Television

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Television

The last couple of days have been unrelentingly serious and depressing, with posts on the (probably) preventable death of a young Australian woman named Jess Ainscough of a rare cancer because she made the mistake of choosing the quackery that is the Gerson protocol rather than conventional medicine. Unfortunately, the “natural health community” will almost…

I really don’t want Mondays to be come “let’s refute and make fun of the conspiratorial antivaccine nonsense Bill Maher said on his show Friday night.” I really don’t. However, I figured that I might have to devote Monday to that one more time this week after Maher really let his antivaccine freak flag fly…

Sometimes, in order to understand advocates of pseudoscience, such as antivaccinationists, it’s a useful exercise to look at their most extreme elements. Admittedly, in focusing on such loons, one does take the risk of generalizing the nuts to everyone a bit much, but on the other hand I’ve often found that the extremists are basically…

Note added 2/10/2015: I’ve posted a followup in response to the skeptics who defend Bill Maher. A couple of weeks ago, I noted the return of the antivaccine wingnut side of Bill Maher, after a (relative) absence of several years, dating back, most likely, to the thorough spanking he endured for spouting off his antivaccine…

Yesterday, I wrote about false balance in reporting on vaccines in the wake of the Disneyland measles outbreak. For those who’ve never encountered this blog, what I mean by false balance is when journalists, in a misguided belief that there are “two sides” (i.e., an actual scientific controversy) about the safety of childhood vaccines and…

Imagine, if you will, a time machine capsule going all the way back to the earliest days of this blog, back in 2005 and 2006. Now consider the antivaccine movement, which somehow I became very interested in very early, an interest that continues to this day. Do you remember one theme that I kept hitting…

If there’s one aspect of 2014 that I enjoyed, it’s that it was a very bad year for our old friend, America’s quack, a.k.a. Dr. Mehmet Oz. It seemed that, finally, some of the chickens were coming home to roost and Dr. Oz was starting to suffer a bit for his promotion of quackery and…

After I woke up this morning, the haze induced by feasting and hanging out with family only slowly clearing, I debated about whether I wanted to post anything at all today. After all, in much of the English-speaking world, it’s still a holiday, Boxing Day. Although not an official holiday here in the US, when…

Getting old sucks. I had a relatively long and busy day in the operating room yesterday, the kind of day that not so long ago I’d handle with no problem. This time around, though, it wiped me out, to the point where not long after dinner I crashed. Hard. Then I woke up around midnight…

I’m a State Farm customer. I have been for a very long time. To be honest, I’m not sure if it’s inertia or the discounts that State Farm gives me because I’ve been with the company for so long. On the other had, I’ve had no complaints. State Farm’s service has been fine, and on…

Regular readers know that I’ve been a big Star Trek geek (more or less) ever since I first discovered reruns of the original Star Trek episodes in the 1970s, having been too young (but not by much!) to have caught the show during its original 1966-1969 run. True, my interest waxed and waned through the…

It’s been three days since America’s quack, Dr. Mehmet Oz, had his posterior handed to him by a wily old prosecutor who is now a Senator, Claire McCaskill. The beauty of it is that, not only was Dr. Oz called, in essence, a liar to his face and not only was he called out for…

I almost feel sorry for “America’s Quack,” Dr. Mehmet Oz. Well, not really. Remember last week when I took note of an upcoming Senate hearing, specifically a hearing on weight loss scams in front of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance, which is chaired by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO). At the time,…

I’ve never made it much of a secret that I don’t much like “America’s doctor,” Dr. Mehmet Oz. Just enter his name into the search box of this blog, and you’ll find quite a few posts in which I deconstruct some bit of quackery that Dr. Oz has promoted on his show, be it his…

America’s quack: Dr. Mehmet Oz

Sometimes, when you’re blogging, serendipity strikes. Sometimes this takes the form of having something appear related to something you just blogged about. Yesterday, I discussed one of the biggest supporters of quackery on the Internet, Mike Adams, a.k.a. the Health Ranger, proprietor of NaturalNews.com, one of the quackiest, if not the quackiest site, on the…

I’ve often written of “black holes of stupid” that threaten to rupture the fabric of the space-time continuum, so dense and full of stupid are they. Such black holes tend to come from places like the wretched hive of scum and antivaccine quackery known as Age of Autism, the wretched hive of scum and conspiracy…

Grant deadlines strike again, and there’s no new Insolence for you to peruse today. (The problem with doing real science, as opposed to blogging, is that you actually have to apply endlessly for grant money, and, believe it or not, that comes first, before even Insolence.) Fortunately, I’ve been made aware of an endless source…

There was a time when I used to blog about Jenny McCarthy a lot. The reason, of course, is that a few years ago, beginning in around 2007, she seized the title of face of the antivaccine movement in America through her “advocacy” for her son Evan, whom she described as having been made autistic…

I promised myself that I was done writing about Jenny McCarthy this week. Two posts, a lengthy one and a brief one, lamenting her being hired for a national daytime talk show was, in my view, enough. Unfortunately, something’s happened that makes me want to make like Arnold Schwarzenegger in that famous scene from the…

Sometimes, the mainstream press gets it (mostly) right, and Jake Tapper actually got it right in a report on CNN yesterday about Jenny McCarthy’s having been hired by ABC as a regular on The View. Although I don’t like how Jake Tapper describes Generation Rescue as an “autism organization” (it is clearly an antivaccine group),…

Sometimes, as I sit down to write a blog post, I have no idea what I’m going to write about at first. Fortunately, it’s rare that I truly have zero idea what I’m going to write about. Usually, there are options, and I don’t know which one I’m going to pick. Sometimes, however, something happens…

We skeptical bloggers try our best to educate our readers about science and critical thinking, in the process explaining why various forms of pseudoscience, quackery, and cranker are, well, pseudoscience, quackery, and crankery. Unfortunately, even the most heavy duty, high traffic skeptical blogs don’t have anywhere near the reach of the mass media, in particular…

So now we know. Back when it was announced that the second Burzynski movie by Eric Merola would be screened at the Newport Beach Film Festival on April 27, Merola announced that there would be a “special celebrity guest.” Those of us who have been following Burzynski for a while scratched our heads, not knowing…

R.I.P., Seán Ó’Laighin

This will be an uncharacteristically short (for Orac) post. A couple of months ago, I wrote about the sad story of a young man from Ireland named Seán Ó’Laighin diagnosed with an inoperable brainstem glioma at age 19. Even more sadly, this young man heard about the Burzynski Clinic in Houston and believed the claims…

That didn’t take long. Earlier today I wrote about how Colorado Public TV (channel 12) has betrayed its public trust by airing movies promoting quackery and/or pseudoscience. The most recent example is its upcoming airing of the first Burzynski movie, a propaganda piece so blatantly one-sided and full of cherry picked information and conspiracy mongering…