TV station’s skeptical investigation laudable – Letter to the editor
The purpose of this letter is to praise a local (Los Angeles) television station for its skeptical broadcast on August 2, 2001. The subject was magnetic fuel enhancers for automobiles. This subject was discussed briefly in the January/February 1998 issue of SI, with no definite conclusions other than: “buyer beware.” How the Channel 7 (ABC in L.A.) newsroom became aware of the magnetic fuel economy enhancers and why they decided it was a newsworthy item is immaterial. What is important is that they decided to test the devices and report the results of their tests to the public. While their tests cannot be considered scientific they at least showed skepticism.
They tested two vehicles for a month without the devices and a month with the devices and estimated the average gasoline mileage for each. What they reported to the public was that for both vehicles tested, the gasoline mileage was poorer with the magnetic devices installed than without them. While public notice of the likely ineffectiveness of the magnetic device may not be “lighting a candle in the dark,” it contrasts sharply with the increasing number of programs labeled news with decreasing quality of programming. When even the National Geographic channel carries advertisements by “Miss Cleo,” this broadcast by the Channel 7 newsroom affords a rare opportunity to compliment them for their skeptical attitude. All I can do is to publicly give them my ten “attaboys,” Channel 7. I would hope that CSICOP can do more.
Donald F. Weitzel
COPYRIGHT 2002 Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal
COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group