Now that the lineup at the popular daytime talk show The View is shuffling, it appears that McCarthy, according to reports, may have a new platform for her dangerous and unsubstantiated claims on vaccines as co-host. Just how dangerous is the exposure that The View may now be giving to McCarthy? The website “Anti-Vaccine Body Count” (which until late last year was actually called the “Jenny McCarthy Body Count,” a nod to the power of the most vocal anti-vaccination advocate on the national stage) gives some chilling statistics. Since June 2007 more than 118,000 individuals have been infected with preventable illnesses like the measles, mumps and whooping cough, and of those more than 1,100 have died.
There have been countless stories over the last several years about outbreaks of diseases that were on their way to becoming rare before the anti-vaccination movement took hold. The KQED Science blog for NPR reports today on recent outbreaks of pertussis, also known as whooping cough:
In 2010, the United States saw 27,550 pertussis cases, the most since 1959, when health officials logged 40,000 cases. Following the cyclical nature of the disease, incidence dropped the next year (with 18,719 cases reported) but then exploded to 41,000 in 2012, when 49 states reported disease spikes.
Vaccination and public health advocates have suggested various ways to dissuade ABC from hiring McCarthy, ranging from emailing the network directly to signing a petition on Change.org. One would hope that campaigns of this nature wouldn’t be necessary to convince ABC that hiring McCarthy would not only harm the show and its reputation, but also public health.
Of course, it’s not as if The View’s reputation is all that sterling to begin with. Can Barbara Walters (who produces The View) and ABC-Disney (which broadcasts it) pick ‘em or what?
First there was Rosie O’Donnell, who used her tenure on the show to routinely shout 9/11 conspiracy theories, then Whoopi Goldberg, who once admitted there that she thought the lunar landings were faked, and that Roman Polanski didn’t commit “rape-rape,” and now possibly Jenny McCarthy and her anti-vaccination obsessions. (Not to mention Joy Behar’s myriad curious moments.) Do the woman chosen for the show all have a conspiracy theory? Shouldn’t they be asked about which nutty beliefs they have to minimize on-air surprises, or do the producers of the show share some of these theories as well? (Considering that in 2007, Jane Hamsher, the founder of the leftwing Firedoglake blog estimated that 35 percent of Demcrats were 9/11 truthers, I suppose there’s the possibility that a third of the behind the scenes crew are as well. I wonder if the number of Truthers has since gone down, given that President Obama never went on-air to blow the lid of the story.)
Barbara Walters is scheduled to retire next year. Producing a show that has hosted a decade worth of distaff Democrat conspiracy theorists is quite a legacy to go out on, but she seems determined to make that her legacy.