Sunday, October 16, 2005

TV Hoaxed

Got this story while reading the James Randi Educational Foundation's weekly commentary. Olivier Van Cantfort, of Belgium sent the story to the JREF. It was about how a parody site (in French), was able to hoax a Television program from France. Here is the link to the entire story, translated from French, and here are the stated reasons of the hoaxers who did the deed:
  • because it was a unique opportunity to make a big joke, kind of like "punk'd" but with TV as the victim, and moreover without having all the means of TV stations at our disposal.

  • because the opportunity makes the criminal... The journalist offered us the opportunity for the hoax right away during the very first contact. That he could read the web pages of Destroy-Escort and think that it's real is simply mind-boggling. And if he didn't read those pages before contacting us then it would show a complete lack of professionalism. So, yes, our main reason is this: we created this hoax without any other real reason than because we were given the opportunity, because we belong to communities that are too often stigmatized by television. We weren't able to resist for more than two minutes the temptation to give some TV people a taste of their own medicine by showing that sometimes - if not "often" - what's on television is just nonsense...

  • because it was intolerable that such a powerful communication tool - by the size of its audience - didn't go through the pains of checking what they say. As Denise Fabre was happy to remind us all during the show: "When one works in TV, one has to be careful about what one says..." It's a matter of responsibility on the part of the one who speaks and of respect towards those who listen to him through that mass media that is television. The simple presence of our hoax in the landscape of French television raises the question of the authenticity of some of the broadcasts that happen in France...

  • because the quest for sensation that drives television channels transforms them in just a succession of images, the veracity of which is no longer the main objective and this is not acceptable for a media that manipulates images.

  • because by creating this hoax, we really "investigated" the professionals implicated in our story and it appeared to us that this innocent entertaining show was the work of professionals well known in the French TV world, and because of their recognized professional qualities they shouldn't have fallen for our joke.

  • And because there has to be one last reason for all this: definitely because it's been way too easy...
Which makes this story applicable the world over and in all media outlets. Maybe the media, including those in the Philippines can learn form this experience.

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