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“The View” co-host and anti-vaccine crusader Jenny McCarthy, who believes that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine gave her son autism, is squashing a new rumor that suggests her son Evan never even had the disorder.
The rumor was first spread by an “exclusive” report from RadarOnline — which has since been deleted — and which in no way is an exclusive report, but rather an inaccurate summary of a 2010 article in TIME Magazine.
The original TIME article by Karl Taro Greenfeld explored McCarthy’s controversial stance on vaccines and her belief that home therapies cured her son of his autism, contrasted with reports from the medical community. “McCarthy’s way [of handling autism], however, is one that flies in the face of all credible research on what does and does not cause autism and whether it can be treated,” wrote Greenfeld of the former Playmate who later became a danger to public health. “McCarthy claims Evan was healed through a range of experimental and unproved biomedical treatments; even more controversially, she blames the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine for giving her son autism.”
RadarOnline discovered the story three years later and aggregated it, falsely characterizing McCarthy as “changing her tune” about her son. Greenfeld wrote, instead, that it was the the scientific community who had raised questions about McCarthy’s claims:
She believes she did fix her boy. A psychological evaluation from UCLA’s neuropsychiatric hospital, dated May 10, 2005, was “conclusive for a diagnosis of Autistic Disorder,” and yet here, running toward us on a warm California afternoon, is Evan, shouting out, “Are you here to play with me? When are we going to play?” McCarthy’s boy is a vivacious, articulate and communicative child who seems to have beaten the condition. He is an inspiration, the fact of him as incontrovertible as any study done in any laboratory in the world.
Or is this the truth? There are dark murmurings from scientists and doctors asking, Was her son ever really autistic? Evan’s symptoms — heavy seizures, followed by marked improvement once the seizures were brought under control — are similar to those of Landau-Kleffner syndrome, a rare childhood neurological disorder that can also result in speech impairment and possible long-term neurological damage. Or, as other pediatricians have suggested, perhaps the miracle I have beheld is the quotidian miracle of childhood development: a delayed 2-year-old catching up by the time he is 7, a commonplace, routine occurrence, nothing more surprising than a short boy growing tall. It is enraging to the mother to hear that nothing was wrong with her boy — she held him during his seizures, saw his eyes roll up after he received his vaccines — and how can you say that she doesn’t know what she knows?
McCarthy has responded to the rumor via a post on Twitlonger, calling the rumor “blatantly inaccurate and completely ridiculous.” The TV host plans to take “every legal measure necessary to set this straight.”
McCarthy’s post in full, below:
Stories circulating online, claiming that I said my son Evan may not have autism after all, are blatantly inaccurate and completely ridiculous. Evan was diagnosed with autism by the Autism Evaluation Clinic at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Hospital and was confirmed by the State of California (through their Regional Center). The implication that I have changed my position, that my child was not initially diagnosed with autism (and instead may suffer from Landau-Kleffner Syndrome), is both irresponsible and inaccurate. These stories cite a “new” Time Magazine interview with me, which was actually published in 2010, that never contained any such statements by me. Continued misrepresentations, such as these, only serve to open wounds of the many families who are courageously dealing with this disorder. Please know that I am taking every legal measure necessary to set this straight.
Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at email@example.com.More Prachi Gupta.
A photo contest winner
A photo contest winner
“In life many people have two faces. You think you know someone, but they are not always what they seem. You can’t always trust people. My hero would be someone who is trustworthy, honest and always has their heart in the right place.” Ateya Grade 9 @ Mirman Hayati School (Herat, Afghanistan)
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