ABC’s decision to hire former Playboy model Jenny McCarthy to co-host The View went over like a lead balloon in some liberal quarters this week.
Some of the harshest criticism came from New Yorker staff writer Michael Specter, who scolded the network for hiring McCarthy and her “dangerous views on childhood vaccination,” which he said may have indirectly “contributed to the sickness and death of people throughout the Western World.”
“McCarthy, who is savvy, telegenic, and pulchritudinous, is also the person most visibly associated with the deadly and authoritatively discredited anti-vaccine movement in the United States,” writes Specter, adding that she once threatened actress Amanda Peet for defending vaccinations by saying that McCarthy had an angry mob on her side.
But that so called angry mob is also one without any scientific proof on their side that there is a link between vaccinations and autism, and the scientific paper that asserted as much has since been retracted, leaving McCarthy without a leg to stand on.
Specter concludes his article with his criticism of ABC:
Executives at ABC should be ashamed of themselves for offering McCarthy a regular platform on which she can peddle denialism and fear to the parents of young children who may have legitimate questions about vaccine safety. Presumably, those executives have decided that the revenues Jenny McCarthy might generate are worth more than the truth. That’s their right. But it’s a strike against reason and progress and hope. That is a cost that the network won’t be able to afford for long, and neither will the rest of us.
Other liberals also chimed in with their criticism, with Think Progress’s Alyssa Rosenberg saying that “ABC should consider the damage McCarthy’s done to the public interest against whatever else she might have to offer.” The Seattle Stranger’s Paul Constant called her “the most prominent anti-vaccine nutjob in the world.”
Even liberals, who generally love The View, have usually reserved their criticism for the now departed conservative co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck. They realize that McCarthy will probably keep the liberal tradition of the program intact, but her views on vaccinations are dangerous and irresponsible. If ABC allows her to express her views on the subject, that could have a devastating impact on the the show’s three million viewers.