Bad Medicine: Fox News Physicians Are A Prescription For Misinformation, Scientific And Otherwise
Research ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL & DAVID SHERE
From Dr. Keith Ablow's unscientific attacks on Chaz Bono to Dr. Manny Alvarez's baseless suggestion that Tylenol will soon be moved behind the counter because of the Affordable Care Act, Fox News' "Medical A-Team" experts routinely advance misinformation, sometimes using their medical credentials to give credence to their arguments.
Fox Touts Experience of "Medical A-Team" As Reason People Should "Trust" Them
Manny Alvarez declared that Fox's "Medical A-Team" -- which includes Alvarez, Keith Ablow, Marc Siegel, and Cynara Coomer, as well as David Samadi and Isadore Rosenfeld -- has "over 100 years' experience in the field of medicine. We have authored more than 20 books and published countless academic papers." Alvarez portrayed that experience as one reason why people should "trust this group of doctors." [Ask Dr. Manny Show, FoxNews.com, 5/2/11]
Ablow: Chaz Bono's "Contention That She Is A Male Is A Psychotic Delusion -- A Fixed And False Belief." From Ablow's May 17 FoxNews.com column -- which was pulled after it was posted -- as archived by ThinkProgress:
First, Chaz Bono is not a man. She is a woman who has undergone radical surgeries and is taking male hormones in order to look like a man. That isn't a political position, it's a biological reality. Chaz Bono wants to be thought of as male, but she is not male.
You may disagree with me on philosophical grounds, arguing that behaving like a man and feeling like a man is tantamount to being a man, but that argument does nothing to change the biological reality.
Second, while Chaz Bono may now feel that her journey toward self-acceptance has ended, I am not convinced. I say this because, absent the gender politics involved, I was taught to consider Chaz Bono's contention that she is male as a psychotic delusion -- a fixed and false belief.
Psychosis is not a predictor of long-term emotional well-being or stability.
Mind you, I am not judging Ms. Bono. But there is nothing substantially different from a woman believing she is a man than there is about a woman believing she is a CIA agent being followed by the KGB (when in reality, she is, say, a salesperson at J. Crew). [FoxNews.com via ThinkProgress.org, 5/18/11]
Ablow: "Gender Dysphoria" Can Be "Kindled By Celebrating Those Who Have Undergone Sexual Reassignment Surgery." From Ablow's September 2 FoxNews.com column, headlined "Don't Let Your Kids Watch Chaz Bono On 'Dancing With the Stars'":
It is a toxic and unnecessary byproduct of the tragic celebration of transgender surgery that millions of young people who do watch "Dancing with the Stars" will have to ponder this question: Maybe my problems really stem from the fact that I'm a girl inside a boy's body (or a boy inside a girls body). Maybe I'm not a tomboy; I'm just a boy! Maybe I'm not just being bullied because I'm a sensitive, reflective young man interested in flowers, not football. Maybe I'm not just uncertain about my sexuality. Maybe I'm a girl! Maybe all this angst and suffering I'm feeling as I emerge into puberty and pass through it isn't just because I'm changing, but because I should change completely -- and have my breasts removed or my penis amputated!
It would be wrong to think that gender dysphoria cannot be kindled by celebrating those who have undergone sexual reassignment surgery. Human beings do model one another -- in terms of emotion, thought and behavior. By broadcasting, applauding and mainstreaming the journey of a very disordered person who endured, and likely will continue to endure, real suffering based on extraordinarily deep psychological problems, we suggest that that journey is a smart -- even heroic -- one to take. [FoxNews.com, 9/2/11]
Ablow Compares Bono's Participation In Dancing With The Stars To The Participation Of A Person Who Intentionally Cut Off His Legs. From the September 6 edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard:
DAVID ASMAN (host): Dr. Keith Ablow, writing a piece that has created a huge firestorm, "Don't Let Your Kids Watch Chaz Bono On 'Dancing with the Stars.' " So, Doctor, why will watching hurt kids?
ABLOW: Here's why: Because this tour, this fame tour of Chaz Bono promoting transgenderism as though it's a civil right -- there are a lot of kids who will be watching.
Look, kids go through phases, adolescence. There may be tomboys watching who are girls. They don't really need to be encouraged to say, "Hey, wait. Wait a second. Maybe I'm not just of a tomboy, maybe I'm boy. Chaz -- look at them applauding him with a standing ovation."
No, look. This is a guy who's had a terrible run of things, an incredibly tortuous path, and it's not over. So I don't like the idea that you'd suggest to adolescents and young people a surgical remedy at the plastic surgeon's office for a psychiatric condition.
ABLOW: Yes. Yes. Yes, indeed. Human beings have their behavior kindled. They model their behavior on others. And listen, if we had somebody who couldn't walk on Dancing With the Stars, I'd applaud unless you told me, "Hey, by the way, do you know he cut off his own legs?" Then I'm not applauding. [Fox Business, America's Nightly Scoreboard, 9/6/11, via Media Matters]
Ablow: If Bono "Wants Me And The Rest Of The Nation And All Of Our Kids To Agree That He Is A Man, That's Reality Bending. It's Destructive." From Sirius XM's The Howard Stern Show:
ABLOW: First of all, let me say this: Were anyone to throw a rock at Chaz Bono, I'd step in front of him and take it for him. That's not the issue here. Nobody should be in any way discriminating against this person. But here's what I object to. When somebody has taken a really tortuous path, literally having breasts removed, injecting oneself with hormones, and is midstream in that process and wants me and the rest of the nation and all of our kids to agree that he is a man, that's reality bending. It's destructive. He's not a man, Howard. [Sirius XM, The Howard Stern Show, 9/8/11, via Media Matters]
Ablow Parallels Dangers Of Enabling Pedophilia With "The Celebration Of Transgender Surgeries." From Ablow's August 11 FoxNews.com column:
As a psychiatrist who has helped adolescents and adults make sense of their sexuality, I am convinced that, for many people, environment and social influences do indeed impact sexual desires and sexual behavior.
Here's a concrete example: I treated a man who was attracted to adult women, but also attracted to little girls. He was so convinced that his pedophilia was socially unacceptable and morally reprehensible that he stayed home most of the summer, rather than work as a handyman. He was petrified he would encounter little girls in bathing suits and be unable to control his impulses. He let me prescribe him two medications to increase his impulse control.
Now, I just don't see any reason why we would want to lead such a man to believe that his pedophilia isn't morally reprehensible by having him happen upon a mainstream magazine that dresses a 10-year-old girl like a 25-year-old woman and positions her as though she is hoping to have sex.
The same can be said for the celebration of transgender surgeries. When those who resort to major surgery to "become" female or male are applauded on talk shows, rather than being empathized with because they are on tortuous, tragic paths through confused identity issues, that can encourage people to think that their own very understandable ambivalence about some aspects of masculinity or femininity could mean, instead, that they are trapped inside the wrong body. It can actually kindle gender dysphoria that was not consciously present and would never have been psychologically debilitating. [FoxNews.com, 8/11/11]
Ablow On J. Crew Ad Depicting Mother Painting Her 5-Year-Old Son's Toenails Pink: "Encouraging The Choosing Of Gender Identity" Can "Throw Our Species Into Real Psychological Turmoil." From Ablow's April 11 FoxNews.com column:
A recent feature in J. Crew's online catalogue portrays designer Jenna Lyons painting her son Beckett's toe nails hot pink. The quote accompanying the image reads, "Lucky for me, I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon."
Yeah, well, it may be fun and games now, Jenna, but at least put some money aside for psychotherapy for the kid -- and maybe a little for others who'll be affected by your "innocent" pleasure.
If you have no problem with the J. Crew ad, how about one in which a little boy models a sundress? What could possibly be the problem with that?
Well, how about the fact that encouraging the choosing of gender identity, rather than suggesting our children become comfortable with the ones that they got at birth, can throw our species into real psychological turmoil -- not to mention crowding operating rooms with procedures to grotesquely amputate body parts? Why not make race the next frontier? What would be so wrong with people deciding to tattoo themselves dark brown and claim African-American heritage? Why not bleach the skin of others so they can playact as Caucasians?
Maybe we'll all have shiny, colored lips, though, and pierced ears and perfect eyebrows and mommies who get applause from their J. Crew friends at the park for parading their sons through the streets in costume.
Jenna Lyons and J. Crew seem to know exactly what they're up to. That's why the photograph of Jenna's son so prominently displays his hot pink, neon toe nails. These folks are hostile to the gender distinctions that actually are part of the magnificent synergy that creates and sustains the human race. They respect their own creative notions a whole lot more than any creative Force in the universe. [FoxNews.com, 4/11/11]
- Psychiatric Organization Fellow: Ablow's Views On Gender Identity Issues "Have Little Basis In Current Clinical Practices." From a column by Dr. Jack Drescher, "a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a member of the DSM-5 Workgroup on Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders," republished at FoxNews.com:
Contrary to [Ablow's] claims, most people establish a gender identity at a very early age. There are exceptions but they are not very common. When gender dysphoria does appear before adolescence, most psychiatrists call this Gender Identity Disorder of Childhood (GIDC). This diagnosis applies to children, in some cases, as young as three, who tell their astonished parents they are not the boys or girls the parents believe them to be.
GIDC is relatively rare, and children whose gender dysphoria persists into adulthood even rarer. Existing research indicates that children with GIDC grow out of gender dysphoria, do not grow up to be transgender, and most of them grow up to be gay! Again, no one knows why.
For children whose gender dysphoria persists into adolescence, transition to the other sex when they reach adulthood is often the medical treatment of choice. Doing so is rarely a decision made lightly and these individuals may become suicidal if refused transition.
The adolescents and their families who elect to go this route are not the ones Dr. Ablow describes: "tomboyish girls and sensitive, less stereotypically 'masculine' boys" or children who recently lost a parent and are "wondering who they are absent their deceased mothers or fathers." His views on gender confusion mix apples with oranges and have little basis in current clinical practices. [FoxNews.com, 9/13/11]
Identifying Himself As "A Doctor," Ablow Claims Tying Coal Plants To Asthma Is "Pseudo-Science." From Fox Business' Follow The Money:
ERIC BOLLING (host): I watched this testimony. I saw it. I saw Lisa Jackson tell us why we needed more regulation, we needed less drilling and all because, I don't know, she pointed out asthma.
ABLOW: Yeah, look, I'm a doctor, right, so the data matters to me, and I object to using pseudo-science to justify political agendas. And that's what happening here is that you've got people saying, hey, it's causing asthma -- the drilling and the use of fossil fuels. There's no evidence of that. You can't make a compelling case for that. And so, that's the way that we end up with bad ideas justifying good ends. And everybody thinks, "Well, wonderful, let's spend $400 billion to prevent asthma." It could be the lizard causing asthma just as well. [Fox Business, Follow The Money, 6/15/11, via Media Matters]
- Numerous Health Experts Agree That Coal Plant Emissions Can Trigger Asthma Attacks. The American Lung Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a study by environmental scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health all agree that coal plants produce emissions that increase the risk of asthma attacks among those susceptible to them. [Media Matters, 6/17/11]
Ablow: "As A Psychiatrist, I'm Trained To Look At Facts," And Obama "Needs To Look At Himself And Say, 'Do I Have Prejudice ... Toward White People?'" From Fox News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: Keith Ablow is here. He is a psychiatrist and Fox News contributor. Um, Keith, am I -- am I -- am I jumping the gun here? I just see this ACORN thing and also the thing at the White House as a sign this guy has real issues with race. Real issues.
ABLOW: Unfortunately -- and I really mean it, Glenn -- unfortunately, I have to agree with you. I don't think you're jumping the gun. Americans had as their fondest hope and prayer, I think, that they were electing a colorblind president who could embrace everyone equally. I think that was the hope. I think it was the hope more than some of his policies, that he was a man who could treat everyone equally. Instead, I think we get a transparent president, in this case, whose feelings about white America are coming forward again. And I don't know -- listen, as a psychiatrist, I'm trained to look at facts and say what fits and what doesn't, what's a theory that can hold water as to someone's personality and nature. You have someone who sat in a church with a pastor who called white people the devil, whose wife has not been proud of this country in her adult life until quite recently, who calls a Cambridge police sergeant stupid without knowing the facts, and whose friends are community organizers with questionable pasts. So you add all that up, you say look, there's more than an apology necessary here; this is a question of introspection. The president needs to look at himself and say, "Do I have prejudice that I wasn't even aware of, perhaps, toward white people?" [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 7/27/09, via Media Matters]
After Being Introduced As A "World-Renowned Psychiatrist," Ablow Says It's "Crazy" That More People Aren't Saying "Something Is Not Right" With Obama. From Fox News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: When I saw this video of the president speak, I immediately emailed a friend of mine, Keith Ablow. He is a world-renowned psychiatrist, a reasonable, reasonable man, Fox News contributor. Keith, how do I process what I have in my gut? I wrote to you, and I said, "Do you see anything wrong here?" I'm not asking to psychoanalyze the president. I'm saying, psychoanalyze the American people. Are we crazy for saying, "Something is not right"?
ABLOW: Well, no. We're not crazy for saying -- and welcome back, Glenn, by the way. It's good to see you back.
BECK: Thank you.
ABLOW: We're not crazy for saying something's not right. It is a little crazy that more people aren't saying it more loudly, because after all, what was that?
ABLOW: Well, and that's where we get to not a psychological analysis of the president but merely our own guts. We ought to pause and say, what was that? There are moments that are revealing, that are tremendously revealing of what's really happening.
And there's a big, cavernous gulf, apparently, between the president's ability to generate emotion and charisma and gripping words that move people when he's scripted. And then, when there's less time to prepare, there's some sort of lack of connectedness, a true lack of connectedness with at least what moves the majority of us.
BECK: I have no facts, but he spoke with conviction. But the shooting of 19 Americans who are military, he was disconnected. I don't know if he looks at the military the same way. Is that possible?
ABLOW: Exactly my point. You just have to take the data as it comes in. The things that apparently move him and lead to his core really being tapped are when people he feels are being wronged and there's either a minority group or disadvantaged group that he feels should be elevated.
Other than that, if he's not scripted to deliver the emotional cues, if he's not scripted to have lots of time and a teleprompter to do it, then he tends to stumble. And this was a huge stumble. This was a big, big window on the man's soul, I think.
BECK: I'm out of time, I guess -- may I ask if you will be on the radio with me, if you have an answer to this: What do we do with this information? What should we be looking for? What does this tell us? Is it usable? Can you help us with that question?
ABLOW: I definitely can. And let's do this. It's the beginning of a diagnostic process that the American people needs to proceed on. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 11/11/09, via Media Matters]
Ablow: WI Protesters Are "Parasitic And Need To Be Identified As Such. ... I'm Speaking Like A Scientist." From the June 15 edition of Fox Business' Follow The Money:
ABLOW: And what you see in the streets of Wisconsin is a glimpse of what happens when people who are drugged by too many entitlements have to go into detox --
BOLLING: You know what it is, doc?
ABLOW: -- they won't accept it --
BOLLING: This right there that you're seeing -
ABLOW: -- and they get violent in the streets in their language.
BOLLING: -- Ann Coulter was here, Ann Coulter was here, this is the demonic left-wing mob. That's exactly what she outlines in the book.
ABLOW: These are people who want to take and take and take with no regard for the body politic, the whole of the organism. They are therefore parasitic and need to be identified as such, that's all. I'm not even judging them, I'm speaking like a scientist here. [Fox Business, Follow The Money, 6/15/11]
Ablow: "From A Psychological Standpoint" Obama's Speech After Birth Certificate Release Is "Curious," Contained "Rambling Series Of Excuses." From the April 27 edition of Fox Business' Follow The Money:
ABLOW: Well, if you listen to the speech, and you don't get into the forensic pathology related to the document itself, from a psychological standpoint, it's a curious speech. He doesn't say one in a billion people, one in a million will find fault with this because there are outliers for everything -- he says 25 percent of people might have a problem. That's a very curious sort of calculus. Like, why? Why would only the majority of Americans consider this to be sufficient evidence of his birth? I wasn't interested in looking at the birth certificate so much until the speech, which was proceeded by a huge rambling series of excuses about why we shouldn't look at it too closely. I've got big issues to contend with, the country's has business to do -- it sounded like Ford pardoning Nixon, right? [Fox Business, Follow The Money, 4/27/11]
Asked About Increase In Suicides, Ablow Mentions Obama Appearing On "YouTube And The Daytime Talk Shows." From the October 20, 2010, edition of Fox Business Network's Follow the Money:
BOLLING: Recessions happen, we get that. But with the duration of this one, or at least the duration of the high unemployment numbers -- is that driving people to the brink, if not further? You know, suicides are up, if I'm not mistaken.
ABLOW: It's -- yeah and it's not just unemployment, it's underemployment, as it's called, or marginal employment. It's people doing things that in their hearts they wish that they didn't have to, just to put bread on the table. It's looking at your president who's on YouTube and the daytime talk shows, saying what's going on here? Does this guy even get it? [Fox Business, Follow The Money, 10/20/10]
Siegel Seized On Story Of Canadian Baby To Fearmonger About Health Care In U.S. On the February 24 edition of Fox & Friends, Siegel used the story of a 13-month-old Canadian baby in a permanent vegetative state to fearmonger about health care reform. Siegel claimed that, unlike in Canada, parents in the United States have the freedom to make decisions about their children's health, but that "we're worried about" issues such as "government superimposing restrictions, rationing, worrying that there's going to be too much care" that might be "happening here." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/24/11, via Media Matters]
Carlson And Siegel Fearmonger That Health Care Reform Will Cause "People With Heart Attacks" To Not "Be Seen" By Doctors. On the September 17, 2010, edition of Fox & Friends, Siegel and co-host Gretchen Carlson claimed that the coverage proposals in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) could "bankrupt America." Siegel further claimed that health care reform will mean "people with heart attacks are not going to be able to be seen" in emergency rooms because "it's going to be loaded with people with Medicaid cards with colds." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/17/10, via Media Matters]
Siegel Used "Not Scientific" Poll To Attack Health Care Reform. On the March 17, 2010, edition of Fox News' America Live, Siegel cited a 3-month-old email survey which found that 46 percent of primary care physicians would consider leaving their profession if health care reform passed. Siegel claimed that the poll "reflected what was found in an IBD/TIPP poll that was done back in September  where Investor's Business Daily also surveyed over a thousand physicians." But even Fox News acknowledged that the poll Siegel cited was "not scientific," and statistician Nate Silver called the poll "simply not credible." [Media Matters, 3/17/10]
Siegel: Task Force Recommendations On Mammograms "Absolutely" About Health Care Reform. During the November 17, 2009, edition of Fox News' The Live Desk, co-host Martha MacCallum asked Siegel, "You hinted at something that I want to just close with here. Are you suggesting that there's a link between health care reform and the battle to bring down costs overall and the decision to tell women not to get mammograms?" Siegel responded, "Well, absolutely," and, "[T]his kind of health reform is not what we need. We have the technology and quality of care in the United States. We don't need to see it sacrificed." [Fox News, The Live Desk, 11/17/09, via Media Matters]
- Task Force Recommendations Aren't Legally Binding. The recommendation made by the United States Preventive Services Task Force that fewer women younger than 50 receive regular mammograms was not legally binding on health care providers or insurers; also, the task force made similar recommendations before health care reform was passed, under the Bush administration. [Media Matters, 11/18/09]
Siegel: "[U]nder ObamaCare, Guidelines Will Quickly Become Mandates." In a November 19, 2009, New York Post column, Siegel again used mammogram screenings to claim that "under Obamacare, guidelines will quickly become mandates" and that reform efforts will "create lots of new panels and other bureaucrats empowered to 'suggest' things doctors shouldn't do." From the New York Post:
This week's decision by a government panel to discourage most women in their 40s from having routine mammograms isn't just bad medicine, but also a small taste of what ObamaCare will mean.
Happily, these rulings from on high don't have much force now. But under ObamaCare, guidelines will quickly become mandates, and patients will routinely face the choice of paying hundreds of dollars out of pocket or accept higher risks of cancer. It will take government bureaucrats years to admit mistakes, if they ever do -- and by that time thousands of women will have needlessly gotten sick or even died of cancer.
All the major "reform" bills create lots of new panels and other bureaucrats empowered to "suggest" things doctors shouldn't do -- and even to penalize doctors who order "too many" tests. [New York Post, 11/19/09]
Siegel Compares War in Afghanistan To The "Bloodbath Going On Over Mammograms." On the December 2, 2009, edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, Siegel used a controversy over mammogram screening recommendations to claim, "[Y]ou're going to see another war. You have the war in Afghanistan; you're going to see -- there's a bloodbath going on over mammograms." [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 12/2/09, via Media Matters]
Siegel On "Rationed Care" Under Health Reform: "[I]n A Way, It's A Form Of Eugenics." Discussing "rationed care" that he said would occur under health care reform, Siegel asserted: "There's going to be more people trying to get in [to my office]. I'm going to have less and less time to take care of them. Reimbursements to doctors and hospitals are being cut. If I'm being paid less, I got to work faster. That means I send more and more people for expensive tests. He's going to try to cost-cut, which means he's going to ration care. So he's going to tell me what I can order, what I can't." After co-host Steve Doocy suggested that "unfairly, the elderly are the ones who are going to get shortchanged," Siegel responded: "That's so true. I mean, in a way, it's a form of eugenics: 'Oh, you're not good enough to live.' " [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/22/09, via Media Matters]
Siegel Promoted End-Of-Life Counseling Myth. In an August 3, 2009, New York Post op-ed, Siegel promoted the myth that the House health care reform bill would have required end-of-life counseling for seniors every five years. Siegel falsely claimed that a "prime example" of the health care bill introducing too much medical oversight "comes in the section starting on page 425 of the House bill. This dictates that an Advanced Care Planning Consultation must take place every five years from the age of 65 -- with the intervention of so-called counselors, trained and appointed by the government." As Media Matters has documented, the bill does not implement mandatory counseling sessions, and PolitiFact rated claims like Siegel's "pants on fire." [New York Post, 8/3/09; Media Matters, 3/22/11]
Siegel Suggests That Under "Obamacare," Prenatal Sex Test Could Let Government Say, "Hmm, Too Many Boys Now." Responding to news about a blood test that can determine the sex of a fetus as early as seven weeks into a pregnancy, Siegel said that "I don't think parents really have the right to do this," adding: "At a time when we're talking about Obamacare reaching in with more and more tentacles, and last week we were talking about the story about mandating birth control for women, as you know, I mean, what's the government going to do with this information? Are they going to say, 'Hmm, too many boys now. Let's recommend or give a stipend for more girls or vice versa?' " When Fox host Megyn Kelly called Siegel's statement "a little out there," Siegel responded, "I don't know. I think we may be heading in that direction." [Fox News, America Live, 8/10/11, via Media Matters]
Siegel Offered "Diagnosis" Of Union Leader James Hoffa: "Maybe From A Psychiatric Point Of View, He's Never Gotten Over His Father Disappearing." On a September 6 edition of Hannity, during a panel discussion of union leader James Hoffa, Siegel leveraged his medical credentials to offer a "diagnosis" of Hoffa: "I got two diagnoses for Hoffa here. Diagnosis number one: He's inherited -- I mean, he's got the contagion from Biden. He's got the Biden disease where he speaks before he thinks, kind of like a Tourette's syndrome. The second thing is, maybe from a psychiatric point of view, he's never gotten over his father disappearing in 1975. But this guy is unstable and he's really a disgrace, but this is the problem with the left right now." [Fox News, Hannity, 9/6/11, via Media Matters]
Siegel On Health Insurance: "It's The Problem, It's Not The Solution." On the September 13 edition of America Live, while discussing health care reform Siegel asserted to Kelly that "insurance is the problem, it's not the solution." From America Live:
SIEGEL: If, instead of scaling back, we expand to 32 million more people the way Obamacare is doing, who is going to pay for that? The states can't afford the 16 million more Medicaid patients. We the taxpayer can't afford all of these costs, additional costs on the state exchanges. Premiums are going to skyrocket because we're covering everybody with a pre-existing conditions. If we get rid of the individual mandate and it's voted down by the Supreme Court, you're going to have everybody with pre-existing conditions waiting until they're really sick to sign up.
KELLY: You're losing the funding mechanism, but let me ask you --
SIEGEL: Insurance is the problem, it's not the solution. [Fox News, America Live, 9/13/11, via Media Matters]
Alvarez: You Can "Get Away" With Not Giving Child Cancer-Preventing Vaccination If You Give Them A "Very Good Education." Discussing Texas Gov. Rick Perry's efforts to mandate use of the human papillomavirus virus [HPV] vaccine in the state, Alvarez said that while the HPV vaccine can prevent not only cervical cancer but "a lot of things that are the side effects of HPV like cervical dysplasia and painful intercourse and all of that," you can "get away" with not giving a child the vaccine "if you have a very good education towards the individual you're trying to vaccinate." Alvarez went on to say that "this is not like the flu, you know, you can't get on a subway and you can start sneezing and giving everybody HPV," adding: "You can have a conversation with your 11-year-old daughter, and if you have strong relationships ... [there are] other ways to protect you without the mandate." [Fox News, America Live, 9/16/11, via Media Matters]
Alvarez Invents Notion That Health Care Reform Provision Means Tylenol "Has To Go Behind The Counter" At Pharmacies. Alvarez claimed that a provision in the health care reform bill that bars the use of medical spending account money on non-prescription medications means that "if you want to deduct a bottle of Tylenol, if you want to deduct a bottle -- diapers, if you want to deduct anything like that through your flexible account, you have to go to a physician, and of course, this is now madness. ... Not only labels, it has to go behind the counter. So you have to go to the pharmacist and say, 'Here's my prescription for Tylenol,' and he has to have it behind the counter and then he gives it to you." [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 3/9/11, via Media Matters]
- Health Care Law Does Not Require Prescriptions For Over-The-Counter Drugs. The provision in question redefines medical expenses for spending accounts in order to conform with federal tax law. The affected accounts cover approximately 10 million Americans, roughly 3.2 percent of the U.S. population. [FactCheck.org, 9/3/10]
Alvarez: "I Don't Buy" Stats On Americans With Pre-Existing Medical Conditions, "The Math Doesn't Add Up." From the January 18 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:
JON SCOTT (host): All right, here's what you need, another government study. Last hour we talked about this new government study that finds up to half of you, half of all Americans under the age of 65 could have a pre-existing medical condition, the kind that may disqualify you from getting health private insurance. Dr. Manny Alvarez is here to bring us his medical fact check he is senior managing editor FoxNewsHealth.com and a member of the Fox News Medical A-Team. You don't buy this?
ALVAREZ: I don't buy this. I mean, come on, this is a couple of days before a very serious vote in Congress. Look, pre-existing medical conditions is a reality. They've been around for a long, long time. You know, this is something we have been talking about -- rates of diabetes, obesity, hypertension, you get the whole thing. But to say 129 million people have pre-existing conditions that may put you at risk for losing your insurance is a little bit of hot air in my opinion.
You know, we see pre-existing conditions all the time in the hospitals and a lot of the hospitals are being -- beds are filled with patients that come in with uncontrollable diabetes, and we still have issues with smoking and excessive alcohol drinking. All of that is true. But for sure, the math doesn't add up. I mean, if that would be the case, these 129 million Americans would have lost their insurance a long time ago, and I don't think that that's the case. [Fox News, Happening Now, 1/18/11, via Media Matters]
- HHS Report Estimates How Many Could Benefit From Protections For Those With Pre-Existing Conditions. The study released by the Department of Health and Human Services to which Alvarez was referring concluded that "50 to 129 million (19 to 50 percent of) non-elderly Americans have some type of pre-existing health condition." This figure includes those who "would at least get charged a higher premium but could also have benefits carved out or be denied coverage altogether" if they tried to buy insurance in the individual market in the absence of the health care reform law. [HealthCare.gov, accessed 9/19/11]
Alvarez Likens Hispanic Protests To "Leftist Dictators In Latin America," Claims Progressives "Do Not Represent The Constitution." From a December 7, 2010, column by Alvarez on the Fox News Latino website:
More recently though, and even more alarming, are the comments made by Luis Gutierrez, Democratic congressman for Illinois' Fourth District. Rep. Gutierrez seems to be very upset with his own party for not having passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill.
Rep. Gutierrez's interest in passing the DREAM Act, which would allow illegal immigrants who come to the U.S. as minors to gain citizenship, is quite clear. And now, he's saying that if the act is not passed, he is promising to turn his back on the Democratic Party and begin a campaign of civil unrest, encouraging Latinos to participate in protests, marches and sit-ins, reminiscent of the civil-rights movement by African-Americans in the 1960s.
It's amazing, how things have not changed for Latinos. If you look at the history of leftist dictators in Latin America -- this same tactic has been utilized throughout their struggles to acquire and retain power.
We have all come to this country looking for one thing: the freedoms guaranteed to us by the Constitution of the United States.
I implore you to read the Constitution and educate yourselves. If you can't read it in English, find a translation of it that fits your needs. Because once you read it, you will clearly see that some of these so-called progressive politicians here in America do not represent the Constitution.
They do not even represent you. And when you peel back all the layers of idealistic ambiguity, you'll see that what they do represent is greed and an insatiable hunger for power, only to benefit themselves. [Fox News Latino, 12/7/10]
Alvarez: Excess Salt "Is Leading To Heart Disease And Hypertension, But However, I Hate The Government Getting Involved And Telling Me What To Eat." During a discussion on Fox & Friends of alleged government efforts to reduce the amount of salt in food, Alvarez acknowledged that excess salt is "leading to heart disease and hypertension, but however, I hate the government getting involved and telling me what to eat and what not to eat." Co-host Steve Doocy replied: "Food police!" to which Alvarez responded, "Absolutely." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/22/10, via Media Matters]
Coomer: "We Shouldn't Be Mandating That Every Woman Should Have To Have" Cancer-Preventing Vaccination. Coomer said regarding the HPV vaccine:
COOMER: I'm not necessarily fearful of the vaccination per se. I think, you know, Dr. Manny's point is very clear. I think the parents need to decide for their children, obviously, what their fear is of how sexually active their children are going to be. If your fear is that your child may be very sexually active with multiple different partners, or if a young girl, 18- or 19-year-old woman feels that she's putting herself at risk, then she may want to consider the vaccination. But I think it's, you know, because of the side effects associated with this, and I think because of the controversy associated with vaccinations, we shouldn't be mandating that every woman should have to have this vaccination. [Fox News, America Live, 9/16/11, via Media Matters]
- Delaying HPV Vaccine Reduces Its Effectiveness. According to the Centers for Disease Control, "The vaccines are most effective when given at 11 or 12 years of age." [Genital HPV Infection -- Fact Sheet, Centers for Disease Control, accessed 9/19/11]
Coomer: "Right Now We Feel Like It's Un-American To Be A Patriotic American In This Country." Discussing a case in which a group of conservative students were allegedly prohibited from singing the national anthem at the Lincoln Memorial, Coomer responded: "Right now we feel like it's un-American to be a patriotic American in this country. You can't fly a flag, you can't do this, you can't -- if it's anti-American, then you can do it. But if it's American, well, then you have to be a little careful and touchy-feely about how you do it." [Fox News, Hannity, 9/9/10, via Media Matters]