HYPOCRISY: Climate Change Deniers Mock Jenny McCarthy’s Anti-Science Views


Anti-vaccine activist Jenny McCarthy (Credit: ABC News)

Anti-vaccine activist Jenny McCarthy (Credit: ABC News)

After The View announced this week that Jenny McCarthy had been selected to replace Elisabeth Hasselbeck, many, including ThinkProgress, have criticized McCarthy for her dangerous anti-vaccine activism. McCarthy’s son has autism, a malady that she blames on vaccinations he received as a child. For years since, McCarthy has vocally advocated for the idea — entirely discredited by scientists — that there is a link between autism and vaccines.

McCarthy’s advocacy isn’t just a silly, innocent belief; it is actively harmful to public health. A recent University of Michigan study found that 1 in 4 parents trusted anti-vaccine advocates like McCarthy at least somewhat on the matter. Fewer parents vaccinating their children against infectious diseases can be quite dangerous, leading to an increase in whooping cough deaths in California and measles cases in the United Kingdom.

Among those lambasting The View for giving McCarthy’s anti-science theories a platform, though, are prominent conservatives who deny scientific consensus in another realm: climate change.

Here are four examples: editor-at-large Ben Shapiro, who mocked efforts to combat climate change, arguing that correlation does not “equal causation”, criticized McCarthy’s anti-vaccination push:

She said that chelation therapy helped her son recover from autism; chelation therapy assumes that mercury in vaccines lies behind autism. Thanks in part to McCarthy’s publicity campaign against vaccinations, thousands of American parents have not vaccinated their children, resulting in higher rates of measles and whooping cough. McCarthy said, “Since when is repeating the words of parents and recommending further investigation a crime?” columnist Derek Hunter, who three weeks ago called climate change a “hoax“, said McCarthy will get people killed:

Columnist and Hot Air writer Ed Morrissey, who has penned climate-denying articles like “Where’s the warming?”, mocked McCarthy’s anti-science views:

GOP strategist Rick Wilson, who called talking about climate change “timewasting,” doesn’t think it’s an “urgent” matter, and doubts scientific reports showing global warming, called McCarthy a “whackado”:

Why is it safe for conservatives to mock McCarthy’s anti-vaccine science views, yet regularly espouse their own anti-climate science beliefs? Look no further than the multi-trillion dollar oil industry.

Oil revenues total approximately $2 trillion, money which has been used to fund junk “studies” and groups, run massive anti-climate change advertising campaigns, and support politicians who actively oppose taking any action to avert catastrophic climate disaster. The oil industry has been so successful at casting doubt in the public sphere over the existence of man-made climate change — despite near-universal consensus among scientists that it’s happening — that it’s become not only uncontroversial, but accepted for figures like Shapiro, Hunter, Morrissey, and Wilson to deny climate science. All the while, the oil industry pumps out more than 1 billion pounds of carbon pollution every day, contributing to warming temperatures and leading the world dangerously closer to the point of no return.

If there were an industry that gained massive profits by purporting a link between vaccines and autism — despite all scientific evidence to the contrary — many conservatives would be far more likely to agree with McCarthy instead of mocking her. Similarly, if there weren’t an industry who reaped huge profits by extracting and burning a product that pollutes the air, many conservatives would find themselves on the side of science, instead of on the side of oil companies.

56 Responses to HYPOCRISY: Climate Change Deniers Mock Jenny McCarthy’s Anti-Science Views

  1. David Sheridan says:

    So y’all are going to be rushing out to get this one too? Seeing as how it’s so “scientific” and all…

    FDA approves first GMO flu vaccine containing reprogrammed insect virus

  2. Ryan says:

    I heard today that her son doesnt have autism anymore…in other words he never had it.

    Has that been reversed again? Where does she stand now?

  3. Gregory Purcell says:

    Just this last month a study came out, “Autism Risk Linked To Distance From Power Plants, Other Mercury-Releasing Sources”

    that would seem to substantiate, a hypothesis that Mercury in Vaccines might cause Autism. Of course it’s easy to impeach an argument when you can change it from “can we take the Mercury out of the vaccines and please not inject babies with Mercury” truncate that down to “vaccines cause Autism” and then Jenny sounds real crazy.

  4. nnoxks says:

    Is there some reason I shouldn’t? Sounds like an awesome genetically programmed flu-killing machine. What’s not to like?

  5. nnoxks says:

    Aaaand – the anti-science left comes out of the woodwork. Hey guys. You’re just as wrong as the climate deniers, for essentially the same reasons.

  6. Lizard says:

    Except the mercury was removed from the vaccines around 13 years ago, and diagnoses of autism have continued to climb. Sorry. There’s no way to reparse McCarthy’s beliefs so that she’s not a murderous whackdoodle.

  7. Cordy says:

    David, cannot be your point of authority if you want people to take you seriously about vaccines. You might as well link to or the cranks at the NVIC.

  8. Neven says:

    “If there were an industry that gained massive profits by purporting a link between vaccines and autism”

    Actually, there’s an industry that gains massive profits from the production of vaccines, but never mind, your post is spot on.

  9. Malena says:

    I prefer to think of it as even the right wing “special snowflakes” agree that she’s nuts. It’s an across the spectrum consensus.

  10. Molly says:

    I don’t think anyone on the left thinks Jenny is ok for her damaging views either. No political affiliation is necessary to believe in science so Jenny is as full of it as any climate change deniers are. I don’t deny any peer reviewed scientific studies. Even the left thinks Jenny should be kept from being on the View because her uninformed hunch about vaccines is dangerous. Liberals just don’t look as silly citing science here since they don’t deny science in other arenas. It should really not require political leanings to know that peer reviewed research trumps the layperson’s uninformed hunches on any subject.

  11. BBunsen says:

    Except for flu vaccines, mercury in the form of thimerosal was removed from or reduced in all vaccines routinely recommended for children 6 years of age and under back in 2001. Despite this removal, autism diagnoses have continued to increase, exactly the opposite of what you’d expect if mercury in vaccines was a cause of autism.

    There’s more mercury in a tuna salad sandwich than there is in a vaccine that still contains mercury.

    That study you mention came out in 2008, not last month, and both it and its 2006 predecessor, done by the same researcher, have some significant flaws.

    Jenny does sound kind of crazy. First, there was all that “indigo child” blather, then the “vaccines gave my baby autism” blather, and now the “I cured my baby of autism” blather. It doesn’t help her cause that she shouts down anyone who disagrees with her, rather than engaging in discourse.

  12. BBunsen says:

    It’s my experience that most of the anti-science talk we hear comes from the right, not the left.

  13. Paul Klinkman says:

    I’m joining the above posters. Just as the coal and nuclear industries are enormously tempted to say “the science is in and our product is safe”, so the biotech industry is enormously tempted to say “the science is in and our product is safe”. The trouble is, all sorts of independent scientists are publishing studies to the contrary.

    Also holding a huge financial stake in the issue: anyone with an M.D. or D.D.S. after their name. Should the opponents come up with the proof, the lawsuits will be asbestos-sized.

  14. BBunsen says:

    There is an industry that gains massive profits by purporting a link between vaccines and autism. It’s the anti-vaxx industry, and they make a considerable amount of money from donations, workshops, conventions, and so forth.

    I grew up in the 50’s, and I remember the pervasive fear of polio during those years. Images and articles about people in iron lungs were pretty common, and damn scary. I don’t think anyone who was around then, and has seen the difference that just one vaccine has made, makes light of the people who create and distribute vaccines.

  15. Michael Cooper says:

    Only if you fail to understand what methylmercury and ethylmercury are and the current status of mercury in vaccines.

  16. Michael Cooper says:

    Except for anti-gmo stuff.

  17. Joan Savage says:

    It is not a rigorous argument to blame all conservative viewpoints on oil industry. There could be another answer to your question, “Why is it safe for conservatives to mock McCarthy’s anti-vaccine science views, yet regularly espouse their own anti-climate science beliefs?”

    I don’t speak for conservatives, but the usefulness of vaccines is very real to anyone who was spared a case of polio or mumps. That includes nearly anyone born in the US since the early 1950s.

    In contrast, the personal experiences of climate change have hit some hard, while others don’t see its effects, at least not yet.

  18. Mik661 says:

    There is one group of people making money off of autism: all the ones soliciting funds searching for a “cure” that most likely doesn’t exist. The only effective treatment I have ever seen is intense & expensive long term therapy to maximize the existing potential of kids affected by autism.

  19. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Sounds like you need to improve scientific literacy in your schools and population. Australian Academy of Science showed yesterday that ours has been dropping and is below what is required to understand current debates, ME

  20. Sasparilla says:

    Well said Gregory

  21. Sasparilla says:

    Ah, the insect virus is in there to make the production of vaccine more economical (by making it faster).

    That makes me feel so much better…

  22. luba says:

    Do you have something more recent than the 2008 preliminary study? On the same page I found your article, I found this one, a much larger study, which showed that typically developing children and children with autism have similar levels of mercury in their blood streams:

    And both are dealing with elemental mercury, a known neurotoxin, not thimerasol which, BTW, has been taken out of child vaccines. Autism rates have remained unchanged. Your Jenny continues to be anti-vaccine, though because what?

  23. a65snake says:

    What anti-gmo stuff, specifically, is anti-science? Nearly everything anti-gmo I’ve heard has been that it needs more testing, and that the testing that was done is questionable and/or incomplete.
    Asking for more science is hardly anti-science.

  24. Adam R. says:

    The trouble is, all sorts of independent scientists are publishing studies to the contrary.

    Hmmm…where have we heard this sort of claim made before? Oh yeah: the “thousands of scientists” who supposedly disagree with the consensus on AGW.

    Just how many scientists = “all sorts”?

  25. Veronica Alleyne says:

    I had all my vaccines as a child & I’m fine, born in 1965

  26. prokaryotes says:

    Vaccine ingredient causes brain damage; some nutrients prevent it

    Read more:

  27. prokaryotes says:

    We previously showed that its administration to infant rats causes behavioral, neurochemical and neuropathological abnormalities similar to those present in autism. Here we examined, using microdialysis, the effect of thimerosal on extracellular levels of neuroactive amino acids in the rat prefrontal cortex (PFC). Thimerosal administration (4 injections, i.m., 240 μg Hg/kg on postnatal days 7, 9, 11, 15) induced lasting changes in amino acid overflow: an increase of glutamate and aspartate accompanied by a decrease of glycine and alanine; measured 10–14 weeks after the injections.

  28. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Sounds perfectly safe to me, but the Hepatitis B vaccine sounded perfectly safe to gay men in Manhattan in 1978, too.

  29. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    And all the other ‘adjuvants’ added to vaccines, some proprietary and secret, to improve their efficacy, they are all 100% safe, too, I suppose.

  30. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    That is as preposterous an assertion as that made by climate denialists that the ‘climate change’ industry is worth untold millions (or is it billions?)in research grants and other mysterious sources of gelt. BigPharma makes more money out of vaccines in a morning than the ‘anti-vaxx industry'(who, pray tell, are these mysterious money-bags?)have ever done.

  31. cervant says:

    Not so. Vaccine production is not highly profitable for pharmaceutical companies. They like drugs that people have to take every day for years or forever. Vaccines are administered in one or two doses and generally that’s it. Most of them are generic, and there’s powerful political and social pressure to keep them cheap. So no, “Big Pharma” has bigger fish to fry.

  32. Sasparilla says:

    The Republicans are just lining up where the massive money/power is – in this case, Big Pharma….as with the fossil fuel industry the Republicans are just being consistent (go where the money and power is and attack that which poses a threat to that money and power). Whether science lines up with what stance the Republicans take is totally coincidental.

  33. SasparillaFizz says:

    This is just the Republicans being consistent – they are lining up where the special interests money/power (i.e. Big Pharma) campaign contributions tell them to. As with climate change they rain down whatever dismissing desparaging remarks on the “enemy” they can (since saying “anti-science” is a suitable bat to use here, they use it) – the fact that they are talking science or anti-science in their attacks is entirely coincidental and of no importance to them.

    (BTW my original post to this article was the 1st (2:30pm on the 17th and was never released from review purgatory – which irritates me to an extent).

  34. Paul Klinkman says:

    Possibly true, but the important thing to remember about the science of neurochemistry is that Jenny McCarthy is nothing but a dumb blonde, or at least she plays one in front of the camera for enough money.

  35. David Sheridan says:

    Here’s a real confidence-builder…

    CDC Admits 98 Million Americans Received Polio Vaccine Contaminated With Cancer Virus

  36. Martin Vermeer says:

    Not exactly a secret though…

    …among many more

  37. Martin Vermeer says:

    Perhaps also read more than just the header:

    when a proportion of the vaccine was contaminated with a cancer causing polyomavirus called SV40

    …and the “causing” is currently unproven, and in doubt (see my link). Your link is to a crank site.

  38. prokaryotes says:

    A recombinant vaccinia vector containing a safety-modified SV40 Tag sequence has been constructed

  39. prokaryotes says:

    Since uninfected weaning animals do not frequently seroconvert when grouped with the infected mothers or littermates, it seems most likely that transmission of SV40 in monkeys, under conditions of natural infection, occurs after weaning from the environment rather than directly from other animals. Interestingly, this observation would support SV40 transmission in humans from the contaminated general environment or from the home environment

    The problem today seems to be that this virus spreads in the population – without vaccines.

  40. Paul Klinkman says:

    The incidence of autism among the Amish is 1 in 15,000. It’s hard to explain to Amish farmers what exactly autism is and how it affects 2% of all American boys, because they have no concept of the syndrome. So, one known successful “cure” is to become Amish before you have kids. Therefore, other less rigorous “cures” probably exist and they possibly involve not ingesting one modern chemical or another.

  41. Paul Klinkman says:

    It’s a bit more complex. Big Pharma has been siding more and more with the Democrats these days.

    Both parties love returning vast favors for campaign contributions, but the Republicans are special in Fossil Fuel’s eyes.

  42. Of course the climate deniers need McCarthy. Their own narrative (created as much I suspect for their own delusion as pubic consumption) is that they are follow science and make up their own minds on the evidence. So they need to find examples where they actively show this. But anyway, climate change and vaccines are different kinds of threat with very different appeals. Vaccines contain the high tech self interventionalist science for that appeals to conservative deniers and repel green types. Vaccines are about taking responsibility to invest in your own self interest-they have clear appeal.

  43. Forrest Tanaka says:

    Asking for more science is anti-science if there’s no level of scientific testing that would satisfy critics. I’ve asked in many forums what level of GMO testing would critics of GMOs consider enough? I’ve yet to receive an answer. Here are a couple of sources showing the anti-science of anti-GMO movements:


  44. Sasparilla says:

    As for the anti-vaccine movement – that has come about because of several things, the most important is the complete failing of the medical community to explain the massive increase of autism rates as well as the fact that in a good chunk of those kids they start developing social behaviors normally (talking, looking people in the eyes etc.) and around the time of a bunch of vaccines are administered (2yrs old) the child looses those all those skills, almost overnight, never to return (with associated repercussions for life for that family.

    Without the medical community stepping up to the plate with an explanation of whats going on with autism and how to prevent it, parents are left to put together what they can based on what they see, hence you have Jenny McCarthy and others.

  45. PurpleOzone says:

    Whooping cough is an awful disease, one no parent ought to want. Children are sick for a long time, often “whooping” in the middle of the night. I have always been grateful that my mother got me a shot. Two of my first grade classmates were out of school about 2 months. They came back pale and thin. A neigborhood child illness crashed the family. His father already had the burden of a severely ill wife; he had to tend the house and work and the kids and then the sick kid. The father came down with tuberculosis and went to a sanitarium and the family moved away.

  46. kermit says:

    Big Pharma likes “intellectual property” rights and controlling drugs requiring frequent consumption. They are likely to bury tests which show that their Next Big Medicine is ineffective or dangerous. That doesn’t mean that medicine per se is bogus science, simply that folks with a dog in the fight can’t always be trusted to be impartial. True, anti-vaxxer industries, spokesmen, and the like can’t compare to the big drug companies, but individual spokesmen would much rather hustle than work for a living. Witness the Creationist/ID antiscience crowd. No Koch-level wealth is involved there, but they nonetheless have a full time community of bogus arguments, spam, political/religious accusations, trolls, et al working overtime.

  47. Alan Roth says:

    There has been a revolution in the treatment of autism but this news has not spread. One group has now reversed 100% of the symptoms of autism in 95 children and this number is growing. It takes on average almost a year to accomplish this using a solution of chlorine dioxide along with major changes in diet. The protocol is very rigorous and demanding on the families but they see it working and stay with it.

    This major turnaround featured a major surprise. All of the children were heavily infested with parasites including worms more than a foot long. The solution is mainly killing off the parasites over time. They become very apparent in the children’s stools coming out often in clumps.

    Apparently most if not all children pick up these parasites and healthy immune systems including adequate vitamin D3 blood serum levels keep them in check. But some children’s immune systems (specific to controlling parasites) gets comprised and vaccines appear to play a role in this although other factors also intervene so it may not be any one cause.

    You can learn about this at

    I have no involvement but I find it fascinating. The same substance, chlorine dioxide in solution, can apparently be used to treat many illnesses. Certainly there are naysayers that include those involved with conventional treatments but this new approach appears to be effective and safe.

  48. kermit says:

    Born in 1951. Had my polio vaccine in kindergarden. I grew up with kids born just a year or three too early and were crippled. There were others I didn’t grow up with, siblings of my friends, who either were never seen in public or who died. I have scars from my two smallpox vaccinations also.

    I’d like to see more tax dollars going into university medical drug research. License ’em out cheap when anything useful is found, employ grad students and post-docs with decent pay, and keep the research honest.

  49. kermit says:

    Yes, humans need answers and explanations. But sometimes the correct scientific answer is “we don’t know.” There are doctors researching autism.

  50. kermit says:

    Chlorine dioxide is toxic and has no recognized medical applications (except for sterilizing drinking water). I saw no links to supporting research papers on the site you linked to. Did I miss them? Non-scientifically educated parents with sick children have always been ripe for the plucking by nonscrupulous hustlers.

  51. Joan Savage says:

    “The View” is set up for ‘lite’ controversy among the regulars, a entertainment version of the McLaughlin Group.

    Has the “The View” talked about climate change?

    Its current schedule is pop stars and an ex-spouse of a movie star.

    If the View ever gets around to inviting a guest who wants to talk about climate change, then ‘play it as it lays,’ as golfers say.

  52. Daniel Coffey says:

    I am left to wonder why she was selected. What is it that she offers that others might not? Some mysteries defy explanation. Is this one of them?

  53. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    GE crops were simply declared ‘substantially equivalent’ by FDA apparatchiki, and there has basically been no research to judge their safety or efficacy. So, in a typical inversion of reality, it is the Rightwing pro-corporate astroturfers who are the real ‘anti-science’ crowd here. Meanwhile the evidence from the real world, and the few researchers who have done real science (the GE crop peddlers refuse to provide genetic material to non co-opted scientists)is steadily mounting of these crops’ inefficacy, huge costs and the dangers of genetic pollution, including the development of ‘superweeds’ and the appearance of recombinant DNA far from the target species.

  54. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    There has been an epidemic of medical research malpractise in recent years, so much so that medical authorities have become gravely concerned, and it is not driven by anti-vaccine activists. The actions of BigPharma and their hordes of paid PR flunkies, friends in Government and regulatory organs and disinformation trolls, are, in my opinion, exactly akin to those of the fossil fuel climate destabilisation denialist industry.

  55. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Ahhh- asbestos. That, too, was ‘perfectly safe’ and indeed still is, just so long as you are flogging it to unpeople in India. The beauty of capitalist reassurances.

  56. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    BigPharma, hugely profitable, opposes cheap generic drugs, even in countries where the vast majority of the populace could never afford the rapaciously over-priced patented ‘originals’. Thus they cause untold human suffering for nothing but a display of their power to control politicians and their typically capitalist inhumanity.