Thursday, 6 December 2012

Chess TV

How do you make money with a patent diet and lifestyle with accompanying books?

If you're Dr Mehmet Oz, you write a book and appear on the Oprah Winfrey show, wearing your surgeon suit to emphasise your medical credentials.

It helps if you recommend a universal, simple formula such as healthy whole grains and lots of fruit.  You build a following and get your own tv show.  If Oprah Winfrey fails to lose weight and maintain a healthier state, the audience doesn't notice.

Once you have your own show, it's important to differentiate yourself.  One of the ways to do this is to junk people with contrasting views.

How do you junk opponents?

It's your show.  You control the format and the visual aids.  Invited guests have little option but to comply with your script.  In the case of Gary Taubes, Dr Oz parodied his low carb high fat diet and offered a comparison between diets without allowing Taubes to present his own meal choice.  Oz showed a plate of pork scratchings and implied that Taubes ate those, rather than his usual steak and salad preference.

In the media game of chess, Dr Oz has cornered Taubes' king and forced him to resign.

Make sure the videos stay on your website, so they can be buried if public opinion and Department of Health guidelines change.

How do you maintain your high profile position?

Dr Oz invites popular guests who are prominent in the media.  Their fame reflects on him.  One recent guest was Dr William Davis, a cardiologist who now focuses exclusively on treating heart disease through diet and lifestyle changes to prevent the need for medication and surgery.  He has a 'Track your Plaque' programme which achieves excellent results.  One regular comment from readers and patients was that wheat seemed to be the primary cause of health problems and the key to health improvements from his diet.  At first Dr Davis dismissed it, but then carried out a blog survey which seemed to confirm the idea.  He then researched modern wheat and wrote a book about his findings, starting a new 'Wheat Belly' blog to accompany it.  The book has been a great success and Dr Davis continues to give generously of his time and information, whether people read the book or not.

One example is his recent 'Quick and Dirty' summary of the guidelines in a blog post.

Dr Oz invited him on the show, despite the fact that Dr Davis challenges his 'lots of fruit and healthy wholegrains' diet advice.

He introduced Dr Davis as the author of a book that has been on the best seller list for 6 months.  As a practising cardiologist, it's difficult for Dr Oz to challlenge Dr Davis on the science and patient results.  Oz has previously stated he knows that a high fat diet causes heart disease, because he's up to his elbows inside people's chests daily and sees the fat. (No need for scientific experiment to PROVE a cause-effect relationship.  Dr Oz KNOWS the truth.)

Dr Oz cannot junk Dr Davis, who has a 6 month track record of pulling in the punters as well as lots of personal testimonies from patients/readers to support the efficacy of his guidelines. Oz would be rash to trash the author and risk losing that reader base and some of his own as viewers start to lose faith in him.

What can he do?

Dr Oz has no option but to embrace the new ideas.  He can attempt to save face by setting up some visual aids and sliding in 'as we've covered in previous episodes' comments, giving the impression that he thought of the ideas and understands the role of simple sugars and insulin in the creation of fat.

Oz is running to catch up and looking foolish as the central plank of his diet has been burned.

Check mate to Dr William Davis.

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