Embattled TV doc Mehmet Oz appeared on the Today Show this morning to discuss accusations against him. The segment led with a new story from USA Today that 8 Columbia physicians complained about having to waste time “debunking Oz-isms,” saying that his “unsubstantiated medicine sullies the reputation of Columbia University.”
Oz was shown claiming that his show is “not about medicine, but about the Good Life.” He also said that is “not a medical show,” but about him.
In the interview with Matt Lauer, he was asked if since he often wears scrubs and is called “Doctor,” that people trust what he says as a doctor. Lauer asked if Oz had upheld that trust over the years. Oz said yes, but that this was much more than a medical show.
Lauer pressed on, asking if Oz felt that as a doctor on television, he could do or say things he couldn’t say in private practice. Oz claimed that his show is “broader than private practice,” because he embraced “unconventional approaches.” He mentioned prayer and traveling the world to look at other approaches.
Lauer noted that while Oz was positioning himself “for the little guy,” the Columbia doctors felt he was “careless and reckless as a doctor.”
Oz immediate changed gears and again attacked the his critics from last week for having “clear GMO biases,” while failing to note that they represented settled science. Then he said he was proud to have that kind of feedback from his Columbia colleagues. He said he has to go beyond the common procedures since ‘health is not always found in a doctor’s office.”
Lauer asked if when he used words like “radical” and “breakthrough,” does the doctor in you cringe at what the talk show host in you is saying?
Oz answered by backing away from his many programs on weight loss supplements, wishing he could take those away. It was these programs that Senator McCaskill castigated him for last year, and Oz says he no longer does programs on those (plainly fraudulent) supplements. But he said that he is trying to make his viewers “experts on their bodies.”
Lauer returned to the serious criticisms of the Columbia physicians and Oz deflected by saying that they had also praised other things that the show does. Oz claimed that he would continue to talk both about settled treatments and “new breakthroughs,” and when asked if he and the show could survive these criticisms, and Oz asserted that he could and that the show would be having its 1000thepisode nest year.
The interview’s chiron (bottom banner) indicated that Lauer had called for Oz’s resignation, but in the segment on NBC, this was only implied, not specifically mentioned. However, one would hope that these criticisms as well as one just published by Michael Specter in the New Yorker will continue to diminish Oz’s tottering credibility.