Dr. Oz is full of shit. And that's not just my opinion, it's science! A study from 2014 found that the advice on Dr. Oz's show is baseless or wrong roughly half of the time. So it's a bit rich that one of this week's episodes of The Dr. Oz Show is about fake news.
Dr. Oz in a screenshot from this week's episode about fake news and alleged ways to measure how the brain reacts to it (Dr. Oz Show)
Who are Dr. Oz's guests for this fine program? One is Jestin Coler, the owner of Disinfomedia, which runs fake news sites. But Coler's sites aren't "fake news" in the way that some people scream the term when they see news they simply don't like -- Coler's dozens of websites publish stories that have all been written to deceive and go viral. And rake in a lot of money in the process.
Do you remember the story about an FBI agent who was investigating Hillary Clinton's emails and killed himself after murdering his wife? Yeah, that was Coler. The story got 1.6 million views in a week.
Or how about the story that Dearbon, Michigan had instituted Sharia Law? That was one of Coler's websites, too. And what about that story of Pope Francis saying the Koran and the Bible are the same thing? That was also Coler.
I can't wait to hear what this opportunistic shitstain has to say about the garbage world he helped create. Luckily, Dr. Oz has provided a helpful promotional teaser that shows us some of what Coler has to say.
"What I do think people need to be aware of is that there's a lot of these stories online, lots of shades of truth online, and to be leery of everything they come across online," Coler told Dr. Oz, seemingly without acknowledging that he's the problem and seems to have no problem with perpetuating it as long as he makes money.
"Really at the end of the day this comes down to consumers of content also bearing responsibility for the content they consume," Coler says, with a straight face. "Again, these stories look to get an emotional response so that you'll share them with your friends. If you see your friends sharing these stories, please tell them that they're fake."
The question is not only why Dr. Oz would give this guy airtime, but whether he pushes back on Coler's motives. One can hope Dr. Oz reads this guy the Riot Act, but I don't know why this guy would appear on Dr. Oz to just take punches. My guess is that there's supposed to be some kind of "lesson" involved. We'll see if he gets one.
Dr. Oz and Dr. Daniel Amen from the episode about fake news and alleged ways to measure how the brain reacts to it (Dr. Oz Show)
Coler, however, isn't the only guest on the episode. Dr. Oz also invited psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen. Surely, Dr. Amen will at least be worth watching, right? Well....
Some people have questioned the overly simplistic approach that Dr. Amen takes to neuroscience. He's a big believer in single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and outlets like Wired have called him out on trying to diagnose things that can't be diagnosed through his brain scans.
"In my opinion, what he's doing is the modern equivalent of phrenology," Jeffrey Lieberman, chairman of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, told the Washington Post in 2012. "I guess we're all amateurs except for him," Helen Mayberg, a psychiatry, neurology and radiology professor at Emory School of Medicine, added in the same story. "He's making claims that are outrageous and not supported by any research."
So, yeah, we'll need to take Dr. Amen's demonstrations on the show with a huge grain of salt. But I guess that's what makes Dr. Amen perfect. Phrenology was much easier to understand than psychiatry.
You can watch a clip from the show on YouTube, seen above. My favourite part of the clip is when Dr. Oz says "...and this has actually sort of been studied..." which more or less sums up his entire show. (After all, several doctors once asked Columbia University to get rid of Dr. Oz because of his, uh, issues.)
The only question that remains is whether Dr. Oz doing an episode will cause the world to fold in on itself. Check your local listings for the possible end of the world.
Jestin Coler, owner of a company that runs dozens of fake news websites, sitting with Dr. Oz on the episode about fake news (Dr. Oz Show)