Tell ABC That Jenny McCarthy Doesn’t Represent Your ‘View’
Personally, I’ve never really given Jenny McCarthy much consideration. To me she represents a pretty face who has done her best to exploit her good looks in order to earn a living.
I can’t say that I blame her. The few times I’ve heard her speak publicly it was painfully clear that she lacked the intelligence to make a living doing much else. In fact, despite the now disproven theory that vaccines are linked to autism, McCarthy continues to claim that her son became autistic as a result of his vaccines. And even more shocking are her claims that he no longer has autism thanks to diet and alternative treatments. (As far as I know, he appears to be the one and only child who’s autism has ever been completely “cured”).
If her claims weren’t so dangerous they might actually be entertaining. But that’s just the problem. Entertainers should not be mistaken for medical professionals. Jenny McCarthy’s statements have not only given credence to false information, they’ve led many parents to fear vaccines more than the diseases that vaccines are intended to prevent.
While I may not be the kind of parent who takes medical advice from the likes of celebrities like Jenny McCarthy, there is no denying that her celebrity status has brought attention to the topics of autism and vaccines among many mainstream parents. Parents who, like McCarthy, are concerned about their children possibly being diagnosed with autism. Parents who may not be well versed in the scientific studies that demonstrate the safety of vaccines. And even some who, like McCarthy, prefer to follow gut instinct over the advice of medical experts.
Earlier this week, when the word got out that ABC is considering McCarthy as a co-host on the popular day-time talk show ‘The View’, many public health advocates began speaking out against this decision. The outcry has been swift and immediate, and the general consensus among science bloggers, vaccine advocates and concerned parents is that allowing a celebrity like Jenny McCarthy a public platform by which she may continue to propagate dangerous misinformation is a major public health concern.
Phil Plait, a blogger for Slate, led the cry with an online movement to stop ABC from hiring McCarthy due to her “highly dangerous health ideas, including the mistaken belief that vaccines cause autism.” Voices for Vaccines started a petition with the goal of getting 2,500 signatures to deliver to the show’s producers. And many other outlets have joined in the call to prevent McCarthy’s hire including Salon.com, The Daily Beast, The Atlantic, and Commentary Magazine.
Every Child By Two, who’s educational Vaccinate Your Baby Campaign was created several years ago as a direct response to McCarthy’s unfounded claims about vaccine safety, shared these words with the Barbara Walters co-hot of ‘The View’:
Ms. McCarthy’s unfounded claims that vaccines cause autism have been one of the greatest impediments to public health in recent decades. These false assertions, in addition to her condemnation of public health officials and the medical community overall, has spread fear among young parents, which has lead to an increased number of children who have not received life-saving vaccines.
Recent outbreaks of pertussis and measles have resulted in severe illness and the deaths of numerous children in the United States, and yet families continue to delay or decline immunizations based on unproven studies and celebrity falsehoods, rather than science.
In order to counter the misinformation that was spreading like wildfire among the public, in 2008 our organization developed a new public education campaign, Vaccinate Your Baby. Actor and Mother Amanda Peet kindly offered to serve as a volunteer spokesperson for this campaign and, along with scores of medical experts and public health partners, we believe conquered over much of the anti-vaccine propaganda. As more and more science has been conducted on the safety of vaccines and there has been a declaration from scientists and physicians worldwide that there is no risk of autism from vaccines, Ms. McCarthy still has not recanted her position. In addition, as head of Generation Rescue, she actively continues to spread erroneous information about vaccines to the public, while promoting dangerous treatments to “cure” children of autism.
We believe that providing Ms. McCarthy with a platform on a show as popular as The View would be a very dangerous decision, as even one slight of vaccinations can cause a ripple effect that may result in yet another naysayer who will delay vaccines for their children, placing them at great risk. We ask that you express this concern with your show’s producers.
So now we call upon you to do the same. Tell the ABC producers what a mistake it would be to hire Ms. McCarthy by emailing them or sending them a letter at the following addresses:firstname.lastname@example.org
email@example.com Bill Geddie Executive Producer The View – ABC Television Network 320 West 66th Street New York, New York 10023-3604