July 15, 2013
For decades, Barbara Walters has been described as a broadcast pioneer—and with good reason. In 1974, Walters became the first female host of the “Today” show. In 1976, she became the first woman to serve as a network-news anchor. In 1984, she moderated the first Presidential debate between Walter Mondale and Ronald Reagan. Since then, she has interviewed everyone from Fidel Castro to Kim Kardashian. Her ABC talk show, “The View,” which she created in 1997, has received twenty-nine Daytime Emmy Awards and maintains an audience of three million viewers. Walters, who is eighty-three, will retire next year, but her impact on both her profession and her audience would be hard to overstate.
That’s why it is so distressing to add another first to the list of Walters’s achievements: Jenny McCarthy, who will join “The View” in September, will be the show’s first co-host whose dangerous views on childhood vaccination may—if only indirectly—have contributed to the sickness and death of people throughout the Western world. (See jennymccarthybodycount.com.) McCarthy, who is savvy, telegenic, and pulchritudinous, is also the person most visibly associated with the deadly and authoritatively discredited anti-vaccine movement in the United States.
She is not subtle: McCarthy once essentially threatened the actress Amanda Peet, who has often spoken out about the obvious benefits of childhood vaccinations, by warning Peet that she had an angry mob on her side. When people disagree with her views on television, McCarthy has been known to refute scientific data by shouting “bullshit.”