Chicago Sun-Times: Jenny McCarthy Isn’t Writing a ‘Parenting Blog’…

***Update***: The Sun-Times told me McCarthy will not be writing about vaccinations.

A couple of days ago, I posted about how Jenny McCarthy signed a deal to write a column for the Chicago Sun-Times‘ “Splash” website.

That link, by the way, is to a post dated 10/23. The original post, which looks virtually the same as this one, went up on 10/19. I’m not sure what changed, and all searches for a cached copy of the old post turned up empty. But many readers have told me their (polite, respectful) comments were being deleted from the 10/19 post. I wonder if the old post was deleted because too many commenters were expressing their frustration.

Jenny McCarthy (image via Splash)

I was appalled at the decision because McCarthy is notorious for pushing dangerous ideas.

For those who don’t know, McCarthy believes (with no scientific evidence to back her up) that her son’s autism was caused by childhood vaccines he received. She has done this based on faulty information and has never apologized for it. For years, she has been pushing a harmful message that other parents should stop vaccinating their children because, you know, I HAVE A POWERFUL ANECDOTE!

I wasn’t the only person upset and angry about the decision. It’s just irresponsible for the newspaper to offer up McCarthy as someone worth reading and whose advice you should listen to when she has been so dead wrong on such an important issue like vaccination.

Anyway, yesterday afternoon, I got an email from a staffer at the Chicago Sun-Times.

It seems they weren’t happy with my blog post.

I wanted to note that Jenny McCarthy’s role with Splash is being inaccurately reported in a few places as a “parenting blog,” which you may have read somewhere as a source for your recent posting. Jenny McCarthy’s column and blogging will be lifestyle focused, which includes broad topics including dating, relationships, fitness and the trials and tribulations of being a single mom. It would be inaccurate to report that the contract is for a parenting advice blog.

Let me translate: “You think this is a parenting blog. It is not a parenting blog. Jenny McCarthy will be blogging about many things… including parenting.”

I emailed and called the Sun-Times requesting clarification on the matter since I’m not really sure what the difference is. I also wanted to know whether McCarthy was going to be allowed to promote her anti-vaccine stance on those days when she writes about motherhood.

I made that phone call and sent that email Tuesday afternoon. It’s now Thursday and I still haven’t heard back from anyone. When you’re handling a PR crisis, that’s one hell of a long time to not get back to someone. It suggests that McCarthy can write about whatever she wants, no matter how much damage she does in the process.

If you still have a subscription to the Sun-Times, this would be a good time to cancel it.

On a side note, The Beachwood Reporter managed to get off this fantastic line yesterday:

The Sun-Times Website… is broken this morning. Apparently new hire Jenny McCarthy persuaded them to remove their anti-virus software.

Zing!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fieldsb Brian Fields

    Umm – I get the same impression that it’s a parenting blog, direct from another blogger on the Sun-Times website.

    http://splash.suntimes.com/2012/10/23/jenny-joins-the-splash-team/

    • walkamungus

      From that blog post:
      “But you can tell from my writing that I don’t write like an intellect.”That’s definitely true…

    • Don Gwinn

      Yup.  And after they deleted all the comments from that one and put in a new comment system, I left another one, asking where all the old comments went and why they were deleted.  It wasn’t loving kindness, but it was polite and matter-of-fact.  It’s visible to me, but it says “Your comment is awaiting moderation. (6 days ago.)”

      No other comments are visible.  I assume everyone else is also “awaiting moderation” and the moderator has the week off.

  • Gus Snarp

    From the Splash link:

    She’ll tackle parenting (“like hiding in the closet hoping your kid can make his own dinner — things that all moms can relate to and giggle”) and beyond, including dating and family issues.

    Not a parenting blog, just an advice column where parenting appears as the first thing in the three item list of topics, is given more importance in the description, oh, and the third thing is family, so parenting again. But it’s not a parenting blog! It does look like it’s accepting comments again. Let’s see how that goes…

    • Entertaining Doubts

      A bit of a side issue, but . . . .

      Wow. “Hiding in the closet hoping your kid can make his own dinner” is the funniest example of parenting hijinks the Splash people could come up with?

      Sounds like the parent in question (a) isn’t mature enough to suck it up and do the hard work of parenting, (b) needs to take his/her anxiety meds (oh no, Big Pharma!), or (c) has a really tone-deaf sense of humor. The first two seem to warrant a visit from child protective services, and the third just implies bad writing.

      I don’t know, maybe I just hang out with a more responsible, resourceful crowd of parents, but the wacky stuff we tend to “giggle” about doesn’t usually revolve around child neglect. Or maybe it’s meant sarcastically, in a “duct tape your kid to the wall” sort of way, and I’m just not getting it. Again, I blame bad writing.

      • Baby_Raptor

        I may be giving her more credit than she’s due, but I can understand if it’s coming from just plain being worn out. I once told my son I was going to throw him in the trashcan.

        Granted, he was two weeks old, and couldn’t understand a word I’d said. And I hadn’t slept in 4 days. Also, there was someone else there to take him and change him while I made more coffee. A single mother doesn’t have that out. 

        And, yeah. Probably giving her too much credit. 

        • Matto the Hun

          You get a free pass for the lolz.

    • Don Gwinn

      I think that’s precisely the point that the Sun-Times staffer was trying to make: we’ve all jumped to the hasty conclusion that McCarthy would be writing parenting advice, based on nothing more substantial than the Sun-Times Splash’s own gushing feature on McCarthy’s new role, which plainly stated that she would be writing a parenting advice column.
      So, you know . . . . shame on us.

      • Annie

         Yes, we should all know better and look for a more reputable news source next time.

  • Gus Snarp

    In the weird world of a newspaper’s website censoring respectful commentary, I went to add a comment to the new article, where no comments appeared. After submitting my comment I was taken to a page showing my comment as “awaiting moderation”. But better still, my original comment on the original article showed up there as “awaiting moderation” as well, with a timestamp of 6 days ago. So, yeah, we’ll see if they ever let negative comments see the light of day.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mrs.schaarschmidt Barb Schaarschmidt

    Holy Crap. I went over to have a look. Each article is headed with a dumb headline and a different sexy picture of her. One headline read “Mommyhood and PMS: Uh-oh Tinkie Winkie” Seriously? And her advice in that column is that it’s just fine if you essentially ignore your kid and wish he would go away during PMS, it’s just fine. I’m not too worried about anyone taking her seriously.

  • Isilzha

    Ugh…disgusting.  Anyone who promotes Jenny McCarthy loses ALL credibility about anything.

  • OCRazor

    My son is autistic, and I don’t know of anyone in our ‘community’ that takes her seriously.   Or outside the autistic community for that matter.  I’m not advocating Jenny as columnist, but I think others like Dr. Laura are much worse (unless Jenny starts in against vaccines again).

    Besides, most guys will probably just look at her pictures.

    • Mairianna

      Yeah.  And dontcha just feel awful about her being a “single parent”?  It must be so tough having to call the nanny to get her to come in when you have to fly off for a movie premeire or spend a weekend shopping in Paris…..

  • http://twitter.com/morganducks Paul Morgan

    “Lifestyle product.” Pretty much sums up how vacuous and worthless media companies and their “journalism” are today. As a former newspaperman, it disgusts me.

  • Sailor

    “The Sun-Times Website… is broken this morning. Apparently new hire Jenny
    McCarthy persuaded them to remove their anti-virus software. ”
    That is really funny!

  • waybeyondsoccermom

    The 
    staffer at the Chicago Sun-Times cannot have any credibility, not when the titles of two of McCarthy’s opinion pieces at Splash are: “My kid is way better than your kid” and “Mommyhood and PMS: Uh-oh Tinkie Winkie.”  McCarthy’s not writing a parenting blog, right.

  • Don Gwinn

    This post should have been headed with a warning not to go read the “Ask Jenny” blog posts.  You could prop up Mike Royko’s dry bones in front of a laptop at Starbucks, leave for a week, and when you came back there’d be better work written than any two of those posts put together.

    Is it weird that there don’t seem to be any people writing to “Ask Jenny” for advice, or at least none she cares to publish?  I know she just started, but . . . . maybe that’s just me.


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