Attn Professionals: There is NO REASON to go on the Dr. Oz show

Lets say you are a professional/expert on Topic X.

One day, you get a call from an Emmy winning, top day-time talk show. They want you to come on their show to talk about Topic X! "OMG!!! YAAAAAY!!!" you would surely be thinking. "A platform to educate the public about Topic X! Millions of people via TV, internet, just the exposure for Topic X, this is FANTASTIC!!!"

Now, lets say that Emmy winning, top day-time talk show is "Dr. Oz".

That 'opportunity to educate millions of people'?

If you are a regular reader of SciBlogs, you know that Dr. Oz utterly wasted our Pam Ronalds time when he had her on as an expert on GMOs. Orac has a virtual library cataloging the instances where Dr. Oz does a show on 'scientific' topic, only to give nutbars and a parade of snake-oil salesmen the spotlight (or doesnt even pretend he is trying to be scientific, just throws a psychic on the stage and calls it a day).

Nothing is below contempt for Oz, apparently, as the latest pile of poo he stepped in was giving 'Reparative Therapy' proponents a forum (the assholes who use unscientific at best, outright physically and psychologically dangerous methods at worst, to 'cure' homosexuals), framing the show with "WOW! This is such a controversy!!!", when there is zero controversy over Reparative Therapy at all. It doesnt work and it is dangerous and literally no psychological or psychiatric or medical organization anywhere supports it.

When you read what happened to the GLAAD professionals who went on the Dr. Oz Show to talk about the dangers of Reparative Therapy, it sounds exactly like what happened to Pam and all the other scientists who have agreed to be on that show-- The majority of the time was spent on the quacks, zero questioning of the quacks, quacks put on the same 'level' as actual experts/professionals, the professionals were not given much time, and the most of the time they were given was left on the cutting room floor, Oz more interested in pushing CONTROVERSY over reality.

And all of the experts who go on Dr. Oz, including GLAAD, have the same conclusion-- They would have never agreed to be on the show if they knew that was going to happen, and they refuse be on the show again.


There is also something else-- This actually happened a couple weeks ago-- I was in the grocery store, and overheard a few stock boys making fun of Dr. Oz. Something along the lines of "Why are we so low on Granny Smith apples?" "Dr. Oz must have told everyone eating 100 Granny Smith apples a day cures cancer." *round of laughter* I had to butt in "No, Dr. Oz wouldnt say that! Well, he would, but then he would say how you can buy his friends SUPER SPECIAL Granny Smith apple miracle supplement for 5000x the cost of a Granny Smith apple" *cue more laughing*

The 16-18 year old stock boys at the grocery store know Dr. Oz is a joke. Even if you were given a genuine platform, without edits or tricks, whos to say anyone would believe you were really an expert anyway, when so many of Dr. Ozs 'guests' are charlatans?


The Dr. Oz show might appear to be a useful forum for disseminating information, education.

It is NOT.

Dr. Ozs platform is an illusion.

There is NO REASON for any serious professional to go on the Dr. Oz show.


And once again, shame on Chris Mooney, supposed science journalist and supposed science educator, for promoting Dr. Oz as a 'rock star of science' (link 1, link 2). Dr. Oz might be a rock star to anti-science proponents, but he is a goddamn disgrace to physicians and scientists. Has Mooney *ever* apologized for that crap?

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Bravo. Awesome post.

By Miguelito (not verified) on 30 Nov 2012 #permalink

Abby, where is the difference between "Reparative Therapy" as a cure for LGBT people, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as a cure for people with ME/CFS?

And while we are at it? Surely some LGBT people have send angry letters to Dr. Oz about this – does that qualify Dr. Oz for the John Maddox prize?

After all, I think anybody who stands up for anti-scientific loonery like "Reparative Therapy" has "to deal with, well, if you know what I had to deal with covering the XMRV fiasco, take that, times a gazillion, times a couple decades…"?

By Tony Mach (not verified) on 30 Nov 2012 #permalink

And hasn't John Maddox said about AIDS that those darned homosexuals should change their wicked ways and stop their shameless promiscuous shagging?

So forget about retrovirology Abbie, do a study how to curb HIV with “Reparative Therapy”!!! I'm sure John Maddox would have approved.

By Tony Mach (not verified) on 30 Nov 2012 #permalink

CBT is a standard therapy for CFS. I know you dont like it, but thats a fact.

Reparative therapy is rejected by all medical professionals.

Maddox was wrong about HIV in a time it was scientifically reasonable to be wrong about HIV, learned from HIV researchers, and became an enemy of HIV Deniers. I already told you this. Wikipedia could have told you this. But you keep slandering him as if he was an HIV Denier.

Making comparisons like this and using flat-out dishonest tactics isnt persuasive.

I turned down an offer to contribute to the Oz fiasco because I had an previous engagement. Glad I did.

I do disagree about your assessment of Chris Mooney. His books and podcasts are entirely consistent with hard science. I don't think a comment about Oz would dilute that, and it may have even been sarcastic.

By Kevin Folta (not verified) on 01 Dec 2012 #permalink

I don't know much about the roots of the Dr. Oz phenomenon, but was he at one time a protege of Oprah Winfrey?

It seems like right up her alley.

By Michael Haubrich (not verified) on 01 Dec 2012 #permalink

Oz may be a brilliant surgeon, but his TV doctor career is more like that of a turn of the 20th century side-show barker. That's incredibly sad because he's putting his greed over the actual well being of his audience.

As for Mooney, has ever ever apologized for any of the ridiculous shit he's pulled in the past? Even once? I wouldn't hold my breath for him to own up to his mistakes.

By Greg Fish (not verified) on 01 Dec 2012 #permalink

Tony - the difference between trying to "cure" an inbuilt natural tendency through shame, abuse, and brainwashing, and trying to help someone get a life, is worlds apart.

You have to bring CFS into everything, don't you?.

The thing is, CBT works. It helps promote healthier thinking patterns, to break out of negative self-destructive behaviours, and to equip you with coping strategies.

You can't go on ad nauseam about your terrible illness and the effects on your life, and then refuse and ridicule every test, treatment or program that might help. Surely you must see how that looks?

HIV /AIDS is a real, destructive retrovirus. Homosexuality does not need to be "fixed", it's homophobic society that needs therapy.

XMRV is not real, it never was. Functional disorders respond to CBT. Science has the upper hand.

As someone who is severely disabled, I would do ANYTHING to get better, or even improve enough so that I can sit up unaided. My nerves are being demyelinated, and if someone said "dog sh¡t capsules have been approved by NICE & MHRA" I'd be begging my GP for a prescription. if I was told "Your mind is destroying your nerves. ECT and CBT together will stop the damage" then I'd be hooked up before anyone knew what was happening.

Rejecting proven treatment en masse, screaming "How dare you say we're mental, our illness is REAL!", 24/7/365 liveblogging every symptom and every new stupid theory, claiming you're all being conspired against, pillorying any ex CFSer who says "Therapy and antidepressants made me better", ignoring and mocking actual research by saying things like "They only tested people with CFS and we have CFS/ME", or "They used the Oxford criteria and not the Canadian criteria", and finally, declaring "We have AIDS. Non-HIV AIDS, and it's worse than HIV/AIDS and cancer, and we're transmitting it to people, it's a CIA plot to incapacitate us" all adds up to people who don't want to be well.

It shows people happier in their fantasy world, busy little spiders in their "Osler's Web", conducting hate campaigns against scientists and researchers, while howling "We're being ignored, nobody wants to help us" Lying with the constant CFS/MEMEME trope that "AIDS and MS were considered to be mental illnesses until the 80s" Just... no. Charcot discovered and defined MS. Charcot. HIV/AIDS not only killed people rapidly, it had actual physical symptoms that were shockingly visible.

Libelling doctors and scientists who tell the truth, smearing and distorting words and facts put forth by anyone who claims "It's psychiatric. Nobody's saying your pain isn't real, just that it's a cognitive issue". In between hate mail and death threats, you maintain "Remembrance Walls" for people who "Died of CFS", which is bizarre, as it isn't a terminal illness. Suicide (a la Gilderdale) is not "Death from CFS". Beloved martyred poster girl Sophia Mirza died due to HSV-induced spinal meningitis, and acute renal failure caused by her refusal to eat or drink, as she believed she was "allergic to all food and water".

Perhaps the psychosis was induced by the meningitis, but she had a history of claiming to be "allergic" to EMF, to all household products, to light and sound etc, so an ongoing pattern of bizarre beliefs. Sounds like a mental issue to me...

It's almost as if denial of psychiatric causes of CFS is a defining symptom of the condition.

So get help, or stop bloody going on about how nobody wants to help.

By Doctor Croissa… (not verified) on 01 Dec 2012 #permalink

(Granny Smiths^pastry = PIE!)
Is there maybe some regional pie-based communal orgy in the offing? Can I come?
And they jazz up TurboCider a treat.

By dustbubble (not verified) on 02 Dec 2012 #permalink


Mr. Maddox should be compared with HIV/AIDS denier Peter Duesberg, who also raise some legitimate question about the relationship back in the 1980s. Unlike Maddox, he since chosen to ignore the mountains of evidence that have accrued since that time. This is a sad case of a once highly respected researcher who has turned into a crank.

Sorry Tony, you have my sympathies - but not sure of the connection in this regard.
He does however see CFS as a bad habit that therapy can resolve - so sorta - kinda - I guess...but not on this page.

(@ Doctor Croissant Dogs

You could have simply said, Im really ill, your not, get some therapy. Thats what most Doctors wear on a laminates anyhow - dont be embarrassed.)

Science on T.V - most times dreadful - but then I saw some Bishops last week seriously debating wether the Bible allows women Bishops - so unfortunately the cultural relativism at play allows anyone to have authority on the box. I dont know how you go about keeping kranks off T.V - except that in a science program context there really ought to be more exacting standards and sense of responsibility.

Still were are the ratings in that?

Wow, I guess everything that goes on TV can't be 100% accurate, and no one is honest either, it's all business unfortunately and politics also play a major role.

Thanks, ERV. OZ is a, um, metastatic harmful thing.


"CBT is a standard therapy for CFS. I know you dont like it, but thats a fact."
This isn't solid ground. "CFS" is variously defined, with some usages being so broad and vague as to be meaningless. Trials of CBT have been at best controversial, and it is certainly not standard therapy among the few MDs who have experience treating this cohort. You could look up Cheney and Petersen to start.
As this is both O/T and a tangled subject I will leave it at that.

By Spectator (not verified) on 11 Dec 2012 #permalink