If you STILL think Big Bank, Big Pharmacy and Big Government aren’t in bed…read an interesting article I found on the Dow Jones News Writer.
If you aren’t angry, you aren’t paying attention.
TRUST ME…Because you must…
By David Weidner, MarketWatch
When you lose trust in companies, the government and the media, it’s easy to lose perspective
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — The U.S. measles outbreak has a lot of people flummoxed. Given the obvious success of modern vaccines, how could there be so many parents who won’t immunize their kids?
Since late December when someone or some people infected with the disease showed up at Disneyland in Southern California, more than 120 cases of measles in 18 jurisdictions have been reported. That hardly sounds like an epidemic until you consider that measles was declared eliminated in the United States by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2000.
If you’ve watched or read any report or discussion on the measles outbreak, you’ve probably heard that the flare-up is the result of a small, but powerful, group of parents who reject vaccinations. You probably also have heard that it’s their belief in a now-debunked report linking childhood vaccines to autism that’s to blame.
And while there is evidence the former is true — as many as 80% of the reported cases involve people who were not immunized — there is scant evidence that today’s anti-vaccination movement is hanging its hat on that discredited report. The anti-vaxxers, as they are called, have deeper fundamental reasons for their fears.
What’s at issue for most parents who won’t vaccinate or who delay vaccinations against CDC recommendations isn’t some bogus study (though the study may have triggered them). It’s a lack of trust: trust in big pharmaceutical companies, trust in the government, trust in the media.
I live in Marin County, which has some of the highest non-vaccination rates in the country for young children. My vaccinated kids briefly attended Greenwood School where 61% of kindergarten-age students’ parents submitted “personal-belief exemptions” instead of vaccination records. Vaccinations came up in my conversations with parents. I don’t remember autism ever being mentioned, but distrust in Big Pharma, the government and the Food and Drug Administration often did.
This distrust is the result of an isolated community in which members reinforce fears of big institutions in favor of do-it-yourself living: cleaner eating, exercise, meditation. The parents at Greenwood and other Marin schools see their choice regarding vaccines as a way to protect themselves and their families. Some point to the rare, but real, side effects of vaccinations: rashes, fevers and seizures. Others don’t like what they consider toxins in vaccines, mercury and bovine cow serum among them.
While they don’t suggest pro-vaccination families have to do the same, they do believe they’ve made the better choice, live better lives. It’s not a stretch to say, at least in that way, they think they’re better than you and me.
This I-know-better philosophy is the deeper root of the anti-vaccine movement. But before you judge, this isn’t limited to a bunch of anti-establishment yuppies, an assessment underscored by a recent study by Edelman, a public-relations firm that tried to gauge the public trust in government, non-government institutions, industries and the media.
The study’s findings won’t come as a surprise. Just 51% trust the media, 53% trust banks, 61% trust pharmaceutical companies. Technology is the most trusted industry at 78%, which is surprising given how shoddy most tech companies are in protecting your personal data and how many actually mine your data and sell it to anyone looking to make a buck off you. The U.S. actually has a high rate of trust in business: 60%. Distrust is higher in places like South Korea, Ireland, Turkey and Russia.
Another finding that isn’t shocking is that of social-network users. People who engage on Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR) and LinkedIn (LNKD) generally don’t trust CEOs, celebrities, elected officials or well-known online personalities. They are more likely to trust family and friends and academic experts. After that, the fall-off is pretty steep. Only 53% trust journalists. Edelman reports that people were most likely to trust online search (37%), compared with 20% for television and only 18% for newspapers.
The bottom line is that most people have lost faith in institutions. Across the board, just 48% trust the government, 51% trust the media, 57% trust business and 63% trust non-governmental organizations: churches, charities, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Red Cross, the National Rifle Association and so on.
Most of us trust ourselves and the people close to us, not unlike the close-knit moms and dads at schools where vaccinations are viewed with skepticism.
Skepticism in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, misplaced trust in banks that risked our assets for profits and bonuses, churches that fuel bias and intolerance, and governments corrupted by money and special interests isn’t healthy. And arguing in favor of the media is tough to do as Brian Williams’ career implodes before our eyes.
So, fewer and fewer of us trust, and younger people trust less.
Ultimately, however, a society that loses faith in anyone or anything isn’t much of a society. When healthy skepticism crosses a line into blanket mistrust, we only listen to ourselves. Fear vaccines all you want, but for most of us at least, we’ll take the risk of believing in what seems to be an overwhelming truth over lying to ourselves.
-David Weidner; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires
(END) Dow Jones Newswires