By Barbara Loe Fisher
Now that it looks like ABC-TV executives are backing Barbara Walters’ hire of celebrity Jenny McCarthy to join the popular daytime talk show The View,1 the blood spilled on the ground of the Fourth Estate during 10 hot days in July is beginning to dry. It was fascinating to watch the well-orchestrated response by online mainstream media, which took on the frenzy of an old fashioned witch hunt to burn a heretic at the stake.
Reviewing 29 articles published in major print and broadcast media outlets between July 9 and July 18, 20132 with 19 of them written by males, it became obvious that some of them are really upset about “blonde” girls expressing politically incorrect opinions about vaccine side effects, a topic that has become the biggest taboo talk in America. Several media outlets used her gender to take the first punch with headlines such as “Putting Jenny McCarthy on the View: Good Sex Over Bad Science”3 and “ View’ Host Jenny McCarthy’s Vaccine-Autism Claims: Beauty vs. Science.”4
“The Pretty Idiot” or A Threat to the Survival of Mankind?
Some tried to bash McCarthy’s brain by focusing on her body. Cat calls like “buxom physique: - “blonde bombshell” - “sex symbol” – “object of teenage boys fantasies” – “ bleached blonde hair” - “pulchritudinous” – “ the pretty idiot” - “Playboy Playmate of the Year”– and so on were effortlessly tossed into the story.5 6 7 8 9
Once the boys club firmly established that she is really only good for one thing, they moved on to alleging that if she is allowed to open her mouth and talk on ‘The View,’ she will in fact and without question threaten the very survival of the human race. One of them took bizarre name-calling to new heights by hurling the epithet “homicidal maniac” at her.10
I am not sure how presumably well-educated men expected people to swallow the vacuous argument that the woman is both a dumb blonde and a threat to mankind but for some inexplicable reason that is exactly what they tried to do. And, further embarrassing themselves, they desperately tried to persuade all the rest of us to be as emotionally invested in her hire on ‘The View’ as they are and immediately write to the bosses at ABC to express our shock and horror.11 12
A Call to Muzzle Vaccine Talking Moms
It could have been amusing summer entertainment watching guys fall all over themselves to up one another with hysterical hyperbole, but it quickly became obvious that it was about much more than slapping around a celebrity Mom because she has talked publicly about her son’s vaccine reaction and how she helped him get better.13
And, although males outnumbered females in suggesting that mothers should not be allowed to talk about vaccines in public unless the script is pre-approved by a politically correct M.D. or Ph.D., a few of the female writers going after McCarthy and ABC were just as adamant about the urgent need to muzzle vaccine talking Moms challenging the status quo.14 15 16
Four of the 29 headlines featured the word “dangerous.”17 18 19 One apocalyptic headline screamed “Dear ABC: Putting Jenny McCarthy on ‘The View’ Will Kill Children”20 while an article written by a female pediatrician used the same threatening approach: “ABC’s Hiring of Jenny McCarthy: A Decision That Could Cost Lives.”21
The collective howl of indignation escalated when Barbara Walters and ABC did not flinch. Using poison pens and heavyweight media platforms, the writers ridiculed the intelligence, values and beliefs of mothers like McCarthy taking matters into their own hands when a healthy child suddenly develops brain and immune system dysfunction after vaccination, a condition doctors can’t explain and often label “autism” but dismiss as “just a coincidence” or bad parental “genes” without looking any further.22 23 24
Century of Medical Literature: Yes, Vaccines CAN Do THAT
Never mind that there is more than a century of medical literature documenting the fact that vaccines can cause:
- brain inflammation;
- chronic nervous system dysfunction;
- vaccine strain viral infection;
- shock and “unusual shock-like state;”
- protracted inconsolable crying and
The indisputable fact that vaccines can do that has been acknowledged by the Institute of Medicine in a series of peer-reviewed reports published between 1991 and 2013.25 26 27 28 The last one pointed out that there is not enough scientific evidence to determine if the current recommended schedule of 49 doses of 14 vaccines between day of birth and age six29 is or is not associated with the development of a whole host of health problems in children - everything from autoimmunity, allergy, asthma, epilepsy, ADHD and learning disabilities to – yes – autism.30 31 32
The indisputable fact that vaccines can hurt people and that doctors still don’t know which individuals are more biologically susceptible to suffering vaccine damage33 was codified into law by Congress in the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986.34 That law has awarded more than $2.7 billion dollars to Americans harmed by vaccines in exchange for shielding drug companies and doctors from vaccine injury lawsuits in civil court.35 36
With vaccine failures among highly vaccinated children playing a big role in outbreaks of B. pertussis whooping cough,37 38 the hype about Jenny McCarthy joining ‘The View’ could be just a red herring. But it is going to take a lot of red herrings to distract millions of parents from talking about why 1 child in 6 in America is learning disabled,39 1 in 9 suffers with asthma,40 1 in 50 develops autism41 or why there has never been a large, well-designed study comparing the health outcomes of highly vaccinated children and those remaining unvaccinated or using fewer vaccines.42
Media: Non-Medical Degrees, PR, Politics, Marketing & Other Expertise
Most of the writers who wrote stories about a vaccine talking celebrity Mom joining ‘The View,” including those calling for censorship and the gutting of journalistic standards that ensure fair balance - when it comes to writing stories about vaccination43 - are journalists by profession. 28 of the 29 articles were written by individuals without medical degrees, although one is a pharmacologist, one is an astronomer and one has a PhD in biological sciences. The majority have degrees in Journalism, English, History or Political Science with some also listing expertise in public relations and communications, marketing and fund raising, political media campaign management, TV and entertainment.44
Even though these writers do not have medical degrees, the U.S. Constitution guarantees them the liberty to express their views about Jenny McCarthy, Barbara Walters, ABC and vaccines, just as the media outlets publishing their opinions are protected by the First Amendment. That legal right to engage in critical thinking and to hold personal beliefs and to exercise free speech, belongs to every American - not just to those articulating talking points made or approved by citizens with M.D. or Ph.D. written after their names.
Public Talking About Vaccine Safety Since 1982
Parents, doctors, legislators and journalists started talking publicly about vaccine safety issues in America in 1982,45 16 years before a paper about MMR vaccine and autism was published in The Lancet. Mothers were talking about what happens to their children’s health after vaccination long before the Library of Medicine was posted online and the world wide web became the biggest talk show on the planet.
Vaccine talk will continue in the kitchens and on the smart phones and tablets of critical thinking women, who are using the brains and mother’s instincts they were born with to make informed health care choices for their children. Vaccine talk will continue because, today, many more mothers either have a child or know a child who was healthy, got vaccinated and was never healthy again.
Evangelistic doctors should stop trying so hard to shut down vaccine talking and just do the credible science that will answer the question on everybody’s mind: what exactly is causing the 1 child in 50 $126 billion dollar a year46 public health disaster doctors call autism but still can’t agree on how to define it or how often it happens. One thing doctors say they know for sure is that vaccines don’t have anything to do with autism because the earth is not flat, there is nothing more to be learned about vaccine side effects and autism cannot be cured, so parents should just forget about it.
That empty rhetoric is not flying these days with thinking Moms and Dads digging deeper and learning that good health is about more than using lots of vaccines to prevent infections.
Become educated about diseases and vaccines. It’s your health. Your family. Your choice.
19 See References #6 and #9.
24 See References #5, #6, #8, #9, and #14.
43 See References #7, #16, #18.
45 Coulter HL, Fisher BL. DPT: A Shot in the Dark. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1985 (Warner 1986, Avery 1991, Penguin - current).
By Kate Raines
It happens every year: Just when it’s beginning to seem that summer vacation will never end, the back-to-school packet arrives with annual reminders to load a backpack full of binders, folders and pencils; fill out emergency contact information; and update physicals and medical forms. Along with evaluating whether children are growing at a normal rate and ensuring that they haven’t developed any new health conditions that would prevent participation in school activities, the back-to-school physical form includes a section where the doctor is supposed to verify that the child has received a certain number of doses of federally recommended and state-mandated vaccines.
The back-to-school physical is an annual opportunity for public health officials and pediatricians to do more than encourage parents to give their children a growing list of vaccines. During this yearly “Back-to School Push” to vaccinate, how many parents take the time to become educated about the diseases and vaccines doctors are promoting?
The Perfect Time for Questions
Annual school physicals are a perfect opportunity for parents to learn about specific vaccines and the diseases they are supposed to prevent, to evaluate vaccines for potential benefits and risks for their own child, and to get prepared to make confident, informed choices for their children. There are many more choices to be made, now that there are many new vaccines on the market, and it is not always clear to parents exactly which vaccines being promoted by pediatricians are actually required for school attendance.
HPV Vaccine: Recommended But Not Required
For example, in addition to recommending an annual flu shot for all children over six months of age (influenza vaccine is not
a requirement for school attendance, and only New Jersey and Connecticut require annual flu shots for children in child care), pediatricians are now implementing CDC policy advising that all boys and girls between 11 and 12 years of age receive three doses of the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine, given over a six-month period.1
Despite all the controversy in the news over that particular vaccine, with doctors and public health officials insisting it’s safe2
and others insisting it was not fully tested before licensure and is causing too many reactions,3 4 5
it is important for parents to learn more before taking a child in for a pre-school physical. Since HPV vaccine was licensed in 2006, there have been many attempts by pharmaceutical company and other special interest lobbyists to mandate HPV for sixth grade attendance.6 7
So far, only Washington, D.C. and Virginia have HPV vaccine requirements for girls entering sixth grade. However, in both D.C. and Virginia, parents may “opt-out” and elect not to give the vaccine.
As noted by Dr. Denise Hunnell, arguments can be made both for and against the vaccine, but in the end, “parents have the right to weigh the risks and benefits of the HPV vaccine and make a decision based on their own unique situations. The state has offered no convincing argument to justify usurping parental rights and mandating HPV vaccination.”8
But Then There Are Other Laws…
In all 50 states, public schools are required by law to obtain paperwork that documents children attending schools have received certain state-mandated vaccines or have filed an exemption to vaccination with the state. However, given the nature of one-size-fits-all vaccine policies, full disclosure about vaccine exemptions allowed in vaccine laws may be ignored by pediatricians advocating children receive all scheduled government-recommended vaccines.
Therefore, while the school policy might read something like, “Entry into 7th
grade requires proof of compliance with all mandatory vaccinations,” it may not be made clear on school physical forms that exemptions are available, and it is unlikely that pediatricians will mention it during school physicals. While all 50 states require specified vaccines for students, there are legal exceptions for medical, religious or conscientious belief reasons – depending upon the state.9
All state vaccination laws allow medical exemptions but they must be written by a medical doctor (M.D.) or doctor of osteopathy (D.O.) and usually must conform to federally approved contraindications to vaccination, which are very narrow.10
Every state except two—Mississippi and West Virginia—allow religious belief exemptions, but requirements for proof of religious belief can vary from state to state. About one-third of the states (17) provide exemptions for conscientious or philosophical beliefs, but in several states (Washington, California), a medical doctor or other state-designated medical worker must sign the exemptions form.
As more and more vaccines are required by schools, it is increasingly important to understand your legal rights under state laws. You can learn about your state vaccine laws
on NVIC’s website, where there is a user-friendly map of the U.S. that visually tells you what kind of vaccine exemptions are allowed in your state for children to attend school. If you want to take action to protect vaccine exemptions in your state public health laws, sign up for the free online NVIC Advocacy Portal
NVIC.org: A Very Good Place to Start
It can be a challenge to navigate the information overload available on the Internet but, as a starting point, NVIC has gathered straightforward, referenced facts about diseases and vaccines
. Information includes vaccine product inserts, and fact-filled articles about the history and serious complications of both diseases and vaccines.
Among many other resources available through NVIC are tools that allow parents to calculate vaccine ingredients
, get suggestions for questions to ask
pediatricians about vaccination and listings of other resources available to facilitate the search for information. NVIC encourages everyone to consult one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination or other health care decision.
Sign up for the free NVIC Vaccine Newsletter
so you don’t miss any of the news NVIC publishes on vaccination and health.