Oz was providing testimony at the hearing, which was meant to shed light on products that make false claims about helping consumers lose weight. Things took a turn for the worse when Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill confronted Oz; she saw him as playing a key role in perpetuating unrealistic expectations of weight loss from products such as green coffee extract, garcinia cambogia, and yacon syrup. "I know you do a lot of good on your show," McCaskill began. "You've been trained in science-based medicine...I don't know why you need to say this stuff when you know it's not true. Why would you call something a miracle in a bottle?" She continued, "When you call a product a miracle, and it's something you can buy, and it's something that gives people false hope — I just don't understand." The senator then pointed out that the scientific community is "almost monolithically against" Oz, whom she said was "in the business of getting viewers."
Oz, who happens to be a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon as well as a professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, answered: "My job on the show is to be a cheerleader for the audience. When they don't think they have hope, when they don't think they can make it happen, I look everywhere, including [to] alternative healing traditions, for any evidence that might be supportive to them."
Which is all well and good. But, there's a very wide gap between "cheerleader" and "snake-oil salesman." Where Oz falls on that continuum is up to you — and his viewers. It's worth mentioning here that Oz has never endorsed a specific product, and has never profited from promoting a supplement on his show. But, that makes his outlandish claims even more puzzling — except, of course, if they're just a play for ratings. When you're in the habit of selling "miracle" products and you also happen to have an MD, it's hard to argue with McCaskill; most doctors (at least, those who don't have television shows) would tell you that miracles aren't actually a thing.
Watch the video above for just a taste of the scolding. Whatever your feelings on Oz, it's pretty juicy stuff.