Anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist Jenny McCarthy is joining The View. Michael Specter declares that executives “at ABC 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”:
McCarthy has spent much of the past ten years campaigning against vaccines—which, it must be said, are the most effective instruments of public health in human history, aside from clean water. That does not mean that vaccines carry no risk: nothing is entirely without risk, and there is a small but measurable possibility that any vaccine can cause a serious adverse reaction. Still, the benefits for society so powerfully outweigh the risks that suggesting otherwise is irresponsible at best. It spreads fear and incites the type of ignorance that makes people sick. That is exactly what McCarthy has been doing. By preaching her message of scientific illiteracy from one end of this country to the other, she has helped make it possible for people to turn away from rational thought. And that is deadly.
Alyssa piles on:
[W]hile it’s possible to debate many sides of many issues, one of the benefits of medicine is that there’s actual evidence that some ideas and right and others are wrong.
McCarthy’s are wrong, and continuing to defend them with that other standby of people who like to advance conspiracy theories without evidence, that she’s just raising questions, doesn’t make her decision to stick to her discredited ideas any more admirable. And it doesn’t give The View cover, either. This is not a vital debate in American society in which McCarthy’s position has been historically underrepresented, or a polarity along which it’s important to have multiple perspectives in order to make for a lively conversation. It’s a hoax, on par with McCarthy’s original belief, before her son’s autism diagnosis, that her son was an “indigo child,” a New Age theory that tries to comfort parents of children with autism and learning disabilities by convincing them that their children actually represent a new stage in human evolution.
Allahpundit assumes “that she’ll be under a strict gag order in discussing vaccination on air”:
[E]ven if the network’s protected from liability by the First Amendment, the publicity from a lawsuit filed by a grieving mother whose child died after she watched a Very Special Episode of “The View” and decided not to have him/her inoculated would be catastrophic. But even if they muzzle her on the show, they’re rising her profile off the show by hiring her. She’ll sell more books now, she’ll get bigger crowds at public appearances, she’ll be a hot ticket for guest shots on radio and TV. Will they insist in her contract that she stay away from this subject off the air too?