Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sensing Horseshit : Update

And here's what I was worried about when I posted the other day about this psychic crap on NZ television. The mainstream media has latched onto a statement made by police, jumbled it around to sound interesting and posted it in the "Psychics are right!" style of article. I thought Fairfax media, who run Stuff and a majority of the newspapers in NZ, might have had a shred of journalistic integrity, but it looks like I was wrong. They have an article on Stuff entitled "Psychics stir up murder mysteries" - oooooh! I had hoped it was because the title "Psychics make vague pronouncements about tragic death in vain hope of milking even more money out of gullible idiots" was too long, but after reading the article I don't think so.

What a load of crap. It starts out with the worst sentence possible - "The death of a South Otago teenager, subject of an investigation this month by psychics on the TV2 programme Sensing Murder, is being re-examined by police." Investigation? If that's an investigation I'm a monkeys bum. They wandered around looking dreamy, with bad cuts and re-enactments from actors, and said that someone as a "practical joke" threw something aflame into his car, burning it out with the young man still inside. Not exactly easy to prove, or disprove, and its the latter that is probably more telling. In the standard line of mentalists and so called psychics they pick a story that seems plausible and cannot be proven wrong on the current evidence. The police have already said that they do not know what started the fire, so that meant the clowns could say pretty much anything they like.

But what's even more annoying is the way the article is written to blatantly ignore the facts and twist the words of the police. The police said they had spoken to the Stott family (relatives of the deceased) and were looking further into some aspects of the case. The article slips the words "since the programme went to air" implying that the opinion of the entertainers on Sensing Mo' Money had something to do with it. And in a very oblique way, they did (someone contacted the police after seeing the show with some info they are looking into) but not the way you might think after reading the article.

I think the most important bits are the twisted logic used to tie the programe and the Police investigations together. Phrases like "while the case was technically closed, police would re-examine it if new information came to hand" just point to the fact that there has been no new information. And technically closed? Its closed because there's no reason to re-open it! You could use that statement to describe every single cold case in world history!

"While the case of who shot JFK was technically closed, police would re-examine it if new information came to hand"

"While the case of Hitler's final resting place was technically closed, police would re-examine it if new information came to hand"

"While the case of who shot first, Han or Greedo was technically closed, police would re-examine it if new information came to hand"

I can only take solace in the fact the the NZ police are making rational statements, like "But just because someone with a crystal ball says something. . . it's got to be something that is tangible. . . something useful." They might be asking a bit much there. That's the whole point - psychics don't give "useful" information. They use word games and tricks to make you believe you are getting information when most of the time they are merely parroting what you say back to you, telling you things they have secretly found out about you, or just making shit up.

All in all, its not true that the psychics "stirred" anything up at all - the only new information has come as a result of the show re-enacting the details known about the case on TV, perhaps jogging someone's memory. Nothing they have said in 3 seasons of this tripe has ever been proven right. It makes me wonder why people keep watching this, even when you apply the old maxim "people remember the hits and forget the misses", especially when they have had no hits whatsoever.


alison said...

Yes, well, in yesterday's Herald Waikato Times we had the same thing: psychics claiming to know what happened to Sara Neithe & giving their 'details' so vaguely that anything could fit. At least, down towards the bottom of the item we get the police comment: "Inquiry head Detective Sergeant Glenn Tinsley, of Waihi CIB, said no leads had come from the show since its shooting earlier in the year." Why why why are the networks so keen to run with pseudoscientific crap & so reluctant to give us 'real' science? Done well it would be at least as entertaining (if that's their lowest common denominator!).

Spankermatic said...

Absolutely Alison - but you probably know the answer to your "why why why" before I even say it - it sells. Journos love to create controversy where there is none, otherwise its not worth reporting on. Kind of like Intelligent Design proponents.

alison said...

I know - it's just sometimes you just want to sound off!

Spankermatic said...

I hear that - hence the ranting in the blog. Ahhh blogging - so satisfactory to get it off your chest, with the faint hope that the person you are complaining about might one day read it.

Very, very faint hope.