Stopping the Epidemic of Fake Professionals in Media

Let’s face it. We are all suckers for really bad reality TV shows. There is a reason that the Kardashians have conquered the screens for as long as they have. Even if some shows annoy us, a majority of these reality shows are relatively harmless; it’s just people living their lives and making questionable decisions that are sensationalized for the sake of entertainment. However, there comes a point where it no longer is harmless: when these reality shows start to negatively affect their audiences and the “guests” of these shows. 

Shows revolving around professionals such as “Shark Tank” and “Cake Boss” have been around since the 2000s. These types of reality TV shows in particular have a large viewership because they give audiences a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes and are led by professionals in their respective fields. But what happens when these so-called “professionals” start to prioritize the entertainment side of reality TV more than doing their actual jobs? 

Particularly “Judge Judy,” “Dr. Phil,” and “The Dr. Oz Show” have been criticized for their lack of professionalism, with some even questioning their qualifications for being in their positions or holding their titles. It is time that we stopped giving these people the platform and the attention that allows them to spread misinformation and negatively affect the lives of the “guests” or audiences of their shows. 

Contrary to the name of her show, Judy Sheindlin is not an active judge. While she was a judge prior to the show, Sheindlin retired from being an official judge before the show even aired. In the cases that she oversees in the show, Sheindlin acts as an arbiter rather than an actual judge. However, these cases are still real and do have real-life consequences. Judge Judy is constantly seen being unprofessional in court, including interrupting and dismissing those in her courtroom. Although being rude and cold was always a part of her allure, there are instances in which she was accused of being racist and classist, qualities that no judge should have in or out of the courtroom. 

Additionally, one of the show’s executive producer and director Randy Douthit “has repeatedly been accused of sexually harassing employees, making inappropriate sexual comments to female staffers, offering preferential treatment to staffers he found attractive, and ordering junior producers to bring fewer Black litigants on the show,” according to Business Insider. In the same article, it was also said that Sheindlin praised her executive producers and directors for the show since they “continuously make [her] look good.” 

“[Sheindlin] does not care how the show gets made. She just wants the money in her pocket, and she doesn’t care how the producers are treated,” an unspecified former producer told Business Insider.

Although “Judge Judy” ended in 2021, Sheindlin has a new show on Amazon Prime “Judy Justice.” With the lack of a response regarding the sexual harassment claims of her executive producer and her racist and classist instances, both her qualifications and reasons for doing a reality legal show should come into question. 

But “Judge Judy” is not the only professional on TV that should be stopped. Dr. Phil McGraw has been an onscreen psychologist for over 20 years and has progressively gotten worse at his job. 

In 2016, Danielle Bregoli, better known as “Bhad Bhabie,” made an appearance on “Dr. Phil” for her violent and erratic behavior towards her mother. While the episode went viral on social media. Bregoli was sent to a behavioral correctional facility for teens Turn-About Ranch, one of many behavioral correctional facilities that not only abuse teenagers but also force them into submission. 

Hannah Archuleta, a guest who appeared on “Dr. Phil” in 2019, was also sent to Turn-About Ranch by McGraw’s referral, where she claimed to be sexually assaulted by one of the staff members. After reporting the assault, Archuleta was allegedly punished. 

In 2021, Bregoli spoke out again about the facility as well as Dr. Phil for supporting and suggesting that she be sent to an abusive correctional camp and demanded an apology from him. 

Why was Dr. Phil allowed to send people to camps that committed such horrific and atrocious acts? Why is he still given a platform despite not having a valid license? Why does anyone still trust any advice that he gives the guests on the show? 

His psychologist license expired in 2006, and he actually chose to not renew it. He was also never licensed to practice in California, where his show is filmed. Dr. Phil has no actual motivation to help others or offer therapeutic advice, rather he wants his patients to have these wild outbursts for the sake of entertainment value. 

It is time that we stop capitalizing on the documentation of others’ pain. It’s cheap, and it’s shameful. 

Why are these private moments aired out for the sake of entertainment? I understand that in some capacity, people may have been helped by these shows, but so have millions of other people who have sought professional help in a private setting. 

In the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Mehmet Oz openly supported and suggested the malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for treating COVID-19, when in reality, a study done by the Veteran Affairs found that COVID-19 patients that were treated with the drugs were more likely to die than untreated patients. Once the research came up, the support for the drugs stopped, but why was Dr. Oz even suggesting the drugs without any substantial scientific research to support his stance? 

This is not the only misinformation that “The Dr. Oz Show” has been spreading. According to the New York Times, two of the show’s researchers claim to have little power to push back against the show’s topics and “they regularly questioned the show’s ethics to one another and discussed quitting in protest.”

With Oz running an ultimately losing Senatorial campaign in the last midterm election, it is a better time than ever to call into question not only his qualifications for being a doctor, but also for being a politician and a leader. 

These types of interactions and topics get views, and that’s exactly why they continue to get airtime and a platform. Monetarily, it makes sense for the studios to continue to churn out season after season of these fake professionals offering — very questionable — advice, guidance, or even making decisions for people. The better question is probably, why are we as an audience still giving these individuals the viewership that allows them to keep being renewed by their studios? 

We can watch fake people get screwed over by fake professionals on fictional TV. It’s time to draw the line on watching real people getting screwed over by fake professionals on reality TV. Whether or not you’re watching them “ironically” or for entertainment purposes, by giving them viewership, we give them the power to affect real people for monetary reasons.

Images courtesy of OWN, Deadline, Getty Images, graphic by Alexander Olsen for The UCSD Guardian 

4 thoughts on “Stopping the Epidemic of Fake Professionals in Media

  1. I honestly don’t see why more people haven’t done this given that I work two shifts, two during the day and two during the evening. And I surely received a $29,000 check. Being able to work from ac52 home allows me to spend more time with my children, which is wonderful.
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  2. I honestly don’t see why more people haven’t done this given that I work two shifts, two during the day and two during the evening. And I surely received a $29,000 check. Being able to work from ac58 home allows me to spend more time with my children, which is wonderful.
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  3. You think Judge Judy is somehow “unprofessional”? If you’re a man, you’ve obviously never had to face a Family Law judge or be subjected to the Gestapo-like goings on in “real life” Family Law Court. As a man whose been through those gallows, I can tell you, her show is a day at the beach when compared to the real thing.
    The “litigants” on Judge Judy’s show, agree not to pursue their respective cases in “real court” opting instead, to appear on the show and have the sponsors pay any “judgments” handed down by the judge. No money ever changes hands between the “litigants”.
    Wake up man!

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