What I actually wanted to discuss here is Dr. Gorski's observation about the apparent lack of anti-vax activity in Autism Awareness Month.
The anti-vaccine movement’s usual suspects haven’t been all over the mainstream media, as they usually are this time every year, often as early as April 1 or even March 31.
Could the anti-vax movement be losing steam? Are they regrouping? I have no idea. But we can check how much interest the media has had in the anti-vax movement in the last 13 years.
This is a graph of Google News Archive "autism vaccines" articles per 100 "autism" articles. Google News Archive has its own graphs where you can sort of see the trend as well, but it's methodologically better to look at article counts relative to "autism" articles, for obvious reasons.
I also added a VAERS "autism" submissions series to the graph. Clearly, media coverage of anti-vax speculation correlates well with VAERS submissions. See also how it compares to Sullivan's graph of the number of autism cases before the vaccine court.
2008 was a good year for anti-vaxers, given that it was the year when the Hannah Poling story broke, and Jenny McCarthy started to publicize her autism books on TV. But if you look at the graph, 2008 provided only a marginal boost. I doubt anti-vaxers will have another 2008 ever again.
That's the reality of the situation, even though in the blogsphere we seem to perceive things differently sometimes. Anti-vaxers often talk as though they are "winning the debate." Next time you find an anti-vaxer who says they are winning the debate, ask them what they are basing that opinion on, and send them over to this post.