Bad Astronomy on bad TV programming

Phil Plait, who is known for his “Bad Astronomy” Web presence (and let’s not confuse that with astrology, which is bad, forsooth!), hit the Internet with a critique of Jennifer “Jenny” McCarthy’s appointment to host a television show. Over on his Slate blog, Mr. Plait (he has a Ph.D. from the university where I teach, so I could say “Dr.” but we refer to each other as “Ms.” or “Mr.” in this neighborhood) provides what I might describe as something close to a blistering indictment of the appointment:

I was hoping I wouldn’t have to write this post, but here we are: The daytime talk show The View has indeed hired Jenny McCarthy as a co-host. I wrote about this last week, alerting people to the possibility, and now it’s now been confirmed. She’ll find her spot on the program this fall.

I was not exactly a fan of the show before—giving a soapbox to someone like Sherri Shepherd, who wasn’t sure if the Earth was round or not, rather dampens my enthusiasm—but this secures my opinion of it now.

Why? McCarthy’s views constitute, in my opinion, a threat to public health. She is loudly against vaccines, claiming they cause autism, claiming they are loaded with toxins, and claiming her own son became autistic after a vaccination and that she subsequently cured him with a gluten-free diet.

I recommend Mr Plait’s plaint, “The View Hires Notorious Anti-Vaxxer Jenny McCarthy” as worthwhile reading. And, if you’re interested in astronomy (not astrology) and science (as I am), his regular posts are worth reading, too. Thank you, sir. I believe I’ll have another.

Update (16 July 2013): In the Washington Post under the headline “Jenny McCarthy on The View — not The Medically Correct View, Just The View,” Alexandra Pertri go into the shout down, too: “The talk panel is replacing Elizabeth Hasselbeck, known for being blonde and leaning right, with Jenny McCarthy, known for being blonde and leaning wrong.” Ms. Petri then quotes extensively from Mr. Plait’s article to which I referred as well as scoring a few more points for reason and good sense.

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