F’n Wackos – Our New Public Menace

As a parent, I’ve been watching the whole Disney measles outbreak caused by the lunatic anti-vaxxer movement.

A quote by Melinda Gates in this article from the Verge sums it up well:

Women in the developing world know the power of [vaccines]. They will walk 10 kilometers in the heat with their child and line up to get a vaccine, because they have seen death. [Americans have] forgotten what measles deaths look like.

 

What is more alarming about the whole episode is how stupid a segment of Americans are who believe this crap.  People who actively believe celebrities like Jenny McCarthy or Oprah Winfrey for medical treatment advice and put the most vulnerable Рchildren Рat risk.

Yes – these are the people are now “qualified” to provide medical advice in our celebrity gaga culture.

In case you don’t know who McCarthy is, she is a Playboy playmate and reality tv personality. Yes – celebrity is a tough tag to give her. A credible expert on vaccination. Nope.

This article from the LA Times does a nice job of highlighting the damage she has done:

McCarthy, a former Playboy playmate and MTV star, as an easy mark for charlatans. After dabbling in New Age crystal spirituality, she fell in with an anti-vaccination group once her son was diagnosed with autism. She soon became a ubiquitous spokeswoman for a dizzying variety of autism nostrums–special diets, supplements, detox, chelation, hyperbaric chambers, etc., none of which has been shown to have any scientific validity–and for doubts about the MMR vaccine.

Most disturbingly, Mnookin documents how the news and entertainment industry abetted McCarthy’s dangerous campaign. One of the chief offenders is Oprah Winfrey, who exposed her huge television audience to McCarthy, treating her as an expert on autism because she had “mommy instinct…. She knows what she’s talking about,” Oprah advised her fans. But CNN’s Larry King and Time Inc.’s People Magazine also gave McCarthy star treatment. In our celebrity-obsessed culture in which TV actors are often called to testify before Congress on subjects of concern to their fictional characters, this was powerful stuff.

 

This is a public hazard that goes well beyond children too.

It’s a shame some people are so stupid and selfish.

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