Trump’s visit to Dr. Oz was all spectacle

Yesterday, GOP nominee and noted xenophobe, Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' MORE, appeared on a very special segment of Dr. Oz to reassure the world that his health is amazing, really the best, it’s just incredible. You wouldn’t believe it.

Nor should you.

Dr. Oz is, in a word, a quack, a fraud, a snake-oil salesman. On the credibility scale of TV doctors, Oz is much closer to Dr. Zoidberg than Dr. House. He has built a national platform of millions of loyal viewers eager to swallow whatever ‘wisdom’ he has to offer as if it was coated in honey. He’s exploited that trust to sell homeo-therapy, psychic readings, and magic weight-loss beans to his credulous audience, eschewing recognized science and evidence-based medicine to the point that many of his fellow physicians have called for him to be outright removed from his position at Columbia.

Which is why it makes so much sense that he was picked to run interference over questions of Trump’s health. TV famous, ignores objective reality to spout nonsense, hated by his professional peers, plays the victim to his audience when his lies are called out. Yep, Dr. Oz is the medical equivalent of The Donald himself.

Dr. Oz did not conduct a physical, did not review his newest patient’s medical records, did not conduct an in depth survey of his medical history. Instead, he threw him softball questions, let Trump make up answers, and didn’t challenge him on his evasiveness. Trump’s actual answer to “Do you exercise?” was “On stage, I like to move around a lot,” before making a joke about President Obama golfing too much. Then, the good doctor reviewed a one-page blood work summary prepared by the same personal physician who whipped up the now infamously unhinged letter while waiting for a limo declaring Trump “The healthiest person ever to run for President.”

The interview was a farce. It was a pantomime of a medical review. Pure theater. It was exactly what both men wanted it to be.

It’s all about the spectacle. Dr. Oz is no more concerned with practicing good medicine than Trump is about being a serious politician. They’ve learned that their audiences want to be pandered to, don’t like having their beliefs challenged with pesky evidence, and reject ‘expert’ testimony. “It’s not your horrible diet or lack of exercise to blame, dearies. Just try these green coffee beans and you’ll lose the weight,” is no different from “Global warming was invented by the Chinese to destroy U.S. manufacturing.”

Of course it’s stupid. Of course it runs counter to all the available facts and professional consensus. But it sounds great, it fits in a soundbyte, and most importantly, it’s what the people want to hear.

And the people wanted to hear that Trump’s blood work is amazing, that he’s got the numbers of a thirty-year-old. Nevermind about his weight, or that he would be the oldest first-term President ever elected and gets all of his exercise by waving his arms while asking supporters to beat up protesters. Trump is strong, like bull.

Dr. Oz delivered that message, because that’s his job now. And if he plays his cards right, maybe he’ll get to be Surgeon General. Which leads me to speculate on what other famous ‘doctors’ might fill out a Trump Administration’s playcard?

Secretary of Defense: Dr. Doom

Secretary of Energy: Dr. Octopus

Secretary of Education: Dr. Seuss

Secretary of State: Dr. Evil

Secretary of Agriculture: Dr. Mareou

Secretary of the Interior: Dr. Robotnick

Women’s issues tsar: Dr. Feelgood

Gang Violence tsar: Dr. Dre (actually, that’s not a half-bad idea…)

Scientific and Medical Ethics tsar: Dr. Frankenstein

Drug tsar: Dr. Mario

Nuclear weapon tsar: Dr. Strangelove

And of course just as the world is ending in thermonuclear fire touched off because some Iranian sailor in the gulf flipped off Air Force One, Dr. Who appears, looks around, and says, “Fixed point in time, I am so sorry…”

Can it please be November already?

Tomlinson is an author and comedian. Follow him @stealthygeek.


 

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