Seth Mnookin blasts Chicago Sun-Times for Jenny McCarthy “propaganda piece”

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On the PLoS Blog, “The Panic Network,” Seth Mnookin writes:  “More media stupidity: Chicago Sun-Times runs propaganda piece for Jenny McCarthy’s anti-vaccine conference.” He begins:

On Sunday, in honor of Mother’s Day, the Chicago Sun-Times ran a puff piece on native daughter Jenny McCarthy. This is closer to a press release than it is to journalism:

On Memorial Day weekend, Jenny McCarthy will bring a little bit of L.A. glamor to her hometown, Chicago, for a cause that is close to her heart. The TV star’s philanthropic organization, Generation Rescue, and Autism One [sic] have paired up to offer a conference for parents to learn about new support and treatment methods for their children with autism. … McCarthy will be a keynote speaker at the conference, which, for the second year in a row, is free for the entire weekend to ensure that families of all income levels can attend and learn more about treatment for their children with autism.

You can do a web search on Seth Mnookin and Jenny McCarthy to see the history of his writings about the former Playmate’s activities regarding vaccines and autism.

Renowned media blogger Jim Romenesko also blogged about the Sun-Times/McCarthy piece. Romenesko says he sent this email to Sun-Times Media editor-in-chief Jim Kirk:

Not one of the top three editors at the Sun-Times want to respond to my email about your odd Jenny McCarthy piece — written by your public relations vice president?

Back when you were the Chicago Tribune media columnist, you would have needled the Sun-Times for doing this; now you’re the guy who’s ultimately responsible for it.

Come on, Jim, you can do better than this.

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Comments (10)

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cia parker

May 18, 2012 at 8:39 am

I am grateful to the Sun-Times for its support of Autism One and Generation Rescue. I saw my daughter react with encephalitis to the hep-B vaccine at birth, and her subsequent failure to meet developmental milestones and her diagnosis with autism. I have also seen the overnight resolution of her intractable chronic constipation when I put her on the GFCF diet. I would not have believed it possible if I had not seen it myself, and, of course, most doctors continue to recommend against even trying it, the way most doctors continue to promote vaccines even in the face of reams of studies and VAERS reports of adverse vaccine reactions. Jim, this may be the best thing you have ever done, and will help American families avoid contagion and recover from the vaccine epidemic.

    brian

    May 27, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Recent research shows that (1) parents are not able to reliably establish the onset of the signs of ASD and thus routinely MISS the subtle early signs of ASD, so the idea that parents can link the onset of ASD to vaccination is, well, dead; and (2) most children with ASD show some improvement (in particular, those who are initially considered high-functioning make the greatest improvements, but about one in ten children who are initially considered to be low-functioning remarkable improve and reach high-functioning status), but such improvement is sporadic and unpredicatable–so any woo may seem to work, given the available variety and the hope of desperate parents.

Alice

May 21, 2012 at 10:40 am

Are you just as outraged over censorship? Aren’t you grateful the Internet gives everyone a voice? Wait-a-minute….the answer is clear….you don’t support freedom of expression…nor liberty…or it seems helping all incomes find some sort of support for what they feel was a shot in the dark.

Let’s be consistent in our thinking….Jenny is bad…doctors are good line….hmmmmm…..One wonders…how much free care are you giving to the poor, or suffering? Doctors Without Borders trip planned at your own expense? Just saying’!:). No you are being critical that those who do put their money where their mouth is get lambasted. OMG…. Jenny is using her fame to help others? What is your claim to fame?:)

Want to weigh in on the facts? What do you think about the court in Italy that ruled the MMR does cause autism? The Poling case where a neurologist proved the MMR shot caused his daughter’s autism? That the heralded AIDS vaccine helped people get AIDS in trials that needed stopped? Can you name the ingredients in the shots and still procaim they are safe…nothing harmful…excitotoxins? Studied the efficacy and the difference between the real disease and temporal immunity? And why your unsuspecting patients are given a false sense of immunity then get the disease anyhow? No let’s blame Jenny or any newspaper that admires that she is actually doing something with her life to help others find the hidden truth.

I guess I just struggle to understand why your efforts aren’t more geared towards getting the shots cleaned up. A patient’s type of Wikipedia about the hazards and how to help test those who are predisposed to a chemical reaction being exempt. All the unreleased clinical trials we are not allowed to see. Support of The Cochrane Collaboration….not the censorship this article supports. When this happens moms will sign that waiver that absolves you from liability of a shot that many moms have studied longer than most doctors did in med school. The ignorance and bullying from doctors hurts the cause because you ignore the evidence based studies on dangerous shots like HPV..you ignore self serving doctors like Offit…you quote convenient trials without admitting the vast majority of vaccine trials were paid for by BigPharma…you belittle caring moms…then wonder why hurt moms searching for answers appreciate someone who actually listens to their desperation….then you wonder why moms are terrified of the shot…then terrified of the denialist doc who claims the shots are safe…while the mom has a mental image of her friend’s once normal child who is permanently changed after a shot…you tell us to believe you over what we have personally witnessed…it feels like telling us the accident we witnessed really did not happen…it’s all conincidence…then you audaciously tell us we are the denialists…Okay…We”ll go with that:)

    Gary Schwitzer

    May 21, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Censorship? Who’s talking about censoring anything? Mnookin wrote about journalism that “ was closer to a press release than it is to journalism.” That’s not censorship. That’s a call for independent vetting of claims….the very anti-thesis of censorship.

    Censorship? No support for freedom of expression? Then why did I post your comment?

    Please tone down the rhetoric.

    Gary Schwitzer

    May 21, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    And, since our intent was to address the quality (or lack thereof) in the journalism, it should be noted that the Sun Times Media editor-in-chief has now published a correction:

    “[T]he wording used to describe the Sun-Times’ involvement was incorrect. It should have read that the Sun-Times is a media sponsor of the event, nothing more. The article should not have stated or suggested that the newspaper supports — or doesn’t support — a particular cause.”

    That doesn’t end the issue for us. We have problems with news organizations sponsoring advocacy events of any sort. We have criticized news organizations sponsoring screening events for prostate cancer or breast cancer.

    In our eyes, this post wasn’t about autism.

    It was about journalism.

    If you don’t buy into that concern, you’ve come to the wrong place because that’s what this site is about – trying to improve the quality and independence of journalism on health care matters.

Alice

May 21, 2012 at 10:40 am

Are you just as outraged over censorship? Aren’t you grateful the Internet gives everyone a voice? Wait-a-minute….the answer is clear….you don’t support freedom of expression…nor liberty…or it seems helping all incomes find some sort of support for what they feel was a shot in the dark.

Let’s be consistent in our thinking….Jenny is bad…doctors are good line….hmmmmm…..One wonders…how much free care are you giving to the poor, or suffering? Doctors Without Borders trip planned at your own expense? Just saying’!:). No you are being critical that those who do put their money where their mouth is get lambasted. OMG…. Jenny is using her fame to help others? What is your claim to fame?:)

Want to weigh in on the facts? What do you think about the court in Italy that ruled the MMR does cause autism? The Poling case where a neurologist proved the MMR shot caused his daughter’s autism? That the heralded AIDS vaccine helped people get AIDS in trials that needed stopped? Can you name the ingredients in the shots and still procaim they are safe…nothing harmful…excitotoxins? Studied the efficacy and the difference between the real disease and temporal immunity? And why your unsuspecting patients are given a false sense of immunity then get the disease anyhow? No let’s blame Jenny or any newspaper that admires that she is actually doing something with her life to help others find the hidden truth.

I guess I just struggle to understand why your efforts aren’t more geared towards getting the shots cleaned up. A patient’s type of Wikipedia about the hazards and how to help test those who are predisposed to a chemical reaction being exempt. All the unreleased clinical trials we are not allowed to see. Support of The Cochrane Collaboration….not the censorship this article supports. When this happens moms will sign that waiver that absolves you from liability of a shot that many moms have studied longer than most doctors did in med school. The ignorance and bullying from doctors hurts the cause because you ignore the evidence based studies on dangerous shots like HPV..you ignore self serving doctors like Offit…you quote convenient trials without admitting the vast majority of vaccine trials were paid for by BigPharma…you belittle caring moms…then wonder why hurt moms searching for answers appreciate someone who actually listens to their desperation….then you wonder why moms are terrified of the shot…then terrified of the denialist doc who claims the shots are safe…while the mom has a mental image of her friend’s once normal child who is permanently changed after a shot…you tell us to believe you over what we have personally witnessed…it feels like telling us the accident we witnessed really did not happen…it’s all conincidence…then you audaciously tell us we are the denialists…Okay…We”ll go with that:)