With respect for Hollywood actor Rob Schneider’s work history in which some people may have genuinely enjoyed his acting talents, it is becoming more and more apparent that the man himself is just … well, just awful.
Having made a name for himself on Saturday Night Live, Schneider went on to become a C-list sidekick for Adam Sandler during the 90’s. After that, his attempts at directing and mainstream television, if anything, illustrated his complete lack of talent and the general disinterest the public had in his efforts.
It should be no surprise then that he joins the equally inept and vacuous personality Jenny McCarthy in the fight against vaccines. Schneider has been vocal enough in the past about his distrust of vaccines and his belief that they cause autism. But just recently he stepped up his game and began a torrential flood of crazytown all over Twitter. It all started with an article in Raw Story which explained how Schneider had ‘proof’ that the CDC fraudulently altered autism study findings to hide the link to vaccines.
Yes, that’s right; renowned investigative journalist Rob Schneider has uncovered the truth.
Except that he hasn’t. What Rob was alluding to when he contacted California governor Jerry Brown and what he has been vomiting all over the Twitterverse is a rehash of a very old conspiracy. This coincides with a CNN iReport (user-generated news story) making similar claims that was removed by CNN for being ridiculous, but restored when conspiracy theorists went ballistic.
The heart of this issue is a manufactured controversy due to one former CDC scientist William Thompson making claims that a report 13 years ago showing vaccines causing autism in African American children under 36 months old. The findings (if you want to call them that) were interpreted by anti-vaccination zealot Brian Hooker in remarkably comedic ways, further demolishing the quackery-loving biochemical engineer’s credibility. And while this ‘confession’ from Thompson has no real basis in reality, it has not stopped the lunatics like Mike Adams of Natural News from manufacturing more controversy. The degree in which this non-story is completely plucked from thin air is incredible, especially given William Thompson will not officially accuse the CDC. It will be an interesting drama to watch unfold if any of the anti-vaccination groups attempt to pursue legal action and Thompson is forced to testify.
That is the basics of the controversy. More information can be found here and here.
Keep in mind, none of this is especially new. Ever since Andrew Wakefield published his fraudulent paper back in 1998, there has been a frantic push for fear-mongering ‘activists’ to prove some sort of connection between autism and vaccines. Time and again, these are disproven, yet still they persist in the fringe realms of pseudoscience. Earlier this spring, this story gained some momentum, but was still lurking on the sidelines only showing up on semi-popular woo websites. So why has it started to explode this week?
I’ll give you a hint. The answer is two words and is interchangeable with terrible, terrible actor.
Conspiracy theorists the world over will always have ridiculous stories and claims. They will continue to justify themselves as the keepers of some hidden knowledge. It’s not hard to see how they paint themselves as warriors trying to make people ‘wake up’ about some deep dark secret nobody is paying attention to. This is easy because people can be fairly delusional for a myriad of reasons. But when someone with celebrity status embraces this type of abject lunacy, it lends a sort of pop culture credibility to it. I know the notion that Rob Schneider of all people could be held with any type of intellectual esteem is silly, but take a gander at his Twitter and see the people eating it up.
The saddest part of this entire situation is that by us even reporting the story, lends to Rob exactly what he wants: attention. The desperate craving of a long forgotten unfunny comedian will be fulfilled by us paying attention, if even to mock his failures as a movie star and his severe lapses in judgement pushing an anti-vaccination agenda.
But it can’t be let go. If even one child goes unvaccinated because someone listened to this under-educated actor, he should be ashamed.
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