Combine two dashes of the Huffington Post's culty, medicine-fearing "Living" section and one dash of Fox News' craziest host, and you've got Love in the Time of Swine Flu. Not even Dr. Dean Ornish could stop these paranoid fellow-travelers.
It would seem, you see, that pundits on right-wing Fox News and lefty Huffington Post have arrived at the same place with regard to Swine Flu vaccines: They are dangerous and should be avoided!
Attached, find a clip of Fox's Glenn Beck riling up a studio audience against "this government's" flu shots, and saying the vaccines are kind of barbaric and backward.
And over here on HuffPo you can find "Dr. Frank Lipman" saying much the same thing: He advises "NO!" against swine flu vaccines (in bold and caps), due to an unholy alliance between the government and "the Pharmaceutical Industry" (again with the caps). But he does say "yes" to Vitamin D supplements, fish oil, "antiviral herbal supplements," "a probiotic daily... with 10-20 billion organisms," and a ready supply of "homeopathic Oscillococcinum."
Astronomer and former HuffPo contributor Phil Plait calls this "far-left New Age... antivax nonsense" over on Discover Magazine's website, advising, sensibly, that people consult their actual personal doctors on the matter. Controversy also dogged HuffPo's health coverage back in May, when another Living section writer suggested treating swine flu with colon cleanses. The writer, who just happened to be selling a cleanse book, was duly rebuked by a doctor writing for Salon.com.
At the time, we noted that the Living section, in which both these controversial swine flu articles have appeared, was stocked by writers recruited by Huffpo "Senior Editor At Large" Russell Bishop John Morton, a disciple of the Movement for Spiritual Inner Awareness, to which HuffPo publisher Arianna Huffington belongs. At least one Living section editor has reportedly been forced by Huffington to attend an "Insight" seminar, organized by a group with close ties to MSIA.
Former members have called MSIA a cult of personality around leader John-Roger (pictured, left, with Huffington in 2004), who acolytes believe can heal the ill and who is said to eschew Western medicine. One ex-member described in his memoir John-Roger scolding him for using prescription drugs, rather than just a "natural... nutritionist," to rid himself of parasites contracted on a trip Africa (see the end of this post for more).
We'd hoped HuffPo's new medical editor Dr. Dean Ornish, who joined in August, could improve HuffPo's health coverage. It's not clear if he signed off on this latest article; we're curious what his thoughts are. Perhaps he'll leave a comment here as he did on our last post. In the meantime we'll enjoy observing the comical similarities between the people near the furthest edges of Fox News and HuffPo.