Our country has never really had a vaccine debate like the one we’re currently having.
One reason is that the coronavirus pandemic forced us to produce, test and deploy vaccines much more quickly than ever before. And a second, big one is that our new media paradigm has provided much more of a platform for those who would spread misinformation — willingly or otherwise.
This presents challenges for both the news media and news consumers alike. And twice in recent weeks, we’ve run into problems on that front.
First came a series of headlines on people quitting their jobs over vaccine mandates — headlines that often focused on raw numbers rather than the tiny percentages those numbers represented. Then came initial stories on the coronavirus-related death of a fully vaccinated Colin Powell, without mentioning that the former secretary of state was also a cancer patient. (Some vaccine skeptics went on to willfully ignore this crucial fact even long after it was pointed out.)