Dr. Oz and his fuzzy-science peers will have more company later this year. Jenny McCarthy will be joining “The View,” the afternoon talk show that often deals with topical issues, and thinking people are wondering how long it will take before she spreads her contagious misinformation.
McCarthy, as described by The Daily Beast, is a funny, gorgeous former actress and Playboy model whose “views on vaccinations and autism aren’t just stupid, they are actually dangerous.”
For several years, despite resolutely opposite science, McCarthy has vociferously opposed childhood vaccinations, claiming that they are responsible for her son’s autism. (The Daily Beast says some reports say he may not have autism, but another syndrome, Landau-Kleffner, a neurological disorder affecting language.) McCarthy told CNN that her son recovered from autism by “changing the diet, giving him vitamins and supplements, and detoxing the body from metals or candida.”
But, as The Daily Beast reports, before her son was diagnosed with autism, “McCarthy believed she was an Indigo mom and her son was a Crystal child: a New Age–y term for children who seemed to have special qualities, but many of whom actually have developmental or learning disabilities.”
We’ve addressed the bone-headedness of associating vaccinations with mental disorders, but some people refuse to see the truth. McCarthy claims we get too many vaccinations compared with 30 years ago. But as The Daily Beast points out, that number has increased only from seven to 14, and now includes vaccinations for the flu, hepatitis and chickenpox among others, in addition to the long-standing measles, mumps, polio, tetanus and diphtheria.
McCarthy has promoted her skewed ideas in several best-selling books and is the president of an autism organization that opposes vaccination. When asked by Oprah Winfrey how she learned about autism, she said, “The University of Google is where I got my degree from.”
Frighteningly, reports The Daily Beast, nearly 1 in 4 parents polled on the topic had some trust in celebrities like McCarthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has disproved any association between vaccinations and autism, but the anti-vaccine movement nevertheless has prompted more parents to withhold vaccinations. The result is the recent measles epidemic in the United Kingdom and one a few years ago in Minnesota.
To give this woman a platform to spread fear and disease is irresponsible. She once suggested to Time magazine that it might be good for polio to re-emerge to encourage people to ask for better, safer vaccines, effectively passing the buck to the medical community, not the anti-vaccine community for the rise in previously suppressed diseases.
“Her scandalous views,” according to Daily Beast, “have prompted a Slate writer, Phil Plait to start a letter-writing campaign to stop McCarthy from being hired.”
Feel free to join. The last thing the world needs is more bad ideas promoting bad medicine.