Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pediatricians Against TV Show

Check CNN for the full story. Also, you can click here for the press release from the American Academy of Pediatricians. You can also click here to read the letter sent to ABC.

The largest group of pediatricians in the nation is upset over an upcoming ABC show called "Eli Stone" because

It features British actor Jonny Lee Miller as a prophet-like lawyer who in the opening episode argues in court that a flu vaccine made a child autistic. When it is revealed in court that an executive at the fictional vaccine maker didn't allow his own child to get the shot, jurors side with the family, giving them a huge award.
The writers of the show claim they would be "deeply upset" if parents were not vaccinating their children because of their show. I would ask, then why make let the nonsense triumph in your show?

I say kudos to the American Academy of Pediatrics for fighting the reason and for reminding me why I don't watch television.


Flavin said...

This is related to the topic, but not so much your article.

Steve Novella at NeuroLogica wrote,
"I am all for freedom of speech and artistic expression. However, the AAP letter, and criticism of the ABC show in general, do not amount to censorship, and certainly have no bearing on the first amendment. They are a call for responsibility in the media. Shouting the equivalent of “vaccines are dangerous poison” to millions of viewers is definitely the same as shouting “fire” in a crowded movie house. It is the very definition of how freedom of speech is limited by responsibility to avoid causing harm to others."

His first point is that the AAP are not trying to censor the episode and that their criticism is not related to the first amendment. His second point is that the content of the episode presents a clear and present danger to the public and is beyond free speech protection.

I’m not sure how the two points connect. Is he trying to say that the episode should be censored, or might have grounds to be, even though it isn’t being censored now?

Cross-commented on NeuroLogica

Ben said...

Possibly. I know that the AAP specifically asked for a disclaimer during the episode. They did not even ask them to change the content.