The Best (and Worst) of #OzsInBox

What happens when you unleash the wrath of Twitter? Ask Dr. Oz.


In case you missed this, America’s Used-to-be-Favorite Doctor, Mehmet Oz has the Twitterverse going bonkers over his #OzsInBox tweet. It’s been lot’s of  fun for everyone except, I expect, the good Doctor, his producers, and his show’s sponsors.

 

It all started with this ill-conceived tweet:

OzsInBox 1st Tweet

And then….Twitter exploded. According to Symplur, there have been 831 tweets from 450 participants for an average of 35 tweets/hour (average 2 tweets/participate). Altogether there have been 2,281,792 impressions. Of course, if you count retweets, the reach has been even greater. And then there is the media coverage—google “ozsinbox” and you will see everyone weighing in ranging from Liberal America to Breitbart and everyone in between. It’s a hoot!

 

Critiques of quackery

Some of the tweets took aim at Oz for his over-the-top promotion of treatments that have no evidence based in science (a kind way of his promotion of quackery!):

Snake oil gluten freeEbola orMercolaStarbucks coffee enemaMelt fatSandalwooddetox my detoxmetalscrystalsnutritionautismcat

 

Credibility and ethics

Other tweets questioned his credibility as a doctor and many took issue with his ethics:

Hogwartsbill youprofitablenutrition cultlunaticHippocratic oath

 

Social media flub

Some folks wondered what on earth was going through his mind to approve this disastrous social media campaign:

blowing social medianatural remedy

 

Remember the congressional testimony?

And some reminded us of his embarrassing congressional testimony with links to this video:

The haters

Many tweets were downright angry, insulting, and hateful – I didn’t bother to include these. If you are interested in reading them, click on over to https://twitter.com/hashtag/OzsInbox?src=hash. Plan on setting aside a day or two to get through them.

 

Why oh why?

To me, the most interesting question is what is behind Dr. Oz’s transformation from a respected cardiothoracic surgeon to a ridiculed charlatan? Was it a true belief in integrative medicine? Or the temptation of big bucks as many tweeters suggest? Was it isolation behind the curtain of being a celebrity? Or naivete (I doubt it)? A lack of ethics (Who knows)? Or, my first choice, the temptress called hubris. I vote for the latter. Hubris has an insidious knack of knocking us down just when we think we can do no wrong.

Hubris


39 COMMENTS

  1. Excellent overview of this unfortunate hashtag initiative, Dr. S. While it’s fun for us to read through the witty snark waiting in the inbox of Dr. Oz, it’s actually tragic to consider that for the past five seasons, millions of his fans in 118 countries watch this show every day (although not as many as those who watch Judge Judy, apparently). This summer, Dr Oz won yet another Daytime Emmy award for Outstanding Talk Show Host.

    But celebrity doctors are not the same as you or the physicians who actually, you know…. practice medicine. (Dr. Oz apparently still performs cardiac surgery one day at week at Columbia – which is alarming to us heart patients who know that you don’t want your procedures done by any cardiac surgeon who’s this out of practice!)

    Dr. Tom Linden, a professor of medical and science journalism at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill once told the Los Angeles Times that today’s celebrity doctors can be divided into two broad categories: medical journalists and medical showmen:

    “Journalists operate under journalistic principles. The showmen operate outside the sphere of journalism and are in the world of informational entertainment.”

    Dr. Oz is now a medical showman. I wrote about this four years ago: http://ethicalnag.org/2010/09/01/celebrity-doctors/

    regards,
    C.

    • Thanks for the comment Carolyn and thanks for the link to your review of Dr. Oz’s showman behavior. Thanks heavens there are plenty of docs doing TV who have maintained their integrity – Sanjay Gupta comes to mind.

      Unfortunately, journalism become so politicized that you can be spoon fed 24/7 red stories or 24/7 blue stories and think you are getting the news “fair and balanced.” Where is Walter Cronkite when you need him?

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