Measles are back but where is Jenny McCarthy?

28 Jan

It takes a lot of courage to stand up and make yourself heard on unpopular topics. But it’s only really courageous if you are willing to accept responsibility for being wrong. Jenny McCarthy stood up. She made herself heard. In the process she got a lot of media attention, led a march on Washington (the Green Our Vaccines rally), and sold a lot of books. That was years ago. Now we are seeing the outbreaks of disease that so many, even Ms. McCarthy, predicted based on the path she set. Back then she at least had the guts to say, “it’s not my fault” (I disagree). Now she’s just absent from the public’s eye on this topic. Instead we get her new reality show.

Today, a measles outbreak originating in Jenny McCarthy’s old backyard (southern California) has reached about 100 people infected (50 in the state, 23 more whose connection to the epicenter of the outbreak is unknown and more out of state). And, no comment from Ms. McCarthy. But she wasn’t always so quiet. Consider this statement from an interview in Time Magazine:

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.

The idea that somehow a resurgence of disease would lead to a change in vaccines didn’t make sense to me back then. It seemed like some nasty game of “chicken” where Ms. McCarthy was going to frighten enough people about vaccines that outbreaks would be possible. Frighten with statements like “they’re making a product that’s shit” and that the vaccines are not safe. Somehow, once this fear was instilled and the drop in vaccination rates happened, outbreaks would happen and these would prove her point that the vaccines are “shit” and the vaccines would be reinvented.

Apparently Ms. McCarthy realized that this logic wasn’t sound as she started distancing herself from the vaccine message years ago. Instead of being at the forefront of her movement today, ready to force the changes she predicted, she brings handlers to interviews to deflect questions on vaccines. She points people to her nonpology and nosplenation of her views in an op-ed published by the Chicago Sun Times, Jenny McCarthy: The gray area on vaccines

Here’s a defensive paragraph (and a straw man argument) in that op-ed:

“People have the misconception that we want to eliminate vaccines,” I told Time Magazine science editor Jeffrey Kluger in 2009. “Please understand that we are not an anti-vaccine group. We are demanding safe vaccines. We want to reduce the schedule and reduce the toxins.”

Here’s the thing. Many people have called out Jenny McCarthy over the years for her irresponsible statements about vaccines. She spread a lot of fear. One doesn’t read “They’re making a product that’s shit” or a correction of that view at the Sun Times. One doesn’t hear blanket statements that vaccines are all unsafe (“If you give us a safe vaccine, we’ll use it.”) One doesn’t read her statements that vaccines are behind the rise in diagnosed autism rates. One doesn’t hear her state that if she had another child, she wouldn’t vaccinate (a statement she made back when she was more vocal). No, all we get is her “grey area” on vaccines.

Also, not comment about the impending outbreaks.

Which brings me back to: where’s the courage in hiding and dodging the consequences of your actions, Ms. McCarthy? Are you going to point me back to your claim that “it’s not my fault” made on Larry King Live?

KING: Isn’t the problem here, Jenny, that people sometimes listen with one ear are going to panic. And not vaccine at all?

MCCARTHY: Probably. But guess what? It’s not my fault. The reason why they’re not vaccinating is because the vaccines are not safe. Make a better product and then parents will vaccinate.

I didn’t buy it then, I don’t buy it now.

And a similar sentiment

KING: Probably due to you, jenny, and programs like this, the percentage of children getting vaccinations is dropping.
Do you think that’s good?

MCCARTHY: I think it’s only good because it’s the only thing that’s going to shake up the CDC to do something about it.

Yes, they and others have been doing something about “it”. It being the drop in vaccination rates, not the alleged problems with vaccines you were intending. Many people have spent a lot of time trying to prevent or reduce the outbreaks we are seeing now. The question is why weren’t you working on avoiding this?

As I stated at the outset, it’s only courageous to stand up against prevailing opinion if you are willing to take responsibility and fix problems if/when you are proved wrong.

Ms. McCarthy, you were wrong. You were wrong to spread fear. And you can’t get out of it with a simple “it’s not my fault”. It is partly your fault that outbreaks are happening.

And are these outbreaks causing people to accept your position and make the changes you asked for?


And all this doesn’t even touch on the problems of your promotion of unsafe “therapies” for autism, an issue much closer to my heart.

By Matt Carey

23 Responses to “Measles are back but where is Jenny McCarthy?”

  1. reissd January 28, 2015 at 22:15 #

    Responsibility doesn’t end when you are tired from a topic. Thank you for calling this out.

  2. jagman48 January 28, 2015 at 23:44 #

    And meanwhile Tenpenny is having venue after venue cancelled in Australia whilst trying to peddle her lies and deceit. Good on you Australia

    • Craig Payne January 29, 2015 at 00:55 #

      @jagman48 – it succeeded. Tenpenny has cancelled the tour! But is being very disingenuous (which is not surprising given her track record) and is claiming the cancellation was due to bomb threats. What she is not being honest about, is that the bomb and death threats were made by her supporters against the venues if they cancelled! See this tweet and the response:

      • jagman48 January 29, 2015 at 06:41 #

        Hi Craig we won and a brilliant one at that. Such a victory deserves champagne and a pat on the back to all involved.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 29, 2015 at 06:37 #

      Wow. She actually claimed bob threats? I guess if your target audience is hard core conspiracy theorists you can get away with that.

      Didn’t she say at one point that this trip was a vacation and she just happened to be giving talks? Has she cancelled her trip entirely (which would demonstrate her comments previously were a lie)?

      • Craig Payne January 29, 2015 at 18:10 #

        Yep, she did say that this was just a vacation and was later asked to give some talks. As per usual, she is being disingenuous.

  3. Lawrence January 29, 2015 at 10:23 #

    This whole outbreak is really blowing up in the anti-vaxers’ faces – after Disney, I think we’re going to see a pretty significant change in attitude, especially around supporting making opting out of vaccine mandates more difficult (meaning that legitimate medical reasons would be just about the only reason)….politicians aren’t going to want to support a bunch of pro-disease people….this might just be the beginning of the end for the modern anti-vaccine movement.

    • jagman48 January 29, 2015 at 21:03 #

      I realy do hope that you are correct Lawrence. The whole anti vaccination fad will blow up and do some terrible damage if the herd inmmunity drops down much further where I live. Vaccination rates in some parts are under 50% of the population.

      • Lawrence January 29, 2015 at 23:03 #

        If babies start dying, there will be hell to pay.

  4. jake January 31, 2015 at 16:04 #

    so is this all you guys do –pick and choose which statements and remarks fit your argument, you take statements and reprint them without printing what questions were asked before and after.
    Pretty easy to bash someones opinion like that, anything to make some noise and get your name out there.
    Jenny McCarthy had her opinion good or bad, it was still hers. so instead of bashing her , why not put yours out there?
    oh yeah that’s right you get more of a reaction bashing other people’s words—without someone condemning yours.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) January 31, 2015 at 17:13 #

      My opinion is above. And in most of the articles on this website. You are welcome to criticize and condemn them. Contrary to your claim, that has been done a great deal by Ms. McCarthy’s supporters and those antagonistic towards vaccines in general.

      Perhaps you could put her comments in context and explain how the context mitigates the irresponsibility of her comments.

    • lilady January 31, 2015 at 17:15 #

      You’ve made some accusations against the blogger here, without any substantiation. Would you care to show us where the content of McCarthy’s public and published statements differ or change the meaning from the quotes provided by Matt Carey?

      Here’s the problem; Jenny is constantly changing the sequence of events about the breakup of her marriage, her child’s autism diagnosis, her child’s medical condition and seizure disorder and conversations which took place between her and Barbara Walters. A rational person would come to the conclusion that Jenny has repeatedly lied about all these topics.

      Furthermore, IMO, she is again exposing her son to additional tawdry publicity by featuring him in her new reality show.

    • Plainly Spoken February 10, 2015 at 04:31 #


  5. Goldy February 3, 2015 at 21:22 #

    Jenny McCarthy offered an alternative solution to passively allowing your children to be pawns in an industry increasingly driven by profit. She caused people to question – is there a better way than the ever increasing demand to jab toxins into our children. The public has through alternative media become aware of the corruption which infiltrates every level of government and Big Pharma. The recent example of the mumps fraud: Merck senior management not only threatened jail time if the scientist exposed the fraud; they also attempted to pay him off with promises of financial bonuses if he kept quiet.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 3, 2015 at 23:53 #

      Really? Show me how that option has changed anything. She offered an option for parents to pay charlatans money to provide “therapies” that range from useless to abusive.

      As to vaccines, she contributed to fear and confusion about vaccines. And now people are seeing that there is a risk to not vaccinating. And even the doctors who have discouraged vaccination in the past are seeing a lot of people come in for MMR shots.

      She accomplished nothing of good. And a lot of bad.

  6. Plainly Spoken February 10, 2015 at 04:30 #

    Oh come on. Parents who make decisions for their child based on what a celebrity says are not parents so much as puppets. She spoke of safer vaccines without toxins and a different “schedule.” I have worked in healthcare for 20 years. My doctor, pharmacist, the nurses I work with, and I all get *preservative-free* flu shots. You know why? Because the suspensions filled with preservatives and heavy metals can cause accumulative neurological disorders. Ever hear of Guillain–Barré syndrome? Every years, we admit at least one patient who got a flu shot and viola! He or she has Guillain–Barré syndrome. I still believe in vaccinations as the best measure against epidemic, but in no way do I believe that demanding a safer suspension free of toxins and trace heavy metals and a slower introduction (maybe 1 versus 2-3 at a time???) is a bad thing for a developing infant brain. Shame on you and everyone who tries to censor and silence a difference of opinion because you have drunk the big pharma companies Kool-ade (they fund these studies, ya know) and have been programmed not to question.

    • jagman48 February 10, 2015 at 05:19 #

      Oh come on GB syndrome. You claim to work in a medical field. Ok you fell me who it affects, how many per thousand, cause ? Still all to be found out. You are a poor excuse for an anti vaccer. Shame on you.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 10, 2015 at 06:31 #

      One or more patients with gbs. That is remarkable given the incidence is about 1 in 100,000, many of whom were not vaccinated.


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