A WGBH science reporter was dismissed from her job after questions reportedly arose about her opinions regarding vaccinations, according to the Boston Globe.
The station hired Mish Michaels, a former meteorologist for Boston’s CBS affiliate, in January to cover science for its public affairs TV program Greater Boston. She was let go from the job Wednesday. Jim Braude, host of the program, told the Globe, “The decision was made that [Michaels] is not a good fit for ‘Greater Boston’ and she won’t be working there.”
Citing unnamed sources, the Globe said Michaels was fired after Braude was informed of her “past statements linking vaccines and autism” and he informed his bosses. The Globe pointed to testimony Michaels gave in front of the Massachusetts legislature in 2011 supporting a bill that would have allowed parents to send their children to school without vaccinations.
In the testimony, the Globe reported, Michaels appeared to imply a connection between autism and vaccines with comments about “Ivy League–educated” friends who have autistic children. Despite claims that there may be a connection, medical sources say no studies have found one. Michaels also referred to a family member who “contracted leukemia after exposure to vaccines and pesticides” and said she had pitched stories about “vaccine-damaged children” to her previous employer, who passed on them.
“What I was told time and time again was that there is no story, that the science is settled, that there’s no reason to present stories of this nature on TV because simply these are fringe stories,” Michaels said in the testimony. Video of Michaels’ appearance has been removed from YouTube since the Globe article was published.
In a statement on her website, Michaels said that she is “saddened by the sudden end of my position as science reporter at WGBH” and that her beliefs were “positioned inaccurately.”
“I have never claimed that I don’t believe in vaccines,” she wrote. “I am pro-safe and effective vaccines and pro scientific discovery.”