In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the issue's role in presidential campaigns. In the 2016 campaign, a number of posts discussed Trump's support for the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. He also has a bad record on science and disability issues more generally.
The White House announced Friday that President Donald Trump intends to appoint Mehmet Oz, better known as Dr. Oz, to his council on sport, fitness and nutrition.
Oz is well-known as a host of an eponymous television show on health and medical issues and, before that, for appearances on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." But he has become a lightning rod for controversy for featuring what critics say is unscientific advice on his show.
In 2014, a congressional panel questioned Oz over his promotion of weight-loss products on his television show.
"The scientific community is almost monolithic against you in terms of the efficacy of the three products you called 'miracles,'" Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, said during the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee hearing.In 2014, Orac (Dr. David Gorski) wrote at Respectful Insolence:
The following year, a group of doctors criticized him harshly, saying he manifested "an egregious lack of integrity" in his TV and promotional work and called his faculty position at Columbia University unacceptable.
[In] addition to the quackery and weight loss supplements that he promotes regularly on his show, Dr. Oz has started down the path to become antivaccine, if he’s not antivaccine already. Of course, I had seen rumblings of antivaccine proclivities coming from Dr. Oz before. For example, nearly five years ago, he was interviewed by Joy Behar, as noted on the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism. During that interview, he admitted that his children had not received their flu shots during the H1N1 pandemic and strongly implied that his wife had been responsible, saying, “I`m in a happy marriage and my wife who makes most of the important decisions as most couples have in their lives who absolutely refuses.” Of course, at the time I knew that Oz’s wife is a reiki master and clearly heavily into quackery. Whether it was she who influenced Oz to go as far as he has into the wild world of woo or whether he discovered it himself, I don’t know. What I do know is that anyone who produces a segment like the one he produced on yesterday The Dr. Oz Show is well on his way to being antivaccine. What do I mean?
Take a look at the thimerosal segment on yesterday’s The Dr. Oz Show, and you’ll quickly see what I mean:
Dr. Oz had as guests on his show antivaccine loon Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and his partner in crime against vaccine science, “functional medicine” expert Dr. Robert Hyman, on his show in a credulous segment about the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal that buys into virtually every trope about mercury in vaccines promulgated by the antivaccine movement. The reason, of course, is because Kennedy and Hyman have a book out. It’s a book entitled Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak: Mercury Toxicity in Vaccines and the Political, Regulatory, and Media Failures That Continue to Threaten Public Health that I’ve discussed before in which, as I put it, Kennedy parties about thimerosal like it’s 1999.