On Thursday, the Associated Press' David Bauder ripped into Fox News' resident psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow for his often bizarre, generally asinine and always irresponsible political and "medical" commentary.
"Ablow clearly enjoys being provocative," Bauder writes, "and his commentaries don't stick to his areas of medical expertise. Within the past two weeks he called for an 'American jihad,' saying the country should urge all nations to adopt a government form based on the U.S. Constitution. His comment this summer that Michelle Obama 'needs to drop a few' pounds was widely noticed."
Bauder consulted Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, the chairman of psychiatry at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, who noted that Ablow seemed more eager to entertain than to reflect "well on his profession. "It is shameful and unfortunate that he is given a platform by Fox News or any other media organization," Lieberman said. "Basically he is a narcissistic self-promoter of limited and dubious expertise."
Another doctor, Ford Vox, said that Ablow's insistence on connecting political analysis with medicine is "really just irresponsible and it's embarrassing for physicians in general."
Ablow could not allow his name to be so besmirched by his peers in medicine, so this morning he released a statement that is more hilariously damning than anything. We will take it piece by piece:
As a psychiatrist, news commentator, and medical professional, my analysis is accurate. I stand by what I have said. Psychiatrists are uniquely situated to comment on political figures, and the interface of politics and psychology is improved by psychological analysis...
While some may be offended by my commentary, it is, nevertheless entirely accurate.
Dr. Ablow, when so much of your commentary is bloviation, based totally in your opinion, saying that all of your commentary is "entirely accurate" is not super-effective. You said that Obama's "affinities" were with Africa (the continent), instead of the United States. That is the worst kind of empty rhetoric that even you, Dr. Ablow, must admit is far-fetched.
President Obama provided the data for my commentary through his statements and actions.
As a medical professional it is readily apparent that a President who tours the world apologizing for America, who was part of a church in which the pastor preached "God damn America!" and who admonished American entrepreneurs that they did not build their own businesses is a President who has issues with the nation of which he is President. The use of selected and edited comments of mine to attempt to "shoot the messenger" is an unfair attempt to impair my credibility.
Rev. Jeremiah Wright of the Trinity United Church in Chicago did say that black people should preach, "God damn America." Obama has admitted that Wright says many things he doesn't agree with. His aides have said Wright uses "inflammatory rhetoric." Regardless, are we to conflate one man with someone else just because they are loosely associated through religion? Am I to be shunned from society because I, like racist serial killer Baruch Goldstein, were at one time both members of a synagogue? Am I to be associated at all with Rabbi Reiner of D.C.'s Temple Sinai, just because he did my bat mitzvah?
On the first day of my graduate program in science and health journalism, we were taught that the gravest sin in medical reporting was to confuse correlation with causation. Just because two things exist side-by-side does not mean they have anything to do with one another.
I am apparently joined by my nemesis Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman in rejecting the APA position that psychiatrists ought not comment on public figures. Lieberman condemned me as a "narcissistic self-promoter," yet he has never interviewed me. From where does this analysis come?
The thing is that Lieberman was clearly not making a clinical diagnosis. I think he was just being insulting.
My commentary is accurate, and I will continue to speak truth to power.
Ablow's smug superiority is infuriating, sure, but it isn't wrong. What is wrong, and morally reprehensible, is how he continues to drag the (mostly) respected institution of medicine along with him, forcing it to implicitly support his views every time his title appears on-screen. You are misusing a career's worth of education, Dr. Ablow, and you should be ashamed.