Dr. Oz is running as a U.S. senator representing Pennsylvania, and much of his campaign has focused on protecting same-sex marriage. As anyone who has followed Oz’s career can tell you, however, his track record is full of medical misinformation and largely anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric. In an effort to distance itself from the harmful practices it previously promoted, Oz appears to have removed 2012 gay conversion therapy content from its website.
According to Jezebel, Oz got rid of 2012 segments covering gay conversion therapy, a harmful and potentially deadly practice that has repeatedly been proven ineffective and dangerous for LGBTQ+ people, often children or teenagers, forced to participate. . Previously, Oz hosted an interview with an advocate for “restorative therapy”, as well as an Oz blog post discussing the “debate” around conversion therapy (which, again, is harmful, dangerous and does not work at all).
“I felt we needed to include all parties who have considered restorative therapy to hear the stories of people who have tried these treatments,” Oz wrote in the since-deleted blog post. “While some viewers may disagree with this tactic, if we are to reach everyone who could benefit from understanding the risks of this therapy, you need to present multiple perspectives.”
Although Oz ultimately said there was “not enough published data” that supported “positive results with gay restorative therapy,” the fact that he gave anti-LGBTQ rhetoric a platform such a massive shape is problematic in itself. Bilateralism, or “false balance,” occurs when journalists (or pseudo-professionals with large platforms) present issues as being more balanced between opposing viewpoints than the data and evidence would suggest on behalf of equal or fair reporting.
While it’s unclear what the motivation behind this content cleanup is, it’s important to remember that Oz has been called out multiple times not only to be an accomplice for pseudo-medical advice, but also to have makes damaging remarks about trans athletes. it is also referred to as abortion at any stage of pregnancy as “murder”.
More and more anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ political candidates may attempt similar moves to appeal to a broader base during election season.
This new information makes the search for candidates even more critical during this election cycle.