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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 29 Apr 96 13:13:58 -0700
Subject: Please watch....
[After seeing some of the new crop of TV shows that take the fantasy element
of X-Files and pretend it's fact (using famous and trusted actors who play
rationalists on TV as their authority figures) I'm finding it hard to resist
Randi's conclusion... -psl]
From: James Randi --- Wizard <email@example.com>
I've been informed of another "Put It to the Test" episode coming up on
ABC-TV tonight at 8pm. Apparently Noreen Renier's and Paul Mckenna's claims
will be examined. If ABC does the same kind of shallow, inept,
"investigation" as they did last time, we won't see much but a whitewash.
Please watch this spectacle -- those of you who can -- and give me your
opinions. And, more importantly, please write to ABC-TV to express your
opinions -- pro or con -- about the treatment.
My prediction? This one won't be any better than the last.
Remember that the media are not interested in whether they inform their
clients; they only want to titillate them and amuse them. The incautious
viewer can and most often will believe that a huge organization producing
a million-dollar show has told them the truth and has made efforts to check
the validity of what is presented. That is not so; selling the sponsors'
products is the whole intention of the production.
ABC-TV will not give a moment's thought as to whether viewers will be
emotionally or informationally damaged by their show. They will only look
at the ratings. Their ethics and honor are elements that are ignored in
favor of giving trusting viewers a distorted, biased, and fictionalized view
of what those viewers have every right to know is farcical. ABC-TV just
doesn't care. The bottom line is the dollar-value of what they show the
public, how many cars, how much toothpaste, and what acreage of water-beds
leave the stores the next morning. Ethics be damned. We can always stick
on a few more public-service messages to keep the FCC pacified and get the
Ah, but we can always depend upon PBS-TV to give us the facts, can't we?
In the case of certain very dedicated shows such as NOVA and "Front Line,"
yes. But when it comes to fund-raising, certainly not. We are offered
Deepak Chopra, the spokesman for the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and current King
of Quackery, to stimulate our generosity. Only my revulsion was triggered,
especially when "Discover Your Guardian Angel" was added to the Chopra
rantings to cap off the insult.
Let's face it, guys. We can't control the media, even when their permits
to operate are up for renewal. There are dunderheads in the Congress --
which is supposed to protect us -- who fawn over gurus, psychics,
fortune-tellers and pseudoscientists, all in the spirit of "political
We are well into the New Dark Age. Buy batteries for those flashlights.
© 1996 Peter Langston