It's not the content of the show that I have an issue with. It's the way that it was advertised on TV in the run-up to the show airing. Once again, the media whores who only care about ratings sensationalized the content of the show, thinking it would increase viewership - and I'm sure it did. Here's what they failed to consider and what Dr. Phil should have:
- By advertising the show as being about 'monsters', guys that torch their wives, they failed to consider the thousands and thousands of people who would see the ad who never intended to watch the show. The show's sensationalized advertising just reinforced the stereotype that all combat veterans are crazy and dangerous.
- Dr. Phil claims to have a degree. Well, I don't have a degree, but I have something called common sense. There are thousands of vets out there that are on the brink of getting help for their PTSD. What is one of the major issues that vets have with coming forward and getting help? TRUST - How many veterans decided because of the advertising for that show not to come forward and get help? The message that was reinforced with a lot of veterans after watching the advertisement was that the public at large views me as a crazy and dangerous person. It's called reinforcing a stereotype. If a stereotype gets enough reinforcement, it gets generally accepted as truth. That is not only dangerous but tragic.
- When I saw that advertisement, I was really hurt and upset. My initial thought: "If this is how Dr. Phil sees us, well shit. How the hell are we supposed to change the minds of the average American? What the hell ever happened to the Hippocratic Oath? First, Do No Harm? He should have his license stripped from him!" Needless to say, I was a little angry. Even angry, there is a kernel of truth that resonates even now: First, Do No Harm.........
Those are the major points. I could go on a typing rant, but I think the message would get lost. Here it is in a nut shell: YOU SCREWED UP, DR. PHIL. You forgot one of the cardinal rules of being a doctor. As a highly trained psychologist, he should have been aware of the sensitivity and volatility of discussing this issue. With that in mind, you should have done more to protect those who are stigmatized by this stereotype. Your advertising 'specialists' should be fired. The advertisement doesn't accurately depict the content or intent of the show. What I find most disappointing is that I can't imagine this hit the air without you knowing about it, Dr. Phil. If you didn't know about it, you should have.
OK, I'm getting down off my soapbox now. I remind people again - there are no perfect people, just perfect intentions. While I detest how this turned out, I do recognize that his intentions were good. He has done so much to help people over the years that I am willing to forgive this - I just won't forget.