When the news broke that Elizabeth Hasselbeck would be leaving The View and moving to Fox, responses varied from “well, okay” to “is The View still on?” As soon as she announced her departure, I wondered which ill-informed shit-stirrer Barbara Walters and her ABC band would choose to replace Hasselbeck. Dina Lohan? Dog the Bounty Hunter? Shirley Phelps-Roper?
Well, they found one. Jenny McCarthy will be joining the ladies this September. Jenny McCarthy has some funny* ideas about autism, and she likes to educate others about these ideas at every opportunity. As Pat Garafalo writes, McCarthy claims that her own son became autistic after being vaccinated, and has become deeply committed to instructing parents to forgo vaccinations. Unfortunately, Jenny McCarthy is not a doctor. She is not an expert. She is ignorant and spreading dangerous information while purporting to be knowledgeable.
McCarthy’s information has been completely disproved by the scientific community, but she remains convinced. Her ideas about the connection between vaccines and autism are based primarily on a 1998 study, which was thoroughly debunked and turned out to be an “elaborate fraud.” Since then, numerous studies including “a review by the Institute of Medicine of more than 1,000 research articles showed that ‘there are no links between immunization and some serious conditions that have raised concerns, including Type 1 diabetes and autism.’” Additionally, a 2013 study in the Journal of Pediatrics established that there was no connection between vaccines and autism.
Here’s the thing about Jenny McCarthy: she’s dangerous. She believes in dangerous, factually inaccurate medical ideas and giving her a platform is a huge mistake. By allowing her access to The View’s massive audience, ABC could be complicit in an inconceivable amount of pseudoscience being passed off as medical advice. The consequences could be huge:
ABC could be contributing to serious health problems and the spread of some of the globe’s nastiest diseases, the suppression of which has been a public health success story for the ages. According to the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund, 2.5 million deaths a year are prevented due to vaccinations against just four diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and measles. Small pox was eradicated due to vaccinations, and polio is no longer the threat it once was in the western world.
All of the hosts have used this platform to argue for personal political agendas—it’s just the nature of the show. It’s unlikely that autism, vaccines, or parenting won’t come up during McCarthy’s time as a host, and millions of concerned parents will receive dangerous, possibly catastrophic information, “[dressed] up in the guise of looking out for the best interests of children, which, understandably, has a way of sticking in the minds of concerned parents.”
They couldn’t have just gone with Dina Lohan?