Pseudoscience Watch: Anti-Vaccine Propagandist Jenny McCarthy Goes to "The View"


Jenny McCarthy

Over at USA Today, I explain why is is a shame that the executives at ABC Television have given actress and vaccine disinformationist Jenny McCarthy the bully pulpit of the popular day time show, "The View" from which to peddle her propaganda. From the USA Today column:

Vaccine misinformation peddler actress Jenny McCarthy has just been named co-host of the popular ABC day time television show, The View. This is really bad news for America's children. Why? Back in 2007, McCarthy helped stoke the anti-vaccine campaign when she asserted on the Oprah Winfrey show that an MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccination caused her son's autism. "I have a very bad feeling about this shot," she claimed she said to her doctor, "This is the autism shot, isn't it?"

McCarthy told Oprah's millions of viewers that she noticed changes in her son almost immediately. "And soon thereafter — boom — the soul's gone from his eyes," she said. Whatever afflicted her son, extensive research shows that it was not the result of being vaccinated.

Because some parents have been bamboozled by McCarthy's scientifically bogus claims, infectious diseases like whooping cough and measles are now on the increase. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last year saw the biggest outbreak of whooping cough since 1955 and 18 children died of the disease. Vaccine refusniks misled by McCarthy and others are not just endangering their own kids. For example, the majority of cases of whooping occur in infants, who depend on herd immunity — the broad protection that comes when enough members of a population are protected by vaccine or other immunity — because they are too young to be vaccinated.

In 2011, a committee of experts from the Institute of Medicine convened by that National Academy of Sciences analyzed more than 1,000 research articles and "concluded that few health problems are caused by or clearly associated with vaccines." More specifically, the IOM committee agreed the scientific evidence shows that "the MMR vaccine doesn't cause autism." Vaccines are not perfectly safe. Nothing is. But overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that their health benefits greatly outweigh the costs. Consider that up to 30 percent of people who get bacterial meningitis die.

It's too bad the executives at ABC Television are giving McCarthy a bigger platform from which to promote her harmful pseudoscientific nonsense.

In Reason's 45th anniversary issue Jenny McCarthy is number 28 on our list of the 45 enemies of freedom over the past 45 years. Her entry reads:

A second-string actress who has managed to stay in the limelight by promoting the bogus theory that vaccines cause autism, McCarthy traffics in pseudoscience and fear. Partly as a result of her widely publicized yet scientifically ignorant pronouncements, hundreds of thousands of fearful parents have needlessly endangered the health and lives of their children.

Liberty is not advanced by misinformation and pseudoscience.

NEXT: Privacy Group Wants FTC to Investigate Jay-Z Samsung Album App

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Yeah, but more importantly, what will she be wearing?

  2. This is really bad news for America’s children.

    Jennie McCarthy ultimately is only a threat to her own children. I think America’s children (sic) are in danger because they are parented by people who take medical advice from Jenny McCarthy.

    1. I think you boiled that down nicely.

      Can we apply that logic to –come to think of it– pretty much everything?

    2. She’s also a threat to any immunocompromised or vaccine-allergic people her kids spend any time around.

    3. Or by people who watch “the View.”

  3. Oh, come on. She’s pretty and sincere. And she loves little children.

    She’ll sell soap.

    1. Yes she will. And it is not like vaccines come up every day on the view. I think she is probably competent enough to dish on Ann Hathaway’s new haircut or the latest celebrity divorce.

  4. She’ll have the same bully pulpit as Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar, the woman who thinks the Republicans can induce cancer in someone (much crazier than the autism vaccine thing, IMO). What’s the big deal?

    1. And let us not forget Whoopi’s “but it wasn’t rape-rape” comment on Roman Polanski.

      1. It still enrages me she has a platform after saying something like that. One of the most glaring examples of a double standard especially since it was shortly before the “I hope he fails” outrage.

        1. Hey, ass-raping a thirteen-year-old is fine as long as it’s done by the right people!

          1. i always thought the contrast of Polanski comment to Stubenville Football rape case was interesting.

            Which one was closer to rape-rape, Whoopi?
            Which one has a perp in jail?

  5. Best bumper sticker slogan this decase

    My gun has killed fewer children than your girlfriend’s anti vaccine views.

    1. Which is probably true for everyone except Carlos Hathcock.

  6. Individuals who uncritically watch ‘The View’ or most of what is on the tube deserve what they get. Just sayin’

  7. In Reason’s 45th anniversary issue Jenny McCarthy is number 28 on our list of the 45 enemies of freedom over the past 45 years.

    I’d say Ron Bailey is equally an enemy of freedom for putting her on the list.

    1. I guess being an enemy of reason is getting conflated with being an enemy of freedom because the magazine about freedom is called reason.

    2. Yeah, I was scratching my head about that one. How exactly is she an enemy of freedom?

  8. Related, and sorry if re-post.

    Jenny McCarthy’s Playboy spread hurts older women.

    The main point seems to be that, since JM has the money, time, and personal trainers to look better than the typical 40-year-old, posing for Playboy (again) is an insult to average looking women.

    Yes, the WAR ON WOMEN takes many forms!

    1. I read the other day where Ell McPherson is now 49 and says she feels bad about her body. Understand McPherson still has a better body than 99% of the women in the world. She may not be what she was when she was 25, but she is still pretty spectacular. And yet, she still feels bad about herself.

      Maybe since there is always someone hotter than you, women will always sometimes feel insecure about themselves no matter what?

      1. And yet guys will look in the mirror, see a disaster, and think “there’s still some insecure chick out there that will fuck me.” And go about our business.

        1. That is right. Some old fat bald guy right now is convinced that the 22 year old ballerina that is serving him his coffee would totally go for him.

          1. I’m neither fat nor bald but I definitely think that under the right circumstances the two coeds across the street would totally be in to me.

            1. Listen, you are being too hard on yourself; your charisma and magnetism are of such great appeal that you will not have to have “the right circumstances” in order to get have carnal knowledge with those two coeds.

            2. Would those “right circumstances” involve chloroform and handcuffs? If so, I think you might be correct.

            3. under the right circumstances the two coeds across the street would totally be in to me.

              If those those circumstances involve you winning the lotto and buying a Ferarri, you’d probably be right.

    2. In the DC/Baltimore metro area, the girls in their 20s, never mind their 40s, are more often than not so flabby, they make the middle agers look good just by comparison. Skintight low rise jeans with atomic muffin tops, and tops with spaghetti straps cutting into their bulk like cheesewires into mozzarella.

      What part of DC is this guy talking about?

      1. I am not seeing it. I see a lot of very fit attractive women in this city.

        The one thing I do see that is a bit depressing is I see a fair number of middle aged soccer moms who are fit and still look good but have pretty chubby teenage daughters. I mean when you are 15 and your mom has a hotter body than you, you need to mix in a salad and start hitting the gym.

        1. Yeah when I lived there it was full of hot women.

          Funny, it’s pretty much the opposite where I live now. We have a lot of youth sports tournaments around here and all these kids are in pretty good shape while the parents are fat slobs.

          1. Do you live in the South? I found that to be very true in Texas and Georgia. Women, especially ones from lesser economic circumstances and also Hispanics tended to peak at about 18 and go downhill fast. You would see all kinds of fat scary women with smoking hot daughters.

              1. Fat mom, hot daughter, is endemic in the South.

                1. What about the warmer weather which, it would seem, would enable them to get out and exercise more than there northern sistren?

        2. Brian Griffin pretty much said this to Meg on a Family Guy episode.

      2. Wait – who said that? DC is filled to the fricken brim with young chicks ranging from cute to hot. Sounds like he’s describing any number of small, economically depressed cities in Appalachia or the Midwest.

        1. Being a married man in this town is tough.

          1. Cry me a fricken river while playing the world’s tiniest violin!

            1. Sorry Kristen, I said that knowing it would set you off. I just couldn’t resist.

      3. I can only think he was talking about the tourist girls. I’d invite him to take a stroll around downtown, where touristas don’t go.

        (however, even the cute young things around here could use a little boost to their fashion sense. Too much “neutral tones” and too many ballet flats and square-toed stacked heels from 1993).

        1. Too many platform shoes. Why the fuck won’t those things die? I see these beautiful young women wearing these idiotic platform heels right out of the worst of the 70s. They look ridiculous.

          1. Platforms are awesome and they’re actually stylish. But I don’t see many here in DC. Women here don’t seem to realize you can be conservative and still be sophisticated. I can’t count the number of black short-sleeve blouses with black pleated, a-line skirts with black ballet flats with black vinyl handbags I see every day. Maybe a pop of “color” with a navy blue wool scarf. In the middle of summer. Women here seem averse to shape and color in their wardrobes.

            1. Maybe I am thinking of clogs. I mean these giant raised shoes where the entire sole is in shape of a seven inch heel but one solid mass rather than an ordinary sole with a spiked or a pump heel. That is what I am talking about. And they are not stylist. They look terrible. No guy would ever find them attractive. They are a good example of women dressing to impress other women. It is a good thing guys generally only look at T&A and don’t worry about a woman wearing stupid shoes. If they didn’t, a lot of women would have a hard time getting laid.

              1. Until they took off their shoes.

                1. I think John’s favorite pick up line is “Nice shoes, wanna fuck?”

                  1. If you want to chat up a woman, notice her shoes. Women fucking love shoes. And they always so proud of the shoes they are wearing. And guys never notice them.

                    As an opening line it is a bit out there. But during a conversation, noticing and complimenting a woman on her shoes, is always a winner.

                    1. *sitting at a bar in DC* “Those are some cute black plastic ballet flats from Payless you’re wearing!” *turns to the woman on the other side* “Those are some cute black plastic ballet flats from Payless you’re wearing!”

                    2. Come on Kristen. Admit it. You love the shoes you are wearing right now. Like it wouldn’t make you happy to have someone notice them.

                  2. I think John’s favorite pick up line is “Nice shoes, wanna fuck?”

                    I used to know a guy who used something very like that. He got hit a lot. He also did a lot of one-offs. It’s a wonder he hasn’t died from about a dozen horrible diseases.

              2. What men think is stylish and what actually is stylish are often two different things. I have several pairs of platforms. I can’t wear 6″ stilettos. But if you take a 6″ heel, and put a 2″ platform on the shoe, it’s now only 4″ and I can actually, you know, walk. I’m not saying DC women need style makeovers to impress men and get dates, I’m saying they need style makeovers because they’re fucking boring to look at all frumpy and shapeless and dated.

                1. If men think your clothes are ugly, what is the point Kristen? Again, women dress for each other not really for men, which always puzzled me as a guy. When I was single, if wearing clown shoes got me laid, I would have been wearing clown shoes. What is the point of fashion if not to get laid?

                  And most of those women you are talking about are boring and frumpy period. There clothes just reflect their personalities.

                  1. “If men think your clothes are ugly, what is the point?”

                    I think it’s akin to how some guys go overboard with bodybuilding. Some women think too much bulk is ugly, but there are probably enough women that will go out with them that the men think it’s attractive. Also it has turned into a hobby. Fashion is the same thing for some women. They still feel attractive. I’m sure a woman with shoes that you find ugly doesn’t get hit on any less at bars. Also, fashion is simply a hobby for many women.

                2. What men think is stylish and what actually is stylish are often two different things.

                  Sounds kinda like, “What men like and what they actually should like are often two different things.” Because it kinda seems like women aren’t all agreeing, either.

                  And what’s the point of 6″ heels and a 2″ platform unless, maybe, you’re too short to ride the rollercoasters?

        2. At least they aren’t wearing flip-flops like most Dallas girls.

          1. Yes, they do. They commute in flip flops and put on the ballet flats for work.

    3. This is unbelievable.

      Take a look at this piece from the same writer – Cleavage’s coming out party, praising Christina Hendricks for her wardrobe choices.

      Everybody got that?

      Jenny McCarthy, who is much hotter than the average woman her age, shows all of her rack in Playboy: that’s bad! It’s insulting to women!

      Christina Hendricks, who is much hotter than the average woman her age, shows most of her rack on the red carpet: that’s good! Grrrrrrl power!

      1. yeah. Because no flat chested woman ever felt insecure about it. They don’t think. They emote.

      2. That’s because she challenges “the impossibly thin beauty standard that has reigned for at least a few decades.”

        Older, hot, and skinny = Bad

        Older, hot, and curvy = Good

        God, do I have to check everyone’s patriarchy for them?

        1. I assumed:

          Woman my age and hotter=Bad
          Woman not my age and hot= Not as bad

        2. What about all of the flat chested girls who now feel bad about themselves because of Hendrix’ s unrealistically huge boobs?

          1. Obviously they don’t matter. If they did they’d have boobs.

          2. Exactly!

            Big Red and her J-cup tits probably inspire millions of women to cry as they look in the mirror after taking a shower.

            Worse, some of them might even feel pressured to undergo risky breast augmentation surgery!

            1. But it wouldn’t be as risky if only those clinics had to meet the same standards as hospitals, and if the doctors had hospital admitting privileges!

              1. Those clinics already DO meet the same standards cause you know, they’re doing surgery.

          3. What about all of the flat chested girls who now feel bad about themselves because of Hendrix’ s unrealistically huge boobs?

            I’m sure I’m not the only guy who would be happy to make them feel better about their sexiness.

        3. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.

  9. I think Ron needs to take one for the team and go on the View to dispute McCarthy’s claims.

    1. He’d be like a corn cob rolled into a hen house.

      1. What would he do when she presents other facts not supportive of Bailey’s pro-vaccine blindness?

        1. Facts, eh? Do you know of any that are supported by anything but anecdotes?

          1. First, only peddlers of intellectual clap trap would besmirch so-called “anecdotal” evidence as the rigorous mind has already examined and learned that, notwithstanding the assertions of certain so-called scientists, the double blind placebo “study” sponsored by a pharmaceutical concern or the state is not the apogee of evidence.

            Second, are you conversant with the facts regarding the outbreak of smallpox in the Pittsburgh, PA, area in 1924 following mandatory vaccination whereas in the previous 9 years, during which there were no vaccination drives, compulsory or otherwise, there were no reported cases of smallpox?

            The information is there if you are prepared to learn.

            1. “The truth is out there…”


            2. So the scientific process of both the observer and the recipient being blinded as to the substance or treatment in question, placed up against placebo, with variables minimized as much as possible, then statistically evaluated and peer reviewed, is a “scare quotes” fraud to you. But any person’s individual claim of what happened to them (anecdotal evidence) should not be besmirched? I’ll bet you agree with most of the UFO and ghost experts, with all their anecdotes, on “Coast to Coast,” correct?

              And ooh, an issue from 90 years ago! Do you suppose anything has changed in technology or drug delivery systems since then, as well as sterilization techniques and attenuation processes? If you want to use facts, please at least try to keep it within the last 50 years.

              1. First, the “scientific process” does not guarantee that “both the observer and the recipient [are] blinded as to the substance or treatment in question” as to assume that is always the case is to believe that the Obama administration is going to be the most transparent in history.

                How do we know that the placebo will actually be a placebo?

                Peer review is no guarantee of reliability given the fact that so many scientists are owned lock, stock and barrel by the state and / or big pharma.

                1. How about the “peer review” of all of those global warming “studies”?

        2. What facts would those be?

  10. The problem isn’t just that people watch “The View,” but also believe ABC’s news coverage, too.

  11. I’m definitely on the pro-vaccine side, but the argument I see from some is that their main concern is with compulsory vaccinations. I’m sympathetic, but this seems to be a case where the herd immunity Ron mentioned is a legitimate rebuttal. It’s not just your child you put at risk.

    1. but the argument I see from some is that their main concern is with compulsory vaccinations.

      The problem is that you are not immediately immune when you get a vaccine. It takes several weeks for your body to build up the antibodies. During that time you are vulnerable to the disease. So when these jackasses refuse to vaccinate their kids and as a result bring things like whooping cough and measles back into circulation, kids who get vaccinated can often get sick.

      You have a right to do what you like with your kid. But you don’t have a right to refuse to vaccinate your kid such that infects my kid.

      1. John, herd immunity is horseshit.

        1. I am not talking about “herd immunity”. I am talking about the reality of how vaccines work. You don’t become immune the day you take the vaccine. You have a few weeks where you are still vulnerable.

          That doesn’t matter if you are not exposed to the disease. And when vaccines were universal, the diseases went pretty much away. Once people started not getting vaccinated the kids who were not vaccinated started getting sick. And they then started giving it to a few, not a lot but a few, kids who had been but didn’t quite have the immunity built up.

          The bottom line is that if you don’t vaccinate your kid, you are putting other people in danger because of your idiotic beliefs. Fuck you.

          1. No, John, educate yourself and do not buy the snake oil.

            1. John, are you so sure of your asseverations regarding vaccinations that you would be willing to publicly debate the topic with a person who rejects your version of the facts?

              Suppose you are asked about the primary cause of the 1924 Pittsburgh smallpox outbreak? Would you be able to identity the cause or causes?

              1. Why don’t you inform us? All I can find about the 1924 outbreak is people were intentionally given smallpox to drive vaccinations or something. Of course the few things I did find all reference the same source.

                1. The outbreak followed the mandatory vaccinations. Failure to vaccinate meant exposure to incarceration.

                  So, in the nine years prior to the forced vaccination where there was no vaccination drives, no outbreak. After the forced vaccinations, smallpox outbreak ensues.

                  1. So, in the nine years prior to the forced vaccination where there was no vaccination drives, no outbreak. After the forced vaccinations, smallpox outbreak ensues.

                    So clearly the reason why small box ravaged humanity for 100s of years was forced vaccinations.

                    If you don’t believe in vaccines Mike, you are basically on the level of a fucking faith healer. Millions of kids world wide used to die and suffer deafness and all sorts of long term damage before vaccinations. If not vaccinating would only kill the children of the stupid, I would be okay with letting it be option. But sadly it can kill the children of the smart.

                    1. Taking the vaccinations can also kill the children forced to take them.

                    2. Evidence from a reliable source or GTFO.

    2. agree with you Joe on the pro-vac point, but gotta go the other way on holding-your-nose and compelling.

      This is how slavers get you. They make school compulsory, then they make the schools their agents for herd control, then they say you cant come in here without a vaccine.

      If I have to be compelled to do x only because I am compelled to do y, just stop doing y.

      Ive been hurt far less by people exercising their freedom than by govt exercising compunction.

      1. They also get you by selling you lies.

        There is plenty of evidence which supports the proposition that vaccines are bad for you.

        1. Evidence which no doubt comes from people without any real scientific credibility to their names.

          Or lost it if they had any to start with.

          1. Or a doc who falsified his results and ended up in jail as a result, with a concurrent major apology from one of the biggest medical journals in the world.

  12. Obviously The View has decided to give even the slightest pretense of being a serious show. Unfortunately I don’t think most of the viewers will get the joke.

    1. give up?

      And it never was taken seriously by anyone whose opinion mattered. Daytime tv, dude.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.