The letter to the school’s Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine, said Oz repeatedly has shown “disdain for science and for evidence-based medicine,” of “promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain,” and of having “misled and endangered” the public.
But Oz, as expected, focused today on the letter’s attack of what it called his “baseless and relentless opposition to the genetic engineering of food crops. Oz insisted he has never “judged” genetically modified foods (GMO), but, like many countries around the world, he supports GMO labeling.
Fans call him America’s Doctor; detractors describe him as “The Kardashian of Medicine”. Today he demonstrated his considerable skill as a broadcaster, shrewdly waiting to rebut last week’s letter until this morning – the first day of the May sweep ratings derby that is closely watched by local TV stations broadcasting his show.
Oz claimed some of the doctors who have accused him of conflict of interest have a conflict of interest themselves surrounding GMO. He ticked off the names of some of the letter signers and pointed to their own ties to industries involved with GMO’s. He noted one of the doctors who signed the letter was a “key supporter of the tobacco industry” and helped write legislation that would have fought smoking restrictions. His show’s approximately 2 million viewers also heard another of the letter signers described as a convicted felon.
Oz brought out talking heads to dismiss the letter signers as “rent a scientists.” He aired a segment from a recent episode in which a honcho at a company that produces a genetically modified Arctic Apple was invited to participate, to discuss the pros and cons.
Then, Oz blamed the press. You can never go wrong blaming the press:
“The 10 doctors who attacked me got what they intended: sensational headlines and sound bites,” he said. Out comes another talking head to call the press reports about the letter “sloppy and dangerous journalism” practiced by reporters who “attack first and ask questions later.”
Back to Dr. Oz:
“Public shaming and bullying is not how it should be done,” he told his audience. “This month we celebrate 1,00 shows,” he said, noting freedom of speech is our “most fundamental right.” These 10 doctors “are trying to silence that right, and I will not let it happen,” he vowed.
The university already has responded to the letter in a statement, saying it “is committed to the principle of academic freedom and to upholding faculty members’ freedom of expression for statements they make in public discussion.”
Oz will talk about today’s episode, the letter, etc., on NBC’s Today show tomorrow morning.