Claire McCaskill Gives Dr. Oz the Miracle Cure for Being a Snake-Oil Salesman
Dr. Oz is a real doctor, and not like Orly Taitz is a real doctor. He is the Vice-Chair of the Department of Surgery at Columbia med school, and he is also a complete and utter snake-oil salesman, a fact helpfully pointed out by various Senators at a hearing yesterday. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Not Todd Akin) led the charge, asking Dr. Oz if he learned nothing from the lessons of Spiderman.
“The scientific community is almost monolithic against you in terms of the efficacy of the three products you called ‘miracles,'” said McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat.[…] “I don’t get why you need to say this stuff when you know it’s not true. When you have this amazing megaphone, why would you cheapen your show? … With power comes a great deal of responsibility.”
If you are not a stay-at-home mom, you are perhaps unfamiliar with the Dr. Oz trend. We will now ‘splainerfy it at you, for science.
First of all, Dr. Oz is his real name, no gimmicks. He got his undergrad at Harvard, and then he was class president at UPenn Medical. Oz is a board-certified cardiac surgeon, and by all accounts, he is not a dumb person. So how did this first-generation American go from respected doctor to daytime-TV quack?
Blame Oprah—blame Oprah for loosing this scrub-wearing beast upon an unsuspecting and scientifically illiterate nation. Our official position on Oprah is usually “Fk yeah, Oprah, GET SOME!” but if not for her media empire, millions of Americans would be hearing about the “miracle” effects of green coffee beans from the cut-rate successor to Billy Mays, not an M.D.
Oz’s defense seems to be that he really, really believes this stuff, even though he knows that it’s not true. Like Ronald Reagan telling the country about his oopsie regarding missiles, Oz knows in his heart that green coffee beans fix everything, even if he knows in his head that that’s a steaming load of that other kind of coffee bean, the one that gets shit out by a monkey or whatever.
But hey, says Dr. Oz, it’s no big deal, because Dr. Oz foists these products onto his own family, therefore everything is okay.
“I actually do personally believe in the items I talk about on the show,” he added. “I recognize that oftentimes they don’t have the scientific muster to pass as fact. I have given my family these products.”
We are not a lawyer (though our old EIC is), but this does not seem to be an argument that stood up to judicial scrutiny when it was employed by Christian Scientists. (Snipy has mentioned that case before, and you should read about it here). At least the Christian Scientists could try to claim ignorance. That’s a lot harder to do when you teach medicine at Columbia University.
“But Dan!” you stammer, “Dr. Oz is the only thing that breaks up the monotony of daytime TV! Am I going to be left with nothing but Steve Harvey-era Family Feud and Judge Joe Brown reruns?” Fear not, younglings: this was only a Congressional hearing, and as we all know, those never lead to anything.
Follow Dan on Twitter. If you live by his one weird trick, you’ll have more followers than you know what to do with.