Photo Credit: ABC/Donna Svennevik
The View has released photos of new co-host Jenny McCarthy, who is seen mixing it up with Barbara Walters, Sherri Shepherd and Whoopi Goldberg. Smiling big in red lipstick and kicking up her shiny, platform heels, McCarthy looks ready to par-tay. Get it? She's going to be the fun one.
The View's producers are smart to play up McCarthy's goofy side, which has long been her trademark. (Her iconic, 1996 Rolling Stone cover summed her up well.)
Fact is, that daffy oddball persona has changed over the last half dozen years. People are more likely to associate the 40-year-old McCarthy with her autism activism -- she claims to have cured her son Evan, 11 -- and her widely discredited view that childhood vaccines can cause the disorder. Many public health experts have a lot of animosity toward McCarthy, because parents who've followed her advice to skip or delay vaccinations put children at risk for life-threatening illnesses. The New Yorker,
McCarthy is a visible leader in the anti-vaccination movement, which has contributed to a decrease in vaccinations nationwide, and an increase in preventable diseases. Just this week, an article in Slate asked whether parents who don't vaccinate their kids should be held legally responsible if their child infects someone with a vaccine-preventable disease.
Perhaps too optimistically, The New York Times asked a View spokesperson if McCarthy would be prohibited from discussing the topic. Alas, the answer was no. The reply: “All the hosts speak openly on a variety of topics and as has been stated repeatedly, Hot Topics are not scripted.”
But if these newly released photos are any indication, the version of McCarthy who will be joining the roundtable on Sept. 9 will be the harmlessly batty one -- and not the misguided one. And the show's "anything goes" vibe can't possibly be as loose as producers would have us believe. Walters is a serious journalist. She's not about to allow The View's lighthearted, frothy spirit (or even its hunger for ratings) run amok of basic medical facts. Frankly, if there's one place where McCarthy will get challenged on unproven claims, it's in this den of strong-willed women.
Jennifer Graham Kizer is an Atlanta-based writer who covers pop culture and watches too much TV. Luckily, iVillage gives her an excuse to watch even more. Follow her on Google+.