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Celebrity hype ignites ratings from Miley to autism

Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus (R) perform onstage during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center on August 25, 2013
Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus (R) perform onstage during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center on August 25, 2013
Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for MTV

Disapproval and censorship seems to ignite rather than squelch hype in this day and age. The upside for the networks is higher ratings and the money machine is replenished. Trending is the new dollar sign and we find ourselves covering our eyes, while peeking through our fingers, just to get a glimpse.

Celebrities bask in this glow; it’s a win-win, with a twist. Bad girls get to be redeemed; songwriters get to recant; comedians even get second chances.

However, when said celebrities become spokespeople for medicine and politics, the sting has greater punch. Perhaps it is the back story that is more interesting and so vital to families living with disabilities. Autism saturates the news as well, and when these self-anointed sages, publicly denounce everything from vaccines to “autistic kids just badly behaved”, it may be more about their careers than opinion. (More on this later)

“Disgusting”, “shocking”, “appalling”, are the words that described Miley Cyrus’s performance on the 2013 MTV VMA Awards. Please. The media is saturated with shock entertainment, devoted to ratings and attention. This was a bonanza gift to the MTV network. The MTV VMA Awards is a staggering extravaganza that is brilliantly colorful and stunning. The music only pales to the hype and what is the tabloid topper for the next day press.

Visuals do not fail.

Miley Cyrus is taking hits from most news sources, for her raunchy presentation of her hit song, “We Can’t Stop” accompanied by Robin Thicke (Sadly, Robin Thicke’s blockbuster “Blurred Lines” did not get its true show, as the infectious tune conquered the sound waves all summer.)

The most telling comment came from Billboard’s Joe Levy (video here) who spoke with Billy Bush on Access Hollywood and disagreed with the notion of media “backfire”. “It is living on, we are talking about it …raw and spontaneous…This one just dominated.”

However, one highlight for this mother of an autistic child was that the MTV cameras focused on singer songwriter Drake, who was quoted as looking bored during Miley’s performance. Whoops, didn't Drake and J Cole’s song about slurring autism get enough hype? The lyric that has spurned so much anger is: "I'm artistic, you n****s is autistic, retarded." (Story here). Yes, they apologized, but it is the buried recant that simply blurs the lines (no pun intended).

Dennis Leary did it too in his book “There is a huge boom in autism right now because inattentive mothers and competitive dads want an explanation for why their dumb-ass kids can't compete academically, so they throw money into the happy laps of shrinks . . . to get back diagnoses that help explain away the deficiencies of their junior morons. I don't give a [bleep] what these crackerjack whack jobs tell you - your kid is NOT autistic. He's just stupid. Or lazy. Or both." Again, Leary implored the public and said “Sorry.” Apologies don’t erase words; however they do get more press.

Finally, autism activist Jenny McCarthy’s sexual repartee and public exploits certainly match Miley Cyrus’s antics on stage , but lo and behold she is now hosting The View, reportedly a Barbara Walters choice. It’s a morning show. Ms McCarthy is quoted by USA Today as saying: "Let me see if I can put this in scientific terms: Think of autism like a fart, and vaccines are the finger you pull to make it happen." -- while discussing her son Evan's autism"

I do not doubt that Jenny McCarthy loves her son. It is actually none of my business anyway. However, and this is a big caveat, her voice is now speaking for my son's disease. That is my business. Apparently Ms. McCarthy has been given a second chance to have a voice. She has back peddled a bit and softened her punch. Hopefully she won't impair the future for autism awareness.

We are putty in the hands of the media. Let's leave the glitter to Hollywood, and the future of our children to those who research and inspire legitimate hope.

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