Drew Pinsky, better known as Dr. Drew to fans, hotly denied reports that his HLN show was cancelled because of his remarks about Hillary Clinton’s health. Nor was there an effort by parent CNN to force him to retract his comments.
Pinsky release a statement through is rep following a report in the New York Post.
“I know the timing is suspicious, and I know it’s hard to believe, but the two things had nothing to do with each other,” he said through a rep.
The right-leaning tabloid, owned by press baron Rupert Murdoch, published sensational claims that CNN, which owns HLN, used “mafia-like” tactics to “bully” him into retracting his statement. He purportedly refused.
The Post only cited one unnamed “source.”
The story was quickly picked up by hard-right-leaning Breitbart News. Stephen Bannon, Breitbart’s chairman, now runs Donald Trump’s campaign.
Pinsky asserted on his show, Aug. 17, that Clinton may have suffered brain damage after her 2012 concussion, because she used prism glasses for a short time to help ease temporary double vision from the accident.
Two days later, HLN announced his show’s cancellation after five-years on the air, touching off a rash of right-wing speculation linking the two events.
Pinsky’s show had been suffering from declining ratings for some time, according to Variety.
His last show is set for Sept. 22, according to Ken Jautz, the executive who oversees the network. HLN and CNN are owned by Time Warner.
For his part, Pinsky said he was “very excited to stay within the CNN Worldwide family as a contributor.”
HLN has been overhauling its daytime schedule to more tightly focus on news, a process that has been underway for several months. Decisions on show cancellations are made weeks before they are announced, not days, as right-wing rumor mongers claim.
Even so, Pinsky’s Clinton remarks were controversial and he was slammed by medical experts for unethical conduct.
“I think it’s outrageous and it’s irresponsible and it’s unethical,” said Dr. Paul K. Bronston, National Chairman of the Ethics and Professional Policy Committee of the American College of Medical Quality, in a recent interview.
“They have no business doing that if they haven’t reviewed their medical records, haven’t listened to appropriate doctors who are taking care of her, and they have to have the requisite specialty to comment on that,” he said.
Pinsky has a long history of making sensational medical diagnoses of celebrities and others without examining them, seeing their medical records, or even knowing them.
Beyond that, he’s also engaged in other questionable conduct.
A $3 billion Justice Department settlement in 2012 with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), revealed that Pinsky had been hired by a GSK pr firm to promote an antidepressant drug as a “libido booster” on his radio show “Loveline” and in speaking engagements, specifically without disclosing the relationship.
Pinsky pocketed $275,000 from the deal and never mentioned to his audiences he was on GSK’s payroll, according to the federal complaint.
Federal investigators said promoting the drug to boost libido is illegal, because it is beyond the drug’s approved uses. But as a mere shill, Pinsky was not charged, according to reports.
Hyping the drug was particularly cruel and cynical, because Pinsky targeted women who could not achieve orgasms.
Even back then, medical experts were calling on CNN to terminate his contract over the shady deal.
He claimed at the time his comments were based on his “clinical experience,” even though the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the drug did not work for that purpose and would even inhibit libido.
Pinsky is a board-certified internist and addiction specialist, but his “clinical experience” and medical judgment have also been questioned.
He hosted VH1 reality show “Celebrity Rehab” from 2008 to 2012. He was supposed to counsel celebrities to help them kick addictive habits. But the show proved to be ethically challenged as well.
Five of his celebrity patients died while the show was still on the air. Another patient, pro-wrestler Chyna, died of a drug overdose this past April.
One of the tenets of the Hippocratic Oath, which all doctors must swear to, is to “do no harm.”
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