"The View" is taking serious flak after announcing this week that it has hired Jenny McCarthy as a co-host.

McCarthy has courted controversy in recent years for her outspoken stance that vaccinations can lead to autism in children. The theory has been widely discredited, according to the Huffington Post, and its critics say adhering to it could endanger children by leaving them vulnerable to disease.

Science reporter Michael Specter of the New Yorker slammed ABC for bringing McCarthy on board and giving her a potential platform for her views.

"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. Executives at ABC should be ashamed of themselves for offering McCarthy a regular platform on which she can peddle denialism and fear to the parents of young children who may have legitimate questions about vaccine safety. ... It's a strike against reason and progress and hope. That is a cost that the network won't be able to afford for long, and neither will the rest of us."

Wow. I had no idea Jenny McCarthy was destroying civilization.


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Because hysteria is apparently catchy, Salon's Alex Pareene weighed in on Tuesday with the headline, "Dear ABC: Putting Jenny McCarthy on 'The View' will kill children."

Guardian reporter Tom McCarthy (no relation) wrote that while McCarthy's stance was troubling, her co-hosts on "The View" have proved adept at shooting down "quackery":

"'The View' comes in for a lot of flak among people who don't watch it for being lightweight or cloying. But it can be much more than that ... there's a good chance (McCarthy will) find herself alone on one side of an argument that she loses, badly."

Contact Tony Hicks at Facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.TonyHicks or Twitter.com/insertfoot.