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The A,B,C’s of Morning News- Part I

by Mark Edward, May 09 2010

By the time you read this, I will have recorded a segment for ABC Morning News. Reporter Jeremy Hubbard and I will chat about 900 psychics. Why 900 psychics? When I was first asked to be a part of this discussion, I told my contact that reporting on phone psychics is like dealing with spoon bending – it’s about as current as bell-bottom pants and 8 track stereo. But what do I know? Besides, I will do anything to get the Guerilla Skepticism word out. Since “The Skeptologists” is presently languishing in deep hibernation, I have to media hustle any way I can. If this means digging into the slag heap that was once a 30 million dollar a year business to try to focus America’s breakfast eaters on The Golden Age of the Con in which we are living, so be it. What promises to be a short but revealing segment will run at 7:00 a.m. PST on Saturday morning and immediately after go on-line. Please view it and comment.…lines-10591847

Did You Ever Wonder About Those Phone Psychics?

I want to be the Andy Rooney of the paranormal. Things just keep going from bad to worse in the media. Isn’t it about time that we had some counter-woo on prime time? All I’m asking for is a two or three minute segment once a week that blows the whistle on the latest cons, frauds and psychic scams that continue to surface across America. Is that too much to ask? Like what Andy Rooney does with his dry commentary and with humor attached to the situation ala John Stewart, skeptical might even become the cool way to think.

Three or four minutes at 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning isn’t likely to be seen by too many people, but I can hope that the viewers who do manage to see this piece between their poptarts and coffee will be seeing the best of what I can offer. The Psychic Friends Network is still very much in business. Fortunately, they don’t own me money and I’ll hope that they don’t send one of their goons after me for telling America what they should have been listening to fifteen years ago. If I mysteriously disappear in the next few days, ask Dionne Warwick where they buried me. I have been assured by ABC that they will protect me and that what is eventually aired will be a “balanced” program viewpoint. Uh huh.

Jeremy Hubbard: Psychic Investigator?

How can anyone offer anything “balanced” about phone fraudsters? I’m expecting to be quoted out of context or highly edited. I would have to have my words twisted severely in order to be part of anything “balanced”  as far as 900 psychics are concerned. It’s all in my book; Chapter III: The 900 Years in “Psychic Blues” and that’s another reason I’m going to spill the beans on the once all-powerful PFN. It’s unbelievable that no one has ever spoken up until now. I originally wrote a tell-all manual for dealing with this racket back in 1998 and called it “Confessions of a 900 Psychic.” My literary agent (a woo Priestess of Isis believer no less) thought it would be better in a novelized form rather than as a handbook, so it morphed into “Blues.” I want ABC to hear the truth about how the owners of  900 lines operate. Such a revelation may be ten or fifteen years too late, but in this case – better later than never.

As I told Jeremy, 900 workers are liars who learn to lie for a living. There’s no balance involved. In all likelihood we will be treated to a few fleeting seconds of the skeptical point of view whilst other believers fawn and whine on for precious minutes about how helpful their psychics are. I will do everything possible to make my part in this piece a total send-up of whatever psychics I’m put up against.

The 85 Million Dollar Dowsing Con: Who Cares?

Never mind the other huge cons that are going on that the network news should be covering: like the 85 million the U.S. government just spent on worthless dowsing rods to detect explosives. Or how about that pesky BP/Halliburton blow-out oil spill? I suppose I’ll have to content myself and the early risers to smaller cons to begin with. The psychic phone line business may be a small fish in the big critical thinking picture, but it’s a symptom of where we are going wrong in our society.

With the burgeoning of the internet and cyber-psychics, purveyors of non are now in an even more dangerously lucrative position when it comes to bilking the public. When PFN got taken down in the late 90’s, it was AT & T lawsuits that finally broke their slimy back. Now, without regulation on the internet they can run rampant. I wouldn’t ever want to suggest regulating anything on the internet, but taking money under false pretenses is the same no matter how it’s taken.

I cannot resist an analogy: Like the oil slick that is creeping up on the Gulf that threatens to impact all of our lives for decades, I suggest that the black ooze that flows forth from the mouths of bottom feeders like Sylvia Browne, Chip Coffey and John Edward does some serious long-term damage of its own. It may take years to show up in our collective “food chain,” but the abundance of mental health issues that can potentially spring from screwing with peoples’ bereavement issues must eventually result is a sea change in how we ultimately choose to honor our dead.  Exploiting missing and murdered children to make a buck has to be the lowest human-kind can go. We are being robbed emotionally as well as economically. Like that bit of sand in the oyster shell, maybe I can irritate some people enough to eventually see the pearl of skepticism. Tall order? Yep. But I’M DOING SOMETHING.

Education through exposure is the only way to spread the word. It’s a uphill battle fraught with people who are bound to cry foul when confronted with the foolish waste of money they are frittering away at a time when they are losing their homes and jobs in record numbers. People want answers. If they have to pay $3.99 a minute for a sympathetic voice, who am I to burst their bubble?

Well, I’ll tell you who I am: I’m  a former 900 worker who knows full well the damage that can be done. I’ve seen it and heard it close up and personal.  It’s not about feeling good for a few minutes, it’s about the long run and what meaningless generalities coupled with greed can do when a previously reasonable  person becomes a psychic junkie. Listen to the psychic junkie “Suzie” on this Morning News segment. She insisted to me in our conversation that, “…there’s bad in every business,” as if there’s just a few rotten apples in the psychic barrel – but the rest are good. She has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars on bad psychic cons.

I know if you are reading this you probably don’t need to be reminded, but in case you are new to this blog or my interests in all this, go to Tim Farley’s excellent www. and click on the “psychic” button. There you can find 1, 315 people who were harmed by not thinking critically.

Do something.

12 Responses to “The A,B,C’s of Morning News- Part I”

  1. gwen says:

    Thanks Mark, I hope they give you more than a few seconds of time in the program. I also hope it becomes a sorely needed regular feature complete with investigative reporting.

  2. billgeorge says:

    “Counter-woo on prime time” – not only do we need more voices, I would advocate a high school course named Bullshit-101!, unmasking psychics and pseudoscience in general. Teaching teens pseudoscience is not unlike real science: aids in developing critical thinking skills.

    Imagine if Penn and Teller were your teacher – low enrollment and apathetic teens would be non-existent.

  3. Steelsheen11b says:

    Mark are you sure you didn’t quit due to the mullet? j/k

    That psychic junkie lady is a sad specimen, she’s so lonely that she is willing to endure getting ripped-off just to have some sort of contact. Which I find amazing since she’s on the MILFY side.

    Is the GMA host the one that got the the job because she is with Obama’s budget director?

  4. Max says:

    “Never mind the other huge cons that are going on that the network news should be covering: like the 85 million the U.S. government just spent on worthless dowsing rods to detect explosives.”

    The Iraqi government, not the U.S. government.

    “Or how about that pesky BP/Halliburton blow-out oil spill?”

    Network news isn’t covering it?

    • Mark Edward says:

      Yes, they are covering it alright. But it’s the con aspect the I suspect. I know that it may seem “conspiracy” oriented, but as a magician, when I see something obvious going on in one hand, I immediately wonder what’s going on in the other. Anything with Haliburton written on it stinks that way.

      • Tom says:

        So, Haliburton sabotaged the well to destroy their own offshore drilling business? Or, perhaps they are about to unveil a new, very expensive oil boom to save the coastline (and their bottom line)? Or maybe they are just plain evil b*stards?

  5. Majority of One says:

    My impression of your appearance was that you were a disgruntled ex-worker and were probably lying. I didn’t like the “balanced” way they presented this. You must have been heavily edited, sir. If I was a subscriber to psychic networks, I could write off what you said as just another opinion. Like the lady they showed, she isn’t going to listen to what anyone else has to say AND she’s willing to go on NATIONAL TV and be shown as a complete moron. Thing is, it has never occurred to her that that is what she is. In her world, her opinion is just as valuable as yours even if it is wrong. The show didn’t present this in a way that shows the difference in having a valuable opinion and having an opinion that is going to cost you. It’s like “well, I’ve got money and I’m free to be stupid with if I want to be” and this opinion is as good as “these psychic networks are a fraud, don’t get taken.” I don’t watch any of these shows any more (I used to watch) because one day I realized, after hearing a headline announcing they were going to discuss something I was really interested in, that after watching I had no more real information. It was a real wake up call. I then began to realize that I’ve never really learned anything from these shows. It is all fluff to fill the time slot.

    Keep up the good fight though sir. Even if one person heard you, you’ve made a difference!

    • tmac57 says:

      If you want some decent news in the morning, listen to NPR’s Morning Edition. They aren’t perfect, but they are better than anything else out there (IMO of course). Maybe we can get Mark on that show. Of course it would probably have to tie into something currently in the news.

  6. Robo Sapien says:

    I thought it was a good piece for mainstream media, although not as skeptical as we’d have liked it to be, you could see the skepticism on the face of the guy presenting the story. He obviously thought it was all BS, and was pretty annoyed that he was stuck with the lame piece on psychic hotlines.

    • tmac57 says:

      Yeah, I agree that for that type of program,it was about as good as you could expect. Congratulations Mark on a good showing, and a decent percentage of airtime, and I predict that you will have a significant event in your life in about 9 days.

  7. Max says:

    Man, that photo of the dowsing rod makes my blood boil again. Didn’t anyone ask why the rod is so sensitive to hand motion? Would they buy a compass that points left instead of North whenever it’s tilted a tiny bit?