Posted by: Ticktock | April 1, 2009

Jenny McCarthy vs. Time Magazine

Jenny has a new book out about autism, and she is blitzing the media with her typical antivaccine propaganda. She was on Good Morning America this morning and Diane Sawyer just gave her a pass on the vaccine stuff and skipped to the “curing autism” stuff. It’s unbelievable what pussies the mainstream media is when it comes to calling Jenny McCarthy out on her shit.

Time Magazine’s science editor took Jenny McCarthy to task for her assertions about vaccines and autism. Of course, if you read the entire interview, you can see that he practically gives her a Free Pass on the extraordinary claim that she can “cure” autism. Whatever. Check out his hard hitting questions below, and my analysis of her answers…

Your book points out that autism rates between 1983 and 2008 have climbed in lockstep with vaccination rates, yet childhood obesity, diabetes and even cell-phone use have soared since then, too. Why do you find causation in one and not the others? I’m not saying it’s only the vaccines. But children are given so many shots from the moment they’re born. They get multiple injections all at once, and if they fall behind, doctors put them on a catch-up schedule. Babies get the hepatitis B vaccine immediately after they’re born and the only way for a newborn to contract that disease is if the mother is a carrier. Why not just screen the mother? Evan was handed to me pre-vaccinated with a Band-Aid on his foot.

She is totally dodging the question by claiming that it’s a straw man, but then following it up with an argument from incredulity and an appeal to emotion.  Jenny is moving the goalposts to avoid admitting the truth: her hypothesis that vaccines cause autism is wrong (or, at least, an assumption based on a hunch).

Most people who blame autism on vaccines point to the mercury in the shots, yet mercury has been removed from most vaccines and autism rates continue to climb. We don’t believe it’s only the mercury. Aluminum and other toxins also play a role. The viruses in the vaccines themselves can be causing it, too.

Yet, Jenny chooses to go after vaccines instead of breast milk and formula, which also contain aluminum in much higher quantities.  She is admitting that she has no clue.  Maybe it’s the non-existent mercury. Maybe it’s aluminum.  Maybe it’s the viruses.  And how can we have vaccines without the viruses?  She’s asking for scientists to clear an impossible hurdle.

Your collaborator recommends that parents accept only the haemophilus influenzae type B (HIB) and tetanus vaccine for newborns and then think about the rest. Not polio? What about the polio clusters in unvaccinated communities like the Amish in the U.S.? What about the 2004 outbreak that swept across Africa and Southeast Asia after a single province in northern Nigeria banned vaccines? I do believe sadly it’s going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it’s their f___ing fault that the diseases are coming back. They’re making a product that’s s___. If you give us a safe vaccine, we’ll use it. It shouldn’t be polio versus autism.

Whoah. Somebody just got on the crazy train. She would gladly bring back deadly diseases if it furthered her cause of “greening” vaccines even though she has yet to actually point to one legitimate scientific study that would prove her point, or legitimize her claim.

And yet in many cases, vaccines have effectively eliminated diseases. Measles is among the top five killers in the world of children under 5 years old, yet it kills virtually no one in the U.S. thanks to vaccines. People have the misconception that we want to eliminate vaccines. Please understand that we are not an antivaccine group. We are demanding safe vaccines. We want to reduce the schedule and reduce the toxins. If you ask a parent of an autistic child if they want the measles or the autism, we will stand in line for the f___ing measles.

She offers a false dilemma fallacy here. Vaccines don’t cause autism, but she insists that choosing to vaccinate is equivalent to deciding to put your children at risk of autism. To her, “vaccines cause autism” is a fact when really it’s a false premise with evidence weighing heavily against it.

Many scientists believe we’re simply diagnosing autism differently now – both overdiagnosing it in kids who don’t have it and spotting it better in kids who do. That makes it look like the condition is on the rise when it’s not. All you have to do is find a schoolteacher or principal and ask them that question. They would say they’ve never seen so much ADHD, autism, OCD as in the past. I think we’re overdiagnosing it by maybe 1%. Now you look around and there are five shadows – kids with disabilities – in every class.

And we end with a hasty generalization. She is just positive that if you took a random school teacher or principal that they would agree with her, and yet this is not a fact, but a quickly composed conclusion based on an assumption. She thinks that overdiagnosing is maybe 1%, but she is an actress with no authority on that subject. Who is she trying to convince?

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Responses

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. Jenny McCarthy and her like make it very difficult for people such as us to educate the public. But, I’m just a dude…not a bunny/actress.

  2. She also claims that parents of autistic children would choose measles over autism…funny,I don’t recall being asked. Nor do I agree. Why anyone listens to her-how she has gained public credibility…I just don’t understand it.

  3. I am very proud of Jenny McCarthy for standing up to our corrupt and twisted medical system. Most people have no idea how corrupt it really is. AMA is so tied into the drug companies that doctors are trained in a way that makes drug companies profit. It is all about getting people hooked on drugs. Doctors are in bed with the drug dealers. And many doctors are too brainwashed to see how the system is using them. Most of the drugs are very poisonous to our system. Including vaccinations. Vaccinations contain MERCURY a known POISON. Why is this happening? Follow the money. It is profitable to keep people sick. The drug companies are that powerful. Yes, vaccinations contribute to Autism AND many other issues. My guess is they “powers that be” rationalize keeping people sick because if the entire planet was healthy, it would not last another 50 years. Can’t argue with that. I found out about the corruption after researching my own health issues. I cured my depression and anxiety naturally. I got rid of dental problems including cavities, naturally. I lost weight naturally, etc. Alternative natural therapies are amazing and do work. There is a great backlash against them. Who is behind the backlash? The drug companies and medical community. I will never set foot in a doctor’s office again if I can help it. All they did was make me sicker. In fact, I was healthy before I ever set foot in a doctor’s office. Yes, they can do good, but they can also do very, very bad. Research. Find out the truth.

    • @K.Hard

      “Corrupt and twisted medical system” You mean the same medical system that has extended life expectancy to age 75 and beyond? It’s one thing to say that pharmaceutical companies unfairly influence doctors, but it’s quite another thing to accuse them of purposefully making people sick – with NO EVIDENCE to back it up.

      Vaccinations USED to contain ethylmercury, which is different than the known neurotoxin METHYLmercury. I didn’t major in chemistry, and I’m assuming you didn’t either, but the two compounds are different. Look it up. If the mercury in vaccines were so bad, then why haven’t you seen a dip in autism, asthma, adhd, and all of the other diseases that your kind attribute to mercury. You do know that thimerosal (mercury) was removed from mandatory childhood vaccines in 1992, right?

      You come to my blog and tell me to research? Take a strong dose of your own medicine. You have been blinded if you think that Jenny McCarthy, who uses google as a primary resource, is a worthy source of “truth”. You have fallen for the “all natural” fallacy, as if natural things were inherently better for you. Do you know why your “all natural” products are rejected by doctors? Because they fail to stand up to testing, and if they did stand up to testing, they would become medicine. The only difference between the herbs and supplements that you take and actual medicine is that actual medicine has been proven to work.

  4. I don’t have a child with autism, but I still think I would choose autism over measles (hypothetically, if there were an actual risk). People can die from measles. I don’t think that autism is ever fatal.

  5. The anti-vaccine community is very, very dangerous. It’s parents trying desperately to convince themselves that their autistic child wasn’t their fault. Which, of course, it wasn’t. Would they look for fault if the child were born blind? Missing a limb? Deaf? Parents are hard on themselves. Autism has been around since man started walking.

  6. @K.Hard;

    Do you realize that the original report linking the MMR vaccine to autism has been retracted? In case you don’t know, retraction basically means that the report contained either falsified and/or incorrect data and was pulled from the published record of research results. In addition, subsequent studies have been published since that original (now retracted) report showing NO link between vaccines and autism.

    I think it might be time for you to loosen the tin-foil hat and do your own research instead of blindly accepting the garbage that passes for journalism these days.

  7. I did see the Jenny McCarthy interview on GMA and was hoping you would blog about it…bravo!

    In addition to Diane Sawyer giving her a complete pass on her vaccine/autism argument, it was obvious that McCarthy is now trying to tack her argument away from vaccines and autism these days and instead focusing on a more general “toxins” argument. It is obvious she doesn’t have a leg to stand on with the whole vaccines caused my son’s autism argument now that some real science has called her out on her bullshit.

    I also found it amusing that Aluminum has been dragged back into the arena as being a deadly toxin. Aluminum was once thought to cause Alzheimer’s Disease until that argument couldn’t be verified…looks like they are going to trot out this old chestnut again saying it causes autism now. Lets not mention the MILLIONS of people worldwide who use aluminum cooking pots EVERYDAY…it is so stupid it hurts.

  8. A. K. Hard is wandering about the internet, posting this rubbish. I linked to your rebuttals.

  9. […] one who knows this to be true. Medical doctors Orac and Steve Novella have words about her, as does Skeptic Dad, and the Stop Jenny McCarthy site was created to expose her as the danger she […]

  10. Ask any teacher or principal? All that does is provide some personal ancedotes, not any hard evidence. Also, attitudes and approaches to teaching and classroom management have changed a lot in a few decades, so I fail to see how it is even a valid comparison. I don’t trust the memories of individuals.

    As a teacher who has worked in both pubic schools in low-income urban settings and at a private school in a more affluent area, I’m much more concerned at the deep divide in health and development of children who are born middle class compared to those born poor. There is a much higher percentage of kids in special education classes in poor school districts than in middle class ones. If we’re going to be concerned as a society about the health of babies and children, let’s look at the severe economic disparity in quality health care and healthy environments. I’m more concerned about that than the rise in ADHD and autism.

  11. k.Hard is proud of Jenny McCarthy? Proud of a person who thinks that bringing back polio and the measles would be good for her cause? Sometimes the world scares me….

  12. So…parents would choose a potentially fatal disease over an eventually manageable disorder?

    • Yeah, if Jenny can cure autism, why would she choose fatal diseases? Makes ya wonder.

  13. maybe her next big project is “curing death”??

  14. So glad to find this blog! I would love to see you dissect the transcript of Larry King’s Friday show with Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carey (named the “autism whisperer” by McCarthy.)

    A very quick Internet search will show the strong ties between DAN! doctors and scientology. Jenny, by touting the lack of a possible connection between a genetic brain disorder and autism makes her scientology’s dream girl. Her anti-vax push (though suddenly she says it isn’t anti-vax though it sure sounds like she’s still anti-vax) is a thinly veiled dismissal of neurologists, medical doctors who deal with brain disorders and of course, mental health professionals. Can anyone say Tom Cruise?

    Because young parents, in particular, have not had to go through the childhood disease experience some of them naively jump on the McCarthy crazy train. When I was fourteen my best friend’s six year old sister, a piano prodigy, died of encephalitis, which was a complication of the chicken pox. But according to Jenny, she would line up for her son to have measles or apparently. chicken pox. According to Jenny, we’re just going to have to have some of these child casualties if we’re going to get rid of the vaccines that she deems so evil.

    Jenny McCarthy, along with her now boyfriend who seems to be in a serious acting slump, are making a fortune off of autism. They say autism makes money for doctors. What a joke! The vast majority of doctors actually would like nothing better than to discover the cause of autism and eradicate it. In reality, autism works wonders for McCarthy’s and Carey’s wallet.

  15. […] outbreaks of preventable diseases occurring? (Oh, right, we already know the answer to that one: it’s OK and even necessary for kids to get sick and die to further her cause). Why should we trust her "mommy instinct" over conclusive evidence that vaccines are […]

  16. The problem I’ve always had with the “mercury in vaccines causes autism” argument straight-on is that if you eat a can of tuna while you’re pregnant, your child was just exposed to more mercury than a lifetime of vaccines will ever give them.

    Every child that died of a disease preventable from vaccines because their parents listened to an actor for medical advice is on McCarthy’s head.

    • No it’s not on McCarth’s head. It’s on their own for listening to an actress. People need to stop blaming everyone else. Start taking responsiblity for your own action. They choose to listen to an uneducated person, then shame on them. For years, we have had people telling us eat this, do this, be a certain way. It’s up to you to understand what they are really saying. Stop blaming everyone else for bad situations happening. Actresses, famous athletes, ect should not be deciding on your families health!

      • Researching things is hard. Reading medical papers is extremely hard. And if people turn to the internet for information, they get a lot of bad information, including the garbage that Jenny McCarthy puts out there.

        Jenny McCarthy uses scare tactics and lies to sell her books and keep herself in the public eye. She tells people not to pay attention to their doctors, not to pay attention to the experts, not to pay attention to the literature. And she is given a lot of credibility by the media. She appears on talk shows where autism is being discussed, as if she has knowledge. So some people will believe the lies that she is telling.

        This doesn’t make them bad people, or stupid people. It means that they believed someone who was telling them lies. The person telling them lies is responsible for the consequences of those lies. You can’t have it both ways: if people need to take responsibility for their actions, then Jenny McCarthy is responsible for children who die from vaccine preventable diseases.

  17. I have been a teacher for over 7 years. I have worked with children with autism, ADHD and ODD. Most regular education teachers do say they have never seen so many children with IEPs in their classrooms. I think a lot of factors have to do with that; over diagnosing and inclusion. The real truth is that NOBODY has any idea on what causes Autism. It kills the parents that I work with, that they have no idea what is happening to their children. One day they have a “typical” child and the next that child is gone. They go through the grieving process, but yet their child is still alive. I may not agree with everything Jenny says and anybody who listens to an actress should really question where they get their facts from. I believe that people shouldn’t listen to any famous person. Heck, some people vote for our President because Oprah told them too. What Jenny has done, was brought Autism to the public’s attention. More then anybody else could. We need to learn more about this disability and try to help. I think people like you are good because you question what she is saying. You also need to question the other side as well. Make the playing field fair! There is no reason for babies to receive Hep B shot! I have done my research on this shot. Every doctor I have interviewed agreed. All you have to do is test the mother. I do believe in vaccines, but I also believe that they don’t need to be given all at once. People need to educate themselves with more then just Google, this page, or Jenny. Our children are in need of some answers, their futures depend on it.

    • One of our upcoming episodes of Podcast Beyond Belief deals with vaccination in detail, including the issue of giving a lot of shots all at once. And the person we’re interviewing is an actual expert.

      • I’m responding to your message from above. I never called people bad or stupid for listening to Jenny. We have a lot of people on the tv throwing around their opinion about any area of interest. What I am saying is that people need to do research. Research is not that hard to do. Listening to one person is not doing research; even if that one person is your doctor. I have heard Jenny tell people over and over again to GET vaccines, but spread them out. I have never heard not to get them. I went to a bookstore and bought some books about vaccines, from doctors who said it was okay to spread them out. I also know that Jenny goes on these shows, with doctors to help support her ideas. Why are you not criticizing them? I don’t agree with Larry King and Oprah letting her come on their show without showing the other side. People listen to Oprah all the time. A lot of people voted for our President because she said so. Not having any idea what he stood for. That’s the way our world is working now. People are believing celebrities over doctors, politician ect. Maybe its because we get tired of being lied too. Are we going to blame Oprah because of who our President is? Come on! I do understand that the science shows no links between vaccines and Autism. I understand that! To blame one person for children death is ridicules. People need to be held accountable for understanding information. I’m so sick of people blaming others for their own lives mistakes. Take responsibility for your own actions. You choose to listen to an actress over your doctor.. your choice, not Jenny or anybody else’s. Give me a break!!!! Jenny is doing what everyone else does to sell a book. Take it what for what it is. Somebody trying to make money off of the American people….what else is new.

      • Again, you can’t have it both ways. If people are responsible for their actions, Jenny McCarthy is responsible for hers. And her action is to do everything she can to scare parents into putting their children at risk of death from preventable diseases.

        No one is suggesting that she is the sole party to blame, just that she shares the blame.

      • And if you can find a single quote from Jenny McCarthy where she actually states that parents should vaccinate their children, I will be very surprised.


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