Chicago Sun-Times Hires Jenny McCarthy as Columnist. Science Weeps.
If it's attention Chicago Sun-Times execs wanted by hiring Jenny McCarthy as a columnist and blogger, they certainly got it. Perhaps not the kind they wanted.
As Robert Feder (no relation) wrote in Time Out Chicago today:
That sound you’re hearing is Mike Royko, Sydney J. Harris and Herman Kogan spinning in their graves. Late Thursday, the Sun-Times announced the hiring of actress, author and former Playboy Playmate Jenny McCarthy as its newest columnist. Ask Jenny will appear Sundays in the newspaper’s Splash section, and her blog will run Monday through Friday at splash.suntimes.com, starting next week. The column will answer reader questions about “love, sex, parenting, friendship, fitness and more,” while the blog will focus on “the daily joys, juggle and struggles of being a single mother” to McCarthy’s 10-year-old son Evan.
McCarthy may be famous for a lot of reasons – Playboy playmate, actress, ex-girlfriend of Jim Carrey – but she is roundly criticized by health experts and many journalists for her views on autism. As a celebrity parent of an autistic son, McCarthy is a leading and sadly influential voice in the discredited movement to blame vaccines for autism. Public health experts fervently wish that she would just shut up.
Predictably, the online reaction to her hiring was swift and brutal:
Journalist Seth Mnookin, author of The Panic Virus, which examines the viral growth of the myth that vaccines cause autism and other developmental disorders, has previously blasted the Sun-Times for giving McCarthy a forum for her anti-vaccine, anti-science views. Here is an excerpt of the Panic Virus that deals with McCarthy.
Now the Sun Times has given McCarthy an even bigger platform, and that's a travesty.
Photo credit: Steven DePolo via Flickr