Keith Olbermann, the Dr. Oz of Sports?

Keith Olbermann on stem cells.
Keith Olbermann, the worst person for advice on stem cells.

There was a time I used to watch Countdown with Keith Olbermann on a regular basis and for a few years, I really enjoyed it. After a while I kind of lost interest.

Today Olbermann does a sports show on ESPN and it’s just not the same. He also seems like he’s not the same old Olbermann that many of us could appreciate so much in days past.

For example he’s been gushing over a non-FDA approved stem cell “treatment” given in Mexico to Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe. For more background, see here and here.

This stem cell therapy, given to Howe for free by a company called Stemedica, has been portrayed as a miracle by some in the media and Olbermann seems to have bought into that hook, line, and sinker.

In fact, his portrayal of the case really has a Dr. Oz-ish feeling to it.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe in miracles.

I wish Gordie all the best and I’m happy he’s feeling better, but that doesn’t prove the stem cells are safe or effective let alone a miracle.

So what’s the deal? I’m not sure.

Yesterday, I was engaging Olbermann on Twitter back and forth a bit.

When I then suggested in a very polite way (see below) that perhaps his viewers would be interested in a more in depth look at this situation, within an hour he flat out blocked me on Twitter.

Tweet to Olbermann

Olbermann Twitter

What the heck?

This is the same Olbermann who on a daily basis would eviscerate Republicans and Tea Party folks on Countdown?

The Olbermann who would name people “The Worst Person in the World” on his show? He even wrote a book called “The Worst Person in the World” and subtitled “and 202 strong contenders”. That’s harsh.

Now he can’t even handle someone on Twitter making a gentle suggestion for his ESPN show?

That’s about as logical as the Seahawks’ last play call over the weekend in the Super Bowl.

Apparently on Olbermann’s show tomorrow (Friday, February 6th) on ESPN2, rumor has it that he’s doing another Gordie Howe story and he may even go after some researchers (e.g. David Gorski and maybe even me) who have been skeptical of the case.

Stay tuned…

26 thoughts on “Keith Olbermann, the Dr. Oz of Sports?”

  1. Few people outside his family could be happier than I am to hear that Gordie Howe is getting better. I need a stem cell miracle, too! If I were going on nothing but personal feelings, I would not have a discouraging word to say. But I just can’t let hopes and wishes obscure the fact that we don’t yet know enough to be sure if all of this really worked the way that some are saying it did. We need articles in peer-reviewed journals; we need something besides videos and the excitement of relatives. Paul, please keep right on being the voice of reason here.

      1. Can we really put all our trust into clinical trials and peer-reviewed journals?

        Frankly, after reading these articles, I think the excitement of relatives as Catherine puts it may be more credible than articles in peer-reviewed journals and FDA approved clinical trials.

        I would expect Paul to be doing a blog on this extremely disturbing news very soon.

  2. This is pretty hilarious in a way. You would think a chance to delve into the regenerative medicine pond would be welcomed by a host or at least considered! Looks like KO is either threatened by the chance to enlighten his audience on a serious situation that by all accounts has improved Howe although clarity would be welcomed as to exact science used OR KO owns a boatload of stock and does not want to shine a light on questions that arose from his exuberant interview with CEO of StemCell co.. Of course KO does not own stock !

    He could own the time slot if he had several stem cell scientists on discussing Howe and foreign clinics. Although the Charlie Rose Show would be the preferred one for me.

    Paul, being blocked by KO calls for a tee shirt! Lol or this # IWasBlockedByKO

    1. The world would be a better place if egos were taken out of the equation. And religion! Oh well, it is what it is. Good w/e reading of the two sites I knew nada about.

  3. Wow! You don’t believe in miracles? That really makes me sad. Miracles happen all around us each and everyday if you’re in tune, take the time to notice and in turn, believe! Mr Howe had a miracle through treatment with his own stem cells! This family has their daddy back! PRICELESS! Thousands of other patients like Mr Howe living in the USA have had to become medical tourists to receive this life improving therapy and that’s a shame the FDA won’t fast track this treatment to become available to all those living with chronic illness/conditions.

      1. Braya – What is the hidden agenda you think the CEO has? Olbermann asked him on his show, not the other way around. I don’t think you understand the quote you posted either. Olbermann simply asked should the family just let him die. He wasn’t protesting anything. He was just very happy that his friend was doing so well.

        It’s fine to have curiosity, but many times it crosses over to animosity. Real, suffering human beings are involved, not lab rats. One should be sensitive to that I believe, especially on social media.

      2. Dear Byara, interesting that you would assume I had not read what Mr Knoepfler mentions above. Paternalism is completely unnecessary as I’m an informed and intelligent multiple sclerosis stem cell patient, who’s been treated with my own cells with significant quality of life improvements! I am not unaware of all the conflicts of interest involved in the stem cell world. There seems always to be a sensational, exciting, controversialI stem cell story weekly! I obviously have a completely different take on this, but respect you hold a different point of view. I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume you have not talked to the hundreds and hundreds of patients who’ve had quality of life improvements to treat disease/conditions. I’ll direct you to our web site that explains a bit more of a “no option,” patient perspective. Regards

        I also know that Barbara has a wonderful web site called Stem Cell Pioneers. You should check that one out too.

    1. I am also delighted that Mr Howe is doing better. I do not blame the family for trying anything to have him back in shape. Around my corner of the world, in the absence of stem cell clinics we tend to rely on distance healing by shamans. And how could you blame desperate, loving people hanging to any piece of flotsam around!

      The problem is that this is not a miracle, it is purported to be the effect of a successful stem cell treatment that, although possible, is not supported by anything we would consider evidence when we look at it with the cold brain of somebody not directly involved with the case.

      As things stand now, I fear that patients lured by the publicity generated by cases like Mr Howe’s are being conned out of their money (and perhaps their health) by organisations that are rather economical with the truth.

  4. Hi Paul,
    First, I think that it is very bad form for Olbermann to cut you off in such a way. There is something particularly small-minded about a man who won’t engage with those who think differently from him.

    Regarding “belief in miracles”. It is not obvious to me that it would be outside the known laws of nature for stem-cells to at least partially repair damage done by a stroke?

    Has Stemedica published any results from their treatment(s) in the peer-reviewed scientific literature? That is a question that these journalists should be asking… Growl.

    1. One should ask why Paul has also blocked many on Twitter for having a difference of opinion than that of his. Pretty SMALL minded of Paul..

      1. If you are going to make accusations (that probably aren’t true) at least have the courtesy to post with your name, “Lady.”

          1. She has a point. What’s the difference between posting as Lady vs posting as Nick. I have no clue who either of you are. Do you call others out like this or did you just not like what Lady posted?

    2. The Twitter exchange began back in January. When Keith asked if the solution was just to let him die, he got no response. Then there was the blog called “Olbermann Puff Interview”. I can’t imagine he liked that.

      I think Olbermann did engage, but like many of us got tired of being treated as if he was brainless. He wanted viewers to share in the good news about Gordie Howe, not a scientific lecture. There are other venues for that.

      The fear that celebrities are causing patients to rush out and try stem cell treatment is not supported by any solid evidence.

      I would like an answer to Olbermann’s question as well. Should his family have just let him die?

      1. I agree that there is absolutely nothing wrong with Olbermann cheering for the good fortune of a friend.

        But a line was crossed when he involved the CEO of Stemedica. The interview then became more about cheering for Stemedica than Gordie (in my humble opinion). At that stage, the matter might be argued to become open to serious scrutiny.

        To his credit, the CEO did indicate several things that patients should look for in a clinic before considering treatment by that clinic.

        While I am firmly of the opinion that patients should have the right to decide what experimental treatments are (or are not) appropriate for them, I also am firmly of the opinion that those doing the treatment have a duty to be scientifically accurate and complete. That means discussing failures as well as apparent successes — along with their relative likelihood and the limitations of existing knowledge. It also means acknowledging ways that an apparent success might not actually have been caused by the treatment.

        In my opinion, the CEO gave answers to Olbermann that were neither accurate or complete, in the scientific sense. (Although his answers were within the norms of what we expect to see in politics, law, and commerce).

        I understand the dangers that are posed by being forthright about the science. Not everyone wishes to hear the science, especially when it raises unwelcome doubts.

        Science is a difficult, interminable process. And scientists are often infuriating because they focus on questions that seem peripheral to what others regard as being more relevant.

        And scientists can be even more irritating when they fail to address a question that they see as being outside the scope of their expertise.

        The fact of the matter is that a scientist is usually floundering as badly as anyone else as soon as the issue gets outside the bounds of her/his expertise.

        Personally, I am stretched well past the edge of my knowledge and very far beyond my comfort zone. I am greatly comforted that so many people, with diverse views, still make a courageous effort to engage on such issues.

  5. Paul,

    Maybe should ask the rats you’ve been experimenting with for countless years. They may agree with Keith.

  6. I feel the same. Used to watch him all the time. Not the same anymore. And this is just another reason not to.

  7. Paul-

    Please let Olbermann know that he should include me among the researchers he plans to attack for their skepticism. If he wants some education about stem cells, I’d be happy to oblige.

    I wonder if Olbermann also believes that vaccines cause autism?


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