Earlier this week, we encouraged followers of LeonKoziol.Com to watch the 6/29/10, Dr. Phil (McGraw) show entitled “The Fight Over Your Child.”
Evidently, some of you have written to the show promoting Leon as a possible featured guest. Leon has already appeared on the CBS show 60 Minutes, NY Times and CNN, however, he had not seen any episodes of the Dr. Phil show prior to this one. Based on his commentary which follows, it is unlikely that he will do so in the future.
I had heard of the Dr. Phil Show before, and based upon staff contacts here at LeonKoziol.Com, I encouraged everyone to view a timely episode entitled “The Fight Over Your Child.” After viewing the one hour segment in its entirety, it was clear that this Dr. Phil was simply playing to a select audience designed to elevate his television ratings. It was little more than a perpetuation of the tired old stereotype of fathers as violent unfit parents and mothers as victims of various battered woman syndromes. It was indeed shocking that such a show aired as it did ten years into the 21st century.
After showing one of the couple’s child drafted letters to the father (containing graphic adult depictions of the father as a cheater with other women) Dr. Phil was able to get the mother to concede that she had been the true adulterer in the marriage and had caused the child to draft the disgusting piece. It was seen as a form of projection and parental alienation.
At that point, the entire balance of the show (some 45 minutes) was devoted to an attack upon the father as a disgruntled and vindictive ex-spouse unable to focus on his children’s “best interests”. This earned the host a fully predictable applause from an audience, which like the rest of us, believes in the protection of our children (a simple no brainer).
At another point, Dr. Phil lambasted the father for his opinion regarding an “incompetent” family court system and emotions prominently displayed (and exploited) on his show. When the father refused to yield by citing his many costly and futile petitions for child-rearing time before an antiquated and gender biased court system, the host responded with his own emotions prominently displayed by essentially defending that same system. Dr. Phil went so far as to cite his early stint as a “litigation advisor,” whatever that meant, prior to his long tenure as a talk show promoter.
The problem, doctor, with your entire approach to this very sensitive private issue is that you completely overlooked the inherent flaws of this long antiquated “custodial” framework of child governance which forces parents to “fight” over their own children in the first place. It is a money making framework for lawyers, forensic agents and a child damaging bureaucracy. The evidence was all over the face of your show. Arbitrarily positioned with each parent on the set was a lawyer assigned to support each side. As the show progressed, however, acting in the self-appointed role of a “judge”, you managed to influence even the father’s so-called “advocate” to engage in a public attack upon the male victim.
The entire disgusting star chamber resembled very much the environment which good loving fathers experience in family courts around the country every day. Indeed, this doctor went so far as to place the young daughter’s voice on the air with a message to the father that she did not want to see him again because he was allegedly dangerous. The surprised father then responded how hurtful it was to hear this on the show.
There was no comment from anyone, including the couple’s other child, and nothing to refute the father’s repeated statements that he had never been found guilty of anything to support the daughter’s publicized remarks. The mother’s advocate immediately responded, as if on cue, and in conformity with standard money making “custody” tactics, with a demand for supervised “visitation.” The whole gang then concluded with an assortment of costly welfare programs to help the father become a good parent, whatever that meant to all of these diverse strangers to the children’s lives.
I was verily impressed with the father’s courage and perseverance in this gang assault. Although forced to yield to any suggestion that might give him more than one day per week with his children, he refused to allow his attackers to feminize him even in his embattled state on the set. Of course the mother’s advocate eventually raised the money collection issue “child support” and employment stigmas while no one raised the reverse arguments in this gender biased process. Fathers have a constitutional right to a properly enforced relationship with their own children before the state and its agents can be heard to talk about money extractions from their statutorily created sub-class parent.
Leon R. Koziol, J.D., is a civil rights advocate who has practiced law for nearly a quarter century in New York State. He has been a spokesperson for parenting rights and currently publishes an Internet blog site known as LeonKoziol.Com, focused upon reform in our domestic relations courts.