by D. Trull
The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), the most prominent [debunking] organization involved in the debate over the paranormal, has taken a stand against pseudoscience [sic] and excessive credulity in the media. The skeptical group is resorting to that time-honored strategy of business and politics: if you can't beat 'em, buy 'em. Or at least snap up enough shares of stock to make yourself be heard.
CSICOP's Council for Media Integrity has announced a donor-funded campaign to purchase common stock in the five major media conglomerates: General Electric (NBC), Disney (ABC), Westinghouse (CBS), Fox NewsCorp and Time Warner. The aim of the "Media Stock Fund" is for CSICOP to gain entry to board rooms and challenge the media's paranormal proclivities as a shareholder.
CSICOP was founded in the 1970s by Paul Kurtz, humanist philosopher and president of Prometheus Books, who remains CSICOP's chairman today. The group publishes the journal Skeptical Inquirer, and its list of advocates includes debunker James Randi, mathematician Martin Gardner, entertainer Steve Allen and the late Carl Sagan.
Since its earliest days the group has assailed TV programs and reports that feature psychics, UFOs and the unexplained in a non-critical or sensational light. In 1996 CSICOP launched the Council for Media Integrity, a division devoted to demanding scientific literacy and adherence to fact in the news and entertainment industries.
"The media have now virtually replaced the schools, colleges, and universities as the main source of information for the general public," Kurtz said at a press conference announcing the Media Stock Fund. "The irresponsibility of the media in the area of science and the paranormal is a worldwide problem. But it especially applies to the United States, where the media have been distorting science, and in particular, presenting pseudoscience as genuine science."
"We are not, of course, asking that TV producers not run... [paranormal-themed] shows or make a profit," Kurtz emphasizes. "We surely do not wish to censor the media. We only ask that they provide some balance and some appreciation of the scientific approach." CSICOP has proposed mandatory disclaimers for documentary-style programming on the paranormal, labeling it plainly as speculation for entertainment purposes.
CSICOP hopes its protests will become more effective once the group is an investor in the businesses of its foes.
Original file name: CNI - CSICOP.Media Stock.final
This file was converted with TextToHTML - (c) Logic n.v.