Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Challenge to George Stroumboulopoulos

I happened to catch Jenny McCarthy's segment on Friday. It is my understanding that the format of your show is more about gossip and pop culture rather than news, or 'infotainment'. However, you, your producers and staff should be aware of the responsibility that you have about the messages and information that you send to people, and the negativity and misinformation that that particular segment has in regard to actual autistic persons, such as myself.

There has been a lack of real autistic persons being represented in the media, we are always 'spoken for' by the likes of McCarthy and parent-run advocacy groups. It's high time that people realize that many of us can and do speak for ourselves. And for my part, I would like to start by refuting the claims of McCarthy that the mercury based preservative that were used in some vaccines was the direct or indirect cause of autism. There are those who basically say that all that autism is is mercury poisoning because it is a known neurotoxin. That I have no dispute with. But as for the autism/mercury connection, the science is just is not there, it has been refuted study after study. It has NEVER been proven in any lab setting that mercury causes autism. It may have been 'proven' in a recent civil case in an American federal court, but a judge cannot make a scientific determination.

As for McCarthy and her self-righteous claims of taking on the medical establishment and the Centre for Disease Control, it needs to be pointed out where she had gotten her information. On the Oprah Winfrey show, she talked about her Ph.D. from 'Google U' and on the Larry King Live show she admitted that she had never known of any adults with autism (Read the whole post from the beginning). What she and her ilk are doing are demonizing autism (as it is the worst thing you could possibly get, even worse than death), and causing some parents to refuse to vaccinate their children. My challenge to you who work at 'The Hour' would be to admit to spreading quackery and pseudoscience around and apologize for it, to parents who may start harbouring some doubts about vaccinating their children as well as the autism community (that's right, we are a community now) or at the very least, find someone who is actually qualified to practice medicine to refute the claims of McCarthy, of whom I'm certain that there are plenty and so much to pick apart.

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