Should we lump this in the general category of: What was she thinking? Jenny McCarthy, host of the morning talk show, The View, tweeted last week what for anyone else might be considered an innocuous question: "What is the most important personality trait you look for in a mate? Reply using #JennyAsks." The response ranged from the humorous to the downright hateful, but almost all replies focused on McCarthy's anti-vaccination stance.
McCarthy soon responded.
(A Q score, by the way, is a measurement of the familiarity and appeal of a brand, TV show, or celebrity and is used by marketers to decide how "commercial" someone is or isn't.)
Needless to say, this only enraged her Twitter followers even more.
McCarthy has courted controversy since 2005, when her son Evan was diagnosed with autism, and she decided after researching the subject that his condition might have been caused, in part, by the vaccinations he had received in early childhood. She has spoken often about this topic and supports various organizations, including Generation Rescue, which promotes a similar message of vaccines contributing to autism. It is important to note that McCarthy's opinion arises from a medical controversy that began when Dr. Andrew Wakefield and colleagues hypothesized a connection between the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine and autism in a research study published in the medical journal, The Lancet, in 1998. Since then, other scientific studies have disputed the evidence and the journal itself retracted the paper, yet the hysteria lingers and the results of the study persist in the minds of parents who continue to wonder why?
Normally, most of us would be willing to cut the parents of autistic children, including McCarthy, some much needed slack, but it's difficult to muster any sympathy when she brags about her commercial viability in the face of a serious matter of children's health. She is welcome to her opinion on vaccines and, after all this time in the spotlight, shouldn't be astonished by the pushback. Then again, neither should we be surprised by her callous answer.