ONTD Political

Why so quiet, Michelle?

11:09 am - 09/24/2011
Silence From Rep. Bachmann As Vaccine Challenge Expires

The high noon deadline for bioethicistArthur Caplan's $10,000 challenge to Rep. Michele Bachmann has come and gone without a peep from the Republican presidential hopeful. But damage from herstatement linking the HPV vaccine with mental retardation has already been done, Caplan says.

As Shots reported last week, bioethicistSteven Miles first ponied up $1,000 to call Bachmann's bluff. Caplan, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, then raised the ante with $10,000 out of his own pocket. He asked Bachmann to produce a real person who has suffered mental retardation by the HPV vaccine.

If she could do it, Caplan offered to donate the ten grand to Bachmann's charity of choice. If she failed, he suggested that Bachmann donate the same amount to a charity of his choice. No one from the Bachmann camp ever contacted Caplan accepting the challenge, according to the bioethicist.

"Time is up," he said in a press conference today.


Over the past week, Caplan, who studies vaccine ethics, chastised Bachmann for her rumor- and fear-mongering of a vaccine that's used to prevent cervical cancer. Despite medical professionals refuting Bachmann's claim, Caplan wrote in a blog that he was still "worried that the stench of fear was going to linger around vaccines yet again."

Miles concurred in an interview with NPR's Michele Norris. "What happened here was yelling 'fire' in a crowded theater," Miles said. "The claim is very important because women will make important health decisions based on the idea that mental retardation may be a side effect of this, which there's no evidence, so far, that it is."

Why have concerns about the vaccine grown so disproportionate to the small safety hazards it actually presents? Because politicians occasionally use anecdotes and stories instead of facts, Caplan says.

"Politicians shouldn't get away with hearsay," he said. "We need to hold candidates responsible for their sources."

Caplan tells Shots that he's received a lot of e-mails supporting his challenge — some people even offering money of their own — and a few trying to disprove him. But no one has succeeded yet.

And as one of millions watching the Republican Primary debate tonight, he'll be listening hard for more talk of vaccines.


So, think she's going to own up to this? I don't, but the whole thing does make me want to sit back with a big bowl of popcorn.
madman101 8th-Nov-2020 06:51 pm (UTC)
Great! I was surprised to see you respond. I must have shown up in your email.

I went to HS with Marin. Her brother was a main friend of mine, so I was over at their house many times. Marin was very devoted to stage, and was a big part of a theatre revival at the HS, as was I. It spawned her, Joe Mantello (actor/director), Bob Greenblatt (Showtime etc. exec), Jodie (Marzorati) Benson (voice of Disney's Ariel etc.), and other creative types. It was a great time. I went on to other things, and eventually, like you, had to return home, sick.

I am glad you are still about. Sometimes, people who stop on LJ are really gone. So nice that you are enjoying some kind of fulfilling and happy life!

If you ever come back to LJ, be sure to add me. But don't mention any of this personal info, as it would date me. (Plus I am extremely private online in general). Take care!!!!


btw - You have some excellent LJ interests. Individualism, Flogging Molly, Monty Python, robots marrying flying monkeys, oh yeah!
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