Friday, July 19, 2013

Jenny McCarthy Strawman Fallacies, Take Two

This has been an interesting week, has it not? First, there was the Zimmerman trial and the outrageous response to his acquittal. Then, there was news of Gay marriage being legalized in England.

Then, there was news that was so outrageous, so shocking, so contemptible that it forced the entire Quackosphere ™ to creep out from under their bridges and organize a massive campaign to speak up against this atrocity.

That’s right; Jenny McCarthy has joined The View.

This is criminal! I mean, how dare they hire a beautiful woman who is openly outspoken about how she thinks her son was injured by vaccines! The gall!

Oh, and the furor is truly spectacular. The rhetoric has reached hysterical proportions. The amount of butt-hurt is truly epic.

Salon says that having her on the view will kill children. Just the fear-mongering in the title alone is enough to send the Pharma reps into fits of money-grubbing glee. Pareene vapidly opines:

“Parents have been convinced by McCarthy and the people she works with and promotes. They have forgone vaccination for their children. The result has been the recurrence and spread of preventable diseases. It’s incredibly irresponsible for a broadcast television network to think Jenny McCarthy should be on television — in a position where her job is to share her opinions — every day. It should seriously be a major scandal.”

His proof of this? Citations, please. Has this been peer-reviewed?

He goes on and essentially calls Ms McCarthy a dumb blonde.

Oh, the comments are wonderful, too. One commenter tells Anne Dachel:

“Fuck off and die, you anti-science cunt. I bet your kid deserved it, too.”

That’s lovely, yes? Truly a testament to the science community. This reminds me of some of the rhetoric that the Westboro Baptist Church spews out on a daily basis. Fortunately, Salon removed the offensive comment (and Dachel’s comment, too). I guess they wouldn’t want anyone to accuse them of being biased…

Oh, it gets better. The various media outlets have a field day and express some fine examples of misogynistic hatred.

Fox News: “Jenny McCarthy is blonde, beautiful, a former Playboy playmate, a published author, a prominent comedic actress, and a Weight Watchers spokesperson.”

USA Today: “In recent years, McCarthy has become as well-known for her claims that vaccines cause autism as for her roles as a late-night host on VH1 and a 1993 Playboy model.”

Notice anything common? That’s right, mentioning that she formerly posed nude. Since she’s posed nude, she must clearly be wrong.

Even Gorski had something to say. In one of his shorter posts (only 2000 words or so), he laments and whines about such a horrible choice.

Believe it or not, though, this isn’t actually what I wanted to talk about.

No, it has to do with the very title of this article. That’s right, it has to do with another strawman fallacy that is so laughable, so uninformed, that it actually brought my good friend MySocratesNote out of retirement to help me write this article.

Here it is, ladies and gentlemen, in all of its misinformed glory:

“Jenny McCarthy said that her son never had Autism to begin with. He had an unspecified seizure disorder/Landau-Kleffner syndrome. She’s been lying all along, so you can’t believe anything she says!”

The origins of this myth actually sprang from an article from 2009 (which is no longer available, sadly). Fortunately, many different venues have repeated this lie, including one Left Brain/Right Brain.


“In After Vaccine-Autism Case Settlement, MDs Urged to Continue Recommending Vaccines (June 5), Dawn Fallik correctly cites Jenny McCarthy as a celebrity fanning the flames of the vaccine-autism link. McCarthy also makes parents think that autism can be cured with unproven treatments – as she claims is the case with her son – documented in her much publicized book, Louder than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism (Dutton 2007).

Unfortunately, what the public does not realize as well as perhaps McCarthy is that her son was most likely misdiagnosed with autism in the first place. His disorder began with seizures and, subsequently, with the seizures treated, he improved. This would be more consistent with Landau-Kleffner syndrome, which often is misdiagnosed as autism.”

Notice the language here: “most-likely.”

Here’s the thing. The quote listed above is from a doctor who has never examined Evan. Nor has the doctor even seen his medical records. The quote above is just speculation that has been repeated over and over as fact.

However, that does not stop the pseudo-skeptics from using this misinformation in their quest to hate all things Jenny. Observe one of Gorski’s more rabid and foaming-at-the-mouth sycophants, lilady (whose credentials have morphed from a retired R.N. to a retired R.N. epidemiologist):

“I am angry at Jenny McCarthy on two fronts.

- Her use (pimping), of her child’s seizure disorder to revive her moribund career as a D-List celebrity…and her statements that she *recovered* Evan.

- Jenny, being handpicked by J. B. Handley to be the spokesperson for Generation Rescue and the annual Quack Fest.

Yes, I’m angry that any TV program would even contemplate rewarding this creature, by giving her a slot on The View…to gin up the ratings”

Such hatred! Such venom!

I wonder if Ms McCarthy has received death threats, too. We can certainly see that she’s been stalked, harassed, and censored because people don’t like what she has to say. How far have they taken it? It’s difficult to tell because, unlike some (*cough* Offit *cough), she doesn’t whine about it.

To me, it’s extremely interesting to see the parallels between Christianity and the Church of the Immaculate Vaccination. I mean, think about it. Look at the reaction to Ms McCarthy; the hatred, the bile. She’s the Church of the Immaculate Vaccination’s Whore of Babylon!

Does that make Paul Offit their prophet (see what I did there)?

One thing that is clear; there is a whole hell of a lot of misogynistic hate going on here. It is extremely interesting to see so much stubborn and complete intolerance of any belief or opinion that differs from their own.

Hey, that looks familiar. Yes, it is familiar. That is the very definition of bigotry!

Congratulations, Pseudo-Skeptics! You’re all a bunch of chauvinistic bigots.

You have absolutely no leg to stand on here, pseudo-skeptics. None. Your vapid and spittle-flecked rancor toward Jenny McCarthy is your own doing. It is fueled by fear mongering and misinformation that is being stirred by idiots like Gorski. It is unscientific!


lilady has commented on another Huffington Post article, spewing her hatred and vile bigotry for all to see. She is also being soundly schooled upon the difference between the words cure and recovery. See, apparently, since she’s a “retired R.N.” she is incapable of understanding the difference between those two distinct medical words. The fail that ensues is truly inspiring. Enjoy!