Just a reminder to my Patreon pals: one hour from now, at 6pm ET on Saturday, I’ll be chatting live with Carrie Poppy about psychics and frauds and vegans and puppies, and you can join in! All $1+ patrons can watch and join the chat.
On to the video!
Support these videos on Patreon:
Claire McCaskill is the US Senator who chairs the Consumer protection panel. She’s calling a hearing for next Tuesday to discuss deceptive advertising of weight-loss products and figure out how to best protect consumers, and she’s asked Dr Oz to offer testimony.
This is basically akin to having a hearing on the dangers of prop comedy and asking Carrot Top to offer testimony. The witness may be very helpful, but possibly not in the way that he thinks.
McCaskill knows that Dr. Oz previously promoted the green coffee bean diet fad, and weeks later the Pure Green Coffee company began selling the extract for exorbitant rates and using bogus claims. They’re now being sued by the FTC.
Knowing that, I can’t imagine Dr. Oz is there to discuss ways that he can continue to offer misguided, anti-scientific advice but still stop companies from taking advantage of his seal of approval to make a fast buck.
So I’m optimistic that McCaskill will have some harsh words for Oz, but just in case, there’s a very helpful comment box on her website where you can tell her your concerns. The link is down below, and I suggest you click on it and give her some more ammo.
For instance, you could let her know that Dr. Oz and other TV personalities like him use their platform and their supposed medical expertise to promote psychic mediums, like the charlatan Theresa Caputo who claimed that she could help people with severe anxiety. Dr. Oz promoted the fake medium John Edward in a segment called “Are Psychics the New Therapists?”
He’s also promoted Yogi Cameron, a man who touted the unproven benefits of purges and enemas, and the faith healer Dr. Issam Nemeh, who described using prayer to treat a woman with a mass on her lung.
McCaskill’s session is focused on weight loss, and there are plenty of instances of him selling his audience pure drivel, as you can read about in Slate’s excellent article from earlier this year. But I hope that she knows that this is just the tip of the iceberg, and that if you really want to protect consumers from pseudoscientific scams being passed off as confirmed medical science, you’re going to have to take a much broader look at what Oz and his ilk are doing and figure out a way to shut him down completely.