A preview of Dr. Oz’s response to critics who called for his ouster from a Columbia University faculty position has been released.
“No matter our disagreements, freedom of speech is the most fundamental right we have as Americans,” he says. “And these 10 doctors are trying to silence that right.” These doctors accused Dr. Oz of “promoting quack treatments” in a letter to the Ivy League school.
Furthermore, a spokesperson for the show tells New York that “Dr. Oz will question his accusers’ over their ties to the American Council on Science and Health, which supports genetically modified foods.” Dr Oz has spoken in favor of GMO labels on goods.
According to CNN Money, two-thirds of tomorrow’s episode will be taken up with this issue. There will also be an interview on the Today show the following morning.
The problem is this response doesn’t address the issues at the heart of the letter. He’s accused of bad medicine, so speaking out in defense of the First Amendment and America, while very nice, is off the mark. His credibility, not his right to speak the alleged quackery, is not what we’re focused on here.
The response leaves the door open for further questions about his recommendations, which is not what you want after you’ve dedicated so much time and media attention to your rebuttal. We might have to have another Dr. Oz special after the one that airs tomorrow.
Originally posted on April 22
Update on April 23: In addition to all of this, Dr. Oz has published an op-ed column in Time magazine in response to the letter. And we have to say, the column is a marked improvement from what we’ve heard so far. For starters, he takes a step back to outline what it is his show is meant to do.
“In the same hour-long show, a board certified doctor will discuss cancer followed by a celebrity sharing their personal weight loss story and concluding with an audience member learning to manage their money better,” he writes. “I don’t expect all of my colleagues to understand this marriage between conventional medicine and the broader definition of wellness that the show pursues.”
After outlining the sketchy pasts of some of the doctors who signed on to the now-infamous letter, he talks about his embrace of alternative medicines. The reasons: curiosity, culture and cost.
“My exploration of alternative medicine has never been intended to take the place of conventional medicine, but rather as additive. Critics often imply that any exploration of alternative methods means abandoning conventional approaches. It does not,” he writes.
And he also takes responsibility for some of his support of unproven weight loss supplements and expresses regret for even bringing it up. He says he won’t do that any longer.
The column is thorough, clear, concise and purposeful. We give it the thumbs up.
Update: The Dr. Oz reputation rehab tour continues, this time with a visit to Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Fox & Friends, where the good doctor says he wishes he hadn’t used a number of the terms he used to describe the weight-loss products that he endorsed on his show.
Sticking with his assertion that some of his critics lashed out at him with “an agenda,” he “acknowledged” the he misspoke and reminded the audience that he hasn’t brought up these controversial topics for more than a year.
“I never wanted my messages to be hijacked by marketers on the web that are stealing my name and likeness and trying to sell you products. I realize there’s a lot of fraud in the products themselves…and the research behind it was often fraudulent. But I in general get it right,” he said.
He clearly chose a friendly outlet to visit, with Hasselbeck praising him repeatedly for empowering his viewers with information.
And, likely not coincidentally, Dr. Oz is celebrating his 1,000th episode by focusing on weight loss. Hugh Jackman will be a guest! So there you go.