Those watching Jenny McCarthy's debut on ABC's "The View" this morning should keep in mind one thing: She's not qualified in the least to give you advice on vaccinating your children.
McCarthy, the model and TV personality who moonlights as the anti-vaccine movement's most influential (read: dangerous) voice, sells plenty of books, speaks passionately about parenting and cracks off-color jokes. She also peddles the discredited, poisonous claims that the way we vaccinate our children against the diseases that were once regular killers of children places our young ones at greater risk of developing autism -- the kind of conspiracy theorizing that will draw only more eyeballs.
So the suits at ABC who cynically hired McCarthy, who promises to "make hot topics a little bit hotter," can at least be given credit for keeping an eye on their bottom line.
But here's where ABC strays into dangerous territory: As I've written before, McCarthy's target audience is new parents, those vulnerable, hyper-protective types who hit the ground running caring for their helpless children with little else to guide them besides instinct and advice from people who have been there. I say this because I'm just emerging from "new parent" status as the father of twin toddlers, and I can tell you those first few months of parenthood are filled with decisions (like, for example, whether to vaccinate your babies) to be made with your own sleep-deprived, primal mind.
These are the people McCarthy and ABC are after: Easy targets.
So those mothers and fathers at home in the morning caring for their newborns, desperate for someone to tell them what to do, should be more trusting of the advice given by their pediatricians modestly displaying medical degrees and licenses behind their desks rather than a brash TV personality who once bragged she earned her credentials at the "University of Google."