Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Hooray for Randi

James Randi is revamping his offer of a $1 million prize to anyone who can demonstrate psychic powers under controlled conditions, and he’s setting his sights on the high-profile psychics who dominate the airwaves.

What’s most interesting about this is that the big-name psychics can appear on TV and not be seriously challenged by their hosts to show that they really have these preternatural powers. Why do media people give them a free pass instead of challenging them right there, on the spot, to prove their claims scientifically? That is what Randi wants to do: pressure them into proving their extraordinary abilities or stop making money with their claims.

The reason I bring this up is because the same phenomenon happens when the media bring politicians on a program. Big-time power brokers could be challenged on camera with countless uncomfortable and highly embarrassing questions that would shame them in front of millions and expose the true nature of American politics. Unfortunately, such questions are taboo, and hosts are limited to questions and topics that do not go outside the bounds of what is allowed.

Rest assured that the Randi formula will likely never be used in politics. That is because it’s the guests who decide what topics and questions are admissible, not the hosts.

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