Dr. Oz Will Address Backlash On Special Show Airing This Week

The details about what he will say aren't 100% confirmed just yet.

Sensing that he needs to do something to stop the bleeding from his damaged reputation, Dr. Oz is planning a special show that will air Thursday. Details about the show, which will be taped tomorrow or Wednesday, haven’t been released, but there’s some talk of him directly responding to the group of doctors who wrote a letter, released last week, that sought to have him booted from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.

A spokesman for the show frames the special episode as one designed to push back against “intimidation.”

“We plan to show America who these authors are, because discussion of health topics should be free of intimidation,” the spox told CNN Money.

Others, including Dr. Bob Arnot, a former chief medical correspondent for NBC News, told CNN that the doctors are “industry henchmen” angry over Dr. Oz’s stance against genetically modified foods. Dr. Henry Miller, who led the assault with that letter, says that though he has spoken quite a bit about GMOs, there’s no conflict of interest here.

However, a Vox report on a Wikileaks email dump suggests that Dr. Oz considers more than just science when he decides what to support on his show.

“I have been carefully following the wearable device market and am pretty close to consummating a longer term relationship, but just saw the piece below quoting Kaz Hirai [the president and CEO of Sony] and realized that Sony is moving into the space as well,” Oz writes in an email. “We should leverage the Sony-driven success of our TV show into other arenas where Sony thrives, like health hardware.”

The email suggests Dr. Oz is planning to use his platform on the show to  help expand Sony’s fitness and health tracking devices market. Oz doesn’t mention health considerations. He mostly seems excited about the business synergy with Sony, one of the producers of his show.

There are also emails talking about the possibilities for paid sponsorships and the criticism that would stem from those relationships. Show producers from Harpo even met with Sen. Claire McCaskill before he made that awkward appearance before Congress, debating whether Dr. Oz should speak publicly.

Vox notes that using the show special to respond solely to the letter’s authors would be the wrong move because whether they have ties to GMOs or not is “largely beside the point.”

“Attacking their motivations completely sidesteps the substance of their claims, which did not come in isolation,” the site notes. Good point. Research done by other organizations, including the British Medical Journal also showed that there was little science behind some of the claims made on the show.

At this point, Dr. Oz needs to reaffirm his expertise and re-state his commitment to both medical science and his audience. That means coming clean about who he and his show has relationships with, what science there is behind his recommendations and how he plans to put any doubts to rest going forward. Anything less than that will only come off as a PR stunt designed to cover his own tail.

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