Matt Welch: It's Stupid Season. Have You Been Vaccinated?

Journalists weren't interested in vaccine policy, they just wanted to find fools and laugh at them.



It's never too early to be reminded how willfully awful the political press can be during presidential campaign season. In early February, some 11 months before the 2016 Iowa caucuses, a four-day foofaraw over vaccines made it seem that vaccine policy is largely determined by Washington. "The measles vaccine," wrote Los Angeles Times columnist Robin Abcarian, "has become the first important controversy of the 2016 Republican presidential primary."

Yet when Matt Welch's second daughter was born in late January, it wasn't the White House or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that dictated which shots would be given and recommended at the hospital, it was the city and state of New York, he writes. This year the city took the unusually aggressive step of mandating not just a measles or whooping cough vaccination but a flu shot for any child entering a city-licensed preschool or day care facility. But journalists were not very interested in the areas of vaccine policy that are actually debatable, writes Welch. They just wanted to find fools and laugh at them.