With the cancellation of "The Dr. Oz Show", his alternative medicine audience should not think of it as a time to mourn. but instead should take a moment to celebrate the man who created all their worst fears; they should rejoice a guy who wore medical scrubs during a show in which he suggested apple juice was as dangerous for children as plutonium, who taught concerned viewers to fear chicken and to love juice cleanses. They should applaud that for a decade (or whatever) we had a place to learn The Secrets Of Plus Size Models, that we had someone on television not afraid to do an episode called "Charlie Sheen Heads to Mexico."
We are, of course, famous for taking him down. It was four members of the American Council on Science and Health who put together the 2015 letter to Columbia's faculty dean for Health Sciences and Medicine, Dr. Lee Goldman, asking them to remove Oz from the university, because they were legitimizing woo. The letter got international attention but the university did not remove him despite the outcry - they shrouded him in fuzzy-wuzzy "academic freedom" verbiage, which means his fame was too valuable.
Still, we cut his audience in half. It seems now we got the last 50 percent because he has been placed on the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, to the horror of the evidence-based community. He wouldn't accept such a pay cut unless his career was over.
But since he's opted to play Political Landmine Hopscotch, let's take a moment to fête him properly before he disappears from the public consciousness forever. It's impossible to do a definitive list of Dr. Oz's Greatest Anti-Science Hits that everyone will agree on, I'd sooner wade into a Beatles-Beach Boys argument (correct answer: "Pet Sounds"), but I do have my own favorite list of Mehmet's guests I always want to remember. So please join me on a trip down memory lane with five people likely to never appear on a medical or science show again.
1. Osteopath Joe Mercola.
If Billy Mays, the now deceased Oxiclean infomercial guy, believed that shaking a baby could cure Scarlet fever, he'd have been Joe Mercola. Because Mercola's acceptance of science stopped before the discovery of bacteria. And they both got really rich hawking their products, though only the products Mays sold actually did anything.
Mercola is a Naturopath/Guru, so he really hates vaccines and dentistry, but that may be because he couldn't get into a real medical school and never learned what an adjuvant or amalgam is. He is also, like others on this list, a believer that Science Is A Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. He says HIV has nothing to do with AIDS, corporations invented that link but he can cure it - for a price. That price is buying algae from him. And he will sell you homeopathy, because if you believe anything else he claims, he knows you have more dollars than sense. Against fluoridation in water? So is he. Aspartame? If you ever got cancer he'll claim diet soda caused it. He even denies eyeglasses. That's right, you don't need glasses, he'll sell you a diet book to fix your vision.
He's been censored by the FDA for promoting unsubstantiated gibberish but that is just the kind of thinking that got him on The Dr. Oz Show three times.
2. Yogic Flying Instructor Jeffrey Smith. Really, there should be no reason to go beyond that description, if you can levitate you can be sure I am going to listen to you. But Jeff isn't just a walking magic carpet, he is also an expert on GMOs and cancer, despite only attending something called the Maharishi University of Management, whatever that is, and being a swing dance instructor.
Still, he can levitate. This picture he distributed beginning in 1996 proves it.
It also proves something P.T. Barnum said about how often suckers are born, and how often Dr. Oz abides by that credo when making guest choices for his audience when he still had one.
3. Attorney Lisa Graves, lawyer and dark money-funded attack dog against the science community. Graves runs the benevolently named Center for Media Democracy, but this former Clinton administration attorney is anything but nice. If you're a scientist or doctor and one of her "donors" tells her to take you down, she'll get her hordes to cyberbully you like your name is Monica Lewinsky. One of her online attack sites is Sourcewatch, but it only goes after scientists and companies that are not donors to her political party. When she can't spin about you, she'll fabricate. Soon enough you'll be painted as part of some Vast Right Wing Pro-Science Corporate Conspiracy too.
Despite raising a small fortune each year, she does no real work with that money. Her supposed exposé sites are just amateur Wikis that are written by her political allies. To smear us, for example, she regurgitated some fundraising requests a fired employee gave to Mother Jones, and then she got another attorney to hack our Wikipedia entry to include all of the other anti-science groups that hate being debunked, and then she linked to that other attorney's Wikipedia edits as evidence for her claims. She takes lawyer-y "pleading the alternative" to new heights. She creates alternative facts and then pleads them.
Here is her million-dollar-a-year blog claiming we are corporate shills because a whopping 3% of our funding is in the form of unrestricted grants from companies who like that we defend science from attorneys like Lisa Graves and the Metzger crowd.
If she can't undermine your science, and she can't, she will libel you on Twitter.
That's obviously a lie, but it gives you an idea of the credibility of her website and her lack of ethics. If you note she is libeling you on Twitter, she reminds you she is an attorney (as if anyone can ever forget, since she talks about it constantly) and says she will sue you if you tell her that she shouldn't libel people on Twitter.
4. Supplement Huckster Mike Adams. I'd have thought this was a unicorn 12 years ago but it turns out there actually is an anti-science organic-food and supplement loon who is on the right wing.
I can't find an anti-science conspiracy Mike does not embrace while telling you to purchase the alternative from him. He is a 9/11 truther, an AIDS denialist, an Obama birth certificate truther, a chemtrail promoter, and is against vaccines. That didn't stop Dr. Oz from having him on his show in 2014.
How do you know Mike is right wing in that smorgasbord of woo? Even Think Progress, which circles the wagons around every left-wing anti-GMO, anti-vaccine, and anti-energy activist, has criticized him.
Last but not least, the greatest of them all...
5. Fellow Four Horsemen Of The Alternative Ringwraith Dr. Andrew Weil.
Weil is the guru of the shamanism/folk medicine/traditional medicine/alternative medicine/complementary medicine/integrative medicine (insert your term here for once the public catches on to the latest name of this scam) and self-experimenter in potions which he will happily endorse because he sells them. He's so wacky he has been censored not only by the US FDA for fake claims, but even by Center for Science in the Public Interest When the people who spent decades promoting the belief that coffee caused breast cancer and insist sugar is a non-specific "toxin" claim you lack an evidence basis, you are really over the edge.
But none of that prevented Weil from being a guest on The Dr. Oz Show a whopping 22 times in just a five year period, according to a spreadsheet of Oz painstakingly provided by Purdue graduate student Colby Verlander.
6. I have just been informed that The Dr. Oz Show has not actually disappeared from existence, just his audience has. I regret the error.