Apparently, the inability of the Government, or Gardasil's manufacturer CSL to proceed with a full-on advertising campaign to promote Gardasil, is considered by the Herald to be an "attack on Democracy". Incredible. Mike Taylor of CSL biotherapies says “that there is a certain amount of risk" in the CSL planned advertising campaign. You bet there is, when huge sums money are involved. Most of CSL's planned propaganda, using newspapers, magazines, TV and radio advertisements has been deferred in case it is said to support the Government's pre-election campaign. That's what the Herald would like you to think. But there is another, more important story here. The failure of the Herald to discuss the real issues isn’t so much an attack on democracy, as an attack on readers and taxpayers.
One issue the Herald should be analysing is this statement by Mike Taylor of CSL: “We won't be giving the size of the investment, the reason for it, or who it's made by.” Why might that be? You can be sure that for CSL, every cent they spend on advertising will be worth it, because the $400+ million first-up payment for Gardasil, will only be the start, if the publicity is successful. $400+ million will not then be a one-off cost to the taxpayer. It will just be the goose that lays lots of golden eggs. And you can be sure that some of those eggs will be laid in the Herald's nest.
The Herald could also be detailing to its readers:
1) How much of their taxes will be spent on the purchase of this vaccine.
2) How much of their taxes will be spent on doctors/nurses subsidies and administration costs for this vaccine.
3) How much CSL will be spending on long term advertising to try to ensure that the Gardasil "culture" becomes an annual profit inventory from New Zealand taxpayers, for both CSL and Dr Ian Frazer?
The Herald could do some decent investigative journalism on what parents are not being told about Gardasil. (Half way down page)
First, they could expose the medical literature showing that HPV viruses do not JUSTmaterialize out of some vacuum, to suddenly start infecting previously sterile penises and cervixes of sexually rampant adolescents and adults.
The Herald could be showing readers that:
a) Medical literature clearly shows that HPV viruses first infect babies in utero, during babyhood, childhood and pre-adolescence. Many times, the authors of these studies have warned the HPV vaccine manufacturers about the implications of this FACT, and the vaccine manufacturers continue to ignore that information. Why might that be?
b) The current blood testing methods of working out when and whether a person contracts HPV is notoriously unreliable, because natural immunity to HPviruses isn't antibody driven. It's primarily driven by the innate immune system, something that Gardasil's inventor admits.
Given that HPviruses are pretty much ubiquitous in the environment, in all species, at all ages, why might it be important for people to know whether or not they have already cleared HPviruses before they become sexually active? What are the implications of infection in childhood with regard to the possible effects of the vaccine? Where is this being talked about?
c) When Gardasil was first licensed, the FDA doctor who approved it, Dr Nancy Miller, made the point that anyone who had already had exposure to HPviruses and then received Gardasil was at greater risk of precancerous lesions as a result of being vaccinated. Where is this being talked about?
Actually, there are a huge number of other very important issues about Gardasil that are not being talked about either. Why?
Because no newspaper wants to lose the CSL advertising money?
As I see it, the attack on democracy isn't the fact that some law prevents an advertising propaganda campaign being started. After all, people can see that Gardasil isn't free; that it's their taxes that fund the vaccine, and therefore it's not got too much kudos to the Government in approving this vaccine.
"Democracy" should imply that people are given all the facts, and can make a fully informed choice on whether or not to have a vaccine. That can't happen when newspaper owners apprear to consider that their role is to put words on paper providing text around which advertisements will be placed, primarily servicing the needs of their shareholders.
When it comes to Gardasil, the Herald stands to gain a truck load of dollars from CSL once the Gardasil ads start rolling off their printing presses. Given that it never pays to bite the hand that feeds you, readers are now being fed selected sound bites, which when held up to factual scrutiny, are tantamount to lying by omission.
That is the real assault on democracy when it comes to issues surrounding Gardasil. The Herald could talk about all of them, but the Herald won't and neither will any other newspaper. For identical reasons.