Dr. Barack Obama? The undeserved honors continue for the president

President Barack Obama in the East Room of the White House in Washington.
(Charles Dharapak / Associated Press)

To the editor: With the publication of an opinion piece by Barack Obama in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., a new title has been bestowed on the president: physician in chief. Where will it end? (“Obama is not a scientist. JAMA shouldn’t pretend he is,” Opinion, July 18)

There are so many organizations and institutions that are eager to bestow titles and awards on this president while he is in office that it has long ago become ridiculous. It began about the time that he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize because, just a few months into his first term, he had not yet used thermonuclear weapons.

I look forward with great anticipation to see all the honors that will arrive at the White House in the next few months to adulate this president for things he has done, things he might have done, things he didn’t do and things he shouldn’t have done.

Ermanno Signorelli, Mar Vista Crest



To the editor: At first blush I agreed with Alex Berezow and Tom Hartsfield that President Obama should not have had a paper published in a scholarly journal. But upon examination I found the authors of this piece not as objective as I first thought.

Berezow is with the American Council on Science and Research. Its backers have included the Koch brothers, tobacco companies, Big Pharma, Monsanto Co. and ExxonMobil Corp. The group, which has a decidedly conservative bias, has claimed that there’s no scientific consensus on global warming, no evidence that secondhand smoke can lead to heart problems, and that fracking doesn’t pollute water or air.

Hartsfield writes for RealClearScience, which has a similar point of view.

Watching, reading and listening to media nowadays obviously requires greater skepticism than ever.

Hal Rothberg, Calabasas


To the editor: The president is not a scientist, and I can’t imagine that the readership of JAMA believe that he is. The editors of the journal felt Obama’s paper was important enough to publish.


I can’t imagine that any reader would put this in the category of “the discovery of DNA or black holes.”

Patrick A. Mauer, MD, Pasadena

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