Watch Steve Novella on The Dr. Oz Show on Tuesday!

UPDATE 4/27/2011: Here’s the online video of Dr. Novella’s appearance on The Dr. Oz Show:

  1. Controversial Medicine: Alternative Health, Part 1
  2. Controversial Medicine: Alternative Health, Part 2
  3. Controversial Medicine: Alternative Health, Part 3

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I want you all to tune in to The Dr. Oz Show on Tuesday, April 26. Either that, or DVR it. Why am I asking you to do this? Have I lost my mind? Have I suddenly gone woo? Of course not. The reason is that, an episode I’ve been waiting for since I learned it was in the works last week will air on that date.

That’s right. Our fearless leader Steve Novella will be on The Doctor Oz Show this Tuesday to do battle in the belly of the beast.

Unfortunately, I fear for the results. I know Steve acquitted himself quite well, at least as well or better than any skeptic and booster of SBM could hope to do in such a hostile environment, but get a load of the title of the segment, Controversial Medicine: Why your doctor is afraid of alternative health?




No, no, no, no! A thousand times no!

I do worry a bit how the producers edited Steve’s segment, though. Look at the promo. In it Dr. Oz is doing what I was afraid of, trying to portray himself as the voice of reason and accusing Steve of being “dismissive.” I was afraid Dr. Oz would play the “don’t be close-minded” or “you’re too dismissive” card, and he appears to have done it. Then get a load of the advertised segment that follows, showing Dr. Oz dictating what’s true and not in medicine, as in “Dr. Oz approved.”

Truly, the man has no shame.

I’ll have to wait until Tuesday to see what the final results are. Whatever happens, we at SBM are all incredibly proud of Steve for going into the proverbial lions’ den. As managing editor, I’m also enormously proud of our stable of bloggers; after all, it is a collective effort that got us noticed by the producers of The Dr. Oz Show. Also, now that Dr. Oz and his producers have noticed us, however the segment turns out we promise to keep holding Dr. Oz’s feet to the fire when he starts promoting nonsense like faith healers, psychic mediums, dubious diabetes treatments, and über-quacks like Joe Mercola. This should be facilitated by our new partnership with the James Randi Educational Foundation that was announced earlier this week.

You can also rest assured that Steve will blog about his experience after the episode airs, and I hope our readers will dive into the discussion forums after the show.

Posted in: Announcements, Science and the Media

Leave a Comment (48) ↓

48 thoughts on “Watch Steve Novella on The Dr. Oz Show on Tuesday!

  1. DevoutCatalyst says:

    I just swallowed my gum. And I wasn’t chewing any.

  2. Mark Crislip says:

    The promo is a hoot.

    First Steve, then

    What’s real, what’s a lie re: Dr. Oz approved.

    He should apply that to SCAM’s; he certainly doesn’t know the difference on that subject.

    He who controls the edit, controls the message.

  3. Maynard_242 says:

    Can’t wait to see the broadcast, but would REALLY like to see the raw footage.

  4. JPZ says:

    *resists desire to quote Admiral Akbar*

    Best of luck to Steve! I hope he has some zinger one-liners that the editors couldn’t let go.

    @ SBM Staff

    Outstanding media placement! Fabulous recognition of all the hard work you do and a great educational opportunity.

  5. whamo says:

    I mean this in the most atheistic way – bless Stephen’s heart!

  6. ConspicuousCarl says:


    Steve Novella rushes in. David Gorski ministers to
    an unidentified trampled skeptical blogger.

    Steve Novella sizes up the situation, starts for the
    Communications Room, David Gorski intercepts him.

    Are you out of your neurological mind?
    No human can tolerate the nonsense
    loose in there!

    But, as you are so fond of observing,
    Doctor, I’m not human.

    I’ve never said that, and you’re not going in
    there — !

    I’m afraid I can’t stop to discuss
    this logically —

    He gives David Gorski the Vulcan nerve pinch. Gorski
    goes down.

    Steve Novella presses the access button and enters
    the Communications Room, a separated area behind
    radiation-proof glass and metal, RED FLASHING
    LIGHTS and an iridescent blue glow within.

  7. mxh says:

    @Marc Crislip “He who controls the edit, controls the message.”

    Yep. I don’t see Dr. Oz (or his audience) having a change of heart.

  8. enomalas says:

    Very bold move, Dr. Novella. I wonder if Dr. Oz would be brave enough to take his arguments outside the comfort of his studio and continue the discussion with Steve on the SGU.

  9. Hodumori says:

    Oh can someone please record this and upload it somewhere?

    I would love to see this.

  10. David Gorski says:

    The Dr. Oz Show is usually available online on his website the evening of the show. They don’t always upload every segment, as I’ve discovered, but the major ones are there.

  11. David Gorski says:

    Very bold move, Dr. Novella. I wonder if Dr. Oz would be brave enough to take his arguments outside the comfort of his studio and continue the discussion with Steve on the SGU.

    I’d say the odds of Dr. Oz leaving the comfort of his studio, where he controls the message, to face skeptics is slim and none. What’s in it for him? Nothing.

  12. Great job Steve!


    I don’t think the goal should be to change the audiences heart, but just to get some of his audience members to start asking more questions about the crap medicine Dr. OZ supports.

  13. tmac57 says:


    “I just swallowed my gum. And I wasn’t chewing any.”
    You are just asking to get a bad case of Homeopathic TMJ!

    ConspicuousCarl- Ok ,I’m hooked! Please, Sir, May I Have Some More? :)

    DVR set.

  14. Wolfy says:

    Yes, Dr Novella, shame on you (and on all of us) for being so darn “dismissive. . .” :)

    1. for dismissing therapies that have been demonstrated to be of no benefit beyond doing nothing at all

    2. for not dismissing the null hypothesis when it is fairly common knowledge that if we BELIEVE hard enough we can use the energy within to create a difference between two measured phenomena

    Thanks for the heads up, Dr Gorski. This may be the only time in history that I will ever willingly watch the Dr Oz show!

  15. badengineer says:

    Swoopy’s last guest on Skepticality was Gary Taubes who also went into the lion’s den. It is interesting to read his blog about it which was written after taping but before viewing, and then listen to his take on it on Skepticality. Creative editing, to say the least. The takeaway was, Dr. Oz is only committed to entertainment, not factual information.

    I’ll tape the show, but I’m not sure I’ve had enough anger management training to watch it.

  16. GLaDOS says:

    “Why your doctor is afraid of alternative medicine” = dead agent tech. Highly effective black PR. Humans are much more interested in motives than in boring ol’ facts.

    This is a “handling.” These PR tricks to control the discourse are one of the reasons for Anonymous. Where there is no identifiable agent there can be no handling (although the bad guys keep trying).

    The best outcome would be a few shots of Steve looking relaxed, laughing, and saying “nonsense.”

  17. GLaDOS says:

    When clips of this show are put up on YouTube, I expect that I will hate Dr. Oz just a little bit more than I do right now.

  18. Maki says:

    I can’t help but cringe knowing Steve will most likely be edited into looking like a hapless and closed-minded doctor who works for “the man”.

    Would it be ever possible for somebody to ninja-record a taping so the actual show could be posted for comparison?

  19. splicer says:

    Since I don’t have broadcast or cable TV you would think I would be able to avoid Dr. Oz. The problem is he is everywhere. He is in my e-mail via my Health care provider, he is in Time magazine with an article, etc, etc, I can’t escape him. Thank you SBM for your hard work.

  20. GLaDOS says:

    The New Thought movement espouses a simply psychology: the eternal self can follow a path of progress, symbolized by an upward spiral, or a path of regress, which is a downward spiral. A person moving upward is motivated by love primarily, while a regressive or degraded being is motivated primarily by fear.

    New Agers believe that humans are naturally good and loving but can be made into evil beings if traumatized or frightened enough. Trauma or a perceived threat to survival can trap a spirit in time, such that the past is re-experienced again and again. A person may react inappropriately with fear to events in the present due to “restimulation” of engrams or memories of trauma.

    At the heart of all human-caused misery in this world –all crime, warfare, insanity, drug abuse, and cruelty– is some inappropriate fear left over from an event in the past. Finding the “root cause” for the fear and working it through is the method for escaping the downward spiral and initiating progress along a path toward greater enlightenment. If everyone alive today were on this path, humankind would enter a Golden Era of creativity and joy.

    I think it’s important to understand the special meaning of “fear” among the New Age set if you’re likely to chat with any of them.

    Another New Age symbol worth knowing about: The Machine. The machine represents the effort of willfully un-enlightened humans to control the Life Force by controlling the material world.

    Go watch Beware the Believers again. It’s message is much more in keeping with the New Age than with anything remotely typical of Christianity.

    If you are ever in San Francisco, have a look at Bernard Zakheim’s murals at the UCSF School of Medicine. The work, a depiction of the history of medicine in California (subtitled a contrast between superstitious medicine and rational medicine), was commissioned in the late 1930s and was initially well received. However, the imagery had an ambiguity about it that many found unnerving.

    In the 1940s the murals were wallpapered over, ostensibly because they were a “distraction” to students. However, when I saw the murals I thought of a theme common to Zakheim’s contemporaries: the animal or life force verses the machine. I think the murals were covered because the doctors didn’t like seeing themselves as the machine.

    Some of the stuff in the murals is WTF. I kinda remember one with IVs going into this poor little dog while an expressionless guy in a white coat prepares a sharp instrument.

  21. geolith says:

    I hope Steve will be ready to take the Geraldo road, and post YouTube clips of “Dr. Oz – the unedited/uncensored edition!”

    I’m thinking a variant on the silouhettes that did/do movie commentary on the Sci-Fi channel would be cool.

    For those minds capable of being opened, there’s nothing quite as liberating as seeing how someone is trying to control the conclusion for them.

  22. ConspicuousCarl says:


    It would be fun to do more, but I don’t know how much I can copy the Star Trek II script before it becomes illegal.

  23. BillyJoe says:

    I suppose the stradegy is to say nothing that can be edited to sound stupid, contradictory, or malicious.
    Sharp short sound bites in other words.
    Let’s see how he goes.

  24. GLadoS ” The work, a depiction of the history of medicine in California (subtitled a contrast between superstitious medicine and rational medicine), was commissioned in the late 1930s and was initially well received. However, the imagery had an ambiguity about it that many found unnerving”

    I would suggest the scene where the guy is cutting his own leg off is unambiguously unnerving. Maybe the students found themselves wondering if that was going to be a required skill for graduation. :)

    Conspicuous Carl – hehe, love the Star Trek reference, the character choices are dead on.

  25. Too late now, but when my grandfather used to do interviews he’d refuse to do anything live so he’d have a little control over the editing. If he realized he was in the process of saying something that could be taken the wrong way he’d start swearing. Then they’d have to pause and start again.

  26. GLaDOS says:

    Hey what’s the proper web address for venting complaints about Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe? I want to hit Jay Novella for his optimism over privatizing space exploration. “Competition brings prices down” needs some skepticism. Think telecom crisis or Blackwater or “too big to fail.”

  27. tmac57 says:

    ConspicuousCarl-Dang! My favorite shows always get canceled before they can take off!

  28. Chris says:


    Hey what’s the proper web address for venting complaints about Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe?

    It is over there. I wonder what it would be like to get Bob Park and Jay Novella together.

  29. snowmiser says:

    I have started a discussion about editing on the Dr. Oz show website. Could be interesting:

  30. rlquinn1980 says:

    My first response to the title of this post was, “Oh, god. Oh no no no no no no no no… This is a massively belated April Fool’s joke.” After seeing the clip, I’m slightly alleviated , but I’ll reserve any sighs of relief until I see the show in total. After reading Swift’s posts on JREF about the merciless editing of skeptics on related shows, I would never have thought any skeptic in the know would attempt to appear on one again.

    I’m no longer a believer, yet I find myself praying.

    @ConspicuousCarl: Damn my Facebook brainwashing! I keep looking for the “Like” button to your first comment. Come to think of it, I’ve never really heard/read Dr. Novella lose his temper. Perhaps there is a little Vulcan in him after all…

  31. Robin says:

    @ badengineer: Gary Taubes on a skeptic site? Really? He’s been criticized for being a cherry picker and misrepresenting the scientists he interviews in his articles. He’s a good critic of how data is interpreted but goes way too far in his sweeping condemnation of carbohydrates.

    Dietary science really needs a good skeptical treatment!

  32. tmac57 says:

    @Robin- SBM has addressed Taubes claims before:

    As has Neuologica:

  33. BillyJoe says:

    “As has Neuologica:

    Specifically in the comments section where he says:

    Where I think Taubes goes wrong is that he does not know how to balance the various different types of evidence that seem to point to different answers. He puts too much weight on basic science, and dismisses the clinical evidence. He underestimates the difficulty in extrapolating from basic science to ultimate effects.

    Meanwhile, the clinical research is fairly mature and is also fairly consistent – there is no real long-term advantage to low-carb diets.

  34. The Blind Watchmaker says:

    I kind of feel like Talia Shire at the end of the ‘Rocky’. She knew that Rocky was the “good guy” and loved him, but she just couldn’t watch. The Oz show isn’t about logical discourse or scientific medicine. It is about hype, shock and awe. Oz is very good at the latter. I will watch it after it’s over and I have heard some opinions. I want to be prepared.

  35. BillyJoe says:

    The Blind Watchmaker,


    Steven seems happy with his effort which, to me, suggests that he has thought about the fact that his responses will be heavily edited, which suggests to me that he has taken steps to ensure this will not work against him. One way to do this is to offer only short sharp sound bites that can stand alone. They can’t edit everything out!

  36. chaos4zap says:

    I feel like when interviews like this happen, the person being interviwed (i.e. Steve) should be provided copies of said interview, even if the whole thing didn’t air. It is far to easy to edit the be-jesus out of it, frame things out of context and completely misrepresent the actual interview. If the person being interviewed had copies of the entire interview, then at least they would be able to demonstrate the mis-representation. Heck, maybe even a transcript of the entire interview would do. I wonder how receptive Dr. Oz would be to leaving the Lions den to enter the t-rex lair (Skeptics Guide to..), my money is on…not very.

  37. daedalus2u says:

    Dr Oz.s wife is a practitioner of reiki. TAM is coming up, Dr Novella could have offered a forum for her to demonstrate her abilities at reiki (or demonstrate that she has none).

  38. Richard says:

    I wish we had some secret agents to sneak in and record the unedited version.

  39. norrisL says:

    Go for it Steve! I’d love to see the show unedited on youtube or on SGU!

  40. BillyJoe says:

    There should be no reason why interviewees cannot be provided with a video of the whole interview. Perhaps this should be cited as a condition for being interviewed.

  41. David Gorski says:

    Update: A post designed for Dr. Oz viewers posted on Tuesday 4/26:

  42. David Gorski says:

    The video of Steve’s appearance has been posted at Dr. Oz’s website. Predictably, the producers did not link to this blog:

    1. Controversial Medicine: Alternative Health, Part 1
    2. Controversial Medicine: Alternative Health, Part 2
    3. Controversial Medicine: Alternative Health, Part 3

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