Former Columnist Really Hates Oprah's Magazine

Dr. Harriet Hall, a former Air Force flight surgeon who writes about debunking medical quackery, landed a column in Oprah's O Magazine last year. Now, it's been dropped. Dr. Harriet Hall did not enjoy the experience at all.

Hall took to the internet to vent about her several months of employment as the writer of a 250-word column on Health Myths in O. Many of her complaints would be familiar to any freelance writer for any magazine anywhere: uncommunicative editors, pain-in-the-ass fact checkers who don't understand citations, not enough space to answer the editor's own questions, late payments and forgotten kill fees. Welcome to journalism, Dr. Harriet Hall!

More interesting is Hall's explanation of why she accepted the job—the huge readership, and the "seductive" nature of actually getting paid—despite her true feelings about Oprah's empire:

It started last fall, when I got an e-mail from Tyler Graham. He introduced himself as the new health editor for O, The Oprah Magazine, saying he had only been on the job for 2 weeks. He had read my work in Skeptic magazine and wanted me to write a column for O. I thought long and hard before accepting. I told Mr. Graham my opinion of Oprah and of her chosen medical expert Dr. Oz and why I was hesitant to associate my name with theirs, and he seemed to understand. Oprah has been widely criticized recently, even in the pages of Newsweek, for endorsing pseudoscientific and non-scientific health advice on her TV show. As for Dr. Oz, while he mostly gives good medical advice, he has appalling lapses into non-science-based practices like Reiki, and he has even invited energy healers into his OR to assist in open-heart surgery cases by waving their hands over the patients. I foolishly assumed Mr.Graham was trying to improve Oprah's image by introducing more science and skepticism to the magazine.

Are you listening, Oprah-bots? Dr. Oz is a quack! Oprah is an ignoramus! They're selling you medical snake oil! Address all future health questions to the SkepDoc™. Assuming Oprah allows her to live.

[Science-Based Medicine]