Home Store In Memoriam Deborah Newsletter Forum Topics Blogfeed Blogroll Facebook MySpace Contact Us About

Is Brit Hume Saying Aids Is No Longer A Big Deal?

Reported by Priscilla - June 10, 2008 -

Last night’s (June 9th) Special Report Grapevine had a piece which, once again, was only part of the story and seemed to be yet another example of how Fox loves to show that you just can’t believe those silly scientists. With chyron “aiding the alarmism” Hume referenced a World Health Organization Aids director, Michael Merson, who warned, in 1990, that "It is very unlikely that the global prevalence of HIV infection will stabilize... for at least several decades." Well, according to Hume, you can rest easy because this global pandemic didn’t happen.

Hume claims that the WHO is “backtracking” on its past claims regarding a pandemic. Hume cited the present WHO director of Aids, who states that there will be no epidemic, in the heterosexual population, outside Africa. Hume opined that “it is the first official admission that the prevention strategy promoted by major AIDS organizations may have been disproportionate to the problem.” The chyron read “about face.” Hume claimed that “the WHO and other organizations have been criticized for inflating estimates of the number of people infected — diverting funds from other health needs and spending on those who are not at risk. De Cock says there are "elements of truth" in that criticism.”

Comment: Hume’s statement, which he gave as his own, was lifted nearly word for word from an opinion in the British newspaper, The Independent: “In the first official admission that the universal prevention strategy promoted by the major Aids organisations may have been misdirected, Kevin De Cock…” And Hume, in claiming that De Cock said that “there will be no epidemic in the heterosexual population outside Africa” didn’t bother reading other comments by De Cock in the rest of the Independent’s article such as "It is very unlikely there will be a heterosexual epidemic in other countries.. But we have to be careful. As an epidemiologist it is better to describe what we can measure. There could be small outbreaks in some areas."… "I think it is unlikely there will be extensive heterosexual spread in Russia. But clearly there will be some spread."…And regarding the “criticisms” of the WHO, De Cock labeled these the "four malignant arguments" undermining support for the global campaign against Aids, which still faced formidable challenges, despite the receding threat of a generalised epidemic beyond Africa.” The “element of truth” was "You will not do much about Aids in London by spending the funds in schools. You need to go where transmission is occurring. It is true that countries have not always been good at that."

So once again, the context was not as simple as Hume would have it; but then Hume deals in short, simple sound bites for those with short attention spans. I do hope he read today’s Huffington Post which has an article stating that “despite a stepped up global battle against AIDS, the numbers of people newly infected with HIV are far and away outpacing the numbers beginning antiretroviral drug treatments, U.N. officials said Monday.” But who cares about those Africans. If you’re an American heterosexual, don’t worry, be happy!