In Vital Signs at Salon.com, Rahul K. Parikh, M.D., writes about the lack of balance and medical evidence in the health advice offered on Oprah Winfrey’s television show.
Parikh points to recent guest Suzanne Somers, advocating bioidentical hormones. He says Winfrey failed to ask any tough questions about Somer’s history of breast cancer, her hysterectomy or the validity of her sources.
Winfrey’s health advice on other issues has also raised concern, according to Parikh. Winfrey has a development deal with actress Jenny McCarthy, who has “been leading an ideological, unscientific crusade against childhood vaccines.” Winfrey also has promoted cosmetic procedures without discussing potential problems and has done a show on which an “expert” said thyroid problems are “the result of a woman’s inability to assert herself.”
It’s certainly not news that Winfrey has strayed far from her journalistic roots but Parikh’s point that, given her influence, she should offer more solid evidence and balance, is well taken. It’s also a good reminder of the value of journalists who stick to the evidence and continue asking the tough questions.