Autism News Beat

An evidence-based resource for journalists

Autism News Beat header image 2

Dear Chicago Sun-Times

November 13th, 2012 · 5 Comments · Miseducation

This is how the Chicago Sun-Times quells criticism of the paper’s decision to feature Jenny McCarthy as a family advice columnist.

Dear xxx
I would like to reach out as part of the communications team for the Chicago Sun-Times and Splash publications, to share with you the Sun-Times’ statement regarding concerns specifically about the focus of Jenny McCarthy’s column:

“Jenny McCarthy has signed on to share her special brand of humor with fans through her Splash column and daily blog. As our readers know, Jenny’s contributions are lifestyle focused and light-hearted. The vision for the column is not medical advice, therefore medical topics, like vaccination, are not within the scope of the column and will not be addressed.”

Sincerely,

Kayla Weems

 

This is our response:

Kayla Weems
Assistant, Public Relations
Wrapports / Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago, IL

Dear Ms. Weems,

Could Jenny McCarthy’s light-hearted personality make it less likely that the Sun-Times would publish something critical about her, such as how she has persuaded parents to leave their children vulnerable to preventable diseases? Or that her annual AutismOne conference promotes bleach enemas as a treatment for autism? Are you concerned that your newspaper’s de facto endorsement of Jenny McCarthy’s infectious brand of humor may confer legitimacy on vaccine rejectionism and unproven autism treatments? Are you aware that McCarthy’s organization excludes and even expels those who report critically about her autism conference, including newspaper reporters?

Have you seen this?

You may think your readership doesn’t know McCarthy’s back story, or care. But that will change. Your ill-considered decision to embrace McCarthy’s special brand of humor does not sit well with thousands of medical professionals, parents, academics, child health advocates, bloggers, and others who think McCarthy has much to answer for. Their simmering disappointment is very real. Is the Sun-Times willing to risk alienating so many people, in all walks of life, from coast to coast, just to attract readers who will soon learn of Jenny McCarthy’s special brand of child abuse?

Please reconsider your relationship with home-town girl Jenny McCarthy. Severing ties would be more than just a smart business decision, even if that’s your only concern.

Sincerely,

Ken Reibel
AutismNewsBeat.com

* * *

EveryChildByTwo is asking parents and others to send their own message to the Sun-Times editor-in-chief James Kirk, expressing concern about his paper’s cozy relationship with McCarthy. Here is a sample message:

Dear Mr. Kirk,

It has recently come to my attention that you have hired actress Jenny McCarthy to write a daily blog on parenting, dating and family advice. Jenny McCarthy’s claims that her son became autistic after being vaccinated have resulted in a major decline in the public’s confidence in vaccines. These claims were highly publicized, despite having no scientific merit and were countered by the worldwide scientific community. Families have chosen not to vaccinate their children because of the “advice” provided by Ms. McCarthy, and children have died as a consequence. Our country faces the largest outbreaks of whooping cough in decades and recent outbreaks of measles have een traced back to families who did not vaccinate their children.

[insert personal anecdote here]

I ask you to seriously reconsider your decision to provide a forum for Jenny McCarthy’s unsound beliefs. There are certainly better qualified candidates for this important position.

Sincerely,

[insert name]

Mr. Kirk can be reached at  jkirk@suntimes.com .

Get busy. You know the drill.

The varicella virus’ special brand of humor is reflected on the face of this light-hearted toddler.

Share

Tags:

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Lars // Nov 14, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    If you don’t want Jenny McCarthy’s advice, then don’t write in and ask for it

  • 2 Matt // Nov 15, 2012 at 9:43 am

    @Lars,
    I don’t think the point is to not ask Jenny McCarthy’s advice. The point is that Jenny McCarthy has 2 things going for her. 1) An advice column, and 2) Ignorance on the topics she talks about.
    There are enough stupid people who would read it and think “Well she is famous so she must know what she is talking about.” So they will go along with whatever she is saying to the point where their kids will be put at risk because of it.

    That is the problem with having people who aren’t experts write in publications where people are looking for advice.

  • 3 lilady // Nov 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Well there’s good news about Jenny’s blog. She will not be writing about vaccines.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-raeburn/chicago-suntimes-says-new_b_2038226.html

    BTW, I could have used your support guys, while posting on that Ho-Po blog. :-)

  • 4 Autismum // Nov 15, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Excuse me for being crass but why would anyone want parenting, lifestyle or any other advice from a tree humper?

  • 5 lilady // Nov 15, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    @ Autismum:

    “Excuse me for being crass but why would anyone want parenting, lifestyle or any other advice from a tree humper?”

    I dunno, Autismum.

    Jenny is full of “class”…all low.

Leave a Comment