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Posted by on Jun 2, 2007 in Arts & Entertainment | 7 comments

Big Donor Show Hoax

The AP reports that The Big Donor Show, which was broadcasted yesterday evening, was a hoax. It seems that the producers believe that, because it was a hoax, anger and disgust were not justified.

Well, sorry, but I disagree. As Ed Morrissey explains:

I’m not sure which scenario was worse, but both are pretty repulsive and exploitative. The producers claim that they wanted to make a statement about the lack of organs for transplant patients, and at least the topic got some attention. However, they used real ESRD patients for the roles of the contestants, which seems rather cruel, considering that they had to pretend to abase themselves to seem the most pathetic — and the most worthy — of the transplant.

Gaius adds

This is a particularly cruel manipulation of people. Even though the participants were in on the hoax, the public was not. They were manipulated by ethically challenged con-artists with a particularly foul “end justifies the means” outlook.

One thing that has to be said, it has created an international firestorm and people are, suddenly, talking about this problem: not just in the Netherlands, but also in, say, America. As such, I guess that the show has achieved something positive. The downside: I do not think it will last (people will simply move on) and, well, I agree with what Ed wrote: joke or not, it is (still) pretty offensive.

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Copyright 2007 The Moderate Voice
  • Lynx

    I couldn’t have avoided finding out if I tried. The initial report was all over the news in Spain and so, of course, the fact that it’s a hoax is also all over the news. Reactions are mixed, plenty of people think they just did it for the ratings. I still think it wasn’t in very good taste, but I’m inclined to think that the intentions were good. At first I found very offensive that they would use actual patients in need of a kidney, but they knew what they were doing. Presumably the approve of the program, thinking it will bring attention to their problem. I don’t generally like emotionally manipulative hoaxes or practical jokes, I find it to be a cynical use of people’s inclination to trust others. Whatever the intention, I don’t appreciate having my sense of compassion and/or outrage manipulated.

    On the other hand, I completely bought into the story. So did my father and my coworkers. My mother didn’t really believe it, thinking the Netherlands above that sort of thing. Still, what does it say about the level of entertainment today when we’re perfectly willing to believe that a program like that COULD exist?

  • True it says a lot, doesn’t it?

    Also – one thing people in foreign countries do not seem to know: the person who founded BNN was Bart de Graaf. He died in his 30s five years ago I believe, due to a kidney disease. So, it is expected for BNN to care about this subject.

  • Lynx

    Well, we didn’t know it before, but we sure know it now, the tidbit has been included in the coverage of the story. That, in part, is why I think they had good intentions.

  • Better a hoax than reality!

  • DLS

    Both the show and the reaction to its being a hoax are over-hyped.

  • Rudi

    Reality shows are far from reality and spontaneous entertainment. There are just as many writers and producers as participants. If this silly show admitted to the hoax to say they were making a point, I’d buy into saying they were doing some good.

  • As I think your post indicates, Michael, there’s plenty of room for people to argue about this one. My approach is probably a little more … ummm … aggressive, and in context I can more than justify this approach. Still, I can also more than understand how you’d disagree with me.

    I reference your post and have a more detailed take here:

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