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June 03, 2007



It was stated cleary that the money of the SMS messages went to the Bart Foundation, , which helps young people with disabilities or illnesses.

Furthermore I think it is sad you make it look like this is the most important issue about the show while it was all about the awareness concerning the shortage of donor organs.

The positive effect is that tens of thousands of donor forms were ordered (downloaded or throught SMS) and many people really started thinking about becoming a donor.

Niels Schuddeboom

Of course it was controversial television. I have a disability myself and I personally know one of the contestants. Confidence of many people may be tricked, but many people felt relieve also. About the SMS: the good cause was not only the raised attention about donor shortage, but also the Bart Foundation, that took every penny of this SMS-voting. The Bart foundation is closely related to BNN's founder Bart de Graaff. It helps people with disabilities to realize their ambitions. Bad taste or not, donor shortage is on the agenda again. That was the Primary reason for the contestants to be in on this hoax From the beginning.

ant on a mission

The 'Good Lesson' is that now a lot of people in The Netherlands know that over 200 people a year die because there is a shortage of kidney donor's.

This lesson, a lot of not so duped people in the Netherlands feel, has now 'landed' amongst a 'target audience' that otherwise might not have known or cared. I say chapeau to BNN!

Tomi T Ahonen

Dear B., Niels and ant

Thank you for writing. Obviously you are in the Netherlands, saw the TV show, and know better how it really was received. I have not visited the Netherlands while this controversy was going on and live here in Hong Kong. I can only report what I heard that happened, and the CNN coverage of the story suggested there was a lot of controversy - including people very upset and that inquiries and parliamentary debates etc were happening.

I am happy the SMS votes went to charity, and if that was clearly stated, this is a good thing obviously, I'm very happy you told us this. It was not obvious in the short clip they showed from the Dutch TV broadcast which did have a very brief image of the costs of the messages (in Dutch).

Regardless, it seems that some people feel that the "end justifies the means" - and clearly from your comments I can sense in this case there were many in the Netherlands who agreed that in the end, inspite of the hoax, this was a "good thing". If so, that is ok for those people - I would guess there are others who still felt "duped" ? Like I said, I don't know this first hand and can only go by the CNN coverage.

But even so, it does at least present a warning to future viewers of "reality TV" that there can be "less truth" or "less reality" in reality TV.

Thank you for writing

Tomi Ahonen :-)

David Cushman

I don't know the detail of who made what money on this so I won't judge. What interests me is the potential for an emergent form of decision making.
Every day the medical profession has to make decisions of this kind. Imagine deprofessionalising the decision process - ie making it something a community takes part in (and text vote is just one form of this). There's evidence to suggest groups make better decisions than individuals (ie they demonstrate a greater emergent intelligence than even the most expert individual in the group).
If you want a safety net, let only medically qualified people vote. Perhaps a community of doctors involved in passing judgement on each others' patients might make for better medical care for all.

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