Dr. Keith Ablow completed his undergraduate studies at Brown University before capping his academic career at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Billing himself as “one of America’s leading psychiatrists,” Ablow boasts of having helped “CEOs, elected officials, professional athletes and world-renown artists.”
He’s also an assistant clinical professor at Tufts, a “sought-after speaker” and a best-selling author with a prodigious number of titles to his name.
But the time has come for Ablow, a Fox News contributor since 2007, to add another line to his resume.
Despite all the competition for the title, Ablow, the sire of the Fox News Medical A-Team, can now be crowned the biggest race-hustler on a network teeming with them.
Bill O’Reilly will probably always be at war with hip hop, and Megyn Kelly will always have her infamous 2010 crusade against the New Black Panther Party, but they have nothing on Ablow.
He’s distinguished himself recently with some wild observations on Ebola, a storyline that’s tailor-made for his patented combination of medical expertise and right-wing zealotry.
Amid a festival of hysterical coverage on the outbreak — typified by knee-jerk demands for resignations, breathless scaremongering and skepticism of any calls for calm — Ablow’s perspective has stood out.
During an interview with Fox News Radio last week, Ablow echoed what he had written in a column days earlier, arguing that President Obama was deliberately allowing Ebola to spread in the United States because his “affinities” are with Africa and because the United States has “visited a plague of colonialism that has devastated much of the world.”
“I believe the president may literally believe we should suffer along with less fortunate nations,” he wrote in the piece for FoxNews.com. “And if he does, that is a very dangerous psychological stance from which to confront Ebola.”
The analysis was vintage Ablow, effortlessly blending his psychiatric authority with the type of Obama-bashing usually found only in the right-wing fever swamps.
Even the peculiar use of the word “literally” was an Ablow hallmark.
After Attorney General Eric Holder visited Ferguson, Mo. in August, Ablow was incensed.
“And here’s Eric Holder, reprehensible, a dismissible human in terms of his job description, he can’t do his job, who literally goes there and says, ‘No, we are separate and you can’t trust the caucasians,'” Ablow scoffed during an appearance on “Outnumbered.”
Of course, Holder didn’t say anything close to that, but Ablow — despite once writing a book titled “Living the Truth” — has routinely stretched the truth in his appearances on Fox.
As the journalist David Roth detailed in a marvelous profile for The New Republic in 2010, Ablow has been doing it for a while now, well before Ebola reached America’s shores.
After the Fort Hood shooting in 2009, Ablow, then a regular on Glenn Beck’s now-defunct Fox program, said that Obama probably wasn’t all that shaken by the tragedy because “the things that apparently move him and lead to his core really being tapped are when people he feels are being wronged and there’s either a minority group or disadvantaged group that he feels should be elevated.”
The same year, Ablow told Beck that the nonprofit group ACORN provided a window into Obama’s “feelings about white America.”
It’s been a recurring sentiment from Ablow in the Obama era, dutifully appealing to those who consider the President to be an unwelcome “other,” not “one of us.”
Following the prisoner swap that secured the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in May, Ablow said that Obama “doesn’t affiliate with patriotism” and lacks “Americanism in his soul.”
In July, Ablow expressed disbelief that any Democrat would want to campaign alongside Obama.
“I’m shocked, really, that if you’re a candidate and you’re in that minority that wants the President to campaign for you. Who are you? Who are you? You’re an elected official, right, who’s supposed to value the Constitution, and you want this guy by your side,” Ablow said incredulously. “What don’t you get about the fact that this is somebody who wants America to dissolve?”
When it comes to this year’s midterms, Ablow added, Obama is no campaign “closer.”
“Unless the American people want to commit suicide as a nation, and he’s the guy to push you off the cliff,” he said. “Spoken as a psychiatrist.”
Ablow has been on a mission this year to stake out his prominent place among the right’s carnival of fringe pundits. He’s taken aim at various conservative bugaboos, whether it’s the “reprehensible” Holder or Michelle Obama, whose promotion of healthy living has annoyed conservatives for years.
Veering away from his usual racially tinged analysis, Ablow said in August that the first lady is too fat to preach diet and exercise.
“She needs to drop a few,” Ablow said.
He even complained that the World Cup — an object of contempt for certain red-blooded American conservatives — was nothing more than a distraction for Obama.
Ever since Beck’s show was brought to an end in 2011, Ablow’s primary platforms have been “Fox & Friends,” where he renders judgment on viewers’ behavior in a weekly segment called “Normal or Nuts,” and “Outnumbered,” the network’s fledgling gender-focused afternoon talk show.
On the latter program, Ablow regularly wears the title of “#OneLuckyGuy,” the designated lone male host who’s flanked on a crescent-shaped couch by four female panelists.
Appearing on the show last week, Ablow asserted that the stock market is facing three different headwinds.
“We are up against ISIS, Ebola and we have an administration that has had it in for us,” he said.
Ablow has gotten so over the top on Ebola that fellow Fox pundit Greg Gutfeld has now called him out twice. When Shep Smith made an on-air plea last week for a more reasoned discussion on the outbreak, he may as well have been addressing Ablow.
But Ablow doesn’t seem to be in any professional jeopardy.
TPM called Ablow’s office a couple times recently to give him a chance to defend his comments. A woman who answered the phone at his office on Friday said the doctor was unavailable because he had “back-to-back appointments for the remainder of the day,” but she would be happy to take a message.
She also suggested that his contract with Fox, which he just renewed last month, might preclude him from an interview.
When TPM called again on Monday, a different woman answered, but the answer was roughly the same.
“He has, unfortunately, back-to-back patients again today,” she said.
So what might explain Ablow’s constantly bizarre and often racially charged analysis?
His comments about the Ebola crisis may provide some insight. The storyline is one that intertwines a deadly virus that originated in Africa and governmental incompetence in the United States, making it the perfect vehicle for Ablow’s tried-and-true attacks on the Obama administration.
“I think that we became psychologically mired in a form of national Stockholm Syndrome,” he said of Obama’s election victories during his radio interview last week. “We said to ourselves, and the world, ‘Look at this guy. We’re going to elect this guy president. Why would you attack us? We’re not even voting for somebody who likes us. This guy, who has names very similar to two of our archenemies, Osama, well, Obama. And Hussein. Hussein. Surely you won’t attack us now because we’ve got a shield here of a guy who, as the leader of our country, says we’re bad.'”
Dr. Keith Ablow, one nutty guy.
Editorial note: This post has been updated to make clear that Ablow is an assistant clinical professor at Tufts University School of Medicine, which is a voluntary, unpaid appointment at the school.