I knew that Oprah Winfrey was prone to antiscience; she has all sorts of New Age nonsense on her show, and the one time Randi was on in recent years he found the experience frustrating; Oprah unabashedly promotes all kinds of superstitious garbage.
But now she’s gone way, way too far: she’s signed Jenny McCarthy — notorious for her misleading statements about vaccines and autism — on for a multi-platform deal.
McCarthy has advocated a link between autism and vaccinations for years. She has written and spoken about it at length in very large venues like Oprah’s and Larry King’s shows, but her claims are wrong. Worse, they’re dangerous: by claiming vaccines are dangerous, she is scaring parents into delaying or even preventing their children from being vaccinated.
I don’t think this threat to the health of our children can be overstated: we have already seen a dramatic rise in outbreaks in preventable diseases due to the rise in media presence of antivax claptrap, and there have been deaths of children, deaths of babies, because of it.
And now Oprah is giving the premier mouthpiece for this movement a huge loudspeaker.
The timing of this couldn’t be more ironic, with Australian TV slamming the antivax movement due to the death of a four-week-old infant girl from whooping cough — a death directly related to the antivaxxers in Australia — with a growing response online to the distortions and outright lies of the antivaxxers here in the U.S, and with antiscience knee-jerking exacerbating the global reaction to swine flu.
Oprah: you have screwed up on this one, and in a huge, huge way. Jenny McCarthy has loudly and publicly increased fears over vaccinations based on nonsense and bad science. By giving her a platform, you are virtually guaranteeing that vaccination rates will decline further, there will be more outbreaks of easily preventable diseases, and therefore we’ll see an increase in deaths of children all around the world. You have claimed to want to make the world a better place — and you have actually done so in many ways — but this one act will completely negate any good you’ve done in the past.
Antivaccination rhetoric kills. It is that simple.
Links to this Post
- Oprah and the anti-vax genius Jenny McCarthy. « Adam Magazine on the Crazy Years | May 4, 2009
- Oprah drinks the antivax Kool Aid « Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day | May 4, 2009
- “Petty” » The Stupid, It Kills. | May 4, 2009
- Jenny McCarthy is an Idiot, Stop Letting Her Talk | Frugal Urbanite | May 4, 2009
- Reasons for being down « Masks of Eris | May 4, 2009
- oprah drinks the antivax kool aid, from Bad Astronomy « …eats bugs. | May 4, 2009
- Oprah drinks the antivax Kool Aid - The Michael Jackson Internet Fan Club | May 4, 2009
- Oprah and the anti-vax genius Jenny McCarthy. « The Gotham Skeptic Blog | May 5, 2009
- Cleaning Out the Link Cage: the Hott Pop Culture Summer of 1984, HuffPo Pseudoscience and Oprah Plants Her Fat Face Squarely on Cuckoo Bird Island at ICED BORSCHT & Other Delights | May 5, 2009
- Sunday Opinion: Astroengine Gets Vaccinated - Astroengine.com | May 10, 2009
- VFV Blog » Blog Archive » News from the week of May 3, 2009 | May 11, 2009
- Lousy Canuck » Wherein I explain how Oprah is quantifiably damaging humankind | May 11, 2009
- Should Someone Sue Oprah? - Vaccines, Hormones, and Responsibility - Advocation.me | June 3, 2009
- Daughter of the Ring of Fire » Blog Archive » Sex, Race, Class, and Easy Targets | June 9, 2009
- The Mail and MMR « Short and Sarcastic | August 17, 2009
- The Best Journalism and Blogging of 2009! | ICED BORSCHT | February 27, 2010
- Parenting: Counterexamples. « ichigoichie | December 29, 2010
- Undaunted by Oprah – Aaron Golas | January 15, 2011
- Oprah Retires and Science Breaths a Sigh of Relief « Radio Freethinker | June 3, 2011