VIDEO: Katie Lied?* Biased Rhode Island Reporting on a Possible Covid-19 Vaccine Requirement for School Children (*apologies to Steely Dan)

Katie Davis’ transparent advocacy for mandatory covid-19 vaccination among Rhode Island school children is pathognomonic of what passes for mainstream Rhode Island media “balanced investigative reporting.”


Our local Rhode Island WJAR-TV newsreader introduced a report (video embedded below) Thursday May 5, 2022 on a possible covid-19 vaccine requirement for school children as follows:  “The I(nvestigative)-Team’s Katie Davis has both sides.”

The promise of journalistic objectivity was not fulfilled.

WJAR “investigative” reporter Katie Davis’ framing of the issue—both the chosen spokespersons, and selective facts presented—gave viewers a one-sided, intractably biased message supporting mandatory covid-19 vaccination in schools.

Consider this crudely prejudiced imagery.

Young father Steven Canter, videotaped in a parking lot, donning a baseball cap, brim reversed like a catcher, presented the anti-vaccine requirement view. Neatly attired, professional appearing Brown academic Emergency Department pediatrician, Dr. Elizabeth Goldberg, videotaped against an Emergency Department backdrop, provided the countervailing pro-vaccine requirement opinion.

Mr. Canter stated, “I’m pro-choice, much like mask wearing and other precautions that you take in general. I am one hundred percent not anti anything. My children are vaccinated in all of the childhood vaccines, except for one [i.e., the covid-19 vaccine].” 

Critically, Mr. Kanter and both his sons have been infected with SARSCOV2, and recovered. Although noted in passing by Ms. Davis, the significance of this information—acquisition of natural immunity, well-established to be more robust, broad, and enduring than vaccine-derived [see here; here; here]—was ignored in Davis’ report. But Davis did add, pointedly, “he [Canter] also opted not to get vaccinated himself.” When then asked directly by Davis about potential mandatory vaccination for school attendance, Canter replied, “I think that would be an unfortunate, nonsensical approach, to be honest. We would look into whatever exemption we had to.”

Katie Davis subsequently mentions the “salutary” effect of vaccine mandates in Los Angeles—“90% of students 12 and older are now vaccinated,”—and plans for a statewide requirement in California for all public school students once the current Emergency Use Authorization-only vaccine is fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration. What Davis fails to mention is the carefully referenced Florida Department of Health recommendation against routine covid-19 vaccination of healthy children, because “children with no significant underlying health conditions under 16 years old are at little to no risk of severe illness complications from COVID-19. For adolescents 16 to 17 years of age, the risk of myocarditis due to the COVID-19 vaccines may outweigh the benefits.”

Reinforced by Davis’ selected imagery, Dr. Goldberg opined, as an authority, and “equity” champion for urban school districts, “I was the first in line to get my kids vaccinated when they were eligible. As a physician, a parent, I think a vaccine mandate is a smart move. We know that mandates increase uptake rates. It’s really a health equity issue.”

Enumerated in brief, just below, are Ms. Davis’ additional journalistic sins of omission, what satirical poet Ogden Nash described as “equally bad in the eyes of all right-thinking people, from Billy Sunday to Buddha,/And it consists of not having done something you shuddha.”

(I) Covid-19 is a benign disease in the vast preponderance of children, with Rhode Island and 3 other states having experienced ZERO covid-19 deaths despite a 75% childhood infection rate after 2+ years of exposure per Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) SARSCOV2 nucleocapsid antibody titer surveillance.

(II) Through April 29, 2022, six [6] Rhode Island children have been hospitalized with myocarditis/pericarditis post-covid-19 mRNA vaccination in the past year, and 497 nationally, according to CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Notably, VAERS data underestimate adverse events by ~30-fold.

(III) Comparing childhood polio and covid-19 vaccination is completely inappropriate—as Ms. Davis does when referencing currently mandated childhood vaccines for school attendance. Polio was and remains an infinitely more lethal and crippling childhood disease than covid-19 in children. In 1953, for example, by October 31st, there were 289 Rhode Island pediatric cases in 10-months, resulting in 15 deaths a 5.2% fatality rate. Over the past 2+-years with likely ~75% [n~165,000] of Rhode Island’s ~220,000 children up to age 17 years old having been infected by covid-19, there have been ZERO deaths. Moreover, the 1954 randomized trial of pediatric polio vaccination enrolled ~1.8 million children and prevented 374 cases of crippling polio. The Pfizer covid-19 vaccine trial, which garnered EUA approval for 5 to 11 year-olds enrolled ~2300 & “prevented” 13 cases of sniffles, no children in either the vaccinated or placebo group were hospitalized despite ~20% enrolled having comorbidity (mostly obesity), and no children enrolled in either the vaccinated or placebo group who had a history of prior, covid-19 infection even got sniffles.

Katie Davis’ transparent advocacy for mandatory covid-19 vaccination among Rhode Island school children is pathognomonic of what passes for mainstream Rhode Island media “balanced investigative reporting.”

WJAR’s own convenience sample poll [n=538 respondents] indicating 3:1 rejection of the proposition that the “Covid-19 vaccine be added to the list of required immunizations for children in public schools if it receives full FDA approval,” does not mollify this reporting travesty.

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