Posted by: Ticktock | October 19, 2008

Stop Jenny + Interview

Jenny McCarthy is not a bad person.  She’s genuinely funny, and she seems to be a good Mom.  I even asked her to autograph a copy of “Belly Laughs” for my pregnant wife (before Jenny became antivaccine).

But on the subject of vaccines, Jenny is convinced that she is 100% right, and nothing will change her opinion.  She let a few bad experiences with doctors during anxious and stressful times turn her into a rampaging mom bent on two sacred cows: that autism can be cured (by Moms) and that vaccines need to be “fixed”.

I’ve written several times before about Jenny McCarthy’s ignorant and arrogant attacks on the vaccine program and the government.  I read and reviewed her book about her problems diagnosing and “curing” her son’s autism.  Jenny keeps going and going with her nonsense like an energizer playboy bunny, and she rarely, if ever, changes her arguments in the face of new information she receives from experienced professionals in vaccines and infectious disease.

Jenny has a way of sweetly infiltrating mainstream media while sucker punching honest doctors and scientists with various bits of misinformed propaganda that she learned from biased googling.  She uses anecdotes as science because actual science doesn’t support her opinion.  She uses speculation and accusations because the facts and the experts don’t support her opinion.  She writes books with emotional bite and cutesy sarcasm because her actual arguments lack substance.

Jenny McCarthy must be stopped.

A few well-intentioned skeptics have put together a web site called Stop Jenny to put the brakes on the celebrity steam engine that is barreling down the tracks of common sense.  I put to them a few questions, and they’ve kindly answered.

Have you read any of Jenny’s books?  What do you think of her writing?

We don’t propose to judge her writing or her person.  We want to address the information instead. We’ve also studied what she says on talk shows and in magazines. The information in her book is also supported by another seller of cures, Dr. Jay N. Gordon. He claims that children are getting an overdose of aluminum now, since other the mercury containing preservative has been removed.  We addressed that claim on the Vaccine information page.  There is just no way that children are getting overdoses of aluminum in vaccines.  Why do these folks get to profit by selling fear, and then turn around and say that other people are just scaring parents into getting vaccines for their children?  Who is really profiting the most?  Vaccine makers or book sellers?

Are any of you professional scientists, epidemiologists, pediatricians, or experts in the field?  If not, where do you get your information?

…The author of most of the website’s contents has a background in science, but a limited one with part of a Biological Sciences Degree (including microbiology, zoology, genetics, laboratory procedures, etc.).  Most of the information about vaccines came from microbiology textbooks.  The rest of the information comes from genetics textbooks.  Other sources are linked on the website.  Original sources of information that aren’t in textbooks are from respected peer-reviewed online sources.

Another contributor has a Masters Degree in Education, majoring in Special Needs Education, including behaviour management

Do any of you have personal experience with autism or vaccines?

….The author of most of the content on the website has a brother with Asperger’s syndrome.  He was not vaccinated as a child.  The author’s children are all vaccinated, and none of them has autism.

Are you sponsored by the CDC, the FDA, or any pharmaceutical company?  Do you receive any type of money or bribes from anyone for making this site?

….No.  No money has been offered either.  The website has only cost money.

What do you hope to accomplish with the stopjenny site?  Do you really want to stop her or just stop her influence?

Ideally, we hope that parents stop being influenced by her.  She has received so much media attention.

Primarily the site (much the same as Robert Lancaster’s ‘Stop Sylvia‘ website) hopes to be a useful resource and directory for inquiries towards more proactive information upon the developments and debates in regards to autism.

Do you believe that Jenny is crazy or just misguided or ignorant?

….We don’t have enough information nor feel we can judge this in any way; we deal with arguments raised instead, as this is what matters the most.

Are there any other celebrities that deserve to be stopped? Why choose Jenny in particular?

…Since Jenny McCarthy has been particularly proactive in regards to her claims and garnered media attention via inaccurately reflecting research into autism, we hope that it will at least promote reasoned debate for all stakeholders. We aim not to challenge celebrity, but instead to stop dangerous thinking that hurts populations, regardless of their media profile. This is just a small part of a much greater effort on several fronts by several people and organisations in this regard; we respectfully acknowledge their work via links, quotes and references.

Special thanks to Kylie Sturgess of the Podblack blog and Michael Rosche of Skepacabra blog for making Stopjenny.com and for taking the time to answer my questions.  Please head over there and support them by forwarding their html link to antivaccinationist friends or parenting forums.  The best way to stop Jenny McCarthy is to get the word out that she is wrong and dangerous.

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Responses

  1. This is Michael Rosch of the Skepacabra blog here on wordpress. As my fellow contributors at Stop Jenny had informed you, I was indisposed and didn’t get to include some of my responses, so I figured I’d take a moment to add a few words in the comment section.

    1. I have not read either of Jenny’s books and have only read a few excerpts, but as my fellow contributers have already said, we are not interested in judging her writing or her character. We’re strictly interested in refuting the inaccurate claims she is making regarding vaccines and autism.

    2. I am not a professional scientist in a related field. My Masters Degree is in Media Studies.

    3. I do have a niece diagnosed with autism who was vaccinated. There was no apparent timing correlation between her receiving a vaccination and the appearance of her earliest symptoms.

    4. I have no investment, whether financial or other, in any medical and/or pharmaceutical organizations or products.

    5. Like my contributors have already stated, the site was inspired by Robert Lancaster’s “Stop Sylvia Browne” website and is meant to specifically challenge the myths and misconceptions surrounding autism and vaccines being perpetuated in the popular media by Jenny McCarthy among others. And we hope it becomes a powerful resource for others.

    6 & 7. I have nothing additional to add to what my contributors have already stated and I 100% agree.

    Thanks for the interview and promoting the site.

    -Michael

  2. Thanks from me too. :)

  3. […] speaking of Ms. McCarthy, my fellow Stop Jenny contributors and I have been briefly interviewed by Skeptic Dad on his blog Science-Based Parenting. I’d like to personally thank Skeptic Dad again for speaking with […]

  4. And thanks from me, too. I added this post to Hall of Shame: Promoters of Vaccine-Preventable Disease, which has a “stop Jenny” section.

  5. […] have already linked to it, including Skeptic Dad (who interviewed the creators of the site) and Pharyngula. If you have a site or blog, show them […]

  6. As a fellow skeptic dad, I’d like to say thank you for putting this site together. We need more critical thinking and less hysteria in our parenting and in our lives in general–especially at a time like this when irrationality has come to dominate public discourse. Keep fighting the good fight, Colin!

  7. […] course, the logo and considerate-of-stakeholders ’spirit’ behind rational, thoughtful investigation of pseudo… is greatly influenced by the prior example of Robert ‘Stop Sylvia’ Lancaster. I have […]

  8. […] StopJenny has broken out, even beyond the ScienceBlogs (PZ Myers), into Bad Astronomy, via SkepticDad. […]

  9. Please change the main link from http://site.stopjenny.com to just http://www.stopjenny.com/

    The domain name is simply http://www.stopjenny.com.

  10. So someone has no first hand experience with autism (but doesn’t have the integrity to admit it), or vaccines, is not a researcher, and has not read Jenny’s books, but considers himself well equipped to refute her and goes as far as even creating a site against her? Obviously vaccines are not the main reason you are doing that. Did she refuse to go to prom with you? Did you have wet dreams about her and then got disappointed she has a boyfriend? What can you tell us about your childhood?

    What I am trying to say is that you have a MAJOR problem. It goes way beyond vaccines. Do this world a real favor by starting to deal with your own issues first. Then read her books, see what it is she really claims (she never claimed that vaccines should not be given, just that it should be planned better as was the case in Japan and Germany until recently), and do a little research. After you do all that, and if you find yourself capable of forgetting about your ego, you may actually do something valuable for this world. And while researching, show us long term studies about safety of vaccines. I hope you know what a study is since you seem to be all about science…

    And if you had any sense of logic you’d know that autism cannot be only genetic if it’s on a 100-fold rise. Try to explain that with better diagnostics and whatever else you want, the fact remains – too many parents have seen first signs of autism within hours to days after vaccines. Also notice how non-vaccinated population has almost no autism (except for those true genetically caused cases) Then start studying how most cases of negative reactions to vaccines are never reported, and in the end educate yourself on vaccines that have been approved only to be banned later.

    If you have the brains to do something as evil as this, and can write reasonably well, you should be able to do something good too.

    • You might be confusing me with the people interviewed in this post. I have read Jenny’s books, actually. I reviewed it on this blog. My response to the book was that she throws everything but the kitchen sink at her son’s autism and says that she cured him with alternative therapies. Actually, she used conventional therapies simultaneously, but she chose to believe that diet helped her child.

      The wet dream argument is just an ad hominem and begging the question. I am criticizing Jenny McCarthy; Jenny McCarthy is an attractive former playboy bunny: therefore, I must be sexually obsessed with her. Is that how your logic works?

      Jenny has claimed that vaccines are toxic and dangerous (which they are not). She has claimed that the pharmaceutical companies are purposefully in a conspiracy with the CDC to poison our children with autism (which is not supported by facts). And she has told people not to vaccinate from the very beginning.

      Listen bud, I’ve done the research, thank you very much. There have been multiple long term studies on populations in which thimerosal was removed from the vaccine schedule decades ago. It turns out that the rates of autism continued to increase. Your argument that populations that don’t vaccinate don’t get autism is bogus. You can see all this on my vaccines page.

      You are throwing straw men arguments at me left and right. I never said that there wasn’t a genetic component to autism, but you can’t just automatically trace it back to vaccines. Did you know that the production of cars has increased exponentially since the 1930s? What about the number of TVs? What about the number of hamburgers? Why, my god, it could be anything, couldn’t it? Instead of distorting the facts and defending Jenny, why don’t you put your resources (whatever those may be) to autism research.

      Oh, and I get this all the time. I’ve never said that I have a child with autism, and I don’t think the issue is relevant. I am certainly comfortable admitting that my children were vaccinated… and don’t have autism.

  11. They allowed theramasol for 30 years before they banned it from vaccines. Why did the FDA suddenly ban mercury in the vaccines? Just the fact that they allowed mercury without even really knowing its impact should alert you. But the FDA is not there to protect us, the FDA is the watch dog to protect industry and secure the profits for the medical industrial complex and the vaccine industry. Vaccines are a lie. Its a billion dollar business. I have never been vacconiated and NONE of my children have ever been vaccinated nor will they. We have no diseases. Louis Pasteur, the founder of germ theory, on his death bed, recanted the significance of germ theory, saying “the germ is nothing; the terrain is everything” Meaning the health of the vital organism is the key factor in maintaining health, or developing disease. The medical establishment wants to keep the public in the dark because it is profitting to the tune of billions of dollars. God Bless Jenny Mccarthy!!
    Lets get rid of the liars and cheaters. Back to natural medicine!! I am the healthiest person I know!! And I have NEVER ever been to a liar doctor! I follow natural medicine! Natural hygiene!

    • They suddenly banned thimerosal because they were worried that it posed a danger, which completely invalidates all the rest of your nonsense. How can vaccines be a lie? Have you seen how the rates of disease dropped after their vaccines were introduced? Ever hear of small pox, polio, chicken pox, or measles? An enormous majority of vaccinated children don’t contract those diseases any more. Hmm… that’s an amazing lie that it can end horrible diseases (and still not exist, somehow?).

      Louis Pasteur ended the scourge of small pox by inventing it’s vaccine. Whatever he MAY have said on his death bed is irrelevant. And you have no proof that he said that, so I will take your statement with a grain of salt.

      Hey bud, you keep doing your natural medicine (whatever that is), and when you feel like waking up from your brainwashing, go over to http://whatstheharm.net/ and see what you are subjecting to your children (hint: early death).

    • Fool! the reason your kids didn’t die of measles mumps or rubella was because thankfully most people HAVE vaccinated their kids, removing the disease from the community, and eliminating the risk for you.
      you benefit from the safety of a vaccinated community and you’re too stupid to realise it. What do you think happened to smallpox, polio, pertussis, diptheria…???
      FOOL

  12. Vaccines did not put an end to small pox, polio, chicken pox or the measles. Look at the graphs BUD, they were already on the decline and almost wiped out by the time vaccinations were introduced. It’s beyond mercury in the vaccines, it’s about ALL the poisons in the things, period. Gardasil is the autistic child’s unspoken voice. Look at all the perfectly HEALTHY, and mostly grown young women (grown meaning they aren’t toddlers and infants) who are being harmed by this deadly vaccine. Perfectly healthy, then injected, and now suffering daily. We have a family friend’s daughter who received her second dosage and is now bed ridden with headaches, muscle pains, can’t eat and vomits everything up, all occurring AFTER she took the stupid vaccine. Within a day or two, so how can you discount that messing with the body’s natural ability to deter disease is sensible. How can you tell a couple who loses their child within hours of a vaccine that it is a coincidence? How can you not see that pharmaceutical companies benefit by pushing these vaccines and make money off keeping people sick? It doesn’t take a medical degree or rocket science to drawn a logical assumption using one’s own critical thinking skills.
    Why is it so important to vaccinate against chicken pox which we all got as kids and survived with little to no problem. There used to be chicken pox parties! Measles and mumps didn’t have a deadly effect either on the population. A couple kids suffered, yes, but not as much as they are suffering now. And rubella, it’s a rash! It is not even fatal in the least and causes no damage to boys at all. It is only dangerous for a pregnant woman and it didn’t ever even cause a significant threat. So, then why, is everyone injected with a deadly vaccine to ward off something that doesn’t cause harm?
    I was pregnant and my rubella titers were not protecting me, but you know what, my boy turned out just fine. Further there have been case studies done where women injected with vaccines, before, after and during pregnancy had children subsequently affected by Autism and Autistic like symptoms, amongst other problems. So, if there is a correlation between a mother being vaccinated, how can a conclusion not be drawn that these poisons injected into tiny bodies with no immunity can handle them.
    It’s a shame that people just believe hook, line and sinker what the government propaganda machine spoon feeds them. There are ‘independent’ studies which completely refute the studies bought and paid for by Big Pharma who draws its own conclusions about its own products. Go figure.

    • I’m pretty sure it was the rates of mortality on the decline in those graphs, and not the rates of incidence. You may want to check your facts because there’s a difference that might seem insignificant to you and me, but means a lot to people who understand graphs, like scientists and epidemiologists.

      The poisons you refer to are micro-quantities of formaldehyde and aluminum. Formaldehyde is a by-product of fruit digestion, and it’s used in vaccines to make them safer. Aluminum is found in far higher quantities in formula and breast milk, and it’s used in vaccines to stimulate the immune system and make the vaccine more effective.

      This is not Anecdote-Based Medicine; this is Science-Based Medicine. We look at scientific studies that are well-controlled, peer-reviewed, and published in major journals. You might be scared and suspicious about pharmaceutical companies, but an argument from incredulity does not suffice here. You need actual evidence, other than your own cynicism. Vaccines are highly regulated and highly tested, they are widely used all over the world, and there is no research to indicate that they are unsafe, other than a small percentage of people who have side effects.

      I personally vaccinate for chicken pox because I don’t want my child to have unpleasant blisters all over her body, and I don’t want her to be one of the rare ones who die. I personally vaccinate against measles because I don’t want her to have a highly infectious disease, a body covered in spots, an unpleasant cough, swollen eyes, high fever, or intense body aches, and I don’t want her to be one of the few who die. Why would you want your children to have a risk of any of this? Because, in your mind, you think vaccines are deadly, despite the evidence around you to the contrary (the millions of vaccinated people who aren’t dead)?

      Ask yourself if the ‘independent’ studies that you find so compelling are truly without bias, and whether you are smart enough to know whether they are quality studies. Wakefield was funded by anti-vaccine lawyers, and his studies have been ripped to shreds by the scientific community. The other studies cited by your side are equally dubious. Go figure.

  13. i am literally screaming inside my skull after reading your idiotic nonsense -“rubella -it’s a rash”
    During the epidemic in the US between 1962–1965, Rubella virus infections during pregnancy were estimated to have caused 30,000 still births and 20,000 children to be born impaired or disabled as a result of CRS.
    Just a rash.

    • Lets not forget Measles, for you cosetted pampered and spoilt first world brats who forget why your grandparents lost so many kids:
      In roughly the last 150 years, measles has been estimated to have killed about 200 million people worldwide.During the 1850s, measles killed a fifth of Hawaii’s people.In 1875, measles killed over 40,000 Fijians, approximately one-third of the population.


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