Anti-vaccine advocate Jenny McCarthy may be one of the most vocal voices in the fight against vaccinations. She is also not very good at understanding how Twitter works. Recently McCarthy asked her Twitter followers, “What is the most important personality trait you look for in a mate? Reply using #JennyAsks.” As expected the answers that followed had nothing to do with the question and everything to do with her stance on vaccines.
McCarthy went on a tirade in 2008, telling Larry King, “We need to get rid of the toxins, the mercury — which I am so tired of everyone saying it’s been removed. It has not been removed from the shots.” The shots her son had received were free of mercury and even the since phased out thimerosal.
Even after Andrew Wakefield admitted to lying in his infamous MMR vaccine study, McCarthy continues to talk about the fraudulent study and other non-peer reviewed findings which are far and few in-between. Many of her statements have focused on comments made by lawyers who have tried unsuccessfully to sue the manufacturers of vaccinations.
So what happened with the #JennyAsks hashtag? Here are some of the responses that were posted almost immediately after her question was posted:
Is Jenny McCarthy a hypocrite?
Somebody who gets that refusing vaccines because of 'toxins' and then shilling for e-cigs makes you a pathetic hypocrite #JennyAsks
— Becky (@KiwiLawBird) March 15, 2014
Vaccine Advocates Don’t Want Polio
Twitter Users Ask Jenny McCarthy To Prove Vaccine Harms
#JennyAsks ISO tall, dark, handsome man with degree from somewhere other than Google University. #vaccineswork
— Mike Rothschild (@rothschildmd) March 15, 2014
My ideal partner understands that 'doing my own research!!1!' isn't cherry picking blurbs from blogs. #JennyAsks
— Kellie Bauman (@KellieRyanB) March 15, 2014
The list goes on and on and most of the responses are all the same.
Ultimately Jenny McCarthy can learn an important lesson from her #AskJenny hashtag. First, you don’t control a Twitter conversation, and second, internet users like cold hard facts, not “cherry picking” from blogs as many users have stated.