Time magazine’s articles—and advertising—epitomize the problem. Action Alert!
In its July 27 print edition, Time magazine ran a full-page color ad for smokeless tobacco. But what really got our attention were all the drug ads, which continue week after week, and presumably keep the faltering publication alive. The biggest ad, an inside-front-cover three-page spread, was for Xeljanz (tofacitinib citrate), which is aimed at people with rheumatoid arthritis.
As usual, the lawyers for the drug company had provided plenty of warning. Xeljanz “may increase your risk of certain cancers [such as lymphoma], as well as reduce your white or red blood cell count, opening you up to serious infection.” These are not theoretical risks. The friend of an ANH-USA board member very quickly died from lymphoma caused by the drug, and taking such drugs significantly reduces a patient’s life expectancy.
Time is not full of articles praising drugs, but it does maintain a steady drumbeat of articles by editor Jeffrey Kluger attacking anyone who dares to ask questions about vaccines. And of course vaccines are not only made by the same drug companies advertising in Time; they also represent a huge segment of drug companies’ sales, since patent-protected drug revenue is on the decline and blockbuster drug replacements are not on the horizon. It seems suspicious to us that the magazine devotes so much space, week after week, to the proposition that vaccines are perfect and no one should ask questions about them.
Kluger, in the same issue, made these claims: “You can’t poll a scientific fact. The speed of light is the speed of light (186,282.4 miles per second) whether 90% of people believe it, 25% believe it or 100% have no opinion….And the same is true, too, for the safety and efficacy of vaccines: They’re extraordinarily effective and extraordinarily safe, no matter what the folks in the anti-vaccine fringe have been saying.”
Kluger then cites a number of non-facts such as a recent death from measles, the first in decades, that we recently showed was not actually a death from measles at all—something Kluger should surely know. He dismisses those asking questions about vaccines and the relationship of vaccine makers to government as exponents of “silliness,” “nonsense,” and “know-nothingism” who have been appropriately “blow-torched” by a “global opprobrium.”
This month Kluger filed yet another article on the same theme. This time he says that “anti-vaxxers” are “wrong on the science, wrong on the politics, and deeply, morally wrong.” He then endorses a study which suggests that the best way to respond to parental questions and concerns is not to reason or present evidence but to “parade pictures of sick children in front of parents” during a doctor visit when the vaccine can be administered. The trick, he says, is “getting people to act fast. If too much time elapses between image and potential action, the power of the message is lost.”
Is this really what the mainstream media has come to—working to devise the most efficient methods for emotionally manipulating parents into vaccinating their kids? What about the moderation and “grown-up and civil” discourse on vaccines called for in an earlier Time piece (this one by Joe Klein)?
And who exactly is this Jeffrey Kluger who repeatedly says that he represents science against “myth?” If you guessed from his choice of words that he is not a scientist, you guessed right. His résumé says that he majored in political science in college and then earned a law degree, but now appears to earn his living as a journalist or at least partly as a journalist.
Does Kluger receive funds from drug companies? We have no idea, but we would like to hear from him on the subject. Whether or not he personally receives Big Pharma support, Time magazine certainly does, and would likely fail without it.
Of one thing we can be sure: no real scientist would be so dogmatic, emotional, and combative—particularly about a subject for which he appears to have no technical training or background. A real scientist examines all the evidence dispassionately before reaching a conclusion, and the evidence is clear: many vaccines are simply not effective, are dangerous, or both.
Action Alert! Write to Time and tell them they should be ashamed of running such stories repeatedly, week after week, only a few pages from their drug ads. Please send your message immediately.