Wednesday, November 10, 2021

#2495: Miranda Bailey

The movie The Pathological Optimist is a biographical movie about Andrew Wakefield, one of the most infamous frauds alive today and, as the guy who virtually founded the modern antivaccine movement, someone who is morally responsible for a large number of deaths. According to the blurb for the movie, however, the movie “takes no sides, instead letting Wakefield and the battles he fought speak for themselves.” To put it briefly: presenting views like “the Earth is flat”, “black people should have fewer rights than white people” or “the Holocaust never happened” in a manner that tries to be neutral on the merits of the claims – “without taking a side” – is presenting those views in a more positive light than they deserve. It is, accordingly, taking a side. (And no: there is no controversy about whether the MMR vaccine leads to autism; it doesn’t. That’s settled.) Miranda Bailey, the producer behind the movie, is thus, by attempting not to take a side, providing direct support for Wakefield and the anti-vaccine movement, which makes her an anti-vaccine activist.


And Bailey’s film no more “lets Wakefield and the battles he fought” speak for themselves than Loose Change lets the events of 9/11 speak for themselves. By telling the story the way she does – it’s a hagiography more than a documentary – Bailey is choosing a narrative, and it is rather obvious for instance that the only people interviewed are Wakefield and his followers – criticism are supplied by poorly produced archival footage, which Wakefield or his supporters get to respond to. There is a decent review of the movie here and a brief one here.


Now, it is important to point out how unlikely it is that Bailey herself is just a na├»ve and incompetent pseudo-documentary maker; Bailey has expressed anti-vaccine sympathies and conspiracy theories in the past, as documented here, especially in relation to California’s SB277 law. She has also expressed support for a wide range of woo, pseudoscience and junk medicine, beliefs that typically make one well-disposed for accepting antivaccine nonsense.


Diagnosis: Anti-vaccine activist and conspiracy theory promoter; indeed, few people have done more to promote antivaccine conspiracy theories than Miranda Bailey. A terrible person. Should be shunned.


Hat-tip: David Gorski & Sciencebased medicine

1 comment:

  1. I would like to add that Wakefield had a significant conflict of interest in his BS MMR study -- he had created a competitor vaccine when he did the study. Major ulterior motives.