Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


Skeptics: Critical Coverage Needed at the Listener

Skeptics 2006 Bent Spoon Award

Critical Coverage Needed at the Listener

A Listener article on Brazilian medium and "miracle-worker" Joao de Deus has taken the annual Bent Spoon Award from the New Zealand Skeptics.

The article noted that New Zealanders are the biggest single group of foreign visitors per capita to the South American "healing centre" largely through tours promoted by Wellington naturopath Peter Waugh. The article ran before the self-proclaimed healer´s planned visit to New Zealand where a Wellington performance was expected to take in 3,000 people at $115 a head.

According to Skeptics Chair-entity Vicki Hyde, the "Come and Be Healed" article by Diana Burns received a very large number of nominations from members concerned that the anecdotal accounts of miracle cures would help boost such businesses.

"We´re used to seeing these sorts of stories in tabloid publications and B-grade `exploitainment´ shows, but many of our members expected better quality analysis from the Listener," says Hyde. "Unfortunately, this sort of coverage sets up the promotional conditions for desperate, vulnerable people to be exploited physically, emotionally and economically.

The article did contain some caveats, briefly quoting US magician James Randi noting that the apparently miraculous feat of pushing forceps up a patient´s nose is a common circus routine.

"You have to ask why does someone who claims to be channelling King Solomon and St Frances Xavier, amongst others, have to resort to hoary old magic tricks? Where is the proof that paying to have your photo taken to Brazil is going to cure your ills?," questions Hyde.

"It´s taken us a long time to require proof of efficacy and informed patient consent from our medical fraternity -- we should demand no less from any other industry that purports to help us physically and mentally."

The New Zealand Skeptics were pleased to see a more critical look taken at the claims of de-registered doctor Hellfried "Dr Ozone" Satori. Sunday reporter Janet McIntyre receives a Bravo Award for her item (TV One September 3, 2006) on Satori´s claims to cure cancer through ozone injections and the use of caesium chloride.

In one case, a New Zealander paid $46,000 for the treatment, conducted in a Thai hotel room. She passed out after being injected with ozone and was rushed into intensive care. The young Christchurch mother has recently died.

"If we can get more critical coverage looking at the baseless -- and potentially dangerous -- nature of many alternative medicine claims, then that could help reduce exploitation and save lives," says Hyde.

Other recipients of Bravo Awards from the NZ Skeptics are:

* David Russell, retiring head of the Consumer Institute

"We often say, somewhat cheekily, that the Skeptics are the Consumers´ Institute of the mind. Despite having once awarded Consumer magazine a Bent Spoon, we nonetheless have appreciated David´s many years of leadership in critical thinking."

* Linley Boniface, for her piece "Clairvoyants dead wrong " (Dominion Post, May 1, 2006)

"We particularly appreciated Linley´s description of TV2's `documentary´ series Sensing Murder as `repellent´. Television´s enthusiasm for exploiting grieving families for entertainment value is appalling and should not pass uncriticised."

* Claire Silvester, Campbell Live, TV3

"Claire has brought a critical edge to her reports on Campbell Live, covering a range of subjects and taking the time to seek out alternative explanations rather than simply accepting outrageous claims at face value. That´s the sort of critical thinking we should all demand from our news and current affairs reporters."

The Bent Spoon Award, given annually to the most gullible or naive reporting in the paranormal or pseudo-science area, will be awarded telepathically by the assembled Skeptics at their annual conference, being held at King´s College, Auckland, at the end of September.

20th Annual Skeptics Conference Kings College, Auckland September 29-October 1

More information on the conference programme and registration form available here: http://skeptics.org.nz

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

NZ On Air TV Funding: More Comedy Comes Out Of The Shadows

Paranormal Event Response Unit is a series conceived by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi as a TV spin-off from their highly acclaimed feature film What We Do In The Shadows. More>>

ALSO:

Mars News: Winners Announced For The 2016 Apra Silver Scroll Awards

Wellington singer-songwriter and internationally acclaimed musician Thomas Oliver has won the 2016 APRA Silver Scroll Award with his captivating love song ‘If I Move To Mars’. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Salt River Songs by Sam Hunt

Colin Hogg, a longtime comrade of Sam, writes in his Introduction that, ‘There is a lot of death in this collection of new poems by my friend Sam Hunt. It’s easier to count the poems here that don’t deal with the great destroyer than it is to point to the ones that do.’ More>>

Electronica: Restoring The World’s First Recorded Computer Music

University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland and UC alumni and composer Jason Long have restored the earliest known recording of computer-generated music, created more than 65 years ago using programming techniques devised by Alan Turing. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Culture
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news