Thursday, February 19, 2015

#1292: Keith Ablow

Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatrist, author, and media personality, who tends to appear on such intellectually enlightening shows as The Tyra Banks Show and Glenn Beck as an expert on psychoanalysis. He even writes for Fox News’ blog devoted to health matters, where he tends to make claims that go against all evidence when it serves a particular political point, and runs a self-empowerment community based around his book Living the Truth. Though his credentials are fine, his psychiatric analyses of famous individuals or talk-show guests on the basis of thirty-second interviews or news headlines have not been recognized as methodologically sound by any psychiatrist with any integrity.

For instance, when analyzing Jiverly Voong, who went on a mass shooting spree in Binghamton, for the Glenn Beck Show, Ablow produced this piece of exasperating bullshit. The Chris Lane murder, on the other hand, he blamed on facebook and abortion laws because, well, because Ablow doesn’t like abortion. And after the 2012 vice-presidential debate Ablow delivered such a crackpot medical analysis of Vice President Biden’s debate performance that even the Fox & Friends hosts had to call him out; based on criteria even the hosts recognized as medically spurious Ablow claimed Biden should be examined for dementia.

A telling piece of psychoanalysis was embedded in his advice for President Obama: “The president needs to look at himself and say, ‘Do I have prejudice that I wasn’t even aware of, perhaps, towards white people?’” He also claimed that Obama is waging psychological warfare. How? Because Obama admitted that America has made mistakes in foreign policy, and that admission was apparently intended to demoralize the country. “Barack Obama does not have the will of the American people, Americanism, in his soul,” says Ablow: “He wants out of America, my friend. Trust me.” Ah, those prejudices one isn’t even aware of! And then there are Obama’s insidious tricks: In 2014 Ablow could declare that the FIFA world cup is something “Obama is using […] to distract attention.” He didn’t mention from what. Nor did he seem aware that Obama was not involved in arranging the world cup.

On Fox News Ablow has also claimed that Newt Gingrich’s infidelity and open marriage policy could make him a superior president, just because.

As with rightwing cranks in general Ablow is deeply concerned with gender issues (as in this). Thus, he has urged parents not to let their children watch Chaz Bono on “Dancing with the stars,” ostensibly because he is very concerned for the children. It’s hard not to suspect that he isn’t really thinking of the children. Maybe he was when he suggested that sex education is “a Trojan horse inside the schools”, and by receiving such education “they’re going to start talking about threesomes, and they’re going to be talking about everything that’s okay.” He didn’t actually explain whose Trojan horse it was, but you can all guess, I suppose.

More recently, he has demanded a surgeon general’s warning on the internet, especially on discussions of things Ablow perceives as dangerous. “The Surgeon General has been a no-show on Facebook. […] Where is the Surgeon General?” asks Ablow, suggesting a scandalous level of neglect to rival Benghazi. Though perhaps not quite as scandalous as the "fact" that Obama welcomes ebola to the US because his “affinities” are with Africa and he “may literally believe we should suffer along with less fortunate nations.” That’s right. Obama is in a conspiracy against the US. Why did people elect him? According to Ablow’s professional opinion people have been suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome after 9/11 and therefore elected someone “who has names very similar to two of our archenemies, Osama, well, Obama. And Hussein.”

Diagnosis: Pseudoscience is never more potent than when it comes backed with real credentials. Ablow’s credentials are real. But we tentatively suggest that you should beware of taking advice from him regarding anything resembling psychology or anything else for that matter.


  1. As of today, you may as well add Rudy Giuliani, who figures Obama doesn't love America for many of the same reasons.

    1. With Rudy, I suspect it's pandering. For what reason, I don't know, since he's not running for any office currently and he doesn't have a deal with Fox News to the best of my knowledge.