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Jenny McCarthy Just Ruined 'The View'

Photograph by Rex / Rex USA

I try to be open-minded. But when I heard yesterday's news that actress/game show host/author/pseudo famous person Jenny McCarthy had been plucked by Barbara Walters to co-host The View, I didn't feel so open-minded. In fact, I felt pretty disappointed in the show's creator and producer, Barbara Walters. As a mom and as a professional in a position of power, Barbara should know better than to give someone a platform who has used her fame to spread falsehoods and misinformation that have adversely affected all of our children.

RELATED: Jenny McCarthy Critcizes Autism Moms

For those of you unfamiliar with Ms. McCarthy's views on childhood immunizations, she's against them. McCarthy has made her protest of vaccinations—stating they cause autism in children—a national cause by attaching her face and name to the cause. But when refuted with accurate information based in science, she simply says, "Bullshit!" or threatens naysayers with "an angry mob."

As the mother of an autistic son, McCarthy is convinced her son's vaccinations caused his disease. Sure she'd found autism's smoking gun, McCarthy became the voice of the anti-immunization movement and was one of the main forces behind the vitriolic and uninformed dialogue that reached a fever pitch just a few short years ago.

If you think McCarthy's decision to spearhead an anti-vaccination movement is her prerogative as a parent, you're wrong. If you don't vaccinate your children, that directly affects my children, whether they ever come in contact or not. It's both ignorant and selfish to raise your children vaccination-free. Without vaccinations, our children would be stricken with everything from measles to polio. By not vaccinating your children, you're depending on me to vaccinate mine or risk an outbreak.

It all started in 1998 when British gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield co-opted the findings of a young grad student who worked in his lab. The research had nothing to do with vaccinations and autism, but Wakefield held a press conference and made a leap, linking the MMR vaccine given to young children and autism. What he didn't tell the world in that press conference was that he was being paid by a lawyer suing vaccination companies and was using the false information to help his case.

A worldwide panic ensued. Doctors and parents alike became terrified of immunizations. Worse yet, the debate became heated. The anti-vaccination movement, led by McCarthy, marched on Washington and encouraged parents to stop vaccinating their kids. And parents did. The heated debate became a frenzy ending with the first rise in cases of diseases like polio and measles in over 30 years.

At this point, McCarthy could have read the same research you or I did and realized there was no link between autism and immunizations.

Despite the research being refuted in 2004, McCarthy appeared in a teary-eyed interview on a 2007 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show on which she stated her case linking autism and vaccinations. Asked about the CDC's recent refuting of any link between autism and vaccinations, McCarthy responded, "My science is Evan," meaning her son. In response, many parents rejected the CDC's findings and chose to go with McCarthy's findings.

You may say that McCarthy isn't responsible for the choices of the viewers, and you may be right. Except due to the anti-vaccination movement led by McCarthy, children were dying. At this point, McCarthy could have read the same research you or I did and realized there was no link between autism and immunizations. Two years later, she could have read the fabulous Newsweek cover story of 2009 called "Anatomy of a Scare," which carefully detailed all sides of the autism debate. But she didn't, because her science is her son, who last I checked has never been to medical school.

By giving McCarthy a daily pulpit to speak to moms, Barbara Walters, ABC, and the producers of The View are giving a platform to someone who has refuted science, who has helped influence parents to make decisions that have killed their children. I understand hiring a co-host for her ability to get ratings, but hiring McCarthy feels irresponsible and manipulative. We're all supposed to tune in to see what she says. Meanwhile, some viewer is going to be believe her when she says, "Don't vaccinate your kids." Was there no other inflammatory host available, or is ABC and Walters hoping McCarthy starts up the vaccination debate again so we can all tune in to hate her? Regardless, there has to be another way to get ratings than by spewing lies and giving an uninformed person a platform to preach.

RELATED: A New Look at Autism

I've watched Barbara Walters since I was a kid. Up until now, I've admired her. She seemed to always take a stand whether it be for women, or for a news story she believed in. But now, it seems like the only thing Walters believes in is ratings. Jenny McCarthy isn't inflammatory, she's offensive and she's uninformed. But don't believe me; read the research and ask your doctor. That is, unless you think science is bullshit.

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