Still, it had to be uncomfortable for a really prominent physician - he may be a little rusty today but 10 years ago if I had a choice and needed heart surgery, I'd have felt beyond safe in his hands - to be vilified in every credible media outlet.
So it was easy to be on his side when he announced another fix: He hired someone to verify the medical content of scripts, kind of a fact checker. The person he chose was Dr. Michael Crupain, a board certified M.D. I'd never heard of Cruipan but few people had heard of Oz before the Oprah show either so that made little difference. A quick glance at his bio says there may be reason for concern after all.
Crupain comes from Consumer Reports, and specifically the Food Safety and Sustainability Center, which is an anti-science group devoted to promoting organic food and demonizing GMOs. If you are not familiar with the blow-up over Oz recommending a lot of alternative medicine cures, his only defense was 'my critics support GMOs', as if that meant something negative.
Every reputable science organization supports GMOs, because science at its core is about helping the public and food science does that. Dr. Oz suggesting critics must secretly be shills for Big Science, whoever that is, seemed a little strange. Consumer Reports, which is quite good when it comes to telling me which cheap toaster is best, is a little bit out of its mind diving into science, much less lining up against it. Yet that may have been why he was hired. A little bit of research also makes it appear that Cruipan is going to be a fact checker in name only. He is instead an Oz Lite.
Here are some of the strange claims Cruipan has made:
AAAS and every other science body is wrong and synthetic pesticides are 'endocrine disruptors'. Invoking 'endocrine disruptor' at all is a sign someone does not know what they are talking about, since it can apply to anything. Does his concern also apply to organic pesticides? It's a miracle of chemistry if it doesn't.
He thinks the Daily Mail is a science source - and quotes them in long-debunked stuff about Indian farmers committing suicide over GMOs. How can someone with so little skepticism be counted on to give honest advice to the public about science?
His bio says he has 8 publications, but PubFacts only finds 4. They are on things like "the mental Self" and using fMRI to speculate about "identity". He has one sort of on medicine, a rather poorly constructed bit of alarmism about caramel that he is a middle author of, so maybe he paid the fee to have it published. Alarming to scientists is that Natural News supports him. Maybe being in their blog post counts as one of those 4 missing publications he has. Or his endorsement of Meatless Mondays.
Writing at Real Clear Science, Dr. Alex Berezow found that Cruipan promotes chemophobia too. He trots out that 'chemical cocktail' stuff, which could have been written by Joe Mercola or whoever is in fashion among the anti-science movement this week.
GMOs are actually not the biggest reason to be critical of the Dr., as Nicholas Staropoli at the American Council on Science and Health notes, so it seems strange that was the litmus test for a new hire.
It would be terrific if we could feel like Dr. Oz truly wanted to become a trusted guide for the public again. If he does, hiring Dr. Cruipan is not the way to show it.
- Dr. Oz: A Mea Culpa Or Finally Aware?
- Good news: Richard Dawkins is bigger than Jesus on Scienceblogs.com
- The Evolutionary Psychology Reason Some People Will Be Anti-GMO
- EU Inches Toward Science Acceptance, Wants A Vote To Lift Ban On GMOs
- The Industry Funding Behind Anti-GMO Activist Gilles-Éric Séralini