Thursday, October 08, 2009

A couple of days ago, I was sitting in the waiting room of my local Doctor's Care office when, rather fittingly, a 'medical alert' special report came on the TV.

The 'report' was on the recent rise of reported cases of autism. The reporter spent all of five seconds explaining how the increase in reported cases of autism could be down to better diagnostic procedures, then said how the Center for Disease Control stated that environmental factors such as the food we eat 'couldn't be ruled out'...then spent an hour and a half talking about how it's possible that everything from canned beans to cell phone towers can give your kids autism.

I had to laugh when I pictured the phonecall from the news station to the CDC:

"Hello, Center for Disease Control. How can I help you?"

"Hi, this is Fox News 4, we're running a special report on the current increase in Autism and wondered if you had any comments?"

"Oh, that's really nothing to worry about. Autism isn't on the rise, it just appears that way because Doctors are getting better a recognizing it."

"Uhhhhh.... Ok."

"Thank you for calling. Can I help you with anything else?"

"But what about the foods we eat? Could, say, a pregnant woman give her unborn child autism by living next to a cell phone tower or from drinking artificially sweetened soda? What about pesticides in veggies?"

"No, no, no. You don't understand. There's no significan increase in autism, it's just that doctors are now diagnosing patients with autism specifically rather than something non-specific such as mental retardation. For a long time autistic kids were misdiagnosed with all kinds of disorders, from ADD to Social Anxiety Disorder."

"What about wireless internet? Those routers have to be pumping out some killer radiation, right?"

"... Ummm, look. I don't think you're getting this. There's no real increase in autism cases, it's..."

"How about immigrants? All those Mexicans handling food can't be healthy."

"I'm sorry, but I don't know what you want from me. There is no increase in autism. It's just more cases of mental issues are being recognised as that specific disease."

" me out here. I'm trying to write a sensational news story here. This isn't sensational! It's not even designed to terrify gullible people!"


"Tell you what. As an official employee of the CDC, can you state, categorically, that environmental factors have absolutely zero effect when it comes to kids developing autism?"

"Of course not. But..."

"Good enough. click"

Tonight on Fox: People have finally got it through their heads that swine flu is only as dangerous as regular flu and there's already a we're going to come up with some other bullshit to make sure idiots tune in!

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