Anthony Furey: Dr. Phil Is Causing the Right Kind of Stir as He Stands Up for Common Sense

Anthony Furey: Dr. Phil Is Causing the Right Kind of Stir as He Stands Up for Common Sense
Dr. Phil McGraw visits SiriusXM at SiriusXM Studios in New York City on Feb. 27, 2024. (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
Anthony Furey
Dr. Phil made quite a stir recently when he appeared on the Joe Rogan podcast and came out swinging against transgender issues as they relate to kids. A 10-minute segment of his appearance, where he summarizes his concerns with the use of puberty blockers and gender transition for minors, has gone viral. 
Then he made an appearance on The View and denounced school closures during COVID. The hosts, who have little tolerance for anything that deviates from their narrow politics, naturally lost their minds.
Some people hate what Dr. Phil has been saying. A lot more people are loving it. But his resurgence has also left people curious as to how it is that a prince of daytime TV has suddenly become a vocal cultural warrior. 
Phil McGraw—known as Dr. Phil—is a clinical psychologist who came to prominence for his appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show in the late 1990s. Oprah then gave Dr. Phil his own program, which ended last year following a two-decade run.
What’s brought Dr. Phil back into the spotlight the past couple of weeks—and seen him do a wider media tour—is the release of his new book “We’ve Got Issues: How You Can Stand Strong for America’s Soul and Sanity.”
Here’s how the publishers describe the book: “This compelling work combines a brutally honest look at the sustained attack on the core values that have defined America at its best and offers prescriptive guidance on what you can do in your own life to stop the madness. With his 10 working principles for a healthy society, Dr. Phil provides the tools for mainstream America to fight back against the forces of division with sensible and urgently needed advice supported by the latest, social, medical and psychological findings.”
I’d be lying if I said I really knew what Dr. Phil was all about. He’s predominantly been a daytime network television personality, so if you don’t watch those channels during the day then you likely don’t know what he typically discusses.
An entire segment of the English-speaking North American audience is likely familiar with Dr. Phil as a sort of background figure in their lives—someone they’ve seen a few clips of here and there, someone who is considered a comforting and guiding personality but one who is relatively bland and inoffensive. His recent comments, and that book description, perhaps seem a bit more provocative than what you’d expect from him.
Or maybe not. Here’s the thing: Looking back on daytime television during its heyday in the 1990s and early 2000s, a lot of the content was really about regular people trying to grab their bearings and seek guidance as they grapple with life’s challenges. 
Society wasn’t “woke” back then. There was no cancel culture. Political correctness wasn’t so out-of-control that you could lose your job over a poorly worded Facebook post. The political shenanigans that occur daily on The View weren’t the norm of daytime television then. They would have been an aberration.
There was a natural order to things on daytime television that showed our culture still had stabilizing forces. When people were found to be cheating on their partners, the audience booed them. When parents were dealing with badly behaved children, the expert guests told them to get their house in order. Alcohol and drug addiction was something to be treated and solved, not excused and enabled. 
When there were segments about people doing wacky messed up things, they were told to their faces that they were doing wacky messed up things and were encouraged to clean up their act.
This was the case with the salacious talk shows like Jerry Springer and Ricki Lake, it applied to courtroom programs like Judge Judy, and it happened with the less scandalous shows like Oprah.
The return of Dr. Phil is just another example of how the public increasingly craves a return to normalcy. He’s a calm and rational father figure like Jordan Peterson, who bravely stepped forward to stare down the petulant mob and work to restore order when few others would.
You can bet Dr. Phil will soon be vilified by woke misfits in the press who have yet to accept their moment is over. But, like Peterson, Dr. Phil appears ready to stand his ground.
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.