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More media madness: rich fat bankers get flu vaccine while children die!

7 November 2009

One reason the mainstream media is dying:  they ignore hot stories (ACORN helping child prostitution rings) while garbling those they do report.  Covering the first provides a useful service to society, which they pass up for partisan reasons.  Their mob-like coverage of the swine flu distribution creates needless anxiety and unrest — disinformation, a negative service.  Let’s follow the chain, from solid reporting to hysterical GOLDMAN BANKERS GETTING VACCINE WHILE CHILDREN DIE.

(1)  New York Businesses Get H1N1 Vaccine“, BusinessWeek, 2 November 2009

The {NYC Dept of Health & Mental Hygiene} has so far approved orders by 29 employers — including 16 that have yet to receive any vaccine — after they were cleared by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Big employers that have received or are scheduled to receive vaccine so far include Time Warner (TWX), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Memorial Sloan-Kettering, New York Presbyterian Healthcare System, and New York University.

Health-care workers at those employers are bound by the CDC to distribute the vaccine only to populations deemed to be at high risk of developing serious complications from swine flu: pregnant women, children and young people aged 6 months to 24 years, people who live with or provide care for infants under 6 months (who cannot be vaccinated), people aged 24 to 64 with medical conditions that put them at higher risk for flu-related complications, and health-care workers and emergency medical personnel.

“It’s not that they received it over someone else, it’s that they placed an order…This is not out of the ordinary,” says Scaperotti of the city’s health office. “A lot of businesses hold vaccination programs for their employees. These locations are important vehicles for vaccinating people.”

(2)  On Thursday 5 November The Today Show ran a story about this, which I believe ignited the fire.  I can find no transcript, but here’s the video.

(3)  Background from “Officials Defend Distribution of Flu Vaccine to Companies“, New York Times, 5 November 2009 — Excerpt:

Jessica Scaperotti, a health department spokeswoman, said the priority was to get the vaccine to pediatricians, obstetricians, gynecologists, community health centers and public and private hospitals. Private companies that have asked for the vaccine are also eligible to receive it, as long as it is distributed to people who are considered at risk. Citigroup and Goldman Sachs said they had administered the vaccine to pregnant women and employees with serious health conditions.

… Michael T. Osterholm, the director of the Centers for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said the focus on the banks was a distraction. “They’re not going to be giving it to the top bankers,” he said. “There’s no reason a high-risk person should get it at a public clinic instead of at work.”

A spokeswoman for Goldman said the bank, “like other responsible employers, has requested vaccine and will supply it only to employees who qualify.”

… Once the vaccine became more available in late October, {Dr. Thomas A. Farley, NYC health commissioner} said, “We tried to give something to everyone so they could all get started.”

(4)  For a more detailed explanation, see this transcript of an interview with Dr. Thomas Farley (New York City Health Commissioner) on CNBC’s “The Call”, 6 November 2009 — Excerpt:

REGAN: YOU’RE FAMILIAR WITH THE CONTROVERSY, SO LET ME ASK YOU, WHY DO SOME COMPANIES HAVE ACCESS TO VACCINES WHILE PREGNANT WOMEN AND CHILDREN ARE STRUGGLING TO FIND OR SECURE A SWINE FLU SHOT –

FARLEY: I CAN UNDERSTAND WHY SOME WOULD BE ANGRY WITH THAT, BUT IT’S IMPORTANT TO EXPLAIN OUR ENTIRE SYSTEM. WE HAVE DISTRIBUTED VACCINE TO OVER 1,4 00 PROVIDERS, OVER 800,000 DOSES AND OUR FIRST STEP WAS TO PEDIATRICIAN, HOSPITALS, OBSTETRICIANS AND COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS AFTER A LARGE PERCENTAGE OF THEM HAVING RECEIVED THE FIRST SUPPLY OF VACCINE, WE BRANCHED OUT TO PROVIDERS WHO PROVIDE THEM TO ADULTS, INCLUDING INTERNISTS AND FAMILY PRACTICE TECHNICIANS AS WELL AS EMPLOYEE HEALTH CENTERS, A SMALL NUMBER OF EMPLOYEE HEALTH CENTERS, AND THEY ARE A LEGITIMATE AND VALUABLE WAY TO GET VACCINE TO PEOPLE AT HIGH RISK, AND EVERYONE WHO RECEIVES THIS VACCINE HAS TO SIGN AN AGREEMENT THAT THEY ONLY GIVE IT TO PEOPLE WHO MEET THE RISK CRITERIA SPECIFIED BY THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL.

REGAN: I GUESS PART OF THE CONCERN WAS IN THE DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM, BECAUSE IN OTHER WORDS, THEY HAVE GOLDMAN SACHS, CITI, TIME WARNER, THEY’VE GOTTEN THE SWINE FLU VACCINE, AND THEY CAN ADMINISTER THEM TO EMPLOYEES, BUT A LOT OF PEOPLE SAY, YOU KNOW WHAT, WHEN HOSPITALS STILL DON’T HAVE ENOUGH TO TREAT PREGNANT WOMEN AND CHILDREN, THAT’S AN ISSUE, BECAUSE CHANCES ARE YOU’RE PROBABLY GOING TO FIND MORE HIGH-RISK INDIVIDUALS AT A HOSPITAL THAN YOU WOULD, SAY, AT THE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE, WHICH IS ANOTHER RECIPIENT OF THE VACCINES.

FARLEY: THEY’RE HIGH-RISK INDIVIDUALS THAT ARE ACCESSING PROVIDERS AT ALL SITES. I’LL GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE IF YOU HAVE AN EMPLOYER WHO HAS 5,000 EMPLOYEES, AT LEAST 10% OR 20% OF THOSE EMPLOYEES WILL BE AT HIGH RISK. HAVING DIABETES HEART DISEASE OR PREGNANCY THIS IS ONE WAY TO REACH THEM. ONE THING WE KNOW IS FOR SEASONAL INFLUENZA VACCINE, AMONG PEOPLE UNDER THE AGE OF 50, A QUARTER OF THEM GET THE VACCINE AT WORK SITES, SO THEY’RE WELL-ESTABLISHED SITES TO GIVE OUT INFLUENZA VACCINES.ALL THE HOSPITALS IN THE CITY HAVE RECEIVED VACCINE AND AS THEY USED IT UP, WE CAN CONTINUE TO RESUPPLY THEM –

REGAN: WELL I CAN TELL YOU MY HOSPITAL I’M ACTUALLY ABOUT SIX WEEKS AGO FROM DELIVERING TWINS AND MY HOSPITAL DOES NOT HAVE ANY VACCINES FOR THEIR PREGNANT WOMEN. WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA DECLARING THIS A NATIONAL EMERGENCY, DON’T YOU THINK THIS YEAR IS DIFFERENT, THAT PERHAPS THE DISTRIBUTION CHANGE SHOULD HAVE BEEN CHANGED IN NEW YORK CITY SO THAT YOU MADE SURE EVERY DOCTOR, EVERY HOSPITAL HAD WHAT THEY NEEDED BEFORE GOING OUT TO CORPORATE AMERICA?

FARLEY: WE’RE NOT DISTRIBUTING THE VACCINE TO CORPORATIONS, WE’RE DISTRIBUTING THEM TO MEDICAL PROVIDERS, TO CLINICS. THAT INCLUDES CLINICS THAT ARE INTERNISTS WHO HAVE OPENED OFFICES AS WELL AS CLINICS THAT SERVE WORK SITES. THE WORK SITES ARE A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF THE TOTAL NUMBER OF PROVIDERS THAT RECEIVE VACCINE. 94% OF OUR VACCINE WENT TO PEDIATRICIANS, TO HOSPITALS, TO COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS. ONLY 6% WENT TO PROVIDERS WHO PROVIDE VACCINES TO ADULT AND THE EMPLOYEE GROUP IS A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF THAT. AS FAR AS PREGNANT WOMEN –

REGAN: ONE MORE QUESTION FOR YOU I KNOW THE CDC SENT A LETTER OUT, THEY CONTACTED YOU YESTERDAY AFTER OUR REPORT, AND I WANT TO QUOTE FROM THAT LETTER. THEY SAID THAT THEY WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT ALL STATES, QUOTE, ENSURE THAT THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF DOSES ARE DELIVERED TO THOSE AT GREATEST RISK AS RAPIDLY AS POSSIBLE. ARE YOU DOING ANYTHING TO CHANGE YOUR DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM RIGHT NOW?

FARLEY: WE ARE MAKING SURE THAT ALL OF OUR PROVIDERS ARE PROVIDING TO PEOPLE WHO ARE AT RISK AS DESCRIBED BY THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AS VACCINE COMES IN, WE WILL CONTINUE TO EXPAND THE NUMBER OF PROVIDERS WHO RECEIVE VACCINE, AND AS THEY USE UP THE VACCINE, WE’LL GIVE THEM MORE. WE’RE GETTING MORE EVERY DAY AND WE EXPECT TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF PROVIDERS WHO PROVIDE VACCINATION TO ADULTS.

And of course countless bloggers pass on exaggerated or outright lies, whipping us hysteria. 

The internet can make us smarter.  Or dumber.  It’s up to us.

For more information from the FM site

To read other articles about these things, see the following:

Reference pages about other topics appear on the right side menu bar, including About the FM website page.

Some posts about the mainstream media:

  1. A time-saving tip when reading the daily news, 2 Januaary 2008
  2. The media discover info ops, with outrage!, 22 April 2008
  3. Only our amnesia makes reading the newspapers bearable, 30 April 2008
  4. The myth of media pessimism about the economy, 13 June 2008
  5. “Elegy for a rubber stamp”, by Lewis Lapham, 26 August 2008
  6. “The Death of Deep Throat and the Crisis of Journalism”, 23 December 2008
  7. The media doing what it does best these days, feeding us disinformation, 18 February 2009
  8. The media rolls over and plays dead for Obama, as it does for all new Presidents, 19 February 2009
  9. The magic of the mainstream media changes even the plainest words into face powder, 24 April 2009
  10. The media – a broken component of America’s machinery to observe and understand the world, 2 June 2009
  11. We’re ignorant about the world because we rely on our media for information, 3 June 2009 
  12. About campaigns for high office in America – we always expect a better result from the same process, 17 June 2009
  13. The perfidy of ABC News (tentative conclusion on a breaking story), 18 June 2009
  14. Are we blind, or just incurious about important news?, 6 July 2009
  15. We know nothing because we read newspapers, 12 October 2009
  16. Must the old media die for the new media to flourish?, 29 October 2009

Afterword

Please share your comments by posting below.  Per the FM site’s Comment Policy, please make them brief (250 word max), civil and relevant to this post.  Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Kafka permalink
    7 November 2009 5:20 am

    “ACORN helping child prostitution rings”. Really? An ACORN employee talked to two actors- and gave them some tax advise. Hardly a real news story.

    Children are at the highest risk for death from H1N1- how many children work at Goldman Sachs? Clown..
    .
    .
    FM reply: You are not accurately describing the video in Baltimore, in which the Acorn employee gave advice regarding home loans, tax evasion, and disguising the identities of underaged sex workers from El Salvador. Plus similar videos were filmed in Washington DC, Brooklyn, San Diego, San Bernardino, and Philadelphia. See the Wikipedia entry for links to these stories.

    Like

  2. 7 November 2009 12:45 pm

    FM,

    I don’t agree with this line at all

    ‘And of course countless bloggers pass on exaggerated or outright lies, whipping us hysteria. ‘

    Nothing you wrote indicates that there are exaggerated or outright lies, or that the concern generated is ‘hysteria.’

    Rather, you demonstrated that the concerns are justified: delivery and distribution of vaccine is being prioritized to politically-connected Wall Street firms, ahead of hospitals.

    The argument appears to be that a diabetic at Goldman Sachs is more in need of a flu shot than a nurse dealing with swine flu patients. This does not make sense.
    .
    .
    FM Reply: It might no make sense to you, but the CDC distribution plans target high risk groups — without prioritizing within those groups. As with any large-scale operation like this, everybody (including the NYC Health Dept) is working the plan. As with anything planned so fast, with so many moving parts, there are large glitches. The people doing the criticism IMO have no idea of the difficulty of such a project. And the “bankers getting vaccine” before children meme is just false. The large employers are acting as distribution mechanisms per the CDC plan.

    Like

  3. anna nicholas permalink
    7 November 2009 9:23 pm

    This is what happens when govs use spokesrobots instead of humans to explain stuff . Real human would have said ,
    “It means ,if you are like pregnant or something , you might be able to get vaccinated at work rather than having to go to the clinic. “

    Like

  4. Mikyo permalink
    7 November 2009 9:43 pm

    Like

  5. Nicholas Weaver permalink
    7 November 2009 11:28 pm

    The ACORN bit was rather an abusive setup. You could probably conduct similar videos in conservative churches or some of the “tea party” groups (different theme, same idea, take advantage of stupid low level people on a hidden camera).

    However, there are real legs elswhere on ACORN, which is far more significant than a few low level idiots answering questions on a hidden camera: Computers, records seized at ACORN offices in La.“, AP, 6 November 2009 — Excerpt:

    “This is an investigation of everything — ACORN, the national organization, the local organization and all of its affiliated entities, specifically as it relates to any potential violations of Louisiana law,” Assistant Attorney General David Caldwell said.”

    .
    FM reply: thanks for the link, but I very much doubt your could get anything remotely so criminal from visits to conservative churches. Tea and cookies, a few tracts about the wrongness of evolution — but nothing remotely like the ACORN results.

    Like

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