I was pretty surprised to flip radio stations the other day and come across two men discussing the ineffectiveness of the flu vaccine. I could not tell what the station was and initially thought it was NPR doing their standard two-sides-to-every-argument story, waiting for the medical professional to step in and say “yeah, that’s total nonsense and here’s what the studies show.”
Instead, the talk continued without inputs from anybody in the medical community, but rather, with the host repeatedly praising the other speaker for his beliefs and for his refutation of the medical model. Eventually I realized that the program was the Mercy & Justice Radio show on WKDU. As a Drexel alumnus, I was completely blown away.
This show was saying that vaccines are not good for you, you shouldn’t trust doctors and that God gave you an immune system that does everything your body needs.
Do they not teach critical thinking in Drexel classes these days? I do not see how anybody with any level of college education could believe this nonsense, so I’m not even going to bother poking holes in their argument. (What, all those plague deaths could have been solved by eating more fish oil?)
How is a university with a medical college allowing students to go on the radio and trash medicine and doctors? How is the radio station not including another side to this ridiculous argument? Would it have been that hard to ask a student or professor from Hahnemann to call in and discuss? I imagine they would have leapt at the opportunity to stop this pseudoscience from being spread.
The problem with the information age in which we live is that there is a lot of misinformation. This misinformation is not something that we should just brush off as a necessary evil with free speech; it is something that we should seek to correct and remove. Telling listeners that they should not “get shots for their newborns” is actively harmful to the community at large. If even one Philadelphian is convinced by this radio program, then Drexel has assisted this harm.
College radio is a good thing. It is a great tool and learning experience for the students, and it is a free and potentially rich media for the surrounding community. Still, if you are going to let kids proselytize their wacky beliefs as facts, add some sort of warning that these kids don’t know what they’re talking about and have no studies or research backing up their claims. Run that warning, and run it frequently.