“I’ve tried to do a lot of research in preparation for this trial and the scientific community is almost monolithic against you.” - McCaskill bellowed at Dr Oz in a 2014 Senate hearing
In the pre-pandemic world of 2014, Oz’s testimony sounds a bit like the desperate waffling of a high school student who just got caught cheating on a science test. At one point during the hearing, when McCaskill confronted him with his claims about a pill that could “literally flush fat from your system,” and “push fat from your belly,” Oz blamed what today might be called “cancel culture” for policing what he could or couldn’t say on his show
The committee members focused in particular on Oz's tendency to use supernatural vocabulary to describe the weight-loss powers of generic, over-the-counter weight-loss supplements. To begin her line of questioning, McCaskill recited a litany of claims that Oz had made about unproven supplements on the Dr. Oz Show. “‘You may think magic is make-believe, but this little bean has scientists saying they’ve found the magic weight-loss cure for every body type — it’s green coffee extract,’” said McCaskill, quoting Oz. She continued by reciting Oz’s claims about the “miracle” powers of raspberry ketone and the body-fat-busting powers of garcinia cambogia, an over-the-counter supplement made from the ground-up peel of a yellow, pumpkin-like fruit native to Southeast Asia.
Oz’s critics characterize him as a charlatan — and early in the hearing, McCaskill came just short of doing exactly that. When Oz defended his decision to peddle unproven weight-loss drugs by noting that he had also promoted the healing power of prayer, McCaskill shot back, “But you don’t have to buy prayer — prayer is free.”
When pressed by McCaskill about his support for “miracle” weight-loss pills, Oz conceded, “I recognize that oftentimes, my claims don’t have the scientific muster to present as fact. … My job, I feel, on the show is to be a cheerleader for the audience, and when they don’t think they have hope, or when they don’t think they can make it happen, I look everywhere for any evidence that might be supportive to them.”
Seven years after his dressing down on Capitol Hill, Oz is making a bid to return to Washington — this time to sit on the opposite side of the hearing room