“Last Week Tonight” Dissects Dr. Oz Claims

John Oliver is the first to address major flaws in the latest Dr. Oz Show.

Editor’s Note: Some readers may be bothered by the language used in this story.

It was another trip to Oz on the April 26 Last Week Tonight show. Host John Oliver roasted Dr. Mehmet Oz’s sensationalized response to a Columbia letter calling for the university to drop the embattled TV doctor.

It was classic Oliver, showing just  how inadequate and amusing Oz’s defense was. To set the stage, a little background is needed.

Ten doctors have asked Columbia University’s Dean of Medicine to remove Oz from his faculty position. They argued that Oz demonstrated, “disdain for science,” “baseless and relentless opposition to the genetic engineering of food crops,” and promoted “quack treatments and cures” for personal gain.

On April 23, The Dr. Oz Show aired an exceptionally dramatic episode in which Oz and the liberal watchdog Source Watch blasted Oz’s critics in an effort to discredit their charges against him. The next day, Oz appeared on NBC’s Today where he attempted to prove that his was not a medical show, because in his logo, “Dr.” was small and “Oz” was big.

All of that gave Oliver plenty of fuel for roasting.

Oliver did an exceptional job identifying the most concerning, inadequate elements of Oz’s response.

He rightly pointed out that Oz’s show only addressed half of the charges made by the 10 doctors. “Dr. Oz spent much of the episode attacking the doctors who’d called for his resignation, arguing that industry ties were behind their criticism -- which might be true -- may well be true. But none of that answers the substance of the accusations that he’s a quack who serves viewers horse shit dressed up as medicine. And his response to that has been pathetic.”

Oliver further debunked the “free speech” argument that Oz had made, arguing, “The First Amendment protects Americans from government censorship, and that’s it. It does not guarantee you the right to simultaneously hold a faculty position at a prestigious private university and make misleading claims on a TV show.”

Despite the ever-increasing evidence against Oz, Oliver is the only one in the media who has pointed out the incorrect information in Oz’s response. The broadcast networks have bought into Oz’s claim that the letter stems solely from industry opposition. It is Oz -- not his critics -- who is continuously featured in media coverage of the most recent controversy, resulting in one-sided, biased reports.

Eight Columbia faculty have now also weighed in on the controversy. In order to preserve the integrity of Columbia University, they have asked Oz to place a disclaimer on his program stating, "The opinions expressed on this program may not be evidence-based or part of accepted medical practice and have no endorsement from Columbia University."