Why Jenny McCarthy’s New TV Gig is So Unsettling

By Keith Kloor | July 16, 2013 3:22 pm

Best as I can tell, most of the internet has denounced ABC’s decision to hire Jenny McCarthy as a cohost of The View, a popular daytime talk show on American television. The uproar, in case you just returned from a week-long, off-the-grid monastic retreat, owes to McCarthy’s role as a prominent spokesperson for the anti-vaccine movement.  As Salon laments,

She devotes a great deal of energy to promoting the untrue belief that vaccines lead to autism, and it seems possible that she now views her career as a television personality and prominent celebrity as a means of carrying out her mission to spread what she believes is the truth about autism.

Of course, what she believes about autism and vaccines is not supported by medical evidence. Combine McCarthy’s unstinting anti-vaccine advocacy with her telegenic personality and you get, as numerous commentators have noted,  a danger to public health. Michael Specter at The New Yorker says ABC executives “should be ashamed of themselves for offering McCarthy a regular platform on which she can peddle denialism and fear to the parents of young children who may have legitimate questions about vaccine safety.”

This is the prevailing reaction that I have read, which I agree with. But an interesting counter view is offered by a Guardian writer:

There’s an argument to be made that a good way to expose the plain wrongness of McCarthy’s dangerous beliefs to the audience that most needs to hear it is to televise her on weekday mornings arguing about it with Whoopi Goldberg and, yes, Barbara Walters. The View could in fact shine a much-needed corrective light on the ignorance that McCarthy has otherwise been able to peddle unrebutted in a book and in appearances on less combative TV shows.

This has merit, but I think Phil Plait makes a more compelling argument in Slate when he writes:

even if she doesn’t talk about any of her nonsensical health ideas on the show, the very fact that she now has this co-host position gives her a tacit credibility to the viewer.

That alone is a dangerous message to send.

File:Jenny McCarthy at E3 2006.jpg

[Photo via Wikipedia]

  • Don Ciomei

    great talent . I think she’s great and I love her like a lot of others… She’s different but that will add to the show… she has personality ..

  • Diggerjohn111

    Dangerous indeed. Why not get Creationists and Flat Earth Society folks to join in as well?

  • Buddy199

    Ugh…another bubble-headed celebrity with a cause.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Lisa Hallman

    I wouldn’t say vaccines cause autism, but they are not safe. Every major sickness in my life can be attributed to when I received vaccines.

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Keith Kloor

      I’m sorry that you’ve experienced this, but how do you know every major sickness of yours can be attributed to vaccines?

      • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Lisa Hallman

        Not something I’m going to sit here and debate.

        • theLaplaceDemon

          That is, of course, your right. But I can’t think of any reason to take your word for it, particularly given how prone humans as a species are to seeing patterns where there are none, and attributing causality that is not there.

          Also, there are *plenty* of studies that are not funded by BigPharma (or SmallPharma, for that matter) demonstrating the safety of vaccines.

          Yes, there are occasional exceptions – the flu vaccine from Sweden that triggered narcolepsy comes to mind – but that was discovered through science. The very same science we use to study other vaccines as well.

        • shorty j

          because it’s what we on the internet call “anecdata,” aka logical fallacy 101

        • janie

          then don’t pronounce this to the world as some evidence supporting your claim!

        • Rigel54

          As noted below, your claims have no substance. They not even the absent minded musings of a high school freshman. You don’t just not have any evidence, you’re unwilling to pretend that you do!

    • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

      but they are not safe.

      [citation needed]. Also, even assuming your point, so are automobiles, but we still drive them. Confirmation bias, much?

    • Vacant_Mountain

      On a related note, I wouldn’t say food causes schizophrenia, but that stuff is not safe. Every single time I’ve been sick in my life, major or minor, can be attributed to some time when I was eating food.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Lisa Hallman

    What people need to understand is that the companies who make vaccines create clinical trials, that are funded by those with a vested interest in them becoming accepted. I have no problems with science, but when the major studies are done by companies that produce the vaccines — the science can’t be trusted – because money talks and bullsh**t becomes mainstream media.

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Lisa Hallman

      It’s not the vaccines themselves that cause the problems either, it’s what they are comprised of. For years dentists were told that dental amalgam is safe and the mercury contained in them was safe. Now we know better, now we know that it has absolutely no place inside our bodies or our mouths.

      • theLaplaceDemon

        Can you be more specific about what you think the troubling ingredients in vaccines are?

        • Erin Lambert

          Seriously?? Mercury? Aluminum? Formaldehyde? Aspertame?

          • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

            Seriously?? The dose makes the poison, buddy, and the dose of all these ingredients is far, far, far below that needed for any side effects to appear. Also, the most abundant element in the Earth’s crust!!? Aspartame isn’t a vaccine ingredient, as far as I know.

          • Erin Lambert

            Aspartame is found in the typhoid vaccine. And what are you referring to as being the most abundant element in the Earth’s crust?

          • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

            Aluminum.

          • Anthony Vito

            Aspartame is consumed in fairly large quantities in diet soda… if it was potently toxic people would dropping on the streets. Sure…. it might not be “good” for you, but you have to define that. Raise your statistically likely hood of cancer by 10%… maybe, but so will having granite counter tops. Life is risk, life is chaos, deal with it.

          • theLaplaceDemon

            Do you have peer-reviewed sources demonstrating that these compounds at dangerous at the level found in vaccines?

          • RealityAlwaysBites

            Have you ever found a single testing agency not completely corrupt or stupidity inept?

            If its government it’s inept and stupid, if its private its greed based and always slanted.

            You have to run the test yourself to ever trust any results.

          • Rigel54

            Yes, really, pretty much all of them, including the ones that regulate me and mine. At times their bureaucracy is hard to take, and their procedures a bit stupid, but not their science. You have a pretty sad outlook on life, trapped between idiots and villains. The reality of life is that most people are doing a pretty good job. Some of the rich ARE consumed with greed, and illiterate simpletons ARE currently wielding considerable political power and driving the nation to mysticism and damaging error.

          • Everett Vinzant

            Thank you for the most intelligent comment thus far.

          • anonymousse

            Well said.

            I don’t know in which world these people live.

            If you ever had to get something through the regulatory process (Ethic boards, Clinical trials, Drug approval process,…) one is pretty fast disabused of the notion that these agency’s are merely puppets of various interest groups.

          • Dan

            I think I’ve discovered the reason our magnetic poles are switching position. Too much negativity in the Northern Hemisphere.

          • Everett Vinzant

            “Have you ever found a single testing agency not completely corrupt or stupidity inept?”

            Consumer reports

            “If its government it’s inept and stupid, if its private its greed based and always slanted.”

            Hasty generalization. Even if SOME government is corrupt you can not use that to prove ALL government is corrupt. No, not all private testing is greed based and slanted. That is why we have the scientific process IDIOT!

            “You have to run the test yourself to ever trust any results.”

            This works REALLY well when you don’t know enough about science to run a test yourself OR get conclusive results. No, you can still run the test yourself and get ANY results you want from it (if you don’t follow the scientific method).

          • Kristina Muskiewicz

            Your body makes more formaldehyde daily than is ever found in a vaccine.

          • Rigel54

            Mercury? Bad if biologically accessible, not if in an inert form. Aluminum. Not so much, the world is awash in it, from clay to deodorant to pots and pans and everywhere. Formaldehyde? Bad, environmentally rare, degradable. Mostly we are exposed to it by the use of cheaper urea-formaldehyde resins (in plywood) instead of their more stable melamine-formaldehyde alternatives. The solution? Science and government. Aspartame? No clear negative evidence as yet. I don’t drink it, it tastes terrible.

          • anonymousse

            First:
            Elemental compounds are not the same as molecular compounds.

            Ethyl mercury (degradation product of Thiomersal), Methyl mercury and Mercury all are differently metabolized and have different toxicity’s.

            Second:

            Toxicity is a matter of dose.

            Water can be toxic in high enough amounts.

            Stating that some compounds are present in Vaccinations is meaningless.

            You would have to prove that the concentration of these compounds is toxic in routine application.

            With a mass spectrometer you can find potentially toxic compounds in spring water (eg.: trace amounts of heavy metals).

            “Aspertame” (sic)

            Aspartame is probably the most thoroughly tested sweetener by now.

            No Regulatory agency in the developed world finds any fault with it (Except if you suffer under phenylketonuria).

            Are they all bribed into silence by the evil corporate Sweetener cabal?

            Merck with all its money couldn’t keep Viox on the market, but one sweetener, Aspartame (of which it is one among many), was able to fool all the regulatory agency’s?

        • Jake
          • theLaplaceDemon

            None of those strike me as a problem in the doses administered.

      • Rigel54

        What the heck does that mean?! It’s not the vaccines, it’s what they’re made of??? The fact is that study after study after study has found no statistical link between autism and the taking of any and all vaccines. Science has done its work, again and again and again. The remainder is uneducated, illiterate, simple minded folk whose knowledge of science is just deep enough to drown them.

    • Buddy199

      The vaccines have to pass muster with the FDA, not just manufacturers’ studies.

      • RealityAlwaysBites

        FDA has about as much credibility as the SEC which is ZERO!!!

        The federal government is only good at wasting money, they can’t be trusted to do anything else.

    • Tom Scharf

      Companies pay for their own FDA testing so the taxpayer does not have to foot the bill.

      Believe me, most companies would jump for joy to learn that the testing will now be paid for and conducted by the government.

      In most cases, the tests are conducted under strict guidelines or by certified 3rd party agencies. Very specific test procedures are followed and standard test reports are submitted to the FDA and reviewed by those skilled in the art to review them.

      The penalty for falsifying a test intentionally is severe, many times leading to your company being shut down.

      I’m sure mistakes have been made and companies have skirted the law in a few isolated cases, but the insinuation that the system is corrupt is false.

      • jh

        “Companies pay for their own FDA testing so the taxpayer does not have to foot the bill.”
        Give an activist what they want and it becomes another excuse for them to get something else they want.

      • Jim Peterson

        Please show me the list of companies that have been “shut down” for falsifying results. I would be shocked if any politician would stick their neck out far enough to let the FDA shut down a pharmaceutical company.

      • RealityAlwaysBites

        The system is so utterly screwed up it would take a pressure steam cleaner to clear all the crap out the pretend federal agencies.

        Nothing federal works, just too many dumb people employed by them. Dumb doesn’t work.

        • Rigel54

          You and Lisa are paranoids. Science works. Vaccines are not related to
          autism. Government mostly works, if not at perfect efficiency. NASA,
          highways, the military, the EPA (they regulate me!), the patent office,
          and more, mostly work. Without them we would be in the stone age,
          racked with disease and dominated by illiterate boobs (like some
          correspondents of this site). I am in industry, where science also
          works. Smart money says Lisa and “Reality” barely cleared high school
          and never took a science course above freshman year.

          • Jexiah8bit

            Vaccines may be perceived as the answer now, but in twenty years when they discover new scientific measures many of them will appear barbaric or flat out wrong. Vaccines may help, but I still feel that they make people too dependent on pharmaceutical companies.

          • Dan

            Do you wash? Brush your teeth? Take aspirin, Ibuprofen,acetaminophen? You’d be lost without pharmaceutical research …… aka ….. real science!

          • Rigel54

            Not likely. The first vaccine known (smallpox) was in 1796, and they have provided an endless procession of success since then. The principles are pretty well understood, and they work. We may develop better techniques, for the time being they will likely be variants of what we know as vaccines. Problems can occur with any medications, but without them we’d be looking at deaths per 5, not non-fatal complications per 10 million.

          • Dan

            Some people are so uninformed it makes you wonder why they bother drinking their beer and watching the news. Science has, does and will continue to work for the common good of humanity. That’s why it’s called ‘science’, not ‘religion’. Vaccines have been very clearly shown to NOT (read my type) NOT have ANYTHING to do with Autism! Read the facts! Quit sucking up the bull from ‘celebrities’. Get over the hype of ‘status’ as a qualifier for disseminating biological truths. Ask a scientist! Maybe they ain’t real purty, but it’s the mind that matters, not the casing.

        • anonymousse

          “…too many dumb people employed by them. Dumb doesn’t work.”

          Luckily there are people like you, that educate us intellectually deficient individuals in rambling diatribes.

          Edit:
          I always like these black and white arguments.
          Clear narratives and enemies.
          Makes this horribly complex world so much simpler…

          If you despise government so much you could always try Somalia.

          Minimal governmental intervention there…

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Bonita Gerber

      The original study published in the Lancet all those years ago linking vaccines and autism was by a doctor in the UK hired by lawyers for the families that wanted to sue the manufactures of vaccines for the harm to their children that they had already decided was caused by the vaccines. There was no supporting evidence before or since then that has shown this link. This is a great example of money trumping science!

      • Jake

        I would like to know if anyone here has ever bothered to read the list of known side effects that come with any vaccine? For the guy who thinks side effects from vaccines are one in 10 million that would mean about a billion or so people would have to be included in each study in order to come across the 70 or so different serious side effects if they’re actually so rare.

        • Anthony Vito

          Much, much more then a billion doses of vaccines have been given in the US alone. Side effect reports mostly come from real world use. There is even an FDA form to report them! It would be kind of silly if they “only” came from studies. Studies are the first evidence in evidence based medicine, but they are a small part. We look at all the data we can get our hands on to make the best decisions possible, to help the most people. Yes, there are stories of drug companies hiding data for money…. but eventually it comes out, and those are CRIMES. Just like murdering someone, people go to prison for that. The world will never be perfect, we live in chaos, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying.

    • Everett Vinzant

      Lisa,

      The ironic thing is, it is exactly what you describe that lead to the study that indicated there was a causal link between Autism and vaccines. The Lancet published the article that started this inanity. They have since retracted it. However, the damage has been done. People have been duped into the classic conspiracy theory that we are being told X, but science REALLY knows Y.

    • http://neuroautomaton.com/ Zachary Stansfield

      None of this is relevant to the question of whether vaccines are safe and effective. Apart from your contention that “the science can’t be trusted”, do you happen to have any evidence to the contrary?

  • lindsay

    I would much rather have an autistic child, than a dead child. Just sayin’.

    • anncoultersadamsapple

      you’re not helping.

      • lindsay

        Aaaaaaand, that’s why it’s my opinion, and not yours.

        • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Michael Keener

          try for Downs Syndrome, they have more goods and services available for free!

    • RealityAlwaysBites

      I hear plague is really dangerous maybe they should vaccinate the mindless against it too.

    • Jake

      Death by unknown mechanism is actually listed as a side effect of the MMR vaccine, check it out. I would rather have a healthy child & know that I wasn’t pressured or intimidated into making an uninformed & poor decision that resulted in my child becoming brain damaged.

      • Paul Shipley

        So you would rather not vaccinate on the basis of poorly researched info and watch your child die or have a disability for the rest of their life. Yeah right. Do a little bit of research on those ill informed parents that are regretting their decision. You don’t have to look too far.

      • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Michael Keener

        then your child, might..just might, get smallpox or measles, which (incidentally) wiped out the Incas, the Mayans, the Aztecs, 75% of Native Americans, and about half of the European population at one point..I think you should take a chance and go for it…kinda like Russian Roulette…

  • stevlich

    The problem is she’s trying to force the anti-vaccine mindset on everybody. If she were just content to say it’s her opinion and you’re entitled to your own it would be fine. But liberals don’t accept dissenting opinions from theirs.

    • shorty j

      you had me until that last sentence. holy conspiracy, batman.

      well, no, nevermind, actually you didn’t. “your opinion” doesn’t count when it comes to things that are actual, ya know, facts.

    • anncoultersadamsapple

      sorry Stev, but you can’t say that closed minded people only exist on side of the political spectrum. I mean, you CAN say it. But you’d be wrong.

    • Rigel54

      Liberals? Seriously? The anti-vaccine boobs are not liberals, they are conservatives! THEY are the anti-science crowd, AND the conspiracy crowd!

  • Tom Scharf

    KK: You are falling in the trap of attempting to eliminate dissent as a means to better the world. Inferring she should not be hired due to her stance on this single issue is a bit too far.

    Let the dissent pass or fail on its own merits. The fear that too many will buy into her madness on this issue due to her celebrity status is fairly unwarranted. Is it necessary to squelch all nutty voices to win?

    Sanity usually prevails. Let it.

    • Dan

      Not true. Look at religion. Sanity is not prevailing.

      • Buddy199

        Uh, any particular religion you have in mind, say one that’s been in the news a lot the past few years?

        • Rigel54

          You confound the philosophy with human tyranny. They are not connected. Tyranny has only recently acted without religious cover, historically it used religion as its pillar. Tyranny is about power and control, it can be exercised through religion or without it. That does not make the absence of religion a facet of tyranny.

      • jh

        When I look at religion, I see a few people doing lots of good things for the world, a large mass of people doing not very much that’s positive or negative, and some people doing some pretty stupid things. As far as I can see, that’s goes for atheists too.

        • Buddy199

          Eh,

        • Rigel54

          The problem is that religion enshrines belief without evidence, and raises unsubstantiated myths above reason and evidence.

      • Rigel54

        Indeed it is not. Irrational mysticism is dominant.

        • Dan

          “Irrational Mysticism” = all faith-based belief.

    • Archies_Boy

      You forget the credulous and the gullible. After all, they comprise a large percentage of the View audience. They will love to hear her spout off, corroborating what they already believe.

  • Anonymous

    Remember Meryl Streep testifying to Congress about the evils of Alar? Celebrities come and go. Ignorance, talent and hotness are never measures of intelligence. Thank God.

  • Dan

    ….and the seas are salty because of whale sperm. Sound familiar? Ignorance begets ignorance. I wonder if there’s a way to keep her from breeding??

    • RealityAlwaysBites

      Big pharma has something for that….. I think Monsanto does too.

  • Paul Shipley

    In Australia they are banning kids from kindergarten who have not got vaccines so that they are unable to spread their diseases. Solves the debate very quickly.

    • RealityAlwaysBites

      Home schooling is better anyway.

      • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Jamie Milner

        Yeah. Home surgery too. Who needs professionals?

        • lisa741

          what Tracy answered I am inspired that anybody can make $8709 in a few weeks on the internet. have you seen this web link w­w­w.K­E­P­2.c­o­m

        • Jake

          Yeah who needs to raise their own kids, T.V. and the public school system seems to be working out just fine. That’s why every 19 yr old I talk to can barely form sentences and seems semi literate at best

          • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Michael Keener

            hey! easy now,,, they are the fastest texters in the entire world….

      • Paul Shipley

        Hmmm home schooling in dentistry, that would be fun!

        • Jexiah8bit

          Wish I could afford to see a dentist…

      • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Michael Keener

        yeah, and you can make each other sick!..at home!…

    • Jexiah8bit

      Banning people, especially children is never the answer. More government and industry control over our lives is not a good thing in the long run.

      • anonymousse

        Generally i would agree with that sentiment, but some children rely on herd immunity (No vaccine is 100% effective and some cannot be vaccinated because of medical conditions).

        Exposing them to easily preventable diseases (some with nasty complications) would be unconscionable.

        • Jexiah8bit

          I appreciate that view and also your reply. I understand what you are saying and do see the reasoning; I guess I just become paranoid at any move to control the population. I see it as an attack that could spread to other institutions and laws.

          • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Michael Keener

            an attack?…vaccines are available for use by anyone smart enough to take them. even flu vaccines..but you are ALWAYS FREE to NOT take them if you choose… lets ask Jake to swallow some polio virus just to show us how wrong we are…. go ahead Jake you won’t get it, I promise…

        • Jake

          There’s no such thing as here immunity, in fact no vaccine has ever been demonstrated to even be effective against any disease. They roll out charts that show a decline in a disease which coincides with the introduction of a vaccine and take credit for “curing” polio which still exists due to a misguided vaccine campaign.

          • Paul Shipley

            Oh dear… Not enough Iodine in your salt then?

          • Judy

            Polio cases have decreased by over 99% since 1988, from an
            estimated 350,000 cases in more than 125 endemic countries then, to 223
            reported cases in 2012. In 2013, only parts of three countries in the
            world remain endemic for the disease–the smallest geographic area in
            history–and case numbers of wild polio virus type 3 are down to
            lowest-ever levels. Today, the number of cases has fallen by over 99%. In 2013, only three countries in the world remain polio-endemic: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Countries where children are not vaccinated.

      • Redneck Engineer

        You’re right, shouldn’t ban them from the government indoctrination centers that we call public schools.

        • Jexiah8bit

          Banning in general, not just from schools.

    • Paul Shipley

      This is not a government move but a move from the institutions themselves. This stops the spread of disease by carriers, the non vaccinated. Wait until your child suffers a agonizing death all because you jumped on the band wagon thinking that you knew better. These stories abound out there and still people have their heads in the sand. Do you want your child picking up some dreadful disease because of some self opinionated fool? That’s why they are banning them. Stupidity meets reality.

      • Jexiah8bit

        So everyone there has access to the major vaccinations then? Does Australia have universal healthcare, I am curious to know. Also, I am mainly against yearly flu vaccinations, whereas things like the Measles I too was vaccinated from as a child but only because my mother got healthcare from her work and that was pure luck.

        • Paul Shipley

          In a word. Yes! Our health system works very well. you can even get private healthcare for $120 a month that lets you jump the queue and get immediate treatment

          • Jexiah8bit

            That’s really great.

        • Redneck Engineer

          Again, when I was a child (the ’60s), I received all my shots. My parents were poor as church mice but they managed it for 6 of us.

        • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Michael Keener

          try getting into public elementary school (grade one) without proof of vaccinations…
          good luck….

      • Redneck Engineer

        I call it “applied Darwinism.” Weed out the stupid ones.

        • Alex L-m

          Remember G.Carlin?Maybe timmy ought not to add to the gene poll!LOL

          • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Michael Keener

            He actually said “maybe Johnny should not be fishin’ in the gene pool”….

        • Jake

          You should read the list of known side effects that come along with any vaccine & see who’s really stupid. You’ve got it backwards

          • Paul Shipley

            You tell that to a parent that believed your supposed theories once they have gone through the tragic loss of a child based on the foolishness that you misguidedly believe.

          • Redneck Engineer

            You look back at the thousands and thousands of grieving parents after an epidemic of diphtheria or mumps or polio has swept through and repeat that to me with a straight face.

          • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Michael Keener

            read the manufacturers insert on any drug, including aspirin, if you believe that all the side effects will happen to you…you’re stupid.

          • Redneck Engineer

            Yes, I’d much rather we returned to the days of polio, measles and small pox epidemics. Spending the rest of your life (assuming you lived) in an iron lung is much more preferable to the 1 in 10,000,000 chance of suffering from one of the side effects. Like I said, let’s weed out the stupid ones.

      • Jake

        So are schools in Australia not Gov’t run institutions then? Also wouldn’t you feel stupid if it turns out Jenny Mcarthy is right and you gave your child a vaccine that caused them become brain damaged or have a debilitating neurological condition for the rest of their lives? Or if they died? Are you aware that death is listed as a possible adverse reaction from many vaccines? Shoot your child up with this potentially deadly medication on the off chance it may protect them from the chicken pox and if you don’t, then your kicked out of school, shunned from society, labelled as a bad parent & a menace to society. This seems so science based I think we ought to throw in stoning of any parent who doesn’t get their child vaccinated

        • Paul Shipley

          Oh Jake, seriously. Bring back small pox, scarlet fever, plague, whooping cough and see the poor parents that believe this foolishness and the, Jake tell them when their child has died that you are so right in making them mistrust the system.

          • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Michael Keener

            The CDC has the numbers and the statistics for all deaths related to vaccines!…think about the idea that for 40-60 years major diseases have been kept under control by using the available vaccines..and they have been mostly 90% effective… if a rabid dog bit you would you take the rabies shots?…just talking out loud…..McCarthy is an idiot….

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Harry Rosenberg

      Best idea our there!!!!

    • Redneck Engineer

      When I was a kid, you could not attend school without your shots. Don’t know when that changed. So much for our new “science based” society.

      • Jake

        Your school lied to your parents it sounds like, it has never been mandatory to take a vaccine or any other medication. Threatening & intimidating people into doing something isn’t called science it’s called tyranny

        • Paul Shipley

          Oh Jake. Sad to say that I think you are the legacy of Reagan-omics. Ignorance is bliss and Reagan’s cutting back on education in America is very obvious to the outside world…
          It seems who shouts loudest is always right. Not the most educated but the loudest.

          • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Michael Keener

            the squeaky wheel gets the grease!

    • Allison Ball

      They already to that in the U.S.

  • jimbo701

    I see no harm in Jenny McCarthy being on The View. I doubt she’ll be allowed to talk about what she feels about vaccinations anyway.
    My view on vaccinations is I simply don’t trust Big Pharma. They put LOTS of crap on the market, Dichlofenac for example (soon to be removed I suspect). I especially love their ads where some the listed potential side effects include things like cancer, heart attacks and/or death. Seriously? I see nothing wrong with a healtly distrust of Big Pharma.

    • Buddy199

      I know, it makes me laugh. Imagine a commercial for acupuncture, chiropractic care or nutritional supplements that went along the lines of the drug ads: “Side effects may include muscle cramps, stroke, gastric bleeding, hallucination, thoughts of suicide…” I don’t have a problem with vaccines but the double standard for what’s considered an acceptable risk in mainstream medicine vs. alternative health is ridiculous.

      • anncoultersadamsapple

        you’re talking different things. the drugs advertised with side effects do so because they are HIGHLY regulated. they list all POSSIBLE side effects, no matter how unlikely the side effects are in the interest of full public disclosure. the reason why ads for supplements and alternative remedies don’t include such warnings has nothing to do with their viability and everything to do with the fact that a) they are largely unregulated and b) many don’t have side effects because they don’t any “effects” whatsoever (they largely benefit from a placebo effect). Of course, that’s just opinion, but it looks like everyone’s opinion is equally valid, right?!

        • Buddy199

          Any licensed health care practitioner operates under strict legal regulation within a highly defined scope of practice. The scope of practice codified by state boards lists conditions that may be treated and the treatment methods that have proven effective. The relative safety of one type of practitioner vs. another is reflected in their respective malpractice insurance rates.

          • theLaplaceDemon

            “My point is that the range of common serious side effects of widely
            prescribed drugs -Ambien, for instance – is downplayed by the medical /
            pharma industry; the very people who would blow a gasket if these same
            side effects were common to non-pharmaceutical treatments.”

            I think the point you’re missing is that it’s side effect/risk weighed against benefit. If Drug X has some nasty side effects, but tremendous benefits, it will still problem be worth it. If AltMed X has some mild side effects, but no benefits, it’s hard to imagine advocating it’s use.

            Of course there are always going to be gray areas about what that balance is for some drugs/treatments, but I don’t think it’s hypocrisy to accept numerous side effects from an effective treatment while rejecting a treatment with low side effects but even lower efficacy.

          • theLaplaceDemon

            Which is also not to say that the pharma industry wouldn’t downplay side effects to an unethical level if they could get away with that. But I think overall the FDA does an okay job policing that.

          • Rigel54

            Is that the Louisiana LaPlace?

          • theLaplaceDemon

            Nope, Laplace as in Pierre-Simon Laplace’s thought experiment. Sorry :)

          • jh

            “I think the point you’re missing is that it’s side effect/risk weighed against benefit.”

            On the other hand, there are many alternative treatments that have no know effect from the scientific perspective – that is, the can’t possibly hurt anyone. Yet the “scientific” establishment has an absolute spasm about anyone advocating these treatments.

            I think it’s incorrect to say Big Pharma’s drugs are prescribed with some kind of risk weighting procedure. It’s more appropriate to say that there is some data available on the risks that may or may not be considered by the user or the physician.

          • Buddy199

            My father was a drug rep. It was all about maximizing sales and profit. He is a great guy but pharma is all about profit, as any non-profit company is.

          • Rigel54

            That’s because they also have no observable medical effectiveness, i.e. they are frauds. Harmful only to the pocketbook in most cases, but lethal in the case of deadly disease.

          • http://blog.zemox.com/ Jamal Wills

            How could a treatment have no side effects? Placebos can have negative side effects and they are inert. However, anything that happens during the study has to be published whether it is the med or the control. Do alternative treatments have no side effects because they haven’t been rigorously studied?

            Also, the scientific establishment gets upset when alternatives with no proven benefit are used in the place of proven medications with side effects because missing out on real treatments can cause real harm.

            For example, some claim that Steve Jobs killed himself because he chose to explore alternative medicine and waited to late to get effective treatment for his type of cancer. In its early stages it may have been easily treatable. By the time he went the conventional route, however, it was out of control.

          • Buddy199

            Look at the published studies widely available on the net or the official websites of the various professions to evaluate efficacy.

  • janie

    I think everyone regardless of how wrong their views are, have a right to a public forum. The problem with her being on the View is, I don’t think the show is a serious platform for meaningful and logical debate. These women interrupt each other constantly and throw out opinions and anectodes. The whole thing will be complete chaos and everyone will clap for Jenny because she is a guest of the show. A smile from Barbara and the audience will just get on her side, regardless of what she says. I would feel much better if she were interviewed by Charlie Rose, although he’s not perfect either.

  • Jim Peterson

    I wonder how far you have to dig to find the Pharma money that paid for major stories here and in the other major science magazine I receive emails from about this silly celebrity. It is also fun to see all the pharma employees posting here as simply “concerned citizens”. I think a lot of her ideas are a bit loony but the amount of money that is behind the MASSIVE push to make this not happen is amazing and probably a great reason to hear what she has to say.

    • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

      We are just concerned citizens. Can you demonstrate any of the pro-vax commenters on this thread are paid by Big Pharma. Where can one sign up as a Pharma Shill? I’d love to sit around debating with ignoramuses all day, but I can’t.

      • Rigel54

        Yeah, I’d like my money, too. I’d like to take the wife out to dinner. She could use it, molecular biology doesn’t pay that well.

    • Rigel54

      Do you have any evidence that pharma money is involved, or is that purely speculative? I think that the “flame” is just scientifically literate people horrified at the ignorance that is daily sprayed across the nation by ignorant people with media access.

  • RealityAlwaysBites

    Mindless obedience to the big pharma drum beat would also be considered unsettling… Those that blindly listen to what any large corporation wants to sell them are not only unsettling but downright dangerous to mankind in general.

    Why do we have superbugs?
    Because we have dumb people listening to dumb people who perscribe unneeded drugs sold to them by drug company drones.

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Nikola Jovovic

      actually super bugs are a result of dumb people, who think theyre smarter than the doctors that prescribed the pill, that stop taking the medication when symptoms go away, leading to a few bacteria surviving and growing into a population of resistant bacteria

      • Rigel54

        That, too.

    • Rigel54

      We have increasing antibiotic resistance because of agricultural use of antibiotics, and to a lesser extent doctors practicing overly preventative medicine. If the electorate firmly concludes that agricultural use should be restricted, it will be. That would involve science, education. and government, the archenemies of mystical paranoids.

      • anonymousse

        I am also not happy with the laisez-faire use of antibiotics in animal factory farming, but according to my knowledge the problematic resistances all were the result of inappropriate application by doctors and especially in the clinical setting.

        For example bacteria, producing carbapenemases are much more frequent in countries in Eastern Europe and the Arabian pennisula because carbapenemes (usually a second-line antibiotic) are prescribed for every little sneeze.

        My intention in this rambling post, was not to nitpick, but to ask if you have any information on the effects of agricultural use of AB’s.
        I work in a different field (cell-cycle) but i was always interested in infectious diseases as well.

  • Archies_Boy

    Get this nitwit off the show!

  • Holly

    From what I have read of Jenny McCarthy’s views, she is not anti-vaccine but rather proposes that we give children too many vaccines and too many at once. I have heard her talk about returning to the number of vaccines we used in the nineties – which is about half of what is recommended today. Also, if most Americans rely on The View for information then we have bigger problems.

    • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

      Nah. Jenny needs to be asked “what would you accept as a safe vaccine”? I don’t think she’ll know how to answer that. I agree with your last sentence.

    • facefault

      The idea of “vaccine overload” sounds plausible, but it’s not. If it were possible for your immune system to be overloaded with antigens, kids would develop autism every time they played in dirt or swam in the ocean. A cubic centimeter of either contains a greater variety of novel proteins than every vaccine on the schedule does.

      Also, research has shown that giving all the vaccines on time does not produce harmful outcomes compared to stretching them out.

      http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2010/05/24/peds.2009-2489.abstract

  • Doug Nusbaum

    The people who watch this show are not exactly from the deep end of the gene pool. I encourage people to not vaccinate their children. We need fewer stupid people in the gene pool. I would like, however, to see laws passed so that when you fail to vaccinate you must notify your insurer so that they can make appropriate adjustments to your rates.

    Also, you would be responsible for any medical bills resulting from your failure to vaccinate, weather it was your child, or someone that your child infected. This would not be a debt that could be discharged by bankruptcy.

    If your child infected someone who could not be vaccinated, perhaps because of a weak immune system, or they were to young, or for other reasons, than you could be tried for negligent homicide.

    This was, we do not have to deal with the question of the every intrusive nanny state. It becomes a matter of personal responsibility.

  • mwhite345

    thats such big pharma crap….the idea that shes unsuitable for a talk show because she doesnt want to give her kids too many vaccines??? its absurd. who do you gutys think you are??? she can express her views to anyone she wants. believe me discover magazine has a larger readership by far than the yentas that watch that dopey show ‘the view’. it doesnt stop you from posting your views. fricken doctors think youre running the show. most of the time you dont even know what youre looking at ..thats why the call it a medical PRACTICE. because youre supposed to be still learning. remember ? learning? absorbing and applying new ideas to better your service? honing your craft??? BTW why does an infant need a hep c vaccination? tell me that . do us all a favor stick to fossils and tumors and such and leave the parenting to us

    • Rigel54

      Wow. She’s endangering her children. And others. By not giving them vaccines. And spraying misinformation into the media. Causing more harm.

  • kb99

    I see there are many simpletons who pass judgements without any knowledge about vaccines. The Big Pharma used to put mercury in baby vaccines. Each vaccine was tested and found to be “safe”, but they never tested 18 (or whatever the number is depending on where you live) vaccines pumped into babies during their first 2 years. That includes multiple vaccines given in one day. So there is no science on multiple vaccines. Mercury has been replaced with aluminum, but aluminum is almost as toxic as mercury. And again there is no science on multiple vaccines with aluminum in them. Aluminum is an “adjuvant” that revs up immune response which causes brain inflammation. According to a theory, autism is caused by the cumulative brain inflammation passing a tipping point. There can be all kinds of other bad stuff including bacteria and viruses that cause inflammation. You see, vaccine-autism connection is not a simple matter.

    • Rigel54

      There is plenty of science on multiple vaccines, and aluminum is not remotely as toxic as mercury (regardless of the form). Brain inflammation? Seriously?? Where did you go to school? Graduated high school? College? Basket weaving? Drama?

  • Jexiah8bit

    Vaccines may not cause autism, but I still think that they add to the problem of creating a dependent, too sterile society.

    • Rigel54

      What the heck does that mean? They do the opposite. They introduce stimulus to the immune system. The problem you inaccurately address is from a LACK of stimulus to the immune system, the opposite of vaccines.

      • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Michael Pioso

        I was under the impression that Discover readers had a higher
        understanding of science and how it works over the passage of time than
        some seem to display herein. I also did not think shows such as the View
        would capture any Discover reader’s attention span for more than 5
        milliseconds. I am astounded that there are those that refute vaccines
        and their successful history in keeping us alive and relatively disease
        free as they have.

        To those few readers, I say, do not vaccinate
        your children, we most certainly do not need them around to breed even
        further declines to our median intelligence quotients we have seen over
        the past several decades. This nation is dumb enough now and science can not fix stupid as yet however perhaps that too will come to pass.

    • Says what

      Well I too wish you had developed polio.

      • Jexiah8bit

        Great response. I am mainly referring to the yearly flu vaccinations.

  • Some guy

    Lol ppl are funny. Just because these vaccines have been “tested”, does not necessarily mean our method’s for testing r fool proof. I’m sure as we continue to advance scientifically, we be will either be able to say that vaccines have the ability to mutate (activate or deactivate) certain genes that may link to xyz; or that they r totally safe. My opinion really is that there might b a certain age at which certain vaccines could cause some sort of genetic manipulation. It is not wise to just blindly believe everything we r told. The science might seem logically solid now, but once our scientific knowledge has increased in about 20 years, will it look look as logical? I doubt it. Just look at history.

    • Rigel54

      On what basis are your sure “we bill . . be able to say that vaccines have the ability to mutate . . . genes.”? That has nothing to do with how they work. They do not affect genes. I fear you are a complete scientific illiterate, stumbling around in a world that consists of the reasoning 1. Ignorance can cause disaster. 2. I am ignorant of science. 3. Therefore science can cause disaster.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Ethan Campbell

    There is MASSIVE and ongoing evidence that vaccines not only cause autism but severely compromise the developing immune systems of babies, often resulting in serious health problems later in life. Furthermore, an objective review of vaccinated populations demonstrates dubious effectiveness at best, with disease levels in years following frequently being higher than in unvaccinated regions. Vaccines are also flat-out dangerous in the acute time-frame because babies and children sometimes contract the illness itself within days, and this sometimes leads to death. The decline of infectious disease to near zero in the early 1950s in the developed countries coincides precisely with the spread of good sanitation. Wide scale vaccination began a few years later. Jonas Salk said later in life that he regretted ever developing the polio vaccine after he saw the damage it caused. Vaccines are a giant cash cow for the drug companies and you will never see a realistic assessment of them in the mainstream press. Adjuvants used in production of vaccines include mercury, a highly toxic metal. There is nothing safe about vaccines and, as I mentioned above, their effectiveness is dubious. Do some actual research and keep an open mind. Here is one place to start: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2004/05/12/vaccination-dangers.aspx

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Jamie Feldstein

    Mercury and other heavy metal toxicity almost took me out and I have done an exorbitant amount of research since then. NO I did not have amalgams in my mouth nor do I eat a lot of fish. I will most likely NEVER have another vaccination again, unless a friend or relative is in need in a foreign country.

    With that said, I am both a licensed mental health professional and a member of the media. Remember folks that the show Jenny will be joining is called “The View” ~ she is entitled to her view, just as the last blond was entitled to her views even though I didn’t agree with 95% of what she had to say.

    Question for those of you who are so against Jenny joining the show: Do you know about her personal experience with autism and/or her exhaustive research on the subject?

  • http://blog.zemox.com/ Jamal Wills

    Jenny McCarthy is replacing Elisabeth Hasselbeck right? Is the View really that much worse off with that replacement?

  • nan

    Beauity and brains do not always go together

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Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is a wide-ranging blog forum that explores issues at the nexus of science, culture and society.

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

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