Vaccine Reporting in The New York Times and Time, 1980-2013

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Virginia Tech


Recently, popular media reporting on vaccination issues has demonstrated a clear bias against voluntary non-vaccinators. Media coverage of the Disneyland measles outbreak of winter 2014-15 indicates that the rhetoric used to describe those who do not follow the Center for Disease Control’s vaccination guidelines is becoming more inflammatory. Authors writing for publications like Mother Jones and, commonly use phrases like “wacky position” and “quackery” to describe individuals and parents who choose not to vaccinate themselves or their children. This observation gives rise to the question of how voluntary non-vaccinators are represented in long established, reputable media outlets with large readerships. Can a shift to inflammatory vaccine discourse be identified in well respected news sources as it is in more niche publications like Mother Jones and If so, when did this shift occur, and what factors influenced the rise of this style of inflammatory reporting?