Saturday, 13 September 2008

Sensing Murder - "Tips pour in" - Oh, f#%& off!

I can't believe Sensing Murder is still getting written about seriously. Even by the standards of psychicky TV shows, it is tacky and obvious - the rapid-fire editing and the tastless reconstructions serving to disguise the massive manipulation of footage of actual 'readings.' But still, somehow, it pulls in viewers and - more worryingly - gets uncritical write ups by journalists.

Bottom line - if Poneke, Kiwiblog and lefthandpalm think you are full of shit, you probably are (1).

What is the cause of this latest outburst of spleen?

A story in the Dominion Post (whose front page promotion of the show inspired Ponkeke's wrath) about "Lower Hutt police being flooded with possible new leads" following the season finale of the series (2). Read on, however, and it turns out "flooded" means "dozens of calls" (3). Sorry, but a few dozen (and I bet it is a very few dozen) phone calls resulting from a show with an estimated audience of half a million doesn't count as a flood. Substitute "trickling," or perhaps "dribbling."

This is important because the last line of defence for the show - after "We're trying to solve a murder, here!" and "At least we are bringing solace to grieving relatives" have been overwhelmed - is that it rekindles public interest in cold cases and generates new leads for the police.

Only, in this case, it hasn't. The vast majority of the calls will be worthless, I'll bet - cranks and attention seekers who have convinced themselves they have some importnat information, and self-described psychics with 'additional' revelations that will divert even more police resources into fruitless rabbit chasing.

I don't expect Sensing Murder to engage in self-criticism. The program's function is to make Ninox and the associated psychics money - particularly given Ninox's revenue woes (4). Sensing Murder is ratings gold for Ninox and I don't expect them to do anything to jeopordise that. It has also helped the alleged psychics who star in the show (only the naive would think that it is about the dead people whose spirits are supposedly contacted) (5).

Nor do I expect the viewers to engage in sceptical examination - though I'd hope that Sensing Murder is so extreme in its manipulation that some at least will be compelled to question its value.

I would expect journalists and commentators to raise questions about the show and the claims made about it. The Dom Post, however, fails to do that. I don't know why The Dom Post opts to give Sensing Murder such an eaasy ride - though there have been other occasions when it has attracted my attention for Shoddy Journalism and Obvious Bias (6).

All in all, the Dom seems to be following a business model that emphasises superficial entertainment and dramatic - though inaccurate - headlines over journalism and investigation. It is rather disgusting to see a newspaper try to imitate Britain's tabloids - or the journalistic standards of Sensing Murder itself.

1 - "Surprise. DomPost puts sad free ad for Sensing Murder’s ghoulish charlatans on page one, while the Skeptics’ response gets page 12," posted by Poneke on Poneke's Weblog, 7th of September, 2007 (, "Sensing Murder," posted by David Farrar on Kiwiblog, 7th of September, 2008 ( and as described previously on lefhandpalm (
2 - "Tips pour in after psychic show," by Greer MacDOnald in The Dominion Post, 11th of September, 2008. Reproduced on (
3 - ibid.
4 - "N.Z. Producers Sound Bankruptcy Warning, Wellington," by Phillip Wakefield in The Hollywood Reporter, 27th of June, 2000. Reproduced on (

5 - "City case one of psychic's favourites," by Kelly Makiha, published in the Rotorua Daily Post, 30th of September, 2006. (
6 - As described previously on lefthandpalm: Astute readers will note that I stated to 'occasions' when the Dom Post had attracted my ire, but there is infact only one. There is a lesson for the Dom here - learn how to write accurate headlines. Once they stop claiming a few dozen phone calls is a 'flood' and a fall in Nationals poll represents them 'romping ahead,' I'll use singulars and plurals correctly.


TiffanyD said...

Shit lurgee sounds like you need to get a life.
I stumbled across this when I was researching a case I saw on 'Sensing Murder' to see if it had been solved, evidently the case I was looking for I couldn't find much info about so there goes your theory about info being redly available to find. but I did find your blog lucky me.

I was brought up in a family in NZ where I didn't have religion thrust upon me, lets just say my parents decided that when we grew older we could have a choice in what we wanted to believe. Now I don't believe in anything really, my husband was brought Catholic, me complete opposite. I would love to hear you discredit a major religion since you know so much and have an opinion on everything else. just because spirits cant write books to prove they exist doesn't mean they don't. There are so many things in this world to believe in or not to believe in why bother wasting your time trying to discredit it, I'm not saying I believe in it but shit sitting on your computer tap tap taping away at 3 am is pathetic go and enjoy your life there's more to life than this, shit I cant believe that sensing murder gets you so wound up if you don't like it don't watch it didn't your parents teach you anything.

anyway cant even believe I'm wasting my time writing this but there is something about your smugness that screams out I'm a Wanker I need attention sorry couldn't resist

Tiffany D

lurgee said...

I'm always happy to receive random abuse. This is what the internet is for, after all. I can't help it if you find proper punctuation 'smug.' As for whether or not I need to get a life, I'm suggest 'researching' unsolved murder cases out of morbid curiosity indicates I'm not the only one without a life.

If you'd read the post carefully, you'd have seen it wasn't aimed at Sensing Murder per se. I've had a go at Sensing Murder previously, but on this case I was deploring the low quality journalism of the Dominion Post. I suppose this is too subtle for some of the faithful, however, who regard any criticism of any aspect of anything to do with the 'spirit world' as both an all out assault on all aspects of said 'spirit world' and some sort of personal attack. Touchy folk.

I really don't know what else there is to say, since most of the comment is just personal abuse. Perhaps you should heed your own advice and "get a life" - googling unsolved murder cases isn't a healthy preoccupation. Or contemplate what, if my insufferable 'smugness ... screams out I'm a Wanker I need attention,' what does your rabid (and grammatically challenged) raving say about you?

If you care to actually discuss the series, paranormal powers and so on, then I'm happy to do so.

lurgee said...

TiffanyD, created September 2008, profile views 1 - when I viewed it.

I'm touched you were so infuriated that you felt the need to create a blogger profile just to flame my little blog.

This in no way suggests you are the one with the lack-of-life issue, not me.

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