Reality bites back II

2 Oct

Its all going wrong for the believers of the vaccine/autism religion. This was supposed to be the time of their Fall offensive, spearheaded of course by Mother Warrior Jenny McCarthy and her appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show.

So far though, the media seem markedly less keen to talk to her about her recovering/no, recovered/ah….recovering/no, recovered/oh whatever autistic child. And the science is beginning to get equal air time. Recently, Dr. Ari Brown, Dr Lou Cooper and our very own Ken participated alongside a couple of minor league celebs on a discussion regarding autism and vaccines on the US show Good Morning America.

Yesterday the Age of Autism exhorted its members to mob a website that had created a Jenny vs Amanda poll (because popularity contests will definitely help autistic people). When the Pharyngula blog got wind of this PZ, the blog owner, asked his readers to vote too. The outcome?

Yikes.

The world view of the autism/vaccine zealots was shaken mightily yesterday. They’ve always imagined themselves as a large group with considerable power. Yesterday, they got squashed like a flea on a windscreen over something as meaningless as a celeb poll. Imagine how they must’ve felt to read some of the comments there. In fact, I’ve been tracking a lot of the gossip websites who’ve mentioned Jenny of late. She’s not popular outside her own crowd. Parents of autistic kids are catching on. Here’s a quote from someone I do not know and have never heard of before today commenting on Hollywood Today:

I am a single father of an autistic child and agree that Jenny Mcarthy is doing more harm than good. Why do we put more credibility in an actress / playboy bunny than doctors and other more credible sources.

And a mother of two autistic kids says on Ecorazzi:

As a mother with TWO autistic children, I find McCarthy’s ignorance appalling. Don’t we have enough difficulty in dealing with and understanding the Autism Spectrum without letting fad pseudo-science sway our families away from proper health care for our children?

These are not isolated examples I am very happy to report.

Yesterday the mercury militia – who think we’re just a few people compared to their ‘tens of thousands’ got a great big wet fish slap of reality.

Mother Warrior McCarthy is now complaining the US Presidential candidates are snubbing her. For goodness sake, why on earth did you ever think they would listen to you? You’re a D-list celeb who can’t even get her story straight on whether her son is recovered or not.

Anyway, she says:

I literally flew to go see MCCain, his team agreed to it (meeting), I was prepped and then all of a sudden his campaign manager said, ‘We’re ahead in the polls and this is a very, very touchy subject. Let’s not give this interview right now.

Wow, McCain employs the worst PR people in the world. They tell someone that they’re not going to interview them as they’re too controversial. How convenient for Jenny!

I’m thinking the conversation went something more like this:

JM: Hi, I’m Jenny McCarthy, can I speak to John McCain?

PR Dude: Sorry? You’re who?

JM: Jenny McCarthy, I’ve appeared in films such as ‘Scary Movie 3’ and…uh…

PR Dude: Whatever…why do you want to speak to the boss?

JM: About vaccines and autism! They’re poisoning our kids! Except mine is now recovered! No, wait – I have a book coming out, make that ‘recoverING’.

PR Dude: The country – no, the world – is in a national financial crisis and you want to talk to the boss about some quacky ideas never supported by science. Go away lady.

JM: But…but…I’m JENNY MCCARTHY…BULLSHIT!….BULLSHIT!!! (Where’s the camera?)

Now Jenny is desperate to get ahold of Obama:

MCCarthy is now desperately hoping Barack Obama, MCCain’s opponent in the race for the White House, agrees to champion her cause and address the autism versus vaccines issue.
She says, “We are trying (to contact him)… We have sent numerous (requests).

This is the same Barrack Obama who has said:

I am not for selective vaccination, I believe that it will bring back deadly diseases, like polio.

He might see you Jenny. Me might even pretend to listen. You might even get your picture taken with him. Better yet, he might pass on the opportunity to see you and then you can tell people how its a big conspiracy. You might even manage to squeeze another book out of it.

None of that will change reality though. The tide isn’t changing just yet but there’s been a few signs that it might be on its way.

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11 Responses to “Reality bites back II”

  1. Joseph October 2, 2008 at 15:38 #

    They took a nice beating, didn’t they?

  2. Liz D. October 2, 2008 at 17:16 #

    Here’s another commenter from Pharyngula:

    As a Green Party member (and indeed a local election candidate), I get annoyed at slogans like “Green Our Vaccines”.

    Green philosophy is fundamentally about organising society in such a way that it respects all the planet’s inhabitants, present and future. A hypothetical “green” vaccine is one which doesn’t involve harm to animals, whose manufacture and distribution produces the minimum of waste or pollutants, where all who need that vaccine have access to it and the intellectual property and so on. Just because a product is safe at the point of use does not necessarily mean it is “green”.

    The desire to protect one’s children from harm by whatever cause is perfectly reasonable (even if this is almost entirely misplaced in the case of vaccines), but has nothing to do with environmental concerns. My suspicion is that McCarthy et al. are simply using the general public’s concerns about the environment (which tend to be more prominent in parents of young children), particularly with alarm-bells like “pollutants” and “toxins” as a vehicle to get their emotive, fact-free message past people’s critical thinking skills.

    And if vaccinating (with antigens either identical or very similar to the natural versions) isn’t natural, then what the hell is natural about chelation with synthetic agents like EDTA or DMSA?

    /rant

  3. Liz Ditz October 2, 2008 at 17:19 #

    Here’s another commenter from Pharyngula:

    As a Green Party member (and indeed a local election candidate), I get annoyed at slogans like “Green Our Vaccines”.

    Green philosophy is fundamentally about organising society in such a way that it respects all the planet’s inhabitants, present and future. A hypothetical “green” vaccine is one which doesn’t involve harm to animals, whose manufacture and distribution produces the minimum of waste or pollutants, where all who need that vaccine have access to it and the intellectual property and so on. Just because a product is safe at the point of use does not necessarily mean it is “green”.

    The desire to protect one’s children from harm by whatever cause is perfectly reasonable (even if this is almost entirely misplaced in the case of vaccines), but has nothing to do with environmental concerns. My suspicion is that McCarthy et al. are simply using the general public’s concerns about the environment (which tend to be more prominent in parents of young children), particularly with alarm-bells like “pollutants” and “toxins” as a vehicle to get their emotive, fact-free message past people’s critical thinking skills.

    And if vaccinating (with antigens either identical or very similar to the natural versions) isn’t natural, then what the hell is natural about chelation with synthetic agents like EDTA or DMSA?

    /rant

  4. kristina October 2, 2008 at 19:51 #

    religion—-maybe more like a cult.

  5. Regan October 2, 2008 at 20:12 #

    religion——maybe more like a cult.

    I checked the characteristics of a cult, and you might have something there.

    When my children cadge for attention, and I am unable to give it, I usually expect a little burst of behavior…if the public at large stopped paying attention to these folks, I wonder what kind of temper tantrum could be expected?

    The comments by the Green Party member were pure gold.

  6. qchan63 October 3, 2008 at 01:52 #

    Not only is the poll not looking very pretty, but Paul Offit’s book is currently at No. 983 on Amazon.com. Which is odd, because according to AofA it “peaked” at No. 8,173 a couple of weeks ago.

    So unlike them not to have corrected the record …

  7. isles October 3, 2008 at 02:50 #

    The excellent Philadelphia Inquirer review of Autism’s False Prophets was picked up by at least two more newspapers today, and the ScienceBlogs book club discussion was mentioned on the LA Times blog.

    This, friends, is what happens when a serious person writes a serious book. The facts stand for themselves.

  8. Ringside Seat October 3, 2008 at 07:38 #

    The website doing the poll (which was 90% suppportive of Peet, when I looked), now says its going to scrap having polls.

    You couldn’t make it up!

  9. Ringside Seat October 3, 2008 at 07:38 #

    The website doing the poll (which was 90% suppportive of Peet, when I looked), now says its going to scrap having polls.

    You couldn’t make it up!

  10. Ms. Clark October 3, 2008 at 08:45 #

    Another funny thing was a request put out on some parent boards for parents to buy Jenny’s book on Amazon.com on a particular day so they could drive its sales rank to #1. If it worked I didn’t see it get there. It’s been around #50 or 60 lately, it’s at #80 now. That’s good compared to Dr. Offit’s book, but then, Dr. Offit wasn’t on Oprah and GMA recently, and movers and shakers aren’t reading the McIndigo book, but they are reading Dr. Offit’s book, which doesn’t bode well for Jenny gaining access to important people in the future.

    There was to be some kind of denal of service attack kind of thing where masses of parents were supposed to call and email the NIH all at the same time and continually on the morning of the 29th (about the time when Ken and the others were on TV, actually). I haven’t heard anything of the outcome, so I’m guessing they didn’t make much of an impression with perhaps a whole 5 or 6 angry incoherent people calling and emailing the NIH and demanding that they agree to do a study on chelation for autism (that was the purpose of the coordinated phone attack thing). 🙂

  11. Tsu Dho Nimh October 3, 2008 at 18:49 #

    Ms Clark …
    I believe the NIH operators were tipped off about the impending DOS-by-phone attack. 🙂

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