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Representative Manzella Is a Menace to Public Health. The Press Should Demand an Explanation

Republican Representative Theresa Manzella is now a menace to public health. The same week that Gallatin County is addressing a mumps outbreak in its schools and the same year when the rate of under-vaccinated children has quadrupled in the United States, Manzella is using her Facebook platform to promote an anti-vaccine Facebook page run by people who appear to believe that memes about vaccines are more powerful than peer-reviewed science.

From Manzella’s Facebook page:

Montanans for Vaccine Choice, the group Manzella is “thankful…for exposing” the problems of vaccination, is little more than a typical hive of anti-vaccination nonsense, ranging from citation of illegitimate “news” sites, alternative medicine claims that you just need some Vitamin C to treat tetanus, claims that the 1918 Influenza Epidemic was caused by vaccination, and specious articles claiming that vaccines cause autism.

Even the story in the post Manzella cites only appears on anti-vaxxer sites without any support from reputable media.

Look, Theresa Manzella is allowed to be woefully misinformed and spread even dangerous, discredited ideas about public health. She’s allowed to celebrate the Confederacy, opine horrifically about Muslims, and even cheer on armed insurrection against the United States.

But don’t the people she represents deserve to know her views? Shouldn’t the Missoulian, which covers her district, ask her to explain if she really believes that vaccines are a bad idea? Shouldn’t they ask her to explain why she cheered on the Bundy occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge with a militia reference to armed insurrection?

Maybe the good people of Manzella’s district will never elect a Democrat, but I suspect if they knew just how badly misinformed and even dangerous her ideas were, they might, at least, elect a Republican who believes in vaccinating kids and not in armed insurrection.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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