New essay online, with a slightly shifted take from my earlier one. I move beyond the vaccine issue, as important as it is. Here, I focus on McCarthy’s epistemology and the ways that parents, buffeted by fear-based marketing, also encounter information and the consequences of giving McCarthy this big new platform.
The essay is here.
Some sections I like:
Parents are more likely to jump at “fads” rather than sticking to “evidence-based” parenting. It’s hard to blame them for this characteristic — they are primed to be afraid.Parents are told that
unless they buy a given product, their child will get sick, learn too
slowly, fail to flourish, or even die. Being a parent requires so many
leaps of faith on a day-to-day basis. We just hope and pray that we’re
getting it mostly right.When someone claims to
have answers, especially someone with the intelligence and charisma of a
Jenny McCarthy, parents are easy targets.
Enter Jenny McCarthy, a
woman who evangelizes. She jumps at fads, hunches, intuitions and really
bad ideas. She believes them. She makes them hers. Then she builds
institutions to promote them with the full-throated roar of a new
convert.McCarthy has profited
handsomely from her outrageous views. She is intelligent, funny and
persuasive. She writes books that sell very well. Her organizations
throw successful events. She is a tireless promoter of her ideas. And
now she’s a host on “The View.”What idea will she seize
on next? What dangerous fad will she claim needs more study? How many
parents, at home in the morning, will be persuaded? I’m deeply
disappointed that Barbara Walters and ABC have decided to let us find
out the answers to these troubling questions.
Let me know what you think. Thanks.
P.S. I’m still really angry at ABC and The View.