As I have covered in previous articles for Children's Health Defense, the fundamental assumptions underlying the recommendation of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that everyone aged six months and up should get an annual flu shot are unsupported by scientific evidence. Examining a case study from the New York Times, we've seen how the corporate media manufacture consent for public vaccine policy by grossly misinforming their audiences about the science—and how, in doing so, the media are just following the CDC's example. We've seen how the CDC uses deceptive fear marketing to increase demand for influenza vaccines, and how the CDC's claims that flu vaccination significantly reduces deaths among the elderly have been thoroughly discredited by the scientific community.
As far as the discourse about vaccines goes in the mainstream media, this problem doesn't exist. The media treat the CDC as practically the most credible and authoritative source for information about vaccines on the planet and unquestioningly amplify the CDC's public relations messaging. We saw in our New York Times case study just how blatantly the media participate in misinforming the public, with health writer Aaron E. Carroll supporting his argument that everyone should follow the CDC's recommendation to get a flu shot by citing a study whose authors actually concluded not only that the CDC's policy is unsupported by the scientific evidence, but also that the CDC deliberately misrepresents the science to support its policy!
As far as the mainstream discourse is concerned, the idea that the public is being grossly misinformed about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines requires belief in "conspiracy theories". But no conspiracy theory is required to explain how it can be that the CDC is misinforming the public about vaccines. The media is just demonstrably serving its usual function, as outlined by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky in their book , of advocating government policy rather than doing journalism. This is not a conspiracy. It's just an institutionalized bias stemming from what Chomsky has called the "state religion"—an undying faith in the fundamental benevolence of the US government and its agencies.