I don’t spend much time following celebrities. Jenny McCarthy was, for a time, an exception. She became the number one spokesperson for the idea that vaccines cause autism as well as for unproven and sometimes dangerous “therapies” for autism. She made a lot of money from autism, autism kept her name in the press and, as the money dried up, Ms. McCarthy quieted down on the topics that only a short time before she was so passionate about. Jenny McCarthy now makes news for topic like, “Jenny McCarthy ‘dating’ Donnie Wahlberg“.
New reports recently came out that Jenny McCarthy is being considered for a spot on the TV show “The View”. I saw a number of these sorts of news stories before I cancelled my news alerts. “Jenny McCarthy in talks with….for a job” They struck me as publicity and trial balloons. Attempts to get buzz going to help get the job.
If Jenny McCarthy’s publicity team are floating this as a trial balloon, they should have known the response they would get:
U.S. News and World Report: Jenny McCarthy’s Pseudoscience Has No Place on ‘The View
Slate: The View of Jenny McCarthy
Most discussions focus on Jenny McCarthy’s views on vaccines. She adheres to the idea that vaccines cause autism. It’s good to point out this stance but, as I’ll discuss below, I personally question why The View would be considering Jenny McCarthy given her unprofessional attitude and lack of integrity in regards to her visits on The View.
The vaccine stance has been a bit of a liability for Ms. McCarthy and her organization (Generation Rescue). They have toned down their message a great deal over recent years. Back at the time when Generation Rescue was founded, they were very upfront:
With the number 1 reason for “How was my child poisoned” being thimerosal in vaccines.
The founder of Jenny McCarthy’s autism charity famously wrote once:
With less than a half-dozen full-time activists, annual budgets of six figures or less, and umpteen thousand courageous, undaunted, and selfless volunteer parents, our community, held together with duct tape and bailing wire, is in the early to middle stages of bringing the U.S. vaccine program to its knees.
Generation Rescue both before and since Jenny McCarthy has had a focus on various “cures” for autism. They range from relatively harmless (homeopathy) to dangerous and clearly ill founded (Lupron), promoted at their parent conventions like AutismOne.
Jenny McCarthy not only promotes subjecting disabled children to dangerous therapies, she attacks those parents who don’t accept her advice in this regard.
What’s very interesting with the possible gig on The View is the fact that Jenny McCarthy has a very checkered past with that show. In her first autism book tour, the one person who had the guts to challenge Jenny McCarthy was Barbara Walters on The View. Jenny McCarthy was so angered by this that she reportedly told a rally of her supporters exactly where Barbara Walters could “stick her microphone”. (On a local autism news group, when some people proposed putting video of this event on YouTube they were discouraged from doing so. Even then people realized this was not a good move by Ms. McCarthy.)
In a later book, Jenny McCarthy told the story of her confrontation with Barbara Walters on The View, making herself into a brave “warrior” mom. Only, the story that she gave in the book was very different from the version she gave in a televised interview. In other words, at least one of the stories appears fabricated.
She also posited that Barbara Walters was jealous of Jenny McCarthy and that was the reason why Ms. Walters challenged her. Ms. McCarthy even “forgave” Ms. Walters for the incident. Barbara Walters acted like a journalist and asked Jenny McCarthy to back up her statements. Jenny McCarthy slammed Ms. Walters publicly and quite rudely. And Jenny McCarthy forgave Ms. Walters.
Seemed at the time, and still does, that Ms. McCarthy should have been apologizing, not forgiving.
In the time between the incident on The View and Ms. McCarthy offering “forgiveness”, Ms. Walters had published her biography. In it Ms. Walters disclosed that her sister was intellectually disabled. Jenny McCarthy then “understood” that Ms. Walters was jealous of the fact that she had recovered her son, while Ms. Walters’s sister did not have that opportunity. Forgiveness with a side order of condescension.
An interesting point in the “forgiveness” story. Jenny McCarthy didn’t offer forgiveness when Ms. Walters made the disclosure in her biography. No, Ms. McCarthy waited four months until her own book tour to make the statement. It doesn’t strike this observer as anything beyond a cheap publicity stunt by Ms. McCarthy.
Another interesting point is that it has since been reported that Jenny McCarthy’s “recovered” son needs a $100,000 per year school. So, tales of “forgiveness” because she had recovered her kid while Ms. Walters’s sister remained disabled her whole life fall rather flat.
I did find it interesting that when Jenny McCarthy returned years later to The View for another book tour, it was on a day when Barbara Walters was not present.
Barbara Walters is still active onscreen and behind the scenes at The View. Ms. Walters is a true pioneer of journalism. She didn’t last this long without a very thick skin, so I doubt any of the childish antics from Jenny McCarthy bother her personally. On the other hand, Ms. Walters has been able to see first hand how Jenny McCarthy puts integrity aside in favor of self promotion.
The View is not the sort of hard journalism that is the backbone of Ms. Walters’ legacy. But, one does wonder why Ms. Walters (co-producer and co-owner of The View) would take on Ms. McCarthy. Jenny McCarthy is not and never will be on par with Barbara Walters. Few of us are. But bringing Jenny McCarthy into The View would cheapen, just a bit, a lifetime of hard work and excellence by Ms. Walters.
By Matt Carey