Bill Maher Now Thinking Maybe Vaccines DO Cause Autism After All
Over the last decade or so, there have been multiple breakouts of measles and other formerly near-eradicated illnesses across the United States and elsewhere, all because a bunch of stupid people think those vaccines cause autism. Most of this really started when Jenny McCarthy of MTV's Singled Out fame, decided that her son's autism was caused by a vaccine. This was after, of course, she ran an entire website for few years about how he was a "crystal child" (which is like an indigo child, but equally not a real thing).
Last night, Bill Maher brought on Dr. Jay Gordon, the very doctor that hepped McCarthy to the whole "vaccines cause autism" thing, and had a chat with him. Was it a chat in which any of Gordon's views were challenged? It was not! In fact, Maher was far more dismissive of those who call the doctor "anti-vaxx" or "crazy," because he does give vaccines to people and has even been vaccinated himself, so there.
The audio on this is a little janky at first, but it gets better once they start talking:
S17, E33 Jay Gordon; Ronan Farrow; Christina Bellantoni; Dennis Prager on Real Time With Bill Maher www.youtube.com
The "interview" involved Maher talking and defending Gordon a lot more than it involved Gordon talking. He wanted to know if after he was interviewed on other shows if the people he was being interviewed by waited until the interview was over and then suggested to him that they secretly agreed with him and said "But you can't say that on television!" And Gordon agreed that yes, sometimes that happens, but you can't say it on television. They both agreed vehemently that he would never be allowed to say any of these things on television, while... on a television show saying those things.
Maher then said:
"You know, to call you this crazy person, really, what you're just saying is slower, maybe less numbers, and also take into account individuals. People are different. Family history, stuff like that. I don't think this is crazy. The autism issue, they certainly have studied it a million times…and yet, there's all these parents who say, I had a normal child, got the vaccine…this story keeps coming up. It seems to be more realistic to me, if we're just going to be realistic about it "
This, of course, sounds very reasonable until you remember that vaccines do not cause autism and correlation is not causation.
Look. I am not a person who says you can never interview people with terrible or "controversial" views. I'm actually not even anywhere near as bitch eating crackers about Bill Maher as most people are. Sometimes I think he does things really well and when he does I am more than happy to give him credit. This was not good. If you are going to have someone like Dr. Jay Gordon on your show and you do not want to challenge him yourself, because you've now decided that maybe vaccines do cause autism, then you have someone else on the panel who is able to challenge his viewpoint — and, you know, point out that vaccines do not, in fact, cause autism.
Following this, Maher also had Dennis Prager, of Prager U, the fake online university for Cuckoo Bananas Conspiracy Theories 'N' Jesus Talk so that he could say a bunch of stupid and incorrect things about how Russia never interfered with the 2016 election without being challenged on that, either. That discussion was topped off by the two agreeing that Brett Kavanaugh probably never raped anyone.
Ronan Farrow was also on the show, and Maher asked him what he thought his "father," Frank Sinatra (I still contend that Ronan Farrow just looks exactly like Mia Farrow, who herself looks weirdly like Frank Sinatra), would have thought of #MeToo.
This actually could have been a really interesting discussion, but Maher mostly made comments about how Frank Sinatra was a swingin' hep cat who loved the ladies and whatnot, and Farrow got all cheeky and "Oh gosh, I guess you'd have to ask my mom!" about things. Maher did not mention the fact that Sinatra had a terrible temper and was notoriously abusive, at least psychologically, to many of the women he dated and married, including Lana Turner, Ava Gardner and Barbara Sinatra. As far as I know, only one woman has accused him of raping her, but still. That shit counts. Throwing a champagne bottle at Ava Gardner's head and asking your body guard to go to the hotel room of the woman you are seeing and throw a plate of spare ribs in her face because she was too mouthy about disagreeing with you in public, counts. Quite frankly, I would like to know what Ronan Farrow thinks about that, or about Roman Polansky, because I think it's actually interesting when people discuss the ways in which they are sometimes personally conflicted and we should all probably do that more.
For a person who whines a whole lot about how "easily offended" everyone is, he is awfully delicate with his guests, even when they are blatantly wrong.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse