It was the last straw. That article that supposedly comes from www.whiteoutpress.com made it into my news feed AGAIN. The title? "Courts quietly confirm MMR Vaccine causes Autism."
Do you want to know what MY first thought was? My first thought was, who the heck is "White Out Press?"
So I clicked the link and, low and behold, the site won't load. That happened on Saturday.
I saw the article in my feed again, on Sunday, passed on by another friend. Same thing - the site won't load.
So today, when yet another friend shared the very same link, I asked her, "Just curious. Did you read the article?" And then I wrote, "I only ask because it's been in my timeline several times in the past few days, and every time I click on it - every. single. time. - I get a server error on that website. It doesn't load at all. I wonder how it keeps getting passed on if it's not readable."
Thing is, I know EXACTLY how it's getting passed on. People are more interested in hype than actual facts and they're willing to pass on a spicy headline without even reading the content.
This particular "friend" said, "I know I tried to also and same thing!"
So I had to do it. I just had to. I asked, "So... why did you share it? I can't even figure out if "whiteoutpress" is a legit news source."
Oh, and by the way, I doubt that - sincerely. Their own site description is, "Independent news at its best. If it's blacked-out, covered-up or censored, you can find it here!" I love to question authority as much as the next person, but I'm brilliant enough to question ALL sites that claim to have an authority viewpoint. ALL OF THEM.
My friend? She back-peddled. A lot. She realized what I had so subtly accused her of - of passing on a headline I knew for a fact she hadn't read; and she started blaming her "cursor going crazy."
Try to be a little more responsible, people. If you're going to pass on articles from independent publications (or ANY publication), that's fine by me. But make sure you've at least read what you're claiming to support first. Or, at least make sure it's active and readable.
EDIT: To clarify, there is an ITALIAN court case where parents sued a over their son showing signs of autism after getting his MMR vaccine. The Italian Health Ministry somehow ruled that the vaccine did cause the autism. While I personally do believe vaccines can contribute to a MYRIAD of medical conditions, I do think it is misleading for a "court" to make a "medical" determination.
EDIT #2: As of 4pmEST on 7/30/13, the whiteoutpress.com website is still down and questions about the site being down, posted on their FB page, have gone unanswered.
EDIT#3: Article edited to add a resource link to an article about the MMR/Autism controversy, which includes additional links within it for those who would like to research the issues. www.thelibertybeacon.com/2013/06/21/new-published-study-verifies-andrew-wakefields-research-on-autism-again-mmr-vaccine-causes-autism/
More from this writer: Autistic Boy's Family Receives Horrific Letter - http://www.bubblews.com/news/980795-autistic-boy039s-family-receives-horrific-letter
Image credit - Wikimedia Commons: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Syringe_with_Green_Fluid.jpg