Last week, we published an article about vaccines. I was concerned about it then, and I wrote as much in my editorial. But I had looked at it, I had determined that the sources it referenced were indeed good sources, and that the article also contained references to current scientific reasoning, in some cases completely countering the author’s point. And in the interest of bringing to the fore some of the ideas expressed in the article, such as the idea of whether mandatory vaccination is something society should or shouldn’t enforce, I thought that was good enough.
A couple of complaints came forward about the article and while I at first defended it based on the above, and on the notion that just because an article is pointing out something we don’t like is no reason to refuse it, I eventually came to realize that I had been wrong. Even though the references used were accurate and were good sources, they had been removed from vital context, context that meant the article was presenting an unfair portrayal of the issues, even with the counter examples. For instance, the article noted some of the bad side-effects that could occur with vaccination. These are true. What it did not note was the astounding rarity of such side effects. The article also gave the impression, although it was careful not to actually claim, that mandatory vaccination for all was in the near future. Yet there is no evidence that this will happen.
While I still believe the overall topic the article raised about the nature of mandatory vaccination is a valid one to discuss, the method the article used to present that idea was wrong, and when it comes to an issue that has a potential to affect public health, I had a duty to ensure that the article met the highest standards for reporting. I failed to do so.
Fortunately, some readers of The Voice Magazine were not willing to allow me to make this error, and came forward with their concerns, even taking the time to debate the issue further with me when I first refused their concerns. I’m glad they did, as it let me see my error, and I’ve taken corrective action. The article has been retracted, and I’m issuing an apology to you, the Voice Readers, for publishing it. I should have demanded better, it’s what you deserve.
But this week, as we enter pride month, our feature article looks at the history of pride activities and the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. Today, that fight seems even more relevant as we look to deal with issues of racism and prejudice around the world. Along the same lines, new writer Adrienne Braithwaite gives us her first article that ties in nicely, as she looks at something that really can unite the world, music.
Also this week, be sure to check out The Struggling Student Rants, a look at how our spending has changed during COVID-19 that will likely seem familiar, even as it puts a smile on your face about how strange we are as humans.