Oct 8, 2019
John Oliver On Dr. Oz’s Quack Remedies: ‘Are You A Doctor Or An Old West Traveling Salesman?’ (Video)
John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight had plenty to make fun of in this look at Dr. Mehmet Oz (he has a first name! Who knew?) and his fraudulent miracle cures. Turns out there’s no such thing as a miracle fat-burning burning powder, even though Dr. Oz is awfully good at selling the things. “But what’s so wrong with that?” asks Oliver, “Name me one case where a man named Oz claimed mystical powers and led people horribly astray.” The biggest problem with Dr. Oz is that he’s dangerously likeable — he may be a fraud, but dear lord he is one charming handsome fraud.
And worse, he even seems to believe some of his own claims, even though he recognizes that there’s not exactly any science behind them. Which is a problem, what with the claim of reliability that comes with the title “Doctor.” Maybe a compromise is in order, suggests Oliver — Oz could just change the name of his show from the Dr. Oz Show to something more honest, like Check This Shit Out With Some Guy Named Mehmet.
Good lord, Oliver even does some actual journalisming on the source of the problem: the lax regulatory environment in which dietary supplements, largely the result of industry lobbying. Not just direct lobbying of Congress, but lobbying the very consumers who are harmed by the quackery. When the FDA tried to increase its ability to regulate supplements, ads urging consumers to tell Congress to let us keep poisoning ourselves with quack remedies were so successful that a 1993 campaign resulted in more letters to Congress than were sent in protest of the Vietnam War. We don’t want no stinking FDA telling us we can’t take useless miracle cures that poison us.
Also, there’s George R.R. Martin, an adorable puppy, women in trashy dresses throwing wine in each other’s faces, and Steve Buscemi tap dancing.