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More non-autism blogs critical of the vaccine-autism story

Posted Jul 23 2009 10:23pm

There is a substantial public relations push to get the vaccines-cause-autism idea in front of the public’s eye. High end, expensive PR firms have been hired, and, let’s face it, they got a big free boost from Jenny McCarthy and Oprah.

The cost to public health is obvious. Declining vaccination rates have already had a big impact in the UK, and the US has also seen a resurgence of measles and other diseases.

But, there is another cost. As noted recently on this blog, Jenny McCarthy has already become the butt of comic strip jokes for her position on vaccines. Many people are likely to not realize that Jenny McCarthy speaks for a minority (loud though they may be) of the autism community. My kid relies on on the public’s perception of “the autism community”. When people like Ms. McCarthy damage that perception, there is a very real cost to my kid, my family.

It isn’t new for bloggers outside of autism to be critical of Jenny McCarthy and others in the vaccines-cause-autism groups. Most notably, Orac has taken Ms. McCarthy to task a number of times in what is one of the most well read medical blogs, “ Respectful Insolence “. Likewise, Science Based Medicine has had a number of bloggers take on the pseudoscience and dangerous opinions of the vaccines-cause-autism crowd. But, one could argue that they are medical blogs and, thus, more connected to vaccines, public health and autism than your general blogger.

But, the past week has seen a couple more prominent blogs

Discover Magazine’s Bad Astronomy has come out against the dangerous pseudoscience with Jenny McCarthy: spreading more dangerous misinformation. If the title isn’t clear enough, here’s the first paragraph:


If you haven’t had your quota of shockingly wrong medical advice for the year yet, try watching this video by Dr. Jenny McCarthy, as she manages to squeeze about a metric ton of misinformation into a two-ounce package.

Note: “try watching this video” is a link in the Bad Astronomy blog piece. A link to the video hosted by Generation Rescue. For some reason (bad publicity? Too much bandwidth?) GR has pulled the video from their site.

While I cringe at yet more damage to the public perception of the “autism community”, I applaud Bad Astronomy for taking on Ms. McCarthy. It isn’t Bad Astronomy’s fault if “the community” looks bad. It is squarely at the feet of Jenny McCarthy.

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