Respectful Insolence

Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s rather short memory

About a week ago, I laid a bit of the ol’ Orac-style ultra-snarkiness on CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta for having done an embarrassingly credulous interview with two of Oprah’s minions who participated in the atrocity that was Oprah’s episode about faith healer John of God. One of the most disappointing things about Dr. Gupta’s interview is that he seemed fairly clueless about John of God’s “forceps in the nose” trick. Well, while I happened to be perusing incoming links last night, I came across the very good Skepdic article on John of God. Honored that Orac would be mentioned in such a fine, well-established skeptical resource, I looked over the entry again and noted that Robert Carroll had added to his original article. More fascinating was that Carroll had apparently dug up evidence from an old report that Dr. Gupta did that shows that he should have known about the trickery:

Yes, it’s Dr. Gupta reporting on the “human blockhead” trick and explaining why it’s anatomically possible to stick rather long objects into your nose without injuring yourself–if you know what you’re doing, of course. He even demonstrated it on himself, albeit with a Q-Tip rather than an actual nail, probably a wise thing if he wanted to avoid accidentally perforating his nasopharynx. Be that as it may, apparently Dr. Gupta’s memory is rather short. It wouldn’t have taken much for him in his interview with Susan Casey and Dr. Jeff Rediger about John of God and Oprah Winfrey’s episode about him to point out that the “forceps in the nose” trick is nothing more than a variation on the blockhead trick. He could have even shown a clip from this old report and asked Casey and Rediger what they say about it.

Comments

  1. #1 highnumber
    January 4, 2011

    I know it’s not much, but I have sent him a few tweets asking if he’ll respond to any of this. Nothing from him. I doubt he’s really running his own twitter account.

  2. #2 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    January 4, 2011

    I think the most reasonable conclusion to be drawn is that Dr. Gupta stuck something a little too long and a little too pointy in his nose and has suffered some memory loss because of it.

  3. #3 Jeremy Poiven
    January 4, 2011

    Orac, bored?
    I am starting to think I figured out your fascination with Gupta. I thought you were jealous of Redinger, given his superior education, in fact, it is Gupta. Did you two go to school together? Both, UM. Regardless, did you actually watch the Gupta segment before posting this? He said about the forceps in the nose “this is done all the time. I mean you can put a nasogastric tube down the nose, and the sinuses are large.” That didn’t do it for you? I guess you know what he really meant?
    In order to be “adequately” skeptical, should he have paid homage to the wildly jealous Orac first? By the way, why do you refer to yourself in the third person?

  4. #4 Orac
    January 4, 2011

    One wonders why Jeremy is so defensive about Dr. Gupta. You guys buddies or something? He almost never commented on this blog until I started criticizing Dr. Gupta. Oddly enough, you missed this, which is pretty much a summation of my thoughts on Dr. Gupta:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/01/dr_sanjay_gupta_for_surgeon_general_yawn.php

  5. #5 DLC
    January 4, 2011

    James Randi does a fairly high quality debunking of JoG.
    I had hints from Jeremey’s previous comments that he has it in for Randi too. apparently Randi hasn’t enough scientific credentials to comment on a common or garden variety charlatan.

  6. #6 Militant Agnostic
    January 4, 2011

    I thought you were jealous of Redinger, given his superior education

    Rediger’s gullibility does not speak well for his “superior” Harvard education. Given that Orac’s critical thinking skills are far superior to Rediger’s, I doubt that Orac is jealous of Rediger.

    I think Jeremy Poivan has ambitions of becoming the next John Kwok.

  7. #7 Travis
    January 4, 2011

    @6,
    Oh no, do not say that. I do not want to know who he is friends with, who went to school with him, and all of that clinginess.

  8. #8 Jeremy Poiven
    January 4, 2011

    I really don’t care about your “musings” about anyone. I wish you would answer my question. What would Gupta say regarding “forceps in the nose” that would have satisfied your skeptic scale?

  9. #9 JohnV
    January 4, 2011

    For someone who really doesn’t care, you comment about it an awful lot.

  10. #10 wfjag
    January 4, 2011

    There are several training videos on how to stick things up your nose. Even a child can do it:

    How to Stick Objects in Your Nose
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZUS4IvowO0

    Things that can go up your nose
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kv4Uhj7Jm4&feature=related

    versus

    wot not to stick up your nose
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NrPDDssibc&feature=related

  11. #11 Yojimbo
    January 4, 2011

    I doubt that Dr. G suffered any lapse of memory – he just knows better than to cross an AO (Agent of Oprah).

  12. #12 Jeremy Poiven
    January 4, 2011

    derp derp derp derp derp

  13. #13 Chris
    January 4, 2011

    What a very cogent post from a Gupta fanboy.

  14. #14 Richard
    January 4, 2011

    I think skeptics should protest Oprah, stand outside her venues with picket signs. Is there any way of doing that, or otherwise making her (or the news media) take notice of us?

  15. #15 Militant Agnostic
    January 4, 2011

    Chris @13 – you’re just jealous of Jeremy’s superior Harvard education :)

  16. #16 DT35
    January 5, 2011

    “Harvard – the Michigan of the East” — sweatshirt caption seen frequently in Ann Arbor.

  17. #17 owc
    January 9, 2011

    gupta is a media whore

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