Evidence is such a nuisance for some

It is fascinating to see the evolution of the 24/7 news channels when they seize on one event out of many to devote almost their entire coverage. If the issue is not resolved quickly, the nature of the coverage descends into more and more bizarre speculations, almost completely unhinged from reality. Often these stories are about missing young women but the current one about the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 follows that familiar pattern and the news channel HLN ended up having a psychic to tell viewers what she had ‘seen’. You can see the segment here.

In order to justify asking her, the defensive anchors repeatedly said that psychics had been consulted by investigators before in many unsolved cases. This is true, but they did not say how many times these psychics said anything useful, which is the really relevant issue. The question was also asked to why the services of a ‘credible psychic’ had not been brought in in this case. That’s easy, because there is no such thing as a credible psychic.

Anyway, this ‘psychic medium’ Lisa Williams said that according to what she ‘sees’, the plane was hijacked and crashed in an area with a lot of trees and some people are still alive. This was all part of some larger conspiracy and things are being kept ‘hush-hush’ but by whom she did not say. She had been ‘told’ (presumably by the same mysterious mechanism by which she ‘sees’ things) that the whole story will come out within three weeks.

She was remarkably frank about how she operates, saying “I don’t actually have hard concrete evidence and any psychic who has hard concrete evidence cannot do their job correctly because they get misinformed, they get interpreted, and they’ll just work on what they know.” She has a superior system. “So I tend to work off what I don’t know.”

Yes, solving mysteries and predicting the future is so much easier when not only are you unencumbered by the thought process (as the Car Talk guys would say) but also when you are untethered from any evidence.

A pilot on the panel Lee Abend tied himself in knots trying to avoid saying that she was talking rubbish. Psychics tend to benefit from the ‘respect for religion’ kid gloves treatment since they peddle the same kind of woo.

Lisa Williams is described on the show as a ‘psychic medium’. Maybe next time they should try to get a ‘psychic grande’ or even a ‘psychic venti’.


  1. says

    Lisa Williams is described on the show as a ‘psychic medium’. Maybe next time they should try to get a ‘psychic grande’ or even a ‘psychic venti’.

    So they are canvassing mediums? Those pastel “journalists” and “news broadcasters” are artless.


    On a serious note, I would really like to know how much more CNN is charging for ad time during events like this than during it’s ‘regular’ news. TV networks charge more for ad time during major sporting events and premieres of movies and TV shows because that programming attracts more eyeballs. They’ve been milking this story for a week beyond it’s usual shelf life, no doubt for ratings and advertiser dollars.

    I’m sure most have heard of disaster capitalism, but have you heard of disaster journalism? Disaster journalism is when the media play up disasters to increase revenues. I can’t find the link to cite, but one network’s internal memo was leaked a few years ago, it’s marketers encouraged to sell air time to corporations during disasters as “prime time”, or words to that effect.

    One item I did manage to find was this:


    News media in general is making enormous sums of money off the live coverage of disasters. Television broadcast news is especially lucrative; viewer ratings skyrocket as journalists narrate live reports of the action.

    So imagine for a moment how much money news media have made off of disasters in the past decade. In 2009, Time magazine announced the 2000’s would be “The Decade from Hell”—there were major wars running, a tsunami that devastated Southeast Asia, Hurricane Katrina, the stock market crashed: houses were foreclosed which left families desperate and displaced, and it wasn’t even 2010 yet.

  2. rq says

    Some friends and I figured it out: The Bermuda Triangle, due to certain shifts in the earth’s magnetic field (due to HAARP, of course) has changed location, and is actually a wormhole to the Moon. Else, how do you explain this? Obviously I’m right. Hey, I’m just working off the things I don’t know, okay? It’s a very delicate process, but infinitely superior

    More soberingly, a glimpse from inside the search.

  3. dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!" says

    Somethings coming to me.. I see… a hatch! And a smoke monster! And a terrible finale!

  4. Mano Singham says


    Slightly related to your point is Ana Kasparian who said that when she was to appear as a guest on an unnamed cable news show, the producer told her, “Remember our viewers are stupid”.

  5. sigurd jorsalfar says

    Meanwhile CNN panelist Don Lemon asked the panel ‘Is It Preposterous’ to Think a Black Hole Caused Flight 370 to Go Missing?

    This is why I despair. I can barely make ends meet, but a stupid mofo like Lemon is paid the big bucks to euthanize the critical thinking skills of the public with this kind of mental flatulence. Which further proves that it’s simply impossible even to guess which cable news show Ana Kasparian was talking about. They all cater to the stupid.

  6. hoary puccoon says

    Not only is Lisa Williams untethered by any evidence, she’s untethered by any sense of compassion for the families of the passengers and crew, and even untethered by any sense of decency.

    What kind of a person puts those poor people through even more pain, just to make a few bucks? (And what kind of a network aids and abets her?)

  7. sigurd jorsalfar says

    Speaking of disaster journalism, there was a episode of 30 Rock that made fun of that when Jack Donagee (Alec Baldwin) decides that telethons to raise money for disaster relief can be a big ratings grabber for the network but that the network has to be the first one to air such a telethon for it to work. So he orders the network to produce a generic disaster telethon that can be aired almost instantly just by dubbing in the name of an actual disaster when it occurs.

    It’s getting to the point where networks can pretty much do the same thing with their endless speculation about a disaster, interspersed with very brief bits of actual info news about the info.

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