VaccineFactCheck.org launched in March 2015 in response to the controversy, claims and counter claims following the measles outbreak at Disneyland in December. Similar to Washington Post’s Fact Checker and Annenberg Public Policy Center’s FactCheck.org, VaccineFactCheck will monitor the mainstream media and hold it accountable for false or misleading statements. This site is especially needed because, for several years now, the media has enforced a near-total blackout on any articles questioning the safety of vaccines.
VaccineFactCheck will not take sides on the science in the vaccine debate. We take no issue with either proponents or skeptics who wish to forcefully argue their positions, whether as opinion or analysis. But we don’t believe this debate should be won by aid of factual errors, distortions or unexamined premises. This site aims to promote fair and responsible journalism.
VaccineFactCheck will correct presentations in major media outlets in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Each of our articles — typically one or two a day — will be short and to the point, noting the errors, correcting them by reference to an authoritative source and rating the extent to which a reader would be misled.
In a variant of the letter-to-the-editor, the authors, editors and publishers will then be advised of the errors, generally via Twitter, and invited to rebut us. In instances in which major media outlets fairly and accurately report vaccine stories, they will receive kudos from us.
In this way, this site will over time establish a permanent record, accessible to the general public, of the accuracy and fairness of authors and their media outlets. Our purpose is both to hold the media accountable for its conduct in this area and to provide a resource for those who want a fact check on the vaccine information the media publishes.
As an extension of that public resource, this site also hosts Ask VaccineFactCheck, a space where readers can ask about broader, related issues concerning the media’s coverage of the vaccine issue.
VaccineFactCheck, headed by Lawrence Solomon, is a project of Consumer Policy Institute.
About Lawrence Solomon
VaccineFactCheck’s executive director is Lawrence Solomon, a columnist with National Post, former columnist with the Globe and Mail, past editor and publisher of award-winning The Next City magazine and author of seven books and numerous studies.
He was an advisor to President Jimmy Carter’s Task Force on Global Resources and Environment (the Global 2000 Report) and a founder of the World Rainforest Movement, Friends of the Earth Canada, and Lake Ontario Waterkeeper. Since 1980, he has directed Energy Probe Research Foundation, one of Canada’s leading think tanks, where he has been at the forefront of movements to promote conservation and clean energy, to stop nuclear power expansion, to convert free roads to toll roads and to reform health care.
Mr. Solomon’s 1982 model for electricity reform was adopted in the UK in 1989, leading to the demise of nuclear and coal power in the UK and its adoption of high efficiency natural gas technologies. His 1996 model for the satellite tolling of roads is being adopted in Singapore. He holds patents for toll road technology for the U.S., the EU, China, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Mexico, and Brazil.
Mr. Solomon has often written on health care issues, and developed a plan for the reform of Canada’s health care system based on health care allowances that led to presentations at McMaster University and University of Toronto and consideration by government bodies. On the vaccine issue, he supports the approach taken by the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group, which marries genomics with vaccinology to develop personalized vaccines.