Because Oprah made Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Phil McGraw household names on The Oprah Winfrey Show in the early 2000s, becoming producer of The Dr. Oz Show and Dr. Phil, some have pushed for her to speak out publicly against them for their controversial coronavirus comments. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Oz has been criticized for pushing for the unproven drug hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus cure on Fox News and in talks with President Trump. That's in addition to Dr. Oz suggesting earlier this week that schools should reopen even with the risk of killing 2-3% of the population. Meanwhile, Dr. Phil, who isn't a medical doctor and who isn't licensed to practice psychology, came under fire Thursday night for downplaying coronavirus by comparing it to deaths by car accidents, smoking and swimming. "Unfortunately, there is a widening gap between the perception of their authority and their genuine credibility," says Dr. Daniel Summers, an actual medical doctor. "In the setting of a public health crisis that can get better or worse depending on how closely people adhere to recommendations for keeping it under control, undermining those recommendations poses a threat to everyone’s safety. The problem of Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz is not a new one. Both have prioritized their fame over professional ethics for some time. Dr. Oz is a particular source of ire for me as a fellow physician, because I have to believe that somewhere inside himself he must know that the pseudoscience he all too frequently promotes is wrong. The stakes are now much higher, and the potential for harm is much greater. If people press for treatments that may do more harm than good, or behave in ways that will expose them to illness they may contract and spread, lives may be lost that could otherwise have been saved. Dr. Oz surely must understand this, yet his troubling conduct persists." Is Oprah directly responsible for any of Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz's recent statements? "No," says Summers. "But since the miasma of ersatz authority that still clings to these two is her handiwork, she should consider using her own immeasurable fame and authority to waft it away. It would doubtless be difficult and probably unpleasant to repudiate people whose careers as public figures she has created, but she is uniquely positioned to do so. Very few people have the wattage to take on Fox, which seems hellbent on promulgating the dangerous notion that the threat from the novel coronavirus has been overblown and we should all return to business as usual as fast as we can. It is using the celebrities she created to lend credence to a plan that could reverse all the gains that have been made in slowing the pandemic. There is a mess being made. She has the chance, and the obligation, to help clean it up."
TOPICS: Dr. Phil, Fox News Channel, The Dr. Oz Show, The Ingraham Angle, Anthony Fauci, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Mehmet Oz, Oprah Winfrey, Phil McGraw, Coronavirus