Welcome to another Tuesday To-Do List! This is the weekly feature where I give you all the information you need to advocate for people with special needs and disabilities. This week, I wanted to do a bunch of other stuff, but something got in my way—Jenny McCarthy.
I debated even writing about her, albeit giving her even the smallest amount of additional publicity. But, I can’t not say something. If you haven’t heard, she has been named one of the new regular co-hosts on The View. Here’s why I care, and why I don’t want her on the show, even though I never watch it.
A brief history of Jenny McCarthy—
During my college days (late 80s and early 90s), Jenny was big on MTV. She hosted a dating show and did a few other things like Spring Break shows. She was also a Playboy Playmate around this time. If memory serves, I do recall an MTV episode or something, during which she reportedly ate her own vomit. But hey, while I’ve never eaten my own vomit, I’m no saint and had some wild child days myself. The difference here is that I went and educated myself in the world of disabilities, specifically special education. While I share my knowledge, I respect my own limits of my knowledge and know when I am out of my element. I do not give medical advice, ever.
Jenny may have had some wild child days too and may have outgrown the Playboy and MTV antics she’s known for. I can forgive and forget those…but let’s call a spade a spade—between then and now, she exactly wasn’t in medical school and she gives medical advice to parents. Incorrect and false medical advice I might add. Dangerous medical advice. In 2012, we had the worst year ever since 1955, for pertussis. Babies died, lots of them. Thanks to people like Jenny McCarthy.
When her son was first born, she thought he was different and she had a website and he was supposedly an “Indigo Child.” Oh no, he didn’t have the horrible autism, he was just a crystal. When that didn’t pan out, she determined that he has autism and that it was caused by vaccines. Hey, vaccines and autism were big then, I’ll allow that. But when we know better, we do better. And we now know better. We know Wakefield’s study was poor science at best, fraudulent at worst. He has since had his medical license revoked. This is not a conspiracy, this is because he is a bad and dangerous doctor. Because of him, children are dying in the UK. It’s not a conspiracy, look at their vaccination rates (since his study) and the corresponding spike in disease rates, and mortality rates. The numbers speak for themselves. I think he should be tried for at least manslaughter, but I digress.
Jenny has said things about vaccines like “I saw the light go from his eyes…” after being vaccinated and other many dramatic statements. You know what else she has said? She has said that mothers like me, mothers who parent kids with autism and still vaccinate our kids…that we do so because we enjoy being pitied. That we are sad beings, WE LOVE being pitied and the attention we get from autism. You’re either with her as a Warrior Mom, or you’re a Victim Mom. Nothing in between. She said:
“They didn’t get attention in their lives and then this incredible door opens…and they’re loving it”
~Jenny McCarthy, on moms with kids with autism
An incredible door, huh? I’ve never heard it phrased that way. Do you own that term, because I am totally going to look for AnIncredibleDoor.com when I am done with this and buy the domain. I can do a lot with it.
You know what else she has said? That her son no longer has autism. Many specialists who saw the boy on TV speculated that he never had it, and she has quietly confirmed this. This is already getting long, so I won’t get into all the nonsense products that Jenny & Co have to sell you…but boy oh boy do they have stuff to sell you! Books! Supplements! Not proven techniques to cure autism! All the while portraying the picture that autism is so unbelievably horrible, that we must do whatever we can to rid our lives of it. That our children’s lives can’t possibly be worth living if they have “the autism.”
So wrong on so many levels.
Now, here we are in 2013. Enter Barbara Walters. Love her or hate her, you have to admit she’s a dying breed. A real journalist—one who earned her stripes in the nitty-gritty days of journalism, when you had to really research stories, produce evidence, produce facts. It wasn’t all about the ratings and page views when Barbara got her start.
Apparently now it is. Because with this announcement of Jenny being added to her show, she has condoned bad science. She has condoned fad treatments. She has condoned trashing parents who already have enough struggles, just bashing them for not following along with your circus—for siding with science. Oh no Jenny, you tapped the wrong sleeping bear, because I refuse to be a victim.
Tell her it’s wrong. Tell her you don’t want anything Jenny McCarthy says to be validated. Not yet. Hey, if the first day she’s on, she has that come to Jesus moment and admits she was wrong, I’m all for her staying on. I don’t see that happening.
Barbara Walters does not appear to have a Facebook page, but she does have a Twitter account. Tell her, tell ABC, tell them you disagree with this decision. Jenny McCarthy has not earned her stripes—she does not deserve to go mainstream and have a big venue to spread more lies, more fear, more danger. She’s already done enough damage. She will do more damage with this opportunity. And our kids, the medically fragile ones, the medically complex ones…the ones who cannot be vaccinated and rely on herd immunity…they stand to be the real victims.
ETA: In light of recent events, Seth Mnookin, author of the Panic Virus (a great read!) has decided to publish his chapter on Jenny McCarthy online, for free. It’s a really good read!
Just click this box to tweet to them:
[Tweet “@BarbaraJWalters Pls reconsider giving JMcCarthy validity on your @ABC show-she spreads a dangerous message”]