“What if I visualised a bunch of cheques coming in the mail?”

Channel Nine’s A Current Affair and Seven’s Today Tonight are both complete rubbish.  Obviously. But lately they’ve been enacting a great Australian comedy that Frontline could never have scripted, sniping at each other across the timeslot.

Last year there was the Wawa controversy. Nine’s 60 Minutes broke a story about a kid who was supposedly going to be eaten by his West Papuan tribe. Seven’s Today Tonight announced its shock that 60 Minutes would leave the boy to die, and sent host Naomi Robson to West Papua to rescue the boy, Wawa. Nine allegedly then tipped off Indonesian immigration and Robson was detained when she arrived. Seven also accused Nine of paying off 60 Minutes‘ sources $100,000 to refuse to guide the Today Tonight crew to Wawa’s village. It soon transpired that in fact this kid was not in danger of being eaten and the whole thing was good old-fashioned Aussie racial fantasy.

Then there was Tunnelgate, in which Today Tonight accused A Current Affair of causing a “near fatal crash” between a truck and a Mercedes in Melbourne’s Domain Tunnel.

Then things got personal, with Today Tonight going all upmarket a couple of weeks ago, running a BBC expose of the Church of Scientology, of which Nine mogul James Packer is reportedly a parishioner. Unfortunately the edge of this attack was somewhat blunted by Today Tonight‘s spruiking of its own favoured wacky occultism, The Secret.

So last night A Current Affair struck back. It entrapped one of The Secret’s investment gurus – David Schirmer – by inviting him onto the show for what he was expecting to be a puff interview, confronting him with some objective facts about missing money, and let him sputter about tragically for a few minutes, displaying all his powers of visualisation, positive thinking and self-belief to conjure the problems away.

I promise not to do this ever again, but here is a link to last night’s A Current Affair. If you get bored with all the exposition, fast forward to about five minutes into the story. It’s pretty funny, but I have to say I felt strangely sorry for the guy, and not all that much sympathy for anyone who has $96,000 to invest in a company calling itself Life Success Pacific Rim and promising 1000 per cent annual returns.

Once you watch that, take another look at the power of positive thinking as The Secret message board digests the interview:

Well, we all know what those interviewers are attracting into
their own experience. It’s like denying there is the existence of placebo effect. Anyway, David, we know that something huge is going to come out of this. It’s a certainty! And I know that David and so many people here are able to recalibrate their vibrations to open and embrace even more good and to send out more good. We create our own experiences and so do those interviewers. Abundance and blessings to all!

Then watch Schirmer’s YouTube ‘rebuttal’, in which he displays an uncharacteristic lack of confidence:

Update: Raych has informed me about Nine’s own links to The Secret. The whole thing originated as a film made by a Nine producer, and Nine provided a quarter of the funding. But once it was made Nine declined to show it, it went straight to DVD, and the rest is history. (Apparently it did get a broadcast eventually in an infomercial slot.) The producer, Rhonda Byrne, got rich, left Channel Nine, and now lives in California. So there is perhaps some extra animus behind Nine’s takedown. Incidentally, the channel signed away its rights to any DVD royalties.

Update 2: Alright, predictably, a day on and already the links and the YouTube are dead as the damage control continues. Read as much as you could possibly want to know about all this at Whirled Musings.

Published in: on 29 May, 2007 at 11:39 am  Comments (15)