quoted out of context on 'A Current Affair'.
shoddy standard of journalism prevailing at Channel
9's 'A Current Affair' was revealed in their interview
with OZmium Pty Ltd Managing Director Guy West, which
aired on Wednesday 7th August 2002 at 6.30 pm.
9 first rang West and asked to interview him for a special
on poker machines after finding that most search engine
queries with the words 'poker machines' or 'gambling'
and 'Australia' led to the OZmium owned site Smartgambler.
Since OZmium Pty Ltd is on public record via that site
as being opposed to poker machines, West agreed to appear
on television and put the company's position. As there
is no payment for such an appearance, ACA agreed to
mention the website address in the interview.
duly arrived at West's home and shot nearly ten minutes
of interview, during which he consistently
advice not to play poker machines and the company's
opposition to them. He explained at length that any
attempt to turn the odds in the player's favour by various
methods was akin to 'rearranging the deck chairs on
strongly at one stage on what people who chose to play
despite this advice could do, West said that they could
perhaps look for venues that gave added value through
free drinks, subsidised meals, etc.
first comment when asked what he thought about poker
machines was, verbatim, 'The position of my company,
OZmium Pty Ltd on poker machines is quite clear. We
don't like them.' He went on to say that OZmium agreed
with the Reverend Tim Costello and his taskforce that
they caused social dislocation and that from a mathematical
perspective they were also terrible because of the low
payout percentage of around 85%.
the segment went to air ACA started the West interview
by giving the wrong website address, one which leads
to an error message.
had also edited the footage down to just a small bit
about rule one being to 'not play', followed by the
comment about those who still insisted on playing looking
for 'value added' by way of free drinks and subsidised
food. In a masterful piece of contextual manipulation
they then cut straight to the Reverend Tim Costello
saying vehemently that that was the worst possible advice
because freebies just encouraged people to stay and
play. It was made to look as if he was on a different
side to OZmium in the debate!
say that any publicity is good publicity and perhaps
so, but this was really a classic example of manipulative
journalism and a poor reflection on the program and
saddest thing is that with an opportunity to expose
the insidiousness of poker machines to a national
audience, this supposedly hard hitting 'watchdog'
program made it seem as if the jury was still out
on whether poker machines can be beaten, by lending
credence to various mug punters and their superstitious
theories and yet editing out the vast bulk of sensible,
mathematically based criticism.
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