The anti-vaccination advocate and lifestyle writer Sarah Pope of The Healthy Home Economist blog published a post on Tuesday insisting that she knew she'd be mocked for her beliefs in a segment on Comedy Central's The Daily Show, but that she did the program anyway to spread her message.
"I knew before I accepted the interview that the goal of the segment would be to make me and parents like me look ridiculous -- it’s comedy after all!" Pope breezily wrote. "No worries. This didn’t really bother me much. I’m a blogger after all. It’s pretty hard to hurt my feelings or make me feel embarrassed about much of anything!"
"My hope by doing the show was to demonstrate to the Moms and Dads who watched that it doesn’t matter how you are bullied or made fun of for the position to not vaccinate even when you are put up against the likes of Dr. Paul (Awful) Offit, the infectious disease pediatrician who is trotted out at every turn by the mass media to trumpet pro-vaccination propaganda," she explained.
Pope -- who has previously urged parents to lie to their children's doctors if the pediatrician says what they're doing isn't safe -- insisted that the anti-vaccination movement is "being led by the most educated in our society," and that "No-vax parents aren’t the real 'science deniers,'” but are rather "the ones most interested in the science because they are digging into the research and demanding unbiased, objective data to support vaccination, not the slanted version presented by the CDC and conventional pediatricians like Dr. Offit who makes millions supporting the very industry that handsomely maintains his lifestyle."
The incidence of preventable childhood diseases like measles and pertussis -- also known as "whooping cough" for the distinctive gasp sufferers make as they struggle to breathe -- have surged in the U.S. and parts of western Europe as parents choose to forego childhood vaccinations.
Many parents made the decision based on now-debunked studies by former U.K. physician Andrew Wakefield, who said that mercury-based preservatives in vaccines were responsible for the spike in autism diagnoses in Western nations. Wakefield was stripped of his license to practice medicine in Britain or any of its commonwealths when it was revealed that he falsified much of his research. The disgraced physician now resides in Texas, where he sued for the right to practice medicine and briefly ran an Austin autism clinic.
In the Daily Show segment, Pope told correspondent Samantha Bee, "These vaccines are loaded with toxins and I'm not gonna inject them into my kids. Period."
When confronted with scientific evidence from the CDC and pediatricians like Offit, Pope said, "That's the data you believe in, that's great. Well, my data's different."
On her blog, she wrote, "I thought that bringing comedy to this subject was highly appropriate given how 'up to their eyeballs in you know what' most people are when it comes to the vaccination issue...I'm glad I took the risk and did the show."
Watch the Daily Show segment, embedded below: