Recent pro-vaccine convert and co-host of ABC’s The View Jenny McCarthy has taken a long, well-deserved beating in these pages for her dangerous campaign of misinformation about vaccines, but if you needed further proof of just how disconnected McCarthy is from reality, check out lat night’s The Kelly File. Host Megyn Kelly, who believes in Santa Claus and is certain he’s white, and conservative media icon Dana Loesch, who believes that the Second Amendment allows for private ownership of chemical and nuclear weapons, took turns scolding McCarthy for, of all things, ignoringscience.
Here’s a little taste (you can watch the whole segment at Mediaite):
Since we’re on the same side in this case, I hate to quibble, but Loesch says that “science disputes” McCarthy’s claims about vaccinations, when, as Chez Pazienza notes, there is no scientific dispute at all. I’ll also only gently point out that the guidelines Loesch trusts her pediatrician to follow are issued by the dreaded federal government, and covered by the dreaded Obamacare.
In all seriousness, though, Loesch and Kelly are due significant credit for doing this, because spreading or abetting misinformation about vaccines is not the exclusive province of celebrities, and being full of shit about autism is a mainstream media pastime. When Michele Bachmann claimed that the HPV vaccine Gardisil causes “mental retardation,” the mainstream media did a terrible job of informing the public. On that score, Megyn Kelly actually did provide accurate medical information to debunk the claim, but then also promoted the dangerous idea that death from cervical cancer is somehow a reasonable deterrent to underage sex.
Misinformation about autism, meanwhile, has been promoted on CNN, MSNBC (most relentlessly by Joe Scarborough), Fox News, The New York Times, and CBS News, all of whom, to varying degrees, have given voice to the completely unsupported assertion that there is a link between autism and mass shooting events.
Those mainstream media failings even intersect at times, as with former CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson, who produced a report excusing the murder of an autistic child, while also using anti-vaxxers as sources. It isn’t a sad day when people can’t rely on trusted news sources for accurate information on medical and scientific issues, it is a dangerous one.