Ten Miles Square


July 14, 2013 2:25 PM “The View” Hires Loathsome Vaccine Denier Jenny McCarthy, Thus Demonstrating ABC’s Utter Disregard for Health, Science, and the Lives of Humans Everywhere

By Ryan Cooper

jenny mccarthy
When derp becomes evil.

If you thought the CIA’s effort to single-handedly keep the polio virus alive and paralyzing/killing people by using a fake vaccination campaign to hunt for bin Laden’s DNA (a failed effort which led directly to the murder of health workers and polio outbreaks) is the most despicable vaccine-related story of the last few years, ABC is giving them a run for their money. Elizabeth Hasselback and has left The View and in her place they’ve hired Jenny McCarthy, former porn star nude actress and full-time producer of anti-science bullshit that has demonstrably harmed the health of the American people.

You see, Jenny McCarthy practically embodies the definition of Smithian Derp. She claims vaccines cause autism. She has no idea what are in the things. She claims her son had autism but she cured him with a gluten-free diet.

I’ll leave it to Phil Plait for the full treatment, but needless to say, all of those claims are utterly wrong both in broad scope and in detail. It’s infuriating, but honestly, it’s hard to be very mad at McCarthy at this point. She’s been pulling this stuff for years, and in plain view of everyone. Many have been trying to convince her otherwise with no success. Some people are just incapable of even a slight approximation of rational thought, and she’s obviously one of them when it comes to vaccines and medical science generally.

Let’s save the real outrage for the executives at ABC who oversaw this hiring. There can be no possible justification for giving a platform and credibility to such a noxious figure—like there’s a shortage of washed-up celebrities to talk fluff on daytime TV? What borderline-sociopathic disregard for the health and safety of the American public! What a total abdication of any sense of patriotism or civic responsibility!

And lest any argue that celebrity idiots screeching on the TV can’t have much negative effect, McCarthy et al have already done real damage. They and their allies have sowed enough doubt to reduce herd immunity to the point that we’re now having regular outbreaks of easily preventable diseases. We’ve had measles outbreaks in South Africa, Australia, Russia, the UK in 2012 and 2013, and in South Carolina earlier this year. Both the US and the UK had full-blown epidemics of pertussis last year, with many babies killed as a result.

These are the wages of vaccine denial: sickness, permanent disability, and death. Apparently those things are of no concern to Anne Sweeney, Ben Sherwood and Diane Sawyer.

Ryan Cooper is a National Correspondent at The Week, and a former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @ryanlcooper


  • Russell Sadler on July 15, 2013 7:00 PM:

    Let'um have it Ryan.

    The town I live in, Ashland, Oregon, home of Southern Oregon University and an allegedly educated populace, has the highest rate per capita of unvaccinated kids in the entire state.

    These people, who claim "research" proves vaccines are actually dangerous, are turning a generation of children into "Typhoid Marys" with their illiterate claptrap.

    Liberals have their tin foil hats, too -- proudly on display here.

  • DJ on July 15, 2013 7:32 PM:

    Posing nude in Playboy -- either as a "Playmate" or not -- does not necessarily make one a "porn star."

    More relevantly, do you honestly think Whoopi Goldberg will let her get away with her addled opinions? I think the over/under on a Whoopi Smackdown is ten episodes.

  • bbleh on July 15, 2013 7:34 PM:

    And why do you think any of these things matter?

    "ABC, The Leader In Medical Care Reporting for Children!"

    Plus, she's BLONDE! And just LOOK at that figure! And those RATINGS!

    Very sad about the perwhatsis.

  • bbleh on July 15, 2013 7:37 PM:

    And why do you think any of these things matter?

    "ABC, The Leader In Medical Care Reporting for Children!"

    Plus, she's BLONDE! And just LOOK at that figure! And those RATINGS!

    Very sad about the perwhatsis.

  • Ronald on July 15, 2013 8:49 PM:

    Amen to this.
    Having Autism (in a not as severe form) puts a bigger red flag up for me. Not that she originally put forth the idea that Autism and vaccines were linked; in the early 90's research on Autism was still in a beginning stage. No. It was that she continued (continues?) to espouse those ideas.

    From my perspective, this pseudo-science is taking away time, money, and attention from a disorder that's now affecting 1 in 88 people in the US.

    It is a pretty sad slap in the face to be blatantly allowing a platform for raw lies.

  • martin on July 16, 2013 8:19 AM:

    Although I generally agree, calling her a "former pornstar" is a little over the top. Yeah, Playboy is porn,and Playmate of the Year makes you a star, but you wouldn't refer to Marilyn Monroe as a former pornstar.

    How come Disqus doesn't rule in this part of the Washington Monthly universe?

  • Collin on July 16, 2013 9:10 AM:

    "Loathsome"? Setting the bar a little low, I would say. There are a heck of a lot more celebrity types that would fit that description before her. Time to reset your outrage meter.

  • William Burns on July 16, 2013 9:18 AM:

    This statement would have a little more moral weight if the Washington Monthly had not recently hired loathsome Iraq war advocated Jeffrey Goldberg.

  • david mcclure on July 16, 2013 9:58 AM:

    no arguments on the merits, but you should double-check
    the "porn star" claim. as far as i know, this has never been acknowledged or proven.

  • DRF on July 16, 2013 9:59 AM:

    Cooper's is an extreme and overwrought opinion.

    First, McCarthy is not a "former porn star". She was a Playboy centerfold and appeared nude there, but rational people haven't called this pornography since 1965. These days, "porn star" refers to something quite different, and Cooper may want to issue a retraction before the libel claim comes in.

    Second, while I fully agree that McCarthy is on the wrong side of the vaccination issue, that's hardly a reason to blackball her from The View, or any other program for that matter. I doubt that the producers of the show are going to allow her to use it as a platform for her views, and it's not clear that she continues to have any appetite for speaking out on this issue.

  • Epicurus on July 16, 2013 12:06 PM:

    Not that I ever watch this talkfest, but the addition of Jenny McCarthy can only be a good thing, if it means fewer and fewer people waste their time watching this garbage. She is a worthless piece of trash, and should be working in fast food somewhere, but she knows how the game is played. What, was Snooki not available??

  • Ryan L. Cooper (@ryanlcooper) on July 16, 2013 1:38 PM:

    Porn star line withdrawn, that's fair.

    @DRF - I fail to understand how advocating quack medicine that literally kills babies on an ongoing basis doesn't disqualify one from such a prominent platform. If that doesn't, what would? Should AIDS deniers get TV shows? How about Holocaust deniers?

    @William Burns - for the record, we haven't hired Jeffrey Goldberg. We get his column through a syndication agreement with Bloomberg View.

  • Russell aboard M/V Sunshine on July 16, 2013 5:11 PM:

    Ryan, I'd wait before I withdrew your "porn star"description. You are mnot wrong.

    The fact that Jenny McCarthy was a Playboy centerfold is not the reason she is properly called a "former porn star." It's the jobs she took after she received the Playboy distinction. Skeptics should Google "Jenny McCarthy Large Tube" for a sampling.

    Now I don't think being in porn movies when she was younger disqualifies McCarthy from future, more respectable, employment. I think she is unqualified to host a national television program because of her "vaccines-are-responsible-for-autism quackery and I'm as outraged as Ryan.

    But I suspect after Googling the above topic, folks at ABC may want to take another look at McCarthy's hiring.

  • DRF on July 17, 2013 5:54 AM:

    All deniers aren't the same. AIDS deniers and Holocaust deniers come from a place of real prejudice, and those people should be shunned. Not to defend McCarthy's position, but her views on vaccines comes from her own personal experience with a child originally diagnosed as autistic (although I recently read that there's some question about that diagnosis). People like McCarthy who are "vaccine deniers" are generally simply well-intentioned folks who are just misguided. I certainly believe that the producers of the show should not allow her to use the program as a platform to promote her views on vaccines, but there's no reason to think that will happen. The attack on her in Cooper's column and in some of the comments here feels more like an attempt to punish her for her vaccine denialism than an effort to protect the public from her.