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Tom Sullivan & Rand Paul and the Idiotic, Bizarre Things They Say

Tom Sullivan & Rand Paul and the Idiotic, Bizarre Things They SayThis past week has seen some idiotic things coming from the mouths of people that some people — although hopefully not too many — look to for leadership and advice.

Tom Sullivan is a radio show host over at Fox News Radio and claimed that bipolar disorder is “made up” on one of his recent shows. A comment like that is from the dark ages of understanding the science behind mental illness, and demonstrates an individual who apparently hasn’t read an actual scientific study in the past two decades or so.

Rand Paul, however, is a physician. As such, he should know better. He should know it’s more important to give more weight to scientific and medical evidence, rather than anecdotes and hearsay. Yet the good doctor recently said, “I have heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.”

Tom Sullivan Spouts Hate, Fomenting Discrimination

Tom Sullivan’s remarks are pretty easy to show as false, given the thousands of scientific studies demonstrating a symptom cluster known as bipolar disorder is a very real, legitimate disorder. The fact that Fox News Radio is happy to give airtime to someone so woefully uneducated and ill-informed I guess goes to show you that they really don’t have standards for who hosts what over there.

Media Matters has the story:

Sullivan, who is also a Fox Business contributor and regular guest anchor, said on his January 28 Fox News Radio program that people with mental illness have figured how to “game the system” by receiving disability benefits. He added, “they’re mostly government employees and they know how to do it.”

A California-based caller later challenged Sullivan over his remarks, saying she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder thirteen years ago and mental health treatment allowed her to graduate from college and obtain a full-time job.

Sullivan responded by telling her, “I’ve got to tell you, if you haven’t been told, I will tell you. I think bipolar is like the latest fad. Everybody and their brother is getting diagnosed with bipolar” and the disease is “something made up by the mental health business just to be able to give people prescriptions and keep them coming in, and keeping you — paying them money.”

Sorry, but this is just asinine. I wonder if he believes measles and cancer are made-up conditions as well? Next I expect him to suggest how gravity is a conspiracy by apple farmers to make us eat more delicious fruit.

Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) has called the radio show commentator out for his ignorant, prejudicial and discriminatory remarks. I hope Sullivan gets fired for his remarks, which would never be tolerated if they aired on mainstream news media.1 Apparently it’s still perfectly okay to make fun of people with a mental illness and suggest their condition isn’t real.

Rand Paul: A Physician Who Apparently Doesn’t Read the Science

It’s sad when a physician such as Rand Paul2 has apparently given up on turning to the scientific data to help answer questions or controversies in society. Because when it comes to vaccinations, the science is clear as day. Every parent should get their child vaccinated, unless there is a medical reason the child cannot be vaccinated.

This “well I feel it’s not in the best interests” mentality on behalf of a small percentage of parents is ridiculous. How about what’s in the best interests of the society you live in?

A good doctor understands the role vaccines play in modern society. Since they were introduced, we all but eradicated crippling childhood diseases such as polio and measles. Oh, up until this year that is. Now measles is making a come-back in the U.S., due solely to some parents’ thinking they know better than decades’ worth of scientific data.

Rand Paul, as a doctor, should read the research on this issue. Because if he had, he’d know it’s a factually untrue statement to make that vaccines cause — or are somehow related to — mental disorders in children. There is not a single scientific study demonstrating a causal link (or even a strong correlational link) between vaccines and mental illness. Not a one. Period.

It demonstrates an embarrassing lack of knowledge on the part of Paul. I would surely not want such a person as my doctor (or representing my district in Congress, because if he could get something as straight-forward as this completely wrong, what else is he getting completely wrong?).3

We do have a lot of evidence that vaccines work and are effective, and are safely tolerated by the vast majority of children who get them. There is no research or data to suggest anything but.

It’s a shame that such people that thousands turn to for leadership or advice could say things that clearly demonstrate their lack of knowledge and outright ignorance about things that impact millions of Amercians’ lives. It’s even a greater shame that we even have to write an article like this in the year 2015. It shows we still have a ways to go in distributing scientific knowledge to more folks.


For further reading

Read the full story: Congresswoman Calls Out Fox Host’s Claim That Bipolar Disorder Is “Made Up”

Rand Paul: Vaccines Can Lead to ‘Mental Disorders’

Tom Sullivan & Rand Paul and the Idiotic, Bizarre Things They Say


  1. Suggesting that nobody really takes seriously much of what is said on Fox News? []
  2. He’s also an apparent presidential candidate in 2016. []
  3. Paul later backpedaled, claiming he did not say that mental illness is caused by vaccines. But I think the original statement clearly speaks for itself. []

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder of Psych Central. He is a psychologist, author, researcher, and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 1995. Dr. Grohol has a Master's degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member of the Society for Participatory Medicine. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

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APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2018). Tom Sullivan & Rand Paul and the Idiotic, Bizarre Things They Say. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 5, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 5 Feb 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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