Daniel Summers: Donald Trump and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. just made pediatricians’ jobs a lot harder

If enough parents refuse to have their children vaccinated, the herd immunity that protects the nation as a whole will wane. There were a record number of measles cases in 2014, the majority in people who were unvaccinated. Does anyone want to share the experience of the Spanish parents whose unvaccinated son died of diphtheria in 2015, after that country had been free of the disease since 1986?

Of course not. But vaccine-preventable illnesses will only stay at bay if parents are appropriately reassured that the means of preventing them are safe and effective.

Will that be the conclusion of a Trump-created, Kennedy-led commission? I have absolutely no confidence that it will be. The mere creation of the commission, meant to investigate a question that has already been asked and answered many times over, is ominous, even aside from the anti-vaccine agenda both men unmistakably share. Given Trump’s disdain for facts that inconveniently conflict with his opinions, to believe the commission will land on the side of vaccination requires an optimism bordering on the deranged.

From Donald Trump and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. just made pediatricians’ jobs a lot harder

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24 thoughts on “Daniel Summers: Donald Trump and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. just made pediatricians’ jobs a lot harder

  1. Seriously, someone needs to take all the Clinton’s, the Bush’s and especially the Kennedy’s completely off the table for any policy, political or public position. Enough with this already.

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  2. Apparently the only person who actually confirmed this was RFK Jr himself:

    “So without verification from the Trump transition team, The New York Times posted an ominous article about how anti-vaccine nuts will soon be taking over the West Wing. And they took the word of the one Kennedy people actually run away from…

    Had any of the news outlets waited just a few hours, here’s what the Trump transition team said about the RFK Jr. meeting: “The President-elect enjoyed his discussion with Robert Kennedy Jr. on a range of issues and appreciates his thoughts and ideas. The President-elect is exploring the possibility of forming a commission on Autism, which affects so many families; however no decisions have been made at this time. The President-elect looks forward to continuing the discussion about all aspects of Autism with many groups and individuals.”

    But hey, we go the hot take, so that’s something…right?

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  3. I’m glad to hear that this is more a scare than a real problem (yet). Trump himself has tweeted “Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn’t feel good and changes – AUTISM. Many such cases!”. I suppose it’ll take us all time to learn to disregard 99% of what he says.

    Anyway, I thought Doc did a nice job of explaining why this kind of thing is pernicious.

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      • I haven’t been able to read all the initial reports, but I have definitely read some where the headline was admittedly a little to click-baity for my taste, but where the article itself included the facts that this is based on what kennedy said, and that the transition team had not responded to requests for comment. In other words, here is a quote from someone. Which right or wrong, seems to be SOP these days. With respect to those articles, do you still have a problem?

        Its kind of similar to the heat that buzzfeed is taking. As long as buzzfeed included with their publication of the dossier the fact that the underlying accusations had not been confirmed, I am not sure i have a real problem with them saying, this is the report that is the basis for the appendix to the Daily Intel Brief Trump and Obama received last week. This becomes even more true if i consider the current state of journalism (where relatively, this seems to me a pretty minor transgression) or the fact that Trump is the king of “Im not saying that, Im just saying what other people are saying.”

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        • When I saw this post I Googled ‘Robert F Kennedy Jr’ and the article I linked to above was in the first three hits with a headline that read, “No, Anti-Vaxxer Robert Kennedy Jr. Won’t Be Trump’s ‘Vaccine Czar”. So, basically 20 seconds of web search, 2 minutes worth of reading, and it now is clear that Kennedy made the statement on his own. Could it be true? Maybe. But instead of waiting to find out, this was rushed because everyone wants to find dirt on Trump.

          If we don’t have the luxury of taking 3 minutes to check our facts anymore because smearing Trump is the #1 priority, then seriously, I’m ready for the American Experiment to come to a close and we can just drift into the dystopia that everyone is imagining this week.

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          • But the article you linked wasn’t out when the initial story broke. So if the NYT reporter you are lambasting would have done a search on google, nothing would have come up, because nothing had been reported yet. Because the transition team hadn’t responded to requests for comment, and the only solid information was Kennedy’s quote. The transition team responded later that night. And while they did clarify their position, they didn’t claim Kennedy had misspoke.

            And after this, your ready for the america experiment to come to an end. Do you remember all the reports of Obama’s birth certificate. Was there ever any facts to lend credence to those reports. And how long did it take for that to be resolved? And THAT didn’t make you want to end the american experiment, but this does? Really?

            I mean I could provide example after example of this. And when it finally happens to Donald “Im not saying that, im just noticing other people saying that”, that’s when its just too much?

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            • The birth certificate thing was equally dumb. I’m just getting very close to final straw territory with the news cycle, the rush of both sides to publish half-ass stories that will make the President (or President-elect) look bad. But we live in the Twitterverse now so I’m not shocked it happens. I just wish it wasn’t happening more frequently on this site.

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              • Given Donald Trump has tweeted about the link between vaccines and autism (he’s very suspicious about all those vaccines), clearly it’s just as reasonable Obama is a Kenyan as Kennedy teaming up with Trump for a board on autism and vaccines.

                Yes, equally as dumb. On the one hand, you have Birthers. On the other, you have a man who claimed autism and vaccines are related claiming he’s going to work with a man who thinks autism and vaccines might be related.

                Both strain at the fabric of the body politic, both so clearly unbelievable that only the most credulous or partisan could fall for them!

                Indeed, Both Sides Do It. If they didn’t, one might be forced to change teams.

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            • Clearly you don’t have the luxury of a time machine, but our media should or else they’re failing at their jobs!

              How dare they believe Kennedy was telling the truth about an offer from a man who has, at minimum, claimed that link should be investigated and is prone to impulsive offers?

              It’s the same as birtherism! It’s all the same! If it’s not the same, then people might have to stop being single issue voters!

              The only difference must be in the one or two issues I really care about! Otherwise I might be forced to make tough choices!

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            • I guess that as someone who has posted things without verifying or thinking through the facts, I have a little more sympathy for the Good Doctor than Mike Dwyer does.

              But Mike isn’t wrong to point out (what appears to be) the fact that Mr. Trump is making no such commission. Mike is a little too quick on the draw in this case, but some of the accusations here that implicitly suggest he’s okay with birtherism seem to go overboard. Yes, birtherism is in my opinion worse, but one of the practices that enabled birtherism is the “he said, but he said” type of reporting. As someone here said, the final straw is rarely the worst.

              (As an aside, I think the oft-expressed criticism of the “he said, but he said” journalism is exaggerated and not as self-evident as journalism’s detractors think it is….or it just seems like a lot of posturing. But that’s an ill-formed thought and probably better served for another discussion.)

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              • Gabriel Conroy: the fact that Mr. Trump is making no such commission

                Neither Trump nor his team have said there will be not be a commission. Just that a final (public) decision hasn’t been made. I’d argue that the headline of the article Mike linked was click-baity in the opposite direction. There could still very well be a commission and Trump may have very well already told RFK that he would head it.

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  4. The interesting part of the story is how persistently distrustful of government institutions many have become. It’s not fringe, but fashion.
    Until the issue of a government undeserving of citizens’ trust is solved, the same dynamic will repeat indefinitely.

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