall has obviously read a great of information not only from such places praising vaccines and declaring the measles vaccine to be just fine, but from other sources which have some questions about the information offered on public health websites.

Well, look how long this response is already, and there is still a great deal left that could be said in pointing out the very obvious biases of this show, and very clear dishonesty in many places, and the many ways it repeatedly contravened your 'standards' as given on the webpage referred to. But I have written enough to clearly show that my concerns and accusations are very true, and I hope you see that it is very, very clear that I was completely right in my original complaint about this show being dishonest and not treating the guests equally, and breaching many other of your 'standards.

I think my charge of bullying is also pretty unarguable, if you just listen to the show neutrally. You don't have to be physically beating on someone or shouting at them abusively to be bullying them - a dominant-type, aggressive person can easily verbally bully a less confident, quieter person into doing what the bully wants, or agreeing with what they say, or just meekly going along with whatever the bully says - we all know of cases of bullying teachers, or parents, or spouses, or teenagers bullying other teenagers, not physically, but simply through their positive attitude, sounding dominant and telling the other person they are wrong. This only works with a person 'enabling' the bully by being submissive, of course, which is another reason you have to think that Ms Tindall was 'looked for', and chosen at least partly because of her quiet, polite, non-aggressive character. Ms Tremonti continually challenged Ms Tindall, with a 'tone of voice' and attitude that she was the boss, the 'expert' on 'science', the 'teacher', and was 'telling' Ms Tindall something, with every right to 'correct' Ms Tindall - Ms Tindall's stories were anecdotes and not scientific so we can just throw them aside, Ms Tindall had not done 'scientific research' so her 'opinions' should not be considered the equal of Ms Tremonti's (self-defined) 'facts', and etc - Ms Tremonti was right, Ms Tindall was wrong - no proof needed beyond Ms Tremonti's assertions. Again, this kind of thing works fine with a person in a position of power or authority - which Ms Tremonti surely is as the host of a popular, long-standing CBC radio show - when talking to someone who agrees - explicitly or implicitly - with the bully/dominant person's authority, but she would not get away with this kind of bullying with a more confident, self-assured person, well-assured of their subject, experienced in this kind of discussion and the way some people try to use this 'voice of authority' to shut down other voices, someone who would challenge Ms Tremonti right back when they felt Ms Tremonti was wrong with her challenge - which she often or even mostly was, as I have shown above - I won't get into details, but more or less every time Ms Tremonti 'corrected' Ms Tindall, had I been Ms Tindall's counsel or sitting in her seat, I would have been challenging Ms Tremonti right back (most times, as noted above, Ms Tremonti claimed 'science' was on her side, and not Ms Tindall's, she was just wrong, in my opinion, and should have been challenged right back.) Ms Tindall did, of course, try to enter evidence contrary to Ms Tremonti's position into the debate (she tried to say measles was not serious for most people, which is simply a fact, for example, and Ms Tremonti just refused to allow her to speak any further about it, but responded with another 'appeal to emotion' story - and there are other examples if you listen honestly.) Also - listen to Ms Tremonti speaking to Ms Olsheshki, and note the difference - not a hint of the bully here, just friendly and sympathetic, and as noted above Ms Olsheshki is allowed to say things grossly exaggerated and simply not true without a hint of challenge or dismissive laughter from Ms Tremonti, which she uses more than once against Ms Tindall, laughing at how silly Ms Tremonti declares her comments to be - laughing at others to belittle them is, of course, a common bullying technique.

So lack of 'admission' or 'different framing' or no, my charge of 'bullying' is pretty unarguable, considering also the number of people who praised Ms Tremonti for doing just that, even though they approved of it, and again a serious breach of your other major 'standards' in doing what the advertising-free CBC is supposed to be doing - bringing honest, informed discussion of important issues to Canadians, where people from different sides, especially those on the 'minority' side, are allowed to present their case fairly.

So, my thanks for your taking the time to read and consider this. I await your decision, Ms Ombudsman, and the date the Current plans to do an honest examination of this issue, with a couple of actual science-trained people to examine the various issues I noted above rather than the 'appeal to emotion' based previous show, a show truly designed to inform rather than incite mindless fear and animosity - when a lot of people are happy the way the CBC "eviscerated" a quiet, intelligent, caring lady like Ms Tindall just trying to decide the best thing to do for her family and community, you really ought to be examining what you're up to there ... and some examination of the growing incivility in this country, encouraged obviously by this kind of broadcasting, would also be well in order.

Dave Patterson



Dave's Challenge of the CBC Current's Evisceration of an Anti-Vaxxer


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