Here are 6 times Dr. Oz made a mockery of medicine — and now he’ll bring his skills to democracy
Donald Trump will make a mockery of medicine and democracy Thursday when Dr. Oz examines his health records in a contrived made-for-TV campaign event.
The Republican presidential nominee and his surrogates have floated wild conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton’s health for months, even as Trump’s own physical fitness has been demonstrated only by a bizarre letter written by his personal physician.
The 70-year-old Trump will attempt to clear up any questions about his health by turning over his records to Dr. Mehmet Oz for analysis and then reveal his findings as part of the former reality TV star’s ongoing campaign spectacle.
“I do know this,” said Brian Kilmeade, co-host of Fox & Friends. “That Donald Trump will turn over those records right to Dr. Oz, who will analyze it, and to many, it will be a surprise to Donald Trump what Dr. Oz is going to say.”
Oz, a cardiothoracic surgeon and professor at Columbia University, is best-known for his appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and in 2009 he launched his own daytime show — where he promotes alternative medicines and some dubious scientific claims.
1. Oz stirred up hysteria about arsenic in apple juice during a September 2011 program, but food manufacturers and others complained about his testing methods. Consumer Reports conducted its own tests and found the doctor-turned-talk show host had overstated his claims. U.S. Food and Drug Administration found no evidence of a public health risk from arsenic in apple juice, which at least one school took off its menu, but promised to conduct further testing.
2. The doctor has drawn criticism for promoting the online “Real Age” quiz, which directs users to enter private health and medical information to guess their age — much like hokey carnival attraction lampooned by Steve Martin in “The Jerk.” (“Imagine the thrill of getting your weight guessed by a professional!”) The information provided by Oz’s fans is then turned over to pharmaceutical companies for marketing purposes.
3. Oz, a registered Republican who endorsed John McCain in 2008, examined “reparative therapy” for LGBT people on a November 2012 episode. The physician acknowledged that the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association have denounced reparative therapy — which is based on the belief that homosexuality is a mental disorder — and said under heavy criticism that he agreed with the established medical consensus. But he explained his doubts in a blog post, after using his TV show to promote a practice banned in some states for minors.
4. The TV doctor hosted Theresa Caputo, “the Long Island medium,” in December 2012 to help viewers overcome anxiety by communicating with the dead. “Medicine doesn’t have all the answers,” Oz told his audience. “Doctors don’t have all the answers.” Oz has also hosted John Edward, the TV psychic, and assured his audience that “he seems authentic, not at all like a charlatan.” What more proof do you need?
5. One of the doctor’s guests agreed to pay $9 million to customers he duped on “The Dr. Oz Show” and “The View” into buying his bogus weight-loss aids, including green coffee bean extract. Lindsey Duncan promoted his products on Oz’s television show and then built a marketing campaign around that appearance. Oz was called before a congressional hearing, where Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) scolded him, and an official from the Federal Trade Commission slammed the physician for touting the phony supplements as “magic.”
6. It’s not clear why viewers would take any of Oz’s claims seriously. British researchers found that half the recommendations he made on TV had no scientific basis at all. The study found found that evidence supported 46 percent of the claims he made, contradicted 15 percent of them and failed to support 39 percent. Not that Oz seems to care. “I’ve learned in my career that there are times when science just hasn’t caught up with things,” he’s told his audience.
Somehow, Trump managed to find a doctor who’s even less credible than his own physician, who vouched for the candidate’s health by saying all of his test results came back positive.
“If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency,” said Dr. Harold Bornstein, in a letter he offered in lieu of medical records.
Oz will attempt to clear up any lingering doubts about Trump’s health with about the same level of gravitas that Geraldo Rivera revealed the contents of Al Capone’s vault.
Watch John Oliver mock Oz and his dubious claims in this video: