Monday, July 01, 2002

CHEATING VIEWERS: Today I was watching a television show on TLC ("The Learning Channel" for all of you not current on your acronyms) and noticed something a little fishy. The show was on Casino Cheating, and it naturally featured ex-cheats giving dim, backlit, silhouette style interviews. Only a first name or nickname was provided in each interview, going along with the idea of protecting the identity of the subjects to keep them from police prosecution, getting in trouble with other cheats for selling them out, and the like. All of this seemed legit to me at the time I was watching the program, but when the credits flew by at one-hundred miles an hour something quite odd passed my eye.

The subjects of the interviews were listed in the credits by their nicknames AND their corresponding real name. Were the people giving the interviews aware that this would happen at the time they gave the interviews? Are they aware now? And finally, if so much lack of confidentiality is shown -- are these guys even the real thing? What is to prevent us from thinking they are actors reading scripts if they are willing to give away valuable casino secrets. Perhaps they really are actors, with contracts that require they be listed in the credits.

Something definitely is not right in the world of investigative television reporting.