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Digital Subscriptions > Skeptical Inquirer > July/August 2018 > CBS Drops Skepticism in Sunday Morning Paranormal Segment; CSI Issues Critical Statement

CBS Drops Skepticism in Sunday Morning Paranormal Segment; CSI Issues Critical Statement

CBS is one of America’s premier television networks. It practically invented television news. It was the home of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite. And its ninety-minute Sunday morning news and feature program, appropriately titled Sunday Morning, is likewise well regarded. It tends to emphasize cultural fare such as music, art, film, dance, and lifestyle trends, but whatever it takes on, you can expect it to do a fine job.

That is until its program on March 18, 2018. Oh, it started out promising enough. That particular Sunday’s overall theme was “Genius,” and there was Walter Isaacson talking about Leonardo da Vinci, Steve Jobs, Einstein, and other brilliant people he has chronicled in best-selling biographies. All good.

The most skeptical they got on Geller was that he proved to be “unreliable.”

Then came segment four. Its topic—“ESP: Inside the Government’s Secret Program on Psychic Spies.” What? That subject might fit into a program on popular delusions. But in a program on the subject of genius? Are they implying that some people have extraordinary powers and that psychic claims are legitimate? I hoped not, but, sadly, I was wrong.

They set the tone at the very beginning. There was Uri Geller before the camera, doing his “psychic” stuff. James Randi and countless others long ago exposed Geller as a clever but mediocre magician doing the kinds of things magicians (or conjurors) have done for eons. But Geller of course claimed his feats were real, and he initially fooled a lot of people, including some scientists. But that was back in the 1970s and early ’80s, and all that changed once his trickery was exposed and explained countless times.

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