Commentary

In An Unusual Monologue, Kimmel Blasts Anti-Vaccine Advocates

In an unusual move for the host of a late-night comedy show, Jimmy Kimmel took a strong stand Thursday night against the growing anti-vaccine movement.

He raised the issue during his opening monologue on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” ripping parents who have decided not to have their children vaccinated against such one-time scourges as polio, smallpox and measles.

While the monologue was comedic in tone -- or at least semi-comedic -- Kimmel's disgust with the anti-vaccine crowd was crystal clear.

“Here in L.A., there are schools in which 20 percent of the students aren't vaccinated because parents here are more scared of gluten than they are of smallpox!” Kimmel said. “And as a result, we've got measles again! 

Kimmel, 47, did not explain why he felt compelled at this particular moment to speak out against the anti-vaccine advocates, but it could be because he and his wife have an 8-month-old baby daughter (he also has two older children from a former marriage).

“Unvaccinated kids put all children in danger,” Kimmel said, “especially babies who are too young to get the vaccination[s].”

Comedic or not, this portion of Kimmel's monologue represented a rare (if not nearly unheard of) instance in which a late-night host came out clearly in support of one side in a divisive social controversy.

In a nutshell (and at the risk of oversimplifying the conflict), anti-vaccine advocates believe that certain ingredients in traditional vaccines that have been administered to children for generations might cause autism. One celebrity in particular who has become closely associated with the anti-vaccine movement is Jenny McCarthy, who has long blamed vaccinations with bringing about her own son's autism.

In his monologue, Kimmel derided McCarthy by name -- another unusual move for a late-night host.

“A little shot … and poof! Polio is gone,” Kimmel said, pointing out how 20th century vaccines eradicated some of the world’s worst diseases. “But some people do not buy into that,” he said, “because they did a Google search and Jenny McCarthy popped up and she had clothes on, so they listened to what she had to say and decided not to vaccinate their kids!”

Kimmel complained that the anti-vaccine advocates have chosen to ignore the opinions of a multitude of experts -- such as doctors, for example -- in favor of adopting the views of anti-vaccine advocates whose “expertise” pales in comparison to the pro-vaccine advocacy of the medical and scientific communities.

To underline this point, the “Kimmel” show recruited a group of real doctors (such as the one in the image, above) to participate in an impassioned parody PSA that was seen on the show Thursday night. In the video, the doctors grew gradually more upset at the thought of parents declining to have their children vaccinated.

The video is a stellar example of how comedy can be used to get a point across about a serious subject.

7 comments about "In An Unusual Monologue, Kimmel Blasts Anti-Vaccine Advocates".
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  1. Thomas Siebert from BENEVOLENT PROPAGANDA, February 27, 2015 at 1:43 p.m.

    Remember: Shortly before he died in a car accident, reporter Michael Hastings revealed that the government legalized propaganda to the American people.


    http://www.buzzfeed.com/mhastings/congressmen-seek-to-lift-propaganda-ban#.gb3dd34pZB

  2. Michael Kaplan from Blue Sky Creative, February 27, 2015 at 2:11 p.m.

    Thomas: Not sure of the point of your comment... Was eradicating polio, measles, mumps and rubella just propaganda? Do you also think the moon landing was faked, a plane didn't crash into the pentagon and the 9/11 attack was really just controlled demolition? Sometimes facts are just facts.

  3. Thomas Siebert from BENEVOLENT PROPAGANDA, February 27, 2015 at 2:59 p.m.

    Here's the deal, Michael: In the greater good, I believe vaccines are good for humanity. There is no doubt that many diseases have been eradicated. It's a fact.

    THAT SAID, I personally know a father whose child had an extremely adverse reaction to a vaccine that left the child mentally damaged. That's also a fact. I have witnessed the result. It's tragic.

    You want more facts? Google "The Cutter Incident." In the 1955 about 200 people were paralyzed and ten died after contracting polio from the Salk polio vaccine. Certain lots of the vaccine contained virus that had not been inactivated in spite of manufacturers’ adherence to federal government standards.

    You could then further Google for diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT) immunization in the 1970s and 1980s. During this period, the number of lawsuits brought against vaccine manufacturers increased dramatically, and manufacturers made large payouts to individuals and families who suffered injury from the vaccine. It was this vaccine that forever altered the child of my personal acquaintance, FYI.

    When you're done Googling and reading about those two examples, you can then check out this story from WIRED just a couple weeks ago, that shows the FDA is completely in the pocket of big pharma: (http://www.wired.com/2015/02/infoporn-proof-fda-isnt-protecting-americans-health/)

    So what is the value of one child's life ruined, measured against millions who are now protected by vaccines? It's not for me to say, not a decision I have to make and I thank god for that. All my children are vaccinated.

    But if you think all vaccines are 100% safe 100% of the time, you're kidding yourself, Michael. And if you don't question a government that is now legally allowed to propagandize its people, started a war under false pretenses that has bankrupted the nation and vilified us around the world, and was just this week revealed to be running a black ops site out of Chicago (and god knows where else) on American shores, you're a much bigger danger than anybody who might question the moon landing or what really happened on 9/11 -- which, incidentally, includes the former head of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Co-Chair of the Congressional Inquiry Into 9/11, Sen. Bob Graham, who surely knows more about it than you or I, and has spent the past couple years pointing out that 28 pages of the initial 9/11 investigation remain classified (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/12/the-missing-pages-of-the-9-11-report.html).

    I suppose I shouldn't expect a dubious nature from a guy who probably means well and founded a boutique agency called "Blue Sky Creative," but I would hope everybody else who is a true American Patriot and loves this country's ideals increasingly questions EVERYTHING in 2015, because laws have been passed that make it legal to lie to us. To think that means they can but don't, isn't just blue sky thinking; it's dangerous.

  4. George Linzer from Potomac River Media, February 27, 2015 at 4:53 p.m.

    Thanks, Thomas. Very clearly articulated and important point-of-view that is absolutely essential for any honest and productive public debate. Particularly in healthcare, the point is that many questions have no black-or-white answer but instead fall into a vast gray area of how much risk is acceptable? In some cases, the risk is contained to an individual - if I do or don't do this, only I will be affected. With vaccination, the equation is vastly different, since if I don't get the measles vaccine I could potential infect many others.

    Like you, fortunately, I don't have to know the answer, but I do know that this might present a good area for research: Is it possible to develop a test that can tell us who will be adversely affected by vaccination? Such tests are available in some cancer cases to determine optimal treatment options in order to avoid ineffective treatments and their unnecessary negative side effects.

  5. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, February 27, 2015 at 7:34 p.m.

    It is not a social issue. It is a medical/scientific one. This is not a US government issue. It is a universal issue. You would have to say all the governments of the world (excluding a few radical 7th century ones) would be in on the same propaganda to save lives and major disabilities. It is a media responsibility to get the information out the best way possible, in this case this time it was Kimmel who is taking that responsibility. It can then be put on the table of who controls the media and the message and damage control or continuity.

  6. Melissa Pollak from none, February 28, 2015 at 10:57 a.m.

    Kudos to Jimmy Kimmel for making this contribution to public understanding of how science works. Unfortunately, there will always be some members of our society who fail to understand.

  7. George Linzer from Potomac River Media, March 1, 2015 at 11:09 a.m.

    Paula, I disagree. It is a social policy issue on which, contrary to what I wrote the other day, we all should figure out where we stand in order to ensure that the people we elect, and the people those elected officials appoint, reflect the will of the majority. Certainly we should base our decisions on hard science, but the science can only tell us about the risks of vaccinating vs. not vaccinating. Makers of social policy then have to decide what is in the best interests of society.

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