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Jenny McCarthy Fires Back at Frontline for Hatchet Job Journalism

Hatchet-job1 Please read Jenny McCarthy's post and comment at Huffington Post.

When the producers of PBS's Frontline approached me to be interviewed for their new documentary "The Vaccine War," I accepted with a simple condition: doctors and scientists on our side of the vaccine-autism debate needed to have a voice, too.

Prior to agreeing to the interview, Frontline sent us this email:

"Frontline will carry out a detailed and even-handed investigation including voices from all sides of the controversy including parents, activists, physicians, scientists, lawyers, politicians and vaccine manufacturers."

I've learned to be wary of media who try to simplify the vaccine-autism debate into a "Parents vs. the Science" spin, so I went further and agreed to do the interview only if Dr. Jay Gordon, a well-known pediatrician here in Los Angeles, sat beside me. (Dr. Jay also sat for his own two hour interview.)

For those who've watched the show, you know that the Frontline producers broke their promise and presented our entire community's position through my interview and just two other parents -- Barbara Loe Fisher and J.B. Handley.

Where are the doctors and scientists who support our community and support the idea that vaccines may be a trigger for autism? In Frontline's world, they don't exist.

Imagine how much more credible the countless stories of children regressing into autism after vaccine appointments would be if a doctor were saying the same thing.

Luckily for all of us parents, Dr. Gordon has not stayed silent since the show aired. In a piece for HuffPost earlier this week, he wrote:

"Vaccines are neither all good -- as this biased, miserable PBS treacle would have you believe...You had a point to prove and removed material from your show which made the narrative balanced. 'Distraught, confused moms against important, well-spoken, calm doctors' was your narrative with a deep sure voice to, literally, narrate the entire artifice."
Also missing from Frontline were interviews from any of the dozens of scientists who have published studies in medical journals supporting the position of all the parents.

And, where was Autism Speaks, the largest autism organization in the world, and a group that hasn't been a huge supporter of our community?

Maybe Frontline had seen a recent letter written by Dr. Geraldine Dawson, the chief science officer of Autism Speaks, where she wrote:

"Recent studies point to a key role of the immune system in the biology of ASD [autism], raising questions about the effects of the significant immune challenges associated with vaccinations, particularly when delivered in combination and early in life...We believe that the question of whether immunization is associated with an increased risk for ASD is of extremely high priority."

Frontline's trip to Denmark to interview a scientist was meant to convince parents that vaccines have been studied all over the world and so they must be safe.

What Frontline didn't mention was that the Danish scientist interviewed works for a vaccine maker, that the paper discussed showed Denmark's rate of autism at 1 in 2,500 (versus the U.S. rate of 1 in 100) or that Denmark's vaccine schedule for kids is 12 shots versus 36 here in the U.S.

And, parents hear nothing about the Danish scientist's colleague and co-author Poul Thorsen, who recently stole $2 million from the CDC and is reportedly on the run from authorities.

When Dr. Wakefield is profiled, there's no recent interview with him to tell his story, just old media clips and one side's take. What about Dr. Wakefield's recent work finally comparing vaccinated monkeys with unvaccinated monkeys?

Frontline's piece also lacked any sense of proportion. Yes, a wave of twelve children with measles in San Diego is a troubling thing. But, there are more than 20,000 children in San Diego with autism! 20,000 vs. 12? When you really look at the numbers, you realize how huge our autism problem really is.

I believe our bloated vaccine schedule has created a scenario where there is now too much of a good thing. All drugs have side-effects, particularly if many are given at one time. Why should vaccines be any different?

The Frontline viewer heard nothing about the more than 1,000 reported deaths from vaccination or the nearly $2 billion paid by the US government to vaccine injury victims.

If the risk of vaccinating is really a 1 in 100 chance of a child getting autism, what will happen to the vaccine program?

Cooler heads need to get involved with this problem, rather than multi-millionaire vaccine inventors. Dr. Bob Sears, another doctor interviewed by Frontline but cut out of the actual show, offered a possible solution:

"In my mind, the only way we'd really put this issue to rest is to do a very large scientific study that looks at hundreds of thousands of children who are vaccinated versus hundreds of thousands of children that are not vaccinated, and we compare the rates of autism in those two groups."
I was encouraged at the end of the show when the health officials complained about the power and existence of the Internet, as if immediate information were somehow a threat to the vaccine program.

Parents, when people are blaming a problem on the availability of information -- like China trying to keep their population in the dark -- you know there's a bigger problem, and another side to the story -- a side that Frontline knowingly chose not to share.




There was another Doctor that was interviewed for several hours and not one second of his interview was included on the Frontline show. Please read the following link:

Autism Grandma

I contacted PBS through their website.

I selected "General Questions" as the message subject:

I have a few questions that I would greatly appreciate being answered:

How much funding does PBS receive from the pharmaceutical industry?

Was this program, "The Vaccine Wars" funded by the pharmaceutical industry?

Was it the original intention of PBS to produce a documentary which fairly addressed both sides of the vaccines issue?

Did the pharmaceutical funding issue prevent PBS from fairly airing the interviews of those who are against the current vaccine schedule?

Or did PBS initially plan a concerted effort to produce a so called "documentary" which would promote the pharmaceutical industry vaccine propaganda?

Were your original stated intentions to present both sides of the story fairly, then railroaded by pharmaceutical funding interests, or was this entire program produced solely with the intention of covering up the truth about vaccines and autism?

I doubt that you will answer me, but I would really like to know the answers to my questions.

Craig Willoughby

The comments at the HuffPo piece from the Vaccine Injury and Death Promoters are just as mysogenistic and boorish as we've come to expect from them.

"Oh, she used to pose in Playboy! Are you going to listen to her?"

So, since she bared her boobs, she's wrong? Doesn't that also invalidate Amanda Peet's parroted talking points, since she also used to bare her boobs?

I'm thinking about making a new website; I'm still thinking about how to do it right now, but I'm going to probably have to do a search logic engine in order to tally each of the purile and adolescent attacks from the Vaccine Injury and Death Promoters and list them all.


Of course Frontline also wanted Jenny to "help balance" the view of the not so handsome Dr. Offit.


Jenny, you have good instincts.. I believe too there is much more to the story and there's a reason that's not being revealed why the public is being kept in the dark.


A real Frontline story on the Vaccine War would provide a massive loss for the "far beyond corrupt" vaccine industry.

The industry has provided a sort of "20 year Thalidomide for children" program that continues to this day.

It is certainly not scary to see that their #1 weapon is still only Dr. Offit and his endless "science of bullshit" epidemology .

Jared B. Hughes

My Brother-in-Law, a part-time naturopath researcher, wrote this thoughtful commentary on the Frontline piece. I filed a complaint with the FCC and posted on the FRONTLINE comments box as LegacyPlanning (my Twitter handle). I encourage others to read Roman Bystrianyk's post on this subject and his other posts on vaccines.


I would love to see what would happen if the local talk radio hosts would take PBS on...


There was also that quote from the mom who was angry at non-vaccinating parents that if their children got sick because of these negligent parents, "it could get ugly." Wow Frontline threatened vax hesitant people on national TV--amazing.

They forget that those of us with children rendered autistic by vaccines are the ones that DID vaccinate our kids and got burned.


I think the youtube conversation between Dr. Wakefield and Dr. Mercola is very convincing. Talk about a quiet, calm doctor, that's the essence of Wakefield.

Perhaps this is insensitive, but if people have before-vaccine and after-vaccine videos of their children, they could post in a central location on youtube or a website dedicated to the purpose. That would be a direct and immediate way to show that there are medical events associated with vaccine injury.

Maybe doctors who have done research about the effects of vaccines or related topics could be persuaded to talk on camera and have these videos on youtube.

I'm just throwing ideas around here. I didn't find the documentaries about Brian Deer and the GMC to be either engaging or convincing. Another approach is necessary for the United States.

PBS and NPR are wholly-owned subsidiaries of the pharmaceutical companies. The internet is what's left and it's not being fully utilized.


This isn't intended to be "mean" but isn't it pretty commonly known that PBS always has its own agenda and they are not to be trusted, no matter what issue is being presented?


Michael Getler is the PBS ombudsman who reviews content for journalistic integrity. Here is his number. I just left a message that I will never ever again give PBS money since they have obviously gone corperate. You can email him at or ... leave him a nice phone message.
Submit Your Comments
Have a comment related to the journalistic integrity of PBS content? Send an E-mail to Michael Getler or contact him at 703-739-5290.


momofvaccineinjuredchild, can your husband put a stop payment on that check?


My husband and I also noticed how they HAD to say Jenny was a playboy model, as if that diminishes her as a person, and as if that is the only thing she has accomplished in her lifetime! I was so happy to see Jenny's face on the show, but definitely not satisfied with the lack of scientific background to the theories about autism and vaccines. What a disgrace PBS did to the community!

Anne McElroy Dachel


Autism Awareness: Causes and controversey

Mike is right!....


"They're terrified of the power of the internet. Create your own e-mail, or copy the one below and send it to your own list.

"Subject line:
"Sexism and bias at PBS - please stop donating

"On April 27th, PBS introduced Jenny McCarthy not as an advocate for safer vaccines, not as a best-selling author of seven books, not as a film and television actress, but as a Playboy playmate - in a transparent and sexist attempt to discredit her.

"PBS, heavily funded by the pharmaceutical industry, launched an all-out war on Ms. McCarthy and on all Americans who do not subject their children to every single one of the 36 vaccines in the CDC's current vaccine schedule. (Our former CDC Director is now president of Merck's vaccine division.) In the show titled "The Vaccine War," not a single doctor or scientist critical of the current vaccine schedule was heard from. The interviews of at least two such doctors ended up on the cutting-room floor.

"Thank you for taking the time to examine this important issue. Please forward this e-mail to anyone you like."

Posted by Mike April 28, 10 05:15 PM

Anne Dachel Media


Remember PBS is run off donations, and who can contribute more than the pharmaceutical companies? It took more than 50 years to prove that cigarettes cause cancer because Big Tobacco had so much influence. It's unfair and unethical to let the pharmaceutical companies influence such a serious topic.

michael framson

To momofvaccineinjuredchild:

Just a suggestion: Write to your PBS station and request your money back. I imagine you thought you were supporting a network with the highest ethical and journalistic standards.

What you received instead is journalistic fraud.

Getting your money back will be tremendously empowering.

Let us know what you decide to do.

Carrie V.

I am the mother of an Autistic child and I TOO believe the overall effect of vaccines needs to be evaluated and our children protected. It IS however irresponsible for Jenny McCarthy to attack the Autism Speaks group. Jenny has attacked a lot of groups for having a one sided view and stance on the vaccine issue, but she also attacks any group or person who in any way disagrees with her stance or view on it. As a parent with a child with ASD she also is taking an irresponsible stance by telling parents her son was, "cured" of his ASD. It is wonderful his symptoms have diminished and he has greatly improved, there is no cure for Autism, it is the hard work and dedication of parents that help our children overcome. Jenny is attacking Dateline for not running a fair airing, then she is attacking Autism Speaks, for not seeing things exactly her way?? We all as parents need to come TOGETHER for our children as a whole to fight for their rights, and for the research and safety of all vaccines, foods, drugs, etc our children encounter. After all, we are the only ones they have to fight for them!


Jenny - You are teflon (or at least appear to be). I hold you in the highest esteem. Thank you for sticking your neck - way, way out for all of us.


I'm filing with the FCC as well.

Does Jenny have legal grounds to take action against PBS for not coming through on this promise?

"Frontline will carry out a detailed and even-handed investigation including voices from all sides of the controversy including parents, activists, physicians, scientists, lawyers, politicians and vaccine manufacturers."

Seems to me, the word "and" at the end means every one of those professions must be represented on both sides.

If there's a case here and Age of Autism posts a Paypal button, I will definitely contribute. I would love to see Jenny go after PBS. The publicity for our cause would be tremendous. And most important, justice needs to be done.

Raymond Gallup

The media is on the side of pharmaceutical companies. They will never betray their pro-vaccine friends that fund their programming.

The media, the CDC, NIH and IACC will never be beaten until autoimmune research is funded by independent autism organizations that have the guts to step up to the plate and do what is right. Until then the pro-vaccine people will win the war and families and kids with autism will lose.

The facts!!!

Sad but true.

Maurine Meleck

Thanks, Jenny. I wrote something on Huff Po.
Thanks Jake, too. I just filed a complaint. You made it easy.


most people can see a slanted story. i think it works in favor of us, the public saw how much information was lacking and will know that the missing information was in support of unsafe vaccines.

i belive that in order to get change you must live the change first. talk to your doctor(calmly) explain what you want and ask for his support. talk to your friends and family give them the correct information(don't be too pushy)have talks over dinner, at church,PTA meetings. talk where ever people will hear you. but fill the air with sound information not anger and emotions.

belive in change and change will happen.


WOOOOO HOOOOO! That was awesome. The BEST was this:

"Parents, when people are blaming a problem on the availability of information -- like China trying to keep their population in the dark -- you know there's a bigger problem, and another side to the story -- a side that Frontline knowingly chose not to share."

Luther R. Norman

Hi Jenny,

Once again we all need to keep in mind the shoddy journalism clarly shown this time on FRONTLINE(PBS).

Whatever it takes, people have got to wake up to the reality of the situation!


Okay, I commented 6 times to the morons populating HuffPo. That's all I can do, as my head will explode with anger and indignation if I do any more. Gotta cut myself off.

Keep it up, Jenny! Like I always tell new people to this issue - there's a REASON this "war" is not going away!

Karie Ghammashi

Thanks for the link, I filed a complaint!

michael framson

They say that in war, that truth is the first casualty. The second and third casualties are honesty and integrity.

Hey FRONTLINE: How does it feel to kill the truth, flush honesty down the toilet, and destroy your integrity in 60 minutes or less? Job well done.

Jenny you and the tens of thousands of informed parents are an absolutely a powerful, formidable, unstopped, force for truth and justice. The powers that be, are afraid of the truth. It's inconvenient.

Thanks Jenny for speaking the truth with honesty and integrity.


Jenny...YOU ROCK!! We, as parents, could not fight this without you! You are an amazing mom and advocate for people with Autism. Thank you!


My husband just wrote a check to PBS last week can be DAMN SURE that will NEVER happen again...


Well put, Jenny. I was smoking mad last night after watching Frontline. They might have as well called us (mother's with autistic children who tell other people their story) Al-Qaeda. I'm going to follow the FCC link and file a complaint as well.

Josh Day

Jake, I've been thinking about what to do ever since this garbage aired. No point in writing to Frontline--they break their own rules, but who cares? Some higher-up desk jockey will just fire off a one sentence email and say, "No, I don't think this has any grounds." I too will be filing a complaint -- I'll also be forwarding both a transcript of my complaint as well as a screenshot to PBS. Thanks for the link.

It's so easy to be cynical and feel utterly powerless. But look at what Jamie Oliver has revealed -- granted, he's a commercial entity and has some serious corporate support behind him, but he got into the school cafeterias and pointed a camera at the disgusting and disease-causing swill being served to kids. Then he rallied a bunch of parents when the bureaucrats started to write him off and filmed that too.

Enough is enough.

John Stone

Well, if they can't do balance, why can't do balance?

Could it be because they already know they've lost.

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