WHAT?? Dr. Oz Is A Quack? I’m Shocked!

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I regard Oprah Winfrey’s conduct in the 2006 James Frey scandal signature significance regarding her priorities and character. When it was revealed that Frey’s “memoir,” “A Million Little Pieces,” which Oprah had promoted in her show’s book club, was a near-total fabrication, her immediate response consisted of, in essence, “Who cares,  if people like it?” Then, when the public response to her response was overwhelmingly negative, Oprah turned on a dime and ambushed Frey on the air, condemning him as an unscrupulous fraud. That’s our Oprah.

Oprah has profited by promoting several fakes, frauds and dubious authorities, such as the syndicated Oprah spin-off “Dr. Phil,” featuring a non-doctor who masquerades as a psychologist despite losing his license to practice decades ago. The most successful of all Oprah’s protegés is “Dr. Oz,” or  “America’s Doctor”  Mehmet Oz, now a popular syndicated talk-show host who dispenses medical advice with the aura of a real degree and a convincing air of authority.  When I say popular, I mean it. “The Dr. Oz Show” attracts 2.9 million viewers per day, and ranks in the top five talk shows in the U.S. “I haven’t seen a doctor in eight years,” the New Yorker quoted one fan telling Dr. Oz. “I’m scared. You’re the only one I trust.”

For some reason medical experts have waited over a decade to actually check out the snake oil Dr. Oz has been selling to credulous viewers softened up by Oprah’s House of Truthiness. They were finally roused from their torpor in recent months, after Dr. Oz  appeared before Congress in June and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) knocked him around the chamber, saying that he gave people false hope and that his segments were a “recipe for disaster.” Then, in November, a study he promoted as proving the efficacy of coffee bean weight-loss pills was retracted as junk science.

The British Medical Journal this week published a study analyzing the recommendations handed out on “Dr. Oz” as well as on another popular daytime medical show, “The Doctors.” The study selected forty “Dr. Oz” episodes from last year, and examined 479 separate medical recommendations, comparing them to available medical research. The study found that just 46 % of his recommendations were validated by data, while research contradicted 15%. For 39% of Oz’s advice, there was insufficient research and data to substantiate or debunk his claims. (“The Doctors” fared a little better, but not much.)

“Consumers should be skeptical about any recommendations provided on television medical talk shows, as details are limited and only a third to one half of recommendations are based on believable or somewhat believable evidence,” the paper concluded. “… Decisions around healthcare issues are often challenging and require much more than non-specific recommendations based on little or no evidence.”

“Well, why should medical advice be any different that any other kind of “fact” injected into the public’s consciousness by the media and unscrupulous hucksters?” said the frustrated ethicist as he read yet another column by an otherwise admirable African-American journalist suggesting that Michael Brown was an innocent teen gunned down in cold blood by a racist cop?

“Here’s why,” replied his more practical side. “False political and social narratives just make the public less trusting, angry, misinformed, frightened and stupid. Bad medical advice can kill them.” A doctor whose advice is based on myth, guesses, rumors and a profit motive over half the time is as dangerous and useless as the old witchy woman who says you can treat that cancer of your’n with a little stump water, some barleycorn, and some wolf piss.

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Source: Washington Post

17 thoughts on “WHAT?? Dr. Oz Is A Quack? I’m Shocked!

  1. I haven’t seen it personally but allegedly there is a book in print about weight loss, Dr. Oz is one of the authors, and nicotine is suggested for weight loss.
    If it’s true…it is seriously irresponsible and rising to the upper echelon of quackery.
    So…you have a seriously overweight patient, morbidly obese maybe, suffering all that goes with it – hypertension, a bad ticker, clogged arteries…what could be the worst possible addition to that situation?

  2. Life has made me a skeptic, and probably just short of a cynic, toward any media “personality” whose celebrity status overshadows a significant track record of actual professional accomplishment. The pop culture medical shows are especially troubling for the reason you cite, but I’m afraid we will only see more of this if the current trend in viewers’ taste doesn’t slow it’s downward spiral. There is no evidence that the ethics-challenged media moguls care one whit about the public weal, so long as the advertising dollars keep rolling in.

  3. I gotta admit I would (and do) have a bit of a problem with anyone whose last name is “Oz”. “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”. Frank Oz would be the obvious exception, but one can enjoy his effects without investing any “trust” in him.

  4. Pingback: Experts and Quackery - Windypundit

  5. Don’t forget Oprah’s endorsement of Tony Robbins’ numerous give-me-money-to-get-rich scams, and the various charlatans in “The Secret” some of whom are in jail now.

    • Also, there’s Oprah’s endorsement of Greg Mortensen’s Three Cups Of Tea scam. Several school districts bought into it, encouraging children to collect for his charity. My children were subjected to this work in May of 2014, a few years after he was unmasked as a fraud. As a side note, at one of my kid’s parent teacher conference I asked the English teacher if the book was still being taught due to the district owing several hundred copies? She said she was the one that recommended the purchase, and yes, they don’t want to dispose of costly literature. I then asked if it was being taught as fiction or non fiction (gotcha question on my part, because my children told me it was being taught as non fiction), she said it is being taught as non fiction, because *it is the author’s reality*.

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