Any psychiatrist who purports to offer a “diagnosis” of a public figure he hasn’t professionally examined ought to have his medical license taken away.
And anybody who pays attention to such crap other than for pure amusement ought to have his head examined.
Kudos to Rivka at Respectful of Otters for her even-handedness.
A reader criticizes me, politely and correctly, for overstatement. Using a psychiatric credential as a weapon in political warfare ought to be treated as a violation of professional ethics, but license revocation or suspension should be reserved for flagrant and persistent violators, such as Charles Krauthammer.
Another reader points out that experts opine on television all the time, often on matters they haven’t bothered to become personally familiar with, and asks why psyciatrists should be different. My answer is that psychiatrists (and clinical psycnologists) aren’t merely experts; they’re licensed healers. Using that license to wound is by its nature an abuse.
Since mental illness is profoundly stigmatized (in a way that physical illness largely isn’t anymore) the capacity of psychiatrists to damage the public standing of other people is immense, and it ought to be under correspondingly tight control.