Civil Discourse Not Possible With Comments Like This

I recently wrote on Kim Stagliano's latest post at Huffington Post. This tweet of hers, along with other tweets and comments reveal clearly that any comments that do not agree with her ideology are met as troll comments. Many of her staunch defenders assert that anyone commenting there who are in favor of vaccines are pharma shills.

I am deeply disappointed with the rhetoric that places anyone who disagrees with these people on the wrong side, as the bad guys. It seems more than a tad bit defensive and it clearly betrays a lack of openness and willingness to engage in an exchange of ideas and information. As long as you cast anybody who doesn't agree with your particular perspective as trolls, there can be no community building. There can be no support of other parents. I don't have a problem with people having differences of opinions; folks don't need to agree with me in order to have my support and my care or a place on the directory.  I am, however, deeply grateful that most of the bloggers on the directory, regardless of how they think about vaccines or "biomedical" interventions, are interested in positively supporting others. It allows me to remember that those at Huff at AoA are in the minority, that most of us can come together in support of each other and our children and autistic friends. It makes the times I do delve into that really angry place easier to bear.

You'll have to forgive me, what with tweets like that and all the past history, if I'm a bit skeptical when I read that Stagliano is "[i]ncredibly kind, passionate, and possessing a wit one can only wish for." After all, incredibly kind people don't call other parents trolls and pharma shills and they certainly don't photoshop Offit, etc, eating a baby for Thanksgiving while writing that Nancy Snyderman was pleasuring Offit under the table. I'll give her passionate, though, in spades. 


K Bjornstad said...

Really not a fan of Stagliano myself. It's hard for me to like anyone who thinks autism is awful, because someone who describes something that is such a huge part of me as being horrible can't be my ally. I'm all for community building but I have a really hard time trusting antivaxers, especially ones that go out of their way to demonize autism. They stand against everything that I stand for.

Sullivan said...

Kim Stagliano likes the "trolls" label. She either doesn't understand or doesn't care that she misuses it.

Mark Blaxill prefers "wackosphere", a term he coined and no one else picked up.

The blog post by Kim Stagliano was another attempt to paint her cause as part of the mainstream concern about vaccine safety.

She ignores the fact that one can have sincere concerns about vaccine safety (such as myself) and also find appaling the actions of her blog and it's parent organization (as I do).

Just because there are mainstream concerns about vaccine safety doesn't mean that AoA is mainstream.