Jenny McCarthy Continues Killing Kids

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

With Jenny McCarthy in the news for appearing on the cover of this month’s Playboy and hosting a dopey reality show on NBC, I thought now was a good time to remind people that she is responsible for the death of hundreds of children as a result of her scientifically bogus anti-vaccination rhetoric.

After McCarthy’s son was diagnosed with autism in 2005, she became the unofficial spokesperson for the notion that certain vaccines caused autism.  Even though it was discovered that the study that linked vaccines to autism was invented after lawyers bribed the study’s author to write the report in hopes that they could strike gold by bringing lawsuits against drug companies, and even though McCarthy found out that her son was misdiagnosed and never actually had autism, she continues to preach against vaccinating children.

While McCarthy’s anti-vaccination campaign has never prevented a single case of autism, it has successfully caused hundreds of thousands of children to become ill and hundreds more to die from diseases that had been functionally eradicated for decades. Measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough are all making a comeback thanks, almost exclusively, to McCarthy.

The website Jenny McCarthy Body Count continues to do outstanding work tracking the lives damaged and lost due to McCarthy’s continuous spewing of unscientific bullshit.

Read more in the editorial that I wrote in today’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.

And please, take the advice of doctors rather than the advice of a nude model when it comes to the health of your children.

Drew Johnson

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92 Responses to “Jenny McCarthy Continues Killing Kids”

  1. #1 |  Robert Newton | 

    This article is a disgrace to this usually very good website. The author give the impression of being on a very drunken rant determined to not let facts get in the way of his diatribe.

    Shame for publishing such garbage.

  2. #2 |  Omri | 

    “Aren’t more of you guys Lew Rockwell fans. He had Wakefield on his radio show recently, and certainly supported the man.”

    I did DNA tests (Southern blots, to be specific) in college at the same time Wakefield was doing his study.

    So I know first hand that what he did would have had me flunking out of school. He is a fraud, pure and simple.

  3. #3 |  Nickp | 

    CSP Schofield:
    Omri’s point about field spraying is critical. Like any other pesticide, mosquitoes evolve resistance to DDT, and DDT resistant populations of mosquitoes were observed as early as early as the mid 1950s. Banning of agricultural field spraying of DDT extended the usefulness of the pesticide in mosquito control. In the absence of the agricultural ban, DDT would almost certainly be completely useless now.

    So, unless your death calculation includes the declining effectiveness of the pesticide as resistance increases and the affects of agricultural spraying on malaria control, it isn’t worth the pixels it’s displayed on.

  4. #4 |  Cynical in New York | 


    Yes I’m pretty plenty of us here read Lew (myself included) but that doesn’t mean we all agree with everything Rockwell has to say or has on his website. Yes it’s known that his site has put up articles in support of the anti-vaccine movement but also some of his writers argue that vaccinations should be ultimately up to the parents and not be forced onto them by the state. I myself support vaccinations but I can at least agree that it should be a parental decision vs being forced by the state.

    In addition Rockwell frequently has articles by Paleocons Pat Buchanan and Paul Gottfried. As I’ve said many time I openly hate Paleocons and view their anti-war and anti-patriot act views as a means to an end as they support statism in other ways. I view Buchanan’s latching on Ron Paul’s movement as attempting to remain relevant after his failed presidential campaigns. Buchanan never got the amount support Ron Paul did and he never will.

  5. #5 |  albatross | 


    Tradeoffs are a part of reality, and there are no choices wrt vaccination that don’t involve collateral damage. If nobody gets vaccinated against contagious diseases, then nobody will have a bad reaction to a vaccine, there will never be anyone made sick by a contaminated batch of vaccines, etc., but then a whole lot more people will get sick from measles or chicken pox or polio or whatever. If you vaccinate people against those things, a few will have some bad reaction to the vaccine, occasionally someone wil screw up somehow and kids will get sick from it, but a far fewer people will get measles, chicken pox, polio, etc. This is the same as the situation with any other kind of medicine–lots of peoples’ lives have been saved by antibiotics, but some people die from allergic reactions to their antibiotics, or have their healthy gut flora nuked and end up with awful problems.

    Wanting a no-tradeoffs world is a common thing, but it’s not the world we live in, and the idea of a no-tradeoffs world is commonly used to sell people snake oil, both individually and as companies and governments.

    What we want, ultimately, is some reason to believe that the tradeoffs being made make sense, both for the whole society and for us as individuals. Most people have no hope of evaluating medical or other scientific evidence on their own, for lack of time, training, interest, and intelligence. Even people who can evaluate that evidence can’t evaluate it all–there are only 24 hours in a day, and smart people usually have other work we’re being paid to do, and other interests like spouses and kids and hobbies.

    This is one place where the manifest unreliability of elite institutions (like universities, government agencies, and big media organizations) really bites us in the ass. A lot of those institutions have spent their credibility on short-term political or social goals of their owners/managers. Listening to those institutions in the last few years, you came to understand that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and was an imminent threat to the US, that what the US did to prisoners was harsh questioning or enhanced interrogation, but never torture (even when it was torture when someone else did it), that no civilians have died in drone strikes in several years, that the tea party movement was basically all crazy racists with guns playing at being revolutionaries, that the occupy movement was basically all unemployable drugged up rich kids playing at being hippies, etc. You learned that the Duke Lacrosse team was all rapists, and that this big white guy (who turned out to be a rather small hispanic guy) shot a little black kid (who turned out to be a pretty big black kid), and any number of other bits of spin and BS optimized to spin reporting toward a desired worldview.

    And when all that stuff turned out to be BS, you may have remembered that. And then, when all the respected sources of information in your society told you (correctly) that vaccines as used in the US are actually quite safe and much safer than not being vaccinated, it was easy to assume that was BS, too. Why not? The New York Times and the EPA and the local police demonstrably will lie to you when they are ordered to by their management or it’s in their interests.

    Credibility, once spent, is very hard to get back. This is a lesson we are going to be learning (and paying for) for a long time.

  6. #6 |  Mykeru | 

    @#22 C. S. P. Schofield

    “1) People have the right to their opinions, however stupid.”

    No, actually, they don’t, even if you adopt the most liberal and woolly definition of whatever constitutes “an opinion”. Of course, the looser you make an opinion, the less compelling it would be. In which case it’s like saying “Everyone is entitled to their own delusional bullshit”.

    When people claim everyone has a right to “their opinion”, what they are trying to sneak in the door is the idea that people either have a right to their own fact-free beliefs, or, even worse, their own facts and fraudulent evidence based on those fraudulent facts.

    Horseshit. There is rules for evidence both legally and philosophically, both of which are in the scope of epistemology where lines of delineation are drawn for justification for beliefs: Empiricism, induction, deduction, internal consistency, adherence to the body of established fact. C.G. Hempel’s freaking hypothetico-deductive notion of confirmation. That kind of thing.

    When someone claims axiomatically that “everyone is entitled to their opinion (evidence, facts, whatever)”, I guess the person making that claim thinks that ends the argument.

    Actually, that’s just the beginning.

    My next question would be “Really? Where did you get that fucking stupid idea?”

  7. #7 |  Factless, Emotional Tirade Against Anti-Vaccine People » Scott Lazarowitz's Blog | 

    […] comment on this post by Drew Johnson on the Radley Balko blog didn’t get approved, probably because I included […]

  8. #8 |  Jeff | 

    Well said, albatross, all the way through.

  9. #9 |  Difranco | 

    The Autism link is getting stronger as scientists look into the issue:
    University of Pittsburgh

    Italian Court finds that MMR vaccine caused autism, and remember the legal standard here used was “beyond a reasonable degree of doubt”

    And the Doctor behind the CDC’s position on autism is a shameless embezzler, which is not providing any confidence in the validity of his work

    Let’s not forget that Merck, a manufacturer of MMR vaccine has been engaging in fraud regarding the efficacy rate of it’s vaccine:

  10. #10 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @47 – I’ll take you at your literal word, given the Tories here are fully in line with your program. (Including refusing war widows citizenship after 40 years living here and demanding they pay for NHS treatment)

  11. #11 |  albatross | 


    Yep. In fact, if you seldom or never read or listen to people with whom you have major disagreements, you are blinding yourself.

    I read and learn a lot from all sorts of people with whom I have major, fundamental disagreements: Noam Chomsky, Charles Murray, David Friedman, Tyler Cowan, Steve Sailer, Andrew Sullivan, Ta-Nahesi Coates, Juan Cole, Jerry Pournelle, etc.

    One reason this is so important is that a lot of the people who get megaphones from the respectable media are rabble rousers who are much better at being entertaining than thinking clearly about anything, or paid shills who say what their employer wants said. That makes it easy to find people who disagree with you and are obvious idiots or tools, and then use that to discount huge swaths of possible disagreement. After all, I’ve heard Rush Limbaugh’s reason for opposing X, and that’s a steaming pile of crap, so X must be a good idea. Right?

    The internet makes it easy to live in a bubble of people who think like you and will never challenge your assumptions or ideas. It’s less comfortable to leave that bubble, but you will never learn anything new living there.

  12. #12 |  Anonymous | 

    Radley will occasionally write an uninformed blog post (May Day, Bradley Manning posts come to mind) but this one should have been saved for April 1st. It’s just silly.

    I can link you to a CNN article that informs readers that no civilians have been killed by US drone strikes in 2012 but then this comment would be moderated and Drew Johnson would start blogging about how “no civilians have been killed by US drone strikes in 2012”.

  13. #13 |  Jim | 

    Wow. Red meat for all the pseudo-libertarian closet statists. Question authority, challenge the establishment, expose the lies – unless it’s the CDC-AMA-FDA-BigPharma cartel, then it’s Holy Writ from On High, and heretics will be burned at the stake. I expected better on this site. Pitiful.

  14. #14 |  Mykeru | 

    @#62 Jim

    Dude, don’t flame with a straw-man unless you are sure all emergency exits are clearly marked.

  15. #15 |  MH | 

    Mykero writes, “When people claim everyone has a right to “their opinion”, what they are trying to sneak in the door is the idea that people either have a right to their own fact-free beliefs […]”

    I think you’re missing that some people here are defending free speech principles, not advocating an epistemological relativism. One can consistently say McCarthy has a right to her opinion (on grounds of free speech/freedom of conscience) and that her opinion is rubbish, harmful, and that she should be scorned or ostracized because of it.

  16. #16 |  Rogier | 

    I hate it when Radley leaves the store unattended. What a pitiful post.

  17. #17 |  Jeff | 

    @58, I’m not familiar with the rest of that list, but I am familiar with the first one. The number of monkeys was 13 vaccinated, 3 unvaccinated; Wakefield was involved in the research; and the lead researcher has an autistic child, had filed with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program in 2003, and now works for Thoughtful House.

    So while I’d be happy to see more research done on this subject, that study doesn’t get me too excited.

  18. #18 |  VVhat is truth | 

    Awesome stuff. Make sure you all get your shots. Then look up the incidence of autism for the general public versus the Amish people.
    You make call if you have any guts.

  19. #19 |  James | 

    Really? Whooping cough is “making a comeback thanks, almost exclusively, to McCarthy”?

    First, I spend plenty of time reading all sides of the vaccine debate and the only time I ever hear of anything Jenny McCarthy says is when I read a blog post like this.

    Second, how is McCarthy responsible for whooping cough “making a comeback” when, from the data we have, the vast majority of the new whooping cough cases are in vaccinated children. From a study of California’s outbreak

    An investigation by California doctors has revealed that the state’s latest outbreak of whooping cough centered around children who had already received the whooping cough vaccine, Reuters reports.

    The study, led by infectious disease specialist Dr. David Witt, was initiated after an unusually large number of whooping cough cases were admitted to Kaiser Permanente Hospital in San Rafael, California in 2010.

    After examining the records of juvenile whooping cough patients over an 8-month period, the doctors discovered that 81 percent of patients had received the full series of whooping cough shots, and 11 percent had received only some of the shots. The remaining 8 percent had not received any immunizations for whooping cough.

    We also learned that, as with many vaccines, the manufacturers didn’t bother with long-term studies…

    Unfortunately, drug maker Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK), the manufacturer of the whooping cough vaccine, did not bother to perform long-term studies of its effectiveness. A company spokesperson confirmed this disturbing fact in an email to Reuters, stating that GSK never studied the duration of the vaccine’s protection after the shot was given to four- to six-year-olds.

    If Mr. Johnson is going to say that a lack of whooping cough vaccinations is responsible for whooping cough “making a comeback”, he needs to back up this claim. If he can’t, then it seems he is guilty of the same thing he accuses McCarthy of (presenting his opinion as fact). Good news though…. “drew_the_pot” is available on twitter.

  20. #20 |  Other Sean | 

    Hey #68,

    The Amish have remarkably low rates of autism. Also low rates of alcoholism, compulsive gambling, and bi-polar disorder. There are very few cases of clinical depression in Amish communities, and schizophrenia is practically unheard of among them. Why, they even have a vanishingly low rate of divorce.

    In fact, the Amish have low rates of just about every problem that THEY REFUSE TO DISCUSS, REPORT, OR ACKNOWLEDGE! Amazing how that works.

  21. #21 |  The Agitator: Jenny McCarthy Continues Kid Killing - INGunOwners | 

    […] body count website. Definitely worth a read if you have even heard her tripe in passing. Jenny McCarthy Continues Killing Kids | The Agitator __________________ If I had a son, he would look like Brian […]

  22. #22 |  VVhat is truth | 

    Those who choose to character assassinate Jenny rather than debate the topic at hand are cowards at heart. Pity, I am no fan of the prototypical Hollywood bimbo yet I respect those that have the guts to think for themselves.

    If your argument relies on judgmental character assassination, Do you really have an argument? What is it like to have balls smaller than Miss McCarthy?

  23. #23 |  Other Sean | 


    Exactly how much courage does it take for an independently wealthy celebrity to denounce unpopular pharmaceutical companies to a constituency of anxious and emotionally vulnerable parents?

  24. #24 |  Jeff | 

    Make sure you all get your shots. Then look up the incidence of autism for the general public versus the Amish people.

    Autism is caused by pasteurized milk?

  25. #25 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @68 – Founder Effect AND high rates of inbreeding.

    Far higher than usual rates of Cohen Syndrome, Ellis-van Creveld syndrome and so on, and far lower rates of other genetic diseases – including autism.

    No more, no less. You’re chasing a chimera.

    @70 – As usual…rot. There are other communities, such as the Jewish one, which also have very low levels of alcoholism and gambling abuse. Those are at least in part societal.

    (I’d be willing to bet that the Amish have generally lower stress levels as well, which would go a long way to explaining lower depression rates!)

  26. #26 |  Omri | 

    “(I’d be willing to bet that the Amish have generally lower stress levels as well, which would go a long way to explaining lower depression rates!)”

    Also, milder cases of autism are no impediment to living a normal Amish life, and so go undiagnosed and unremarked.

  27. #27 |  Other Sean | 


    In the Amish community, everything that we would call a mental illness goes undiagnosed and unremarked.

    The idea (pay attention here Leon) that one can compare rates of disease between a community of modernity refuseniks like the Amish and any other group is totally ridiculous.

    I mean, no one would say: “among Christian Scientists, the incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome is zero.” Christian scientists are not allowed to go to a doctor and have the concept of “my hand hurts” translated into the language of “you have an orthopedic disorder known as carpal tunnel syndrome.” In that sense, Christian Scientists never have carpal tunnel syndrome.

    And in exactly the same sense, the Amish never have mental illness. They just don’t go to the kind of doctor who would translate the concept “Elijah is spastic and a bit slow” into the concept “Elijah suffers from autism”.

  28. #28 |  Nickp | 

    Other Sean @77,

    Your claim that the Amish are unwilling to avail themselves of modern medicine for mental illness, genetic or otherwise, is incorrect.

    For example:

    Many of the genetic diseases treated by the Clinic for Special Children include neurological effects.

  29. #29 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @77 – Ah yes, your anti-science, anti-history crusade continues. There are plenty of populations with a founder effect, including mine (Tay-Sachs Disease), but including the Amish, Mormons, Quebecois, Icelanders and other Island populations like Pitcarn, Tristan da Cunha and Marth’s Vineyard.

    It’s WELL documented.

    You are, literally, denying cause and effect unless you can see it with your own eyes.

  30. #30 |  Other Sean | 


    That would be fine and good if there was a genetic test for autism. The phenotype for a disease like autism is poorly defined and the clinical definition of said phenotype has in fact changed substantially in recent years.

    Leon is correct that diseases like Tay-Sachs can be tracked, and indeed a big part of genetic research is looking for insular populations like the Amish and Ashkenazi Jews to track such diseases. It just so happens that autism isn’t a disease that can be tracked that way.

    There are family-based studies in these populations for other poorly defined disease phenotypes, such as schizophrenia, where scientists are attempting to identify the genetic factors that contribute to disease. I’m not sure if such studies exist specifically for autism. However, there is, as yet, neither a known causative genetic trait nor a diagnostic test that can detect the presence/absence of such conditions.

    Besides, there is a world of difference between an insular population agreeing to give blood samples to a researcher and that same population consenting to treatment for members of its community.

  31. #31 |  Mykeru | 

    @ #65 MH

    “I think you’re missing that some people here are defending free speech principles, not advocating an epistemological relativism. One can consistently say McCarthy has a right to her opinion (on grounds of free speech/freedom of conscience) and that her opinion is rubbish, harmful, and that she should be scorned or ostracized because of it.”

    Supporting that people have a right to voice a (stupid, immoral, wrong, fact-free or recalcitrant in the face of facts) opinion is a different thing than saying that people have the right to an opinion.

    The second one is almost exclusively used to give a free pass to someone who would otherwise be rightfully scorned and ostracized for disseminating bullshit, but very often continuing to disseminate bullshit on a Wednesday when they were proved to be completely wrong on the previous Monday.

    In which case they are not only wrong but also either hell-bent on deceiving others, or just deceiving themselves.

    I have no problem with people having a right to spout bullshit. However, the bullshit itself has no special epistemological status merely because it’s categorized as “an opinion”.

    Especially when people tend not to keep their bullshit opinions to themselves, but also act on them in a way that may damage others.

  32. #32 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @80 – Among other things, austism isn’t entirely genetic. There are cases of identical twins where one develops it and one doesn’t, although there’s a high concordance rate.

    This isn’t rare in genetic diseases, of course. Schizophrenia is another.

    In both cases, this is something under active study.

    I’d also point out that there are often ways to avoid disease states without active treatment, for inherited disease – for example, programs which warn people, fairly early in dating, that they are both carriers of something like Tay-Sachs (a significant chance of a kid with an infant-onset, fatal disease).

    (Incidentally, Tay-Sachs is also an issue among the Cajun and French Canadian community, both via founder effect again)

  33. #33 |  Other Sean | 


    I cannot stress this enough, but when a phenotype isn’t clearly defined, even the best researchers working with the best tools and technology will be unable to track a disease. If you can’t say what a disease is within fairly narrow limits of specificity, then you can’t say who has that disease and who does not. If you can’t say that, you can’t even do a simple pedigree.

    These days, the only thing that defines autism is…the incredible elasticity of its definition. Every time the diagnostic net loosens, it becomes that much harder to search for or find real answers.

  34. #34 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    So basically you’re denying not only a vast number of very real physical illnesses, but the entire field of mental illness. Nice.

    Genetics is merely one factor to consider.

  35. #35 |  Other Sean | 


    You’ve got me wrong. Take alcoholism as an example.

    I don’t “deny” that there are people who drink to excess and sometimes even ruin their lives doing it. I don’t deny that, whatever may be happening to such people, it seems to be something other than a question of ordinary willpower. If you want to call it a disease colloquially speaking, I wouldn’t deny you that usage.

    But, I do deny that science has so far done anything of the following things:

    a) clearly defined the phenotype
    b) developed a detection test
    c) developed an exclusion test
    d) identified a cause or causes
    e) developed an effective treatment

    I’d say the exact same for what is called “autism”, without denying that there are children who suffer from a pattern of symptoms that deserve the fullest scientific attention.

    Please try to put aside your past disagreement with me for a moment. Is there any point among those listed a) through e) where you would dispute me?

  36. #36 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    I completely disagree on every point.

    There are standard clinical parameters used for testing autism. Now, they’re still being updated as we learn more about it, but once more you’re insisting on perfectly knowledge before we’re allowed to use it.

    We don’t NEED to know why something works before we use it (although sure, it’s useful) – to this day, we do not have a clear picture, for example, of why general anesthetics work (!). There have been theories for over a century, but none of them currently can explain their action.

    Moreover, there most certainly ARE effective treatments. As a disorder which appears to have a complex range of genetic and environmental triggers, the correct approach for treatment varies between individuals.

    You’re challenging the entire basis of mental health diagnosis and treatment, your comment about “mildly retarded” comes up again…you want to throw away decades of evidence and go back to stereotypes!

  37. #37 |  Hamilton | 

    The title of this post is absurd. You’re just as bad as those you’re critical of.

  38. #38 |  Other Sean | 


    If you completely disagree on every point, then back it up. Don’t even worry about the whole list, just answer two of my five points. Give me a) and d). Tell me what is the phenotype for autism, and show me where the causes of autism have been identified.

  39. #39 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    Exactly, your crusade continues. You refuse to admit you’re wrong in any aspect, ever.

    Keep campaigning against general anesthetics!

  40. #40 |  Other Sean | 

    That was not an answer.

  41. #41 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @90 – Of course it’s a answer. It’s not the capitulation you’re looking for, but that’s not my problem.

  42. #42 |  Jennifer Swanson | 

    I have not checked the statistics to see if those diseases are up. But if it is true, I would not make Jenny McCarthy the only variable for this.

    We legally allow immigration of 900,000 people a year, not to mention illegals. Disease seem to be more prevalent in countries that do not have clean water supplies and un-sanitary living conditions. Allowing people in from these countries you are bound to have more diseases.

    My son is autistic and had a severe reaction (high fever and sick for several days) each time he was vaccinated. When I brought this up to his doctor, she said it had nothing to do with the vaccine, and I told her how could it not when he in not normally sick and he gets sick immediately after he gets vaccinated.

    At the 2 year vaccination he once a again had a high fever and a seisure and he then lost all eye contact and social skills.

    I thought my son had an allergic reation. I felt it may be heriditary, so I did not have my other son vaccinated. I was told by the doctor that it was impossible for my other son to be allergic. I do not agree with the doctor. My neighbors son is severly allergic to strawberrys. Another friend allergic to the sun. I was allergic to wool. You can have an allergic reaction to anything.