Please watch....

James Randi --- Wizard (randi-hotline@ssr.com)
Mon, 29 Apr 1996 13:31:50 -0400

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 license
renewed....

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 correctness."

We are well into the New Dark Age. Buy batteries for those flashlights.

James Randi

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