So last week, Newsweek printed a heroic front-page article detailing the antiscientific medical swill Oprah Winfrey has been routinely doling out to her audiences. This nonsense includes, of course, Jenny McCarthy, as well as dangerous quackery by Suzanne Somers and others. The article really slams Oprah hard, as well it should.
Unsurprisingly, Oprah has released a statement about this, and it’s full to the brim of fail. I wouldn’t call it a lie, but it’s spinning like a newborn pulsar:
For 23 years, my show has presented thousands of topics that reflect the human experience, including doctors’ medical advice and personal health stories that have prompted conversations between our audience members and their health care providers. I trust the viewers, and I know that they are smart and discerning enough to seek out medical opinions to determine what may be best for them.
That, to be blunt, is baloney. First off, it’s wrong. She pounds home the New Age nonsense from Somers and McCarthy, giving them a platform to relentlessly mislead and misinform people millions at a time, and on those shows rarely gives more than very brief lip service to actual medical research.
Second, it’s at best a cop-out to say that her viewers will do more research. She has to know that’s almost certainly not true! The Oprah imprimatur can rocket a book up the best-selling list, as it has for Somers and McCarthy, as well as many others. Clearly, a vast horde of people will go out and buy what she tells them to because she’s the one who told them to.
And what she’s telling them to buy is dangerous medical nonsense.
The only good news coming out of this is that the mainstream media are taking notice. Besides Newsweek itself, other venues are writing about it too. Of course, the blogs are all over it as well (the Newsweek blog has links to more).
Oprah: shame on you. You had a chance to look this situation over carefully, investigate your methods and ideas, and make this right. Instead you resort to defensive posturing and spin. It makes me sick to my stomach. But how many people will your credulous platform literally make sick?
Links to this Post
- Blog Article and Video about Oprah: Shame on you. | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine - Oprah Winfrey | June 7, 2009
- GetWeb | June 7, 2009
- Oprah: bad liar or worst liar? « Skepacabra | June 8, 2009
- I’ll second that. | The Godless Heathen Blog | June 8, 2009
- Oprah: Shame on you. « Netcrema - creme de la social news via digg + delicious + stumpleupon + reddit | June 8, 2009
- diychica's status on Monday, 08-Jun-09 11:28:17 UTC - Identi.ca | June 8, 2009
- via @badastronomer. If you like Oprah, don’t read this article http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/06/07/oprah-shame-on-you/ | Celebrity News Feed | June 8, 2009
- Turns out Oprah is fat AND stupid. « Dingos Ate My Baby. | June 8, 2009
- Home & Family: Oprah Shame on you | June 8, 2009
- Monday tab-clearing | June 8, 2009
- Daily Quippages 06.08.2009 | The Starnes | June 8, 2009
- Oprah: Shame on you. « Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day | June 8, 2009
- Oprah: Shame on you. « Diychica’s Blog | June 8, 2009
- Oprah has lost it. - http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/06/07/oprah-shame-on-you/ | Celebrity News Feed | June 8, 2009
- Oprah: Shame on You http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/06/07/oprah-shame-on-you/ #ShameOprah | Celebrity News Feed | June 8, 2009
- Oprah: Shame on you. « Becky’s Weblog | June 8, 2009
- The House has 4 walls - Oprah: Shame on you. | June 8, 2009
- Daughter of the Ring of Fire » Blog Archive » Sex, Race, Class, and Easy Targets | June 9, 2009
- Quick Update « Science-Based Pharmacy | June 10, 2009
- Interesting Reading #300 – The Blogs at HowStuffWorks | June 11, 2009
- Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-06-14 | June 14, 2009
- Dystopian Lifetime Achievement Award Goes to OPRAH | ICED BORSCHT & Other Delights | July 11, 2009
- Quick Update | July 20, 2009
- La Ley de Atracción « Ciencia, no ficción | September 16, 2009
- The Best Journalism and Blogging of 2009! | ICED BORSCHT | February 27, 2010
- Argumentum ad Verecundiam – When the authority is wrong « Science and the Media | October 7, 2010
- More on Oprah and Kim Tinkham « rationalbrain | December 20, 2010
- Oprah moet zich schamen « Ernst-Jan Pfauth | September 16, 2011