Anti-Vaccine Evangelist Jenny McCarthy Is the New Elisabeth Hasselbeck

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Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Playboy and Singled Out–star-cum-unscientific-voice-against-vaccination Jenny McCarthy is coming to The View as a full-time co-host, ABC announced today. The network, in its press release, notes McCarthy's expertise with "sex and relationships" and alludes to "her religious background" and "parenting beliefs." According to outgoing host/executive producer Barbara Walters, "Jenny brings us intelligence as well as warmth and humor. She can be serious and outrageous." On the outrageous side: McCarthy's outspoken theory that vaccinations gave her son autism.

"I don't watch The View, but I do watch the world of disability, and I know the price that we pay when dangerous conspiracy theories spread," warned David M. Perry in The Atlantic about speculation that McCarthy could become a daily voice with a huge platform.

McCarthy will fill the seat vacated rather abruptly by The View's resident conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who took a job at the always absurd Fox & Friends. While ABC didn't necessarily pull in a token Republican, it did land a passionate blonde who's used to courting controversy. With Walters and co-host Joy Behar both scheduled to leave The View soon, McCarthy — whose public persona in recent years revolves entirely around one issue about which she is not only wrong but potentially malignant — represents a curious start to this new era.