Most people who hurt children are locked behind bars. Not Jenny McCarthy. On Monday, ABC tabbed McCarthy to co-host "The View" when the popular daytime talk show begins its 17th season on Sept. 9.
McCarthy is known to some as a television host and nude model, but to others she is a villain. She has become hated by many parents and most in the science community for loudly and wrongly promoting the long-disproven notion that vaccines can cause autism.
The idea that vaccines caused autism began in 1998 when British medical researcher -- and all-around creep -- Andrew Wakefield falsified data to create an apparent link between a common vaccine and an increase in rates of autism. Wakefield, it turned out, had been bribed with more than $600,000 to release the bogus research by lawyers hoping to bring lawsuits against drug companies that manufactured vaccines.
By 2004, scientists determined that Wakefield had falsified his research and there was no link between vaccines and autism. Wakefield's medical license was subsequently revoked and he now lives in hiding, shamed by society for his despicable stunt.
Jenny McCarthy, whose son Evan was diagnosed with autism, latched onto Wakefield's spurious claim and came to blame vaccines for her son's disorder. (Evan, it was later discovered, was misdiagnosed and was not autistic after all.)
McCarthy, ignoring scientific data proving the safety of vaccines, used her fame as a platform to write books, give speeches and make television appearances warning other parents against vaccinating their kids. Sadly, hundreds of thousands of credulous parents took McCarthy's dangerous advice.
As a result of parents choosing to opt-out of vaccinating their children at McCarthy's behest, a number of preventable illnesses are on the comeback. Cases of mumps and whooping cough are at their highest levels in generations, and measles, which the CDC declared "eliminated" in the United States in 2000, plagued more than 200 Americans last year -- and McCarthy is responsible.
The website JennyMcCarthyBodyCount.com, using reports on vaccine-preventable illnesses published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, attempts to keep tabs on preventable illnesses and deaths since McCarthy began her anti-vaccination campaign. To date, anti-vaccine propagandizing by McCarthy has contributed to the deaths of 1,170 children and caused more than 118,000 Americans to contract preventable illnesses, according to the website.
Rather than apologizing to the parents whose children who were harmed or died because of her advice and working to encourage vaccinations, the former Playboy Playmate refuses to admit that she was wrong -- and that is precisely what makes ABC's decision to hire McCarthy so dangerous.
"The View" is routinely seen by an audience of over 3 million, including hundreds of thousands of parents of young children. By offering McCarthy a daily pulpit to promote her scientifically disproven, undeniably dangerous anti-vaccine crusade, ABC and its advertisers have chosen to become complicit in resulting illnesses or deaths of innocent children.
Hiring McCarthy to co-host such a popular TV program is more than just an error in judgment, it is a threat to public health and the safety of America's kids. The only appropriate response to ABC's disgraceful decision to hire McCarthy is to boycott ABC and any companies that choose to advertise on "The View."
As long as McCarthy is associated with the show, those of us who care about truth, responsibility and the safety of our children, must stand together in rejecting ABC programming and refusing to purchase products associated with "The View." Doing so is our best hope of protecting other children from dying as a result of the dangerous lies perpetrated by McCarthy.