Katie Couric is under fire after airing a report on “Katie” that some critics are deriding as “fear mongering,” reports the Los Angeles Times’ Show Tracker. The report was about the HPV vaccine.
The segment, which aired Wednesday, included Couric and guests discussing the vaccine, Gardasil, which is designed to prevent the transmission of HPV, a sexually transmitted disease. The episode came under fire for a teaser that said, “The HPV vaccine is considered a life-saving cancer preventer … but is it a potentially deadly dose for girls?"
Science writer Seth Mnookin called out the episode as “fear mongering” in a blog post on PLOS — the Public Library of Science, a nonprofit open-access science publishing outfit.
Mnookin wrote that he was contacted about appearing on the show, and spoke for several hours with a producer. Eventually, he was told the show didn’t want him on the air, but he wrote that he came away feeling they understood the issue.
“The producer seemed to have a true grasp of the dangers of declining vaccination rates and she stressed repeatedly that her co-workers, including Couric herself, did not view this as an “on the one hand, on the other hand” issue but one in which facts and evidence clearly lined up on one side — the side that overwhelmingly supports the importance and efficacy of vaccines,” he wrote.
“Apparently, that was all a load of crap,” he added.
The show focused on a mother who claims her daughter died after getting the vaccine. Meanwhile, a study published in the British Medical Journal found no link between the vaccine and short- or long-term health problems, while more than 25,000 new cancers attributable to HPV occur each year in the U.S., Mnookin writes.
Other critics also called out the report, with New Yorker writer Michael Specter calling the report “shameful” and saying Couric had lost her credibility.
Couric will address the controversy on today’s show, the Times adds.