Gay-Blaming Fox News ‘Psychologist’ Not a Real PhD

Remember Robi Ludwig, the “psychologist” that Fox News brought on the air to explain that the Isla Vista shooter may have been driven by “homosexual impulses” despite his repeated insistence that it was lack of female attention that pushed him over the edge? Turns out she isn’t a real doctor despite calling herself that.

Her listing at Psychology Today shows “School: University of Pennsylvania” and lists her graduation year as 1990. Sounds legitimate, right? U. Penn is an Ivy League school; a doctorate from there is certainly impressive.

Her website reveals a different story. Her “doctor” title, which she uses in every mention of herself and the name of the website itself (drrobiludwig.com), is based on a Psy.D. degree from Southern California University for Professional Studies, an online-only, for-profit correspondence school, which changed its name in 2007 to California Southern University.

Note to readers: an online degree is not a doctorate. Any online, for-profit college that claims otherwise, and this obviously includes Cal Southern, is just trying to fool people.

I’ve known hundreds of scientists and scholars who’ve put in the sweat equity required for a Ph.D.: years of course work, mastery of a specialized area of study, and additional years doing original research and writing a Ph.D. dissertation. The Cal Southern Psy.D. requires nothing more than course work – no dissertation required – and the courses are all online. This falls grievously short of a real doctorate. Taking a bunch of online courses at a third-rate online school does not earn one the right to be called “doctor.”

I checked the American Psychological Association’s site to see if the Psy.D. program at California Southern is accredited. It is not. (Very few Psy.D. programs, which are much less rigorous than Ph.D. programs, are accredited. Most clinical psychologists have Ph.D.s.)

In other words, “Dr.” Ludwig has a mail-order degree from an unaccredited program.

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  • dmcclean

    That’s pretty bad even by Fox News standards.

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Call me unsurprised.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Anyone who has any actual psychology education would have spotted that right away, because of misuse of terms of art. That’s a dead giveaway – when someone uses “pop psychology” terms like “homosexual impulses” instead of DSM-IV or V terms – or makes internet diagnoses – you’re looking at a fake. Another way to tell is that they tend to omit where they got their PhD from. Was it Johns Hopkins, or universitynuyssaintwoggawogga.com? Having worked with plenty of Hopkins doctors lemme tell you, they make damn sure you know they’re the real deal.

    It makes me ponder the idea of a sort of intellectual DDOS attack one could launch on FOX news, by having a large circle of conspirators who cross-recommend eachother as “experts” and then say moderately bullshitful stuff, while thoroughly documenting it back at conspiracy central. Allow this to go on for a year or so then publish a book about how you were able to epic troll an entire news service. Perhaps this is what is happening as we speak.

  • Larry

    That’s OK, it’s not as if Fox is real news.

  • borax

    Fake PhD on a fake news network? Say it ain’t so.

  • borax

    Damnit. Sorry Larry. Next time I’ll read ahead.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    FuckTheNew’sCorpse pretty much owes their existence to Ronnie Raygunz and his antipathy towards the Fairness Doctrine.

    Rupert’s Raiders are nothing but shills for the New Gilded Age’s robber barons.

  • eric

    Her “doctor” title, which she uses in every mention of herself and the name of the website itself (drrobiludwig.com),

    While not always true (there’s a lot of arrogant PhDs and MDs), it’s still a good general rule of thumb that the people who most strongly insist you call them doctor are the ones you should be most suspicious may not actually deserve the title.

  • Kevin Kehres

    @7: While I share your antipathy towards Ronald Reagan, Rupert Murdoch, et al, you should be aware that the Fairness Doctrine would not have applied to Fox “News”, nor to CNN.

    It was applicable only to broadcast stations, which license the airwaves they used from the government. The Fairness Doctrine never applied to cable-only enterprises like Fox and CNN. As long as they didn’t have an antenna-accessible broadcast, they were exempt.

    Which is why the Fairness Doctrine is an anachronism — it’s the equivalent of a buggy whip inside a Ferrari.

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    A good rule of thumb is that if they’re on one of these programs, they aren’t psychologist.

    She’s actually a NY licensed clinical social worker. I covered this in the first post about her idiotic comments.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches/2014/05/28/fox-expert-blames-killing-spree-on-the-gay/#comment-323811

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches/2014/05/28/fox-expert-blames-killing-spree-on-the-gay/#comment-323827

    The “therapists” featured on cable TV programs are rarely psychologists. Dr. Phil actually is a psychologist by training, though I don’t believe he has a license in any state, so he can’t call himself a psychologist. Every other one I’ve seen flaunts a mail order/online/correspondence doctorate. From what I’ve seen, they’re careful to avoid calling themselves psychologists because they’ll get into a heap of trouble if they do. They are happy, however, to let people think they’re psychologists.

    It’s actually difficult for producers to find a real psychologist who will comment on current events. For years, I got calls from Oprah, Jenny Jones. Jerry Springer and other TV programs. I and every psychologist I knew got these calls because the producers would work their way through the phone book getting turned down or ignored. The last call I got was about 2 years ago, for some Lifetime program, complete bullshit, looking for a psychologist to lend a pretense of morally serious purpose to their crass entertainment. I don’t get calls anymore. I think they’ve learned that calling psychologists to participate in this nonsense is a futile endeavor.

  • jaybee

    Kevin Kehres @ 9 —

    Since when is Fox cable only? They have plenty of terrestrial broadcast channels. I just googled and it seems Fox is channel 5 in NY, channel 11 in L.A., 32 in Chicago. I’m sure smaller markets get broadcast Fox too.

  • colnago80

    Re jaybee

    And channel 5 in the DC area. However, Fox news broadcasts on conventional TV bear little relationship to the Cable news broadcasts. It’s the Fascist News Cable Channel that is a propaganda outlet for the right wing.

  • Taz

    Yes, Fox News and the Fox Network are two separate entities. “The Simpsons”, broadcast on the Fox Network, has often made fun of Fox News. The Fox Network has no national news broadcast.

  • eric

    @9 – there are some legacy issues associated with the fairness doctrine. A minor one would be radio broadcasting. A major one would be net freedom: if ISPs get their way in the future, and can limit the lineup of websites that you can access based on what you pay, that artificially creates the same problem (of one political group potentially monopolizing communications channels) the fairness doctrine was intended to solve.

    Having said that, and though I’m a supported of net freedom, we really don’t seem to need a fairness doctrine for TV or radio or web sites right now. Its a solution without much of a problem at the moment.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    TYPICAL IVORY TOWER EGGHEAD ELITISM!!!

     

    eric “…the people who most strongly insist you call them doctor are the ones you should be most suspicious may not actually deserve the title.” &

    Dr X “Dr. Phil actually is a psychologist by training, though I don’t believe he has a license in any state, so he can’t call himself a psychologist.”

    Fun Fact: Adding the fortune cookie ending (“…in bed”) to comments makes them funnier.

  • scienceavenger

    But, if she’s not a real PhD, then why oh why would Fox hire her? I mean what possible attributes could they have seen? /sarcasm