We Need To Wash Our Hands of The NY Post and it’s anti-OCD Bigotry
The Post has always preyed on suffering, but attacking OCD sufferers is disgusting.
I’ve had my issues with the New York Post. It’s a publication only in the most charitable sense of the word. It is literally published. In all other respects, the Post is the platonic ideal of one man’s quest to profit off of the kind of human suffering and drama he enjoys with his own family. The formula is as ancient as public crucifixion—the more horrible the spectacle, the more valuable to Caesar—sorry, Rupert. The following OCD-themed piece got through a recent pitch meeting:
No, I’m not confusing the New York Post with The Atlantic. If it’s not about Angels, Heroes, Tots, Pervs, or Bozos, it probably doesn’t belong in the Post.
Comedian John Mulaney explains the Post’s obsessive hierarchy of virtue:
Angel: “a child who has died”
Hero: “any man who does his job.”
Bozo: “Any man who cheats on his wife”
Perv: “someone guilty of bad touch re: tots”
Tot: “angels who haven't died yet”
This article by journalist Jon Mac Ghlionn, is deeply stigmatizing for vulnerable people and conceptually bizarre. The flow is similar to what doctors term “loose associations,” typical in psychosis and mania.
The article opens thusly:
OCD and radical beliefs.
At first glance, climate champion Greta Thunberg would appear to have little in common with, say, Islamic fundamentalism or radical trans-activism. But Thunberg suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), a condition that researchers increasingly say correlates with passionate and extremist behaviors — the types that fuel her aggressive commitment to eco-activism.
A careful look at the beginning of that article will reveal perhaps they forgot to edit out the GPT promptAt least it reads like a prompt to generate a story idea plugged into a GPT Large Language Model:
What kind of bozo didn't edit out the prompt from the generative AI algorithm
But the Post published this as an article. We might be seeing a preview of the future, aswrote about this week. Instead of actually having human authors come up with predatory and mendacious stories, in the future, with PostGPT, unethical journalism about mental health issues is automated!
This theoretical PostGPT is an algorithm tweaked to generate more stigma, as we see in this article:
An estimated 3 million Americans now suffer from some form of compulsive behavior or obsessive thoughts. Sometimes these thoughts are radical in nature — like wanting to harm yourself or others.
The actual number of OCD cases using official NIMH numbers would be 3,999,450 Americans in 2022.
It’s hard to know where to start with the “sentence cum hate crime” that follows:
And, as we’ve seen countless times, they can even be radical enough that they escalate into acts of violence.
The experts say the opposite, like my friend and mentor Jack Rozel M.D.:
“Mental illness is one factor in a person’s life that is sometimes relevant to involvement in violence, but it is very rarely the only factor, or even a causal factor.”
It’s not true that people with OCD are more prone to violent radicalism. Many people with OCD worry they might become violent and this is known as “harm OCD.” They key here is that they do not become more likely to commit violence. This Post article, however, is more likely to cause further self-doubt and distress in someone who has this form of harm OCD.
PostGPT goes on to reference a highly speculative pre-printarticle by NYU-branded Jocelyn J. Bélanger of New York University Abu Dhabi. His paper makes up a new term “obsessive passion” (“a key predictor of radicalism”):and he posits these OCD extremists are “especially insecure when their world views are challenged by others.”
What Dr. Bélanger describes is already well known as the “Dark Triad,” Featuring these three personality features:
Narcissism is characterized by grandiosity, pride, egotism, and a lack of empathy.
Machiavellianism is characterized by manipulation and exploitation of others, an absence of morality, lack of emotion, and a higher level of self-interest.
Psychopathy is characterized by continuous antisocial behavior, impulsivity, selfishness, callous and unemotional traits (CU), and remorselessness.
This particular reporter continues his exploitation of readers’ fears:
Let’s go back to Ms. Thunberg for a moment. According to a 2021 report published by Vanderbilt University, the Swedish activist’s underlying OCD “likely contributes to her intense and unrelenting focus on speaking truth to power in urging action on climate change.” In other words, her extreme passion for environmental activism is driven, at least somewhat, by her OCD.
This is a stigmatizing and a lukewarm take. It’s also the opposite of correct—the one person in the Greta Thunberg story made famous by this viral 💩post:
… who is driven by “Obsessive Passion” leading to a maladaptive and inflexible pattern of adhering to fixed beliefs in the service of their own ego… Well, it’s Andrew Tate, not Greta. Conveniently, I already wrote about this, but Alpha Male Andrew Tate’s tweet sums it up:
One might wonder why the New York Post has decided to weigh in on the side of a Perv like Andrew Tate—awaiting trial in Romania for allegedly bad touching some Tots as reported in...wait, also the NYPost?
The Post business model, of course, is not driven by Journalistic Ethics. It’s not even driven by writing things that are coherent. The dark-triad-as-tabloid continues its confabulation:
For concerned parents and educators, it’s important to note that preteens who spend excessive amounts of time online are at heightened risk of developing OCD. Extended screen time is associated with compulsivity and loss of behavioral control. It’s also associated with a greater risk of exposure to hateful, dangerous content. This can be hate for an opposing political party, a different religion, or those on the opposite side of, say, climate change or trans-related discussions.
There is nothing true about the above. I’m not going to bother to cite anything given how absurd the above claims are, but I did ask chatGPT if it would write an article about how more online time leads to OCD and it demured:
In fairness to tabloid business models, if the Post avoided harmful and baseless claims, it would be out of business. It’s basically a harmful and baseless claims as a service (HBCaaS) platform solution sold to advertisers targeting the profitable credulous and vulnerable consumer market. I should know, this same rag has come after me on more than one occasion:
Yes, my ex fiancé walked off with a much classier ring—a conditional gift from my mom—than the Post’s choice of stock image. And no, it was never returned. Why this was newsworthy is beyond me. The strong reporting on me by the Post didn’t stop there:
I could go on bashing this article, but instead, I’ll just point out what I suspect is yet another PostGPT prompt left in the same article:
Let’s imagine the Post is right… one obscure psychology theorist publishing misleading papers on extremism on the dime of various government interests proves: “OCD is an increasing source of violent extremism.”
And then we accept sick burns on Twitter are violent extremism…
And we accept this is dangerous to our Tots…
And if we aren’t vigilant, those Tots will end up as Angels or Pervs…
If that is all true...then the Post might want to stop picking on psychiatrists. Because psychiatrists are legit Heroes, and the last line of defense against (fake) OCD related extremism. Especially those Heroes who are doing remarkable work helping treat severe OCD with effective treatments.
OCD is a serious cause of suicide and despair. The Post should stick to attacking Pervs like Bill O’Riley and Rodger Ailes—that is bread and butter stuff. Leave the work of psychiatry to the real heroes.
Complaints on this column can reach me at email@example.com. Bozos.
—Owen Scott Muir, M.D.
It’s unethical coverage of suicide in a way that encourages more death by suicide for example?
I’m just getting started.
For example a post story about my new favorite newsletter,, would have a headline like “Hero scientist author writes about science.”
See how easily one can make damaging statements with limited evidence? By the way, John Mac Ghlionn appears to live in Ireland. Probably a great place to hide out from dangerous radicals like Greta Thunberg.
I don’t know if this is a fact. There might be ethical reporters at the post, digging deeply into the literature on epidemiology and psychiatry. And then that may be used to shame people who are suffering—but I couldn’t help but notice that the very first line of that article isn’t really a first line of an article.
I tried this with ChatGPT and I don’t think they used that per se:
Because ChatGPT has built in safeguards thanks to its engineers and although it can parrot the post stylistically:
I love the completely made up reference and doctor. But it won’t go as far as the Post, of course. I should know, I tried:
But the OpenAI team did their level best to impose some moral compass (lacking in post editorial staff) on its LLM:
Remember, although OpenAI has built ChatGPT into a product, GPT itself is open source code that could be trained on any language data set. This model could be directed to follow any rules. You could train a private GPT on the NY Post ONLY. And then it is a whole word of possible answers would be just “stuff they say in the Post.” PostGPT. Every time OpenAI blocks a response, one can imagine its Murdoch Opposite, going more weird and wild. To date this has been tasked to humans…
Source: Rozel, J. S., & Mulvey, E. P. (2017). The link between mental illness and firearm violence: Implications for social policy and clinical practice. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 13, 445-469.
This means an article that hasn’t gone through peer review. Like it’s at the same level of validation as any given post article or ChatGPT response.
However, new details emerged Thursday from court documents in the case detailing how the Tates are accused of heading a brutal crime gang that tricked women into the sex trade, allowing them to earn the riches they bragged about in their widely banned social media posts.
By the way, how much healthier do I look now, compared to when the Post sent photographer Rashid Umar Abbasi to stalk me right outside my home? As I’ve written about, Metabolic Disorder treatment has come a long way with GLP-1 inhibitors: