Like it? Share it!

Sign up for news and updates!






Enter word seen below
Visually impaired? Click here to have an audio challenge played.  You will then need to enter the code that is spelled out.
Change image

CAPTCHA image
Please leave this field empty

Login Form



An Open Letter to Dr. Phil: Get Real PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by D.J. Grothe   

Dr. Phil,

As a T.V. psychologist, your oft-repeated advice to viewers is “get real.” But the content of your Jan. 10 show was anything but. Instead of taking your own advice, you gave an uncritical platform to phony ‘psychics’ who abuse people’s emotions in order to fool them.

Self-proclaimed psychic mediums John Edward and Char Margolis have made their fortunes by using manipulative psychological tricks and other devious methods to pretend that they can communicate with people’s deceased family members.

Skeptics, scientists, and professional magicians have explained over and over how phony mediums like Mr. Edward and Ms. Margolis perform their acts and take advantage of the bereaved. World-famous magician and demystifier James Randi has often been invited on such shows to help audiences understand what’s really going on in these so-called ‘psychic’ readings. Yet on your show, you excluded the voices of reason and let deceit and superstition win the day.

The JREF has offered John Edward a prize of $1 million if he can demonstrate his claimed abilities under mutually agreed-upon scientific conditions and without cheating—but he refused. Mr. Edward has been caught cheating at his performances in the past.

Char Margolis recently appeared on WGN Morning News and “failed miserably” in the words of one anchor, clearly revealing the generic questions these ‘psychic’ fakes use to pry information out of their victims which they later take credit for.

When national media outlets give such a large platform to hucksters who make false promises and beguile the public, they are as much to blame for the public deception as the fake psychics themselves. I challenge you to provide your audience with more truthful information and advice in the future, and to start by inviting James Randi or another guest from our educational foundation onto your show to inform the public about the tricks used by fake ‘psychics’ like Mr. Edward and Ms. Margolis.

D.J. Grothe
President, James Randi Educational Foundation

Trackback(0)
Comments (10)Add Comment
...
written by Sadhatter, January 12, 2012
It bugs me when folks in the entertainment industry who make millions, sell out to the woo crowd. As a struggling actor, i could be making decent coin doing ghost hunting documentaries, like a few of my colleagues in my small town. But from a moral standpoint i just can't do it, so instead i remain a starving student, because the green just isn't worth the harm that is caused by supplying woo to the gullible.

Yet Dr.Phil , with his millions, his insane amount of fame, his being a household name, couldn't take a stand and say "No" to this show. To anyone that watched, his tone, while not his words spoke clearly that he was doing this under protest, yet he still did it. Come on Phil, can you not take one for the team here? Are you that strapped for cash that denying the request to give false information to your audience is an impossibility?
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +38
...
written by Xiphos, January 12, 2012
How much of this is lamo-o Phil's fault and how much is due to bookers and producers who get bonuses and incentive paid tied to ratings and advertising revenue? The bookers and producers like to get paid so they book on the what they think will sell. With the women and and gays that make up the bulk of the watchers that means relationship gooberness, weight loss, psychics and other lame unserious topics.

Phil never struck me as all that bright or decisive he just works well on camera I can see him going along to get along and not have much to do with the nuts and bot operation of his show.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +2
Loser Char
written by Jim Shaver, January 12, 2012
I thought that video clip was great. I haven't seen much of Char Margolis before, but at least based on this example, she totally stinks at the cold reading schtick! And how refreshing it was to see such a skeptical approach from the newscaster, Larry. Not only did he not blindly accept Char's spirit world nonsense, but he did not let her get away with lying about how well she just performed moments before with the woman newscaster. Char essentially called him "mean" and "close-minded" for bluntly pointing out that her statements were obviously broad and unremarkable. And she also promised that she would impress him if he would let her "read" him off-camera, as long as he keeps his mind open. Big surprise.

Char Margolis: Loser.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +18
...
written by Willy K, January 12, 2012
@Sadhatter

Hey, how about doing a ghost hunter mock-umentary? I mean a really biting, rip 'em another one, kind of show! Along the way you can also skewer d-bags like John Edward and Sylvia Browne.

Make it with high production values so the woo-sters won't understand that they are being mocked. smilies/wink.gif
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +8
Whatever It Is He Does
written by JonK, January 12, 2012
Dr. Phil is no longer a practicing psychologist, having allowed his Texas license to lapse in 2006, and has stated that he has retired from psychology. According to a determination from the California Board of Psychology (in which state Dr. Phil's show is taped), he does not require a license to do whatever it is he does on his show because he is “doing more entertainment than psychology.” Indeed, Dr. Phil has maintained that he does not even believe in traditional psychology: "I deal with real people in the real world, with real issues.” He does apparently, however, believe in real psychics.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +15
...
written by ayhtida, January 12, 2012
I heard this psychic was going to be on Dr. Phil. I'm glad you guys picked up on it and are reacting to it by writing to him.

Love the video insert. Char claims "But I identified your daughter as Mary". In reality, Char said Mary was her mother. She also got "Mar" right (Margaret, Margharita etc. etc.), not to mention the hostess looked Hispanic (go figure, Mary is a common name). Love the twist in the end to make it seem like she was validated. Classic finish with saying that calling someone's bluff is being close-minded.

Please follow up on this and let us know how Dr. Phil responds.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +7
What do you expect
written by drxym, January 12, 2012
Dr Phil is the progeny of Oprah and has a record of selling quack products and pandering to woo. Reality doesn't come into it. What matters is that the sort of people who watch Dr Phil & similar shows believe in psychics and the show is not about to burst their bubble and harm their own ratings. Even when that means pandering to 1-trick ghouls and parasites like Jon Edward.

It's shameful and despicable to be sure but not really surprising. The best one can hope to do in the circumstances is call Dr Phil out for it in as prominent a way as possible. So an open letter is to be welcomed, but don't expect a response.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +12
Tar and Feathers?
written by xxi_centuryboy, January 13, 2012
I seem to remember people tarred and feathered his type in Huck Finn's day. Now they make millions of $? Mark Twain would be rolling in Samuel Clemens' grave! Do you have no shame Phil? Don't answer that, its a rhetorical question.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +8
@ Willy K
written by Sadhatter, January 15, 2012
That idea has been tossed around between me and some like minded friends for a while now, though with a more local versus big fish spin. We even had some footage shot, but unfortunately life intervened and the doc never really got past a few interviews.

My forte is comedy, and in the near future, i do really want to work on a project that blends it and skepticism. I find humor is one of the best ways to get a message out there, people laugh at things when they feel its okay to laugh, and if i have one lasting contribution to this world ( not that there are any others that we know of...) it will be to make people feel okay to laugh at what is patently silly. Men and women wandering around essentially playing an RPG with no dice, no rules, and no dm. Just wandering around talking about how they are seeing ghosts, talking to ghosts, battling ghosts, etc.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +2
Phil is a skeptic
written by kimchapman, January 17, 2012
I felt Dr. Phil made it clear he was a skeptic while allowing others to entertain their own silly beliefs on his show. It was clear to me that Phil's wife falls for the stuff. 40 years of marriage, who knows...maybe this was his way of appeasing her for a moment.
However, I do agree with another opinion above that the show should be followed up with a skeptic's point of view or logic as I see it.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: -2

Write comment
This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comment.
You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.

busy