Dutch TV Kidney-Giveaway Show a Hoax (Probably, Sort Of)

Now it’s been revealed that the reality show we blogged about the other day was a hoax designed to call attention to the shortage of donated organs. The contestants who needed kidneys really do need kidneys, but the “donor” was an actress. “We have only done this cry for help because we want to solve a problem that shouldn’t be a problem,” a producer said afterward.

I have two things to say:

1. If your goal is to call attention to a serious issue that people are deeply conflicted about on moral, medical, and legal grounds, I’m thinking that a theatrical hoax is kind of a suboptimal way to accomplish it.

2. I guess my subconscious is smarter than the rest of my brain, for here’s the headline I put on the earlier blog post: “Kidney News You Won’t Believe.”

(Hat tip: Dan Mulhern)


egretman

Word is that the Roman Forum had already been booked by Fred Thompson for his demonstrations on how the Social Security and Medicare problem would be remedied under his Republican administration.

lermit

Yes those administrators are a drag. That's why you cannot fix it.

.lermit

davinic

Hardly suboptimal. It got me thinking, and more importantly, got me acting.

After discussing the issue with my wife and researching further, we both filled out the information for the donor registries (we had just marked the box on our driver's license before), and now knoe that the other wishes to donate all organs in case one (or both) of us should die.

I would be surprised if the incident caused someone to take their name OFF the list..

egretman

The price of a pride of lions was lower today on the Dutch news... with some hope of a rebound later next year during the Republican national convention.
-African Financial News Network (AFFN)

jkasbury

I think that the "deeply conflicted" potential donor is a rarity. More often than not, we are talking about the deeply apathetic.

messet

I don't think it's such a bad way to raise the issue. Everyone is talking about it now; just a handful was before. The old ways wasn't working, why not try something new.

mentemalleo

The proof of the pudding will be in the eating: let's wait a week and see if Jan Q Public here in Holland fills out their donor card (lots of people phoned during the show to request one). If 1% (or 160.000) of the Dutch public become new donors, I would call the program hugely sucessful. Anything less than 10.000 I would call a failure. I watched the show, but didn't feel inclined to become a new donor afterwards. I'm already a registered donor, so maybe I wasn't part of the intended audience.

nwhitehe

The fact that this was a hoax is deeply morally disturbing to me, whereas the idea of the television show itself is a little disgusting but not morally problematic.

If the actress (and perhaps two others involved in the show) do indeed donate their live kidneys to the contestants, I don't have quite so much of a problem. My hunch is that the actress is NOT going to donate her kidney. To me this is really equivalent to someone announcing they are going to swim out to rescue a drowning person while everyone watches, then getting to the water and admitting they can't swim.

superfrog

mentemalleo, according to some articles 12,000 people signed up to be organ donors, during the time of the show.

I dont think it was such a bad idea, nwhitehe, you make a point, but i dont see it that way. Everyone participating did know it was a hoax. Although all the possible recievers all were/are sick, and in bad need for a kidney, they did know they wouldnt get one from this show directly, but choose to participate in order to raise the issue.

I think this is one of the times where the end justifies the means, they did raise a very important issue, and it resulted in many people making up their minds of whether to donate or not. No animals or people were harmed, only bruised egos of the politicians saying "this is wrong" before hand (and with that i did agree).

Deckard

12,000 in Holand and worldwide publicity. My guess is that this is going to be the single most successful promotion for doners worldwide which has ever taken place. If it's suboptimal then the only reason can be that it was broadcast in a small market instead of a bigger one like the US? How would you have optimised it?

clsand99

I applaud these people for making the entire world talk about this topic. Nothing bad at all will come from this. Nothing possibly could.

otto

I'm curious what *would* be the optimal way to get people to donate organs..

As far as I am concerned this was the best advertisement/campaign of the year by far: About a 100 journalist at the show, of which about 50 were international. Big exposure before and after the show in newspapers, tv and the blogosphere. Reuters and AFP even called the hoax breaking news.

A normal organization would need a budget of millions to get this amount of exposure, and would have to be very lucky to get the intensity of the attention BNN got for their cause.

egretman

...oh...and I would recommend casting William Kristol as the emperor.

Wouter

The most optimal way of getting people to donate is to have an opt-out law, like we have in Belgium. If you haven't explicitely denied it, you are a donor. The Netherland has an opt-in policy, just like the USA does. This should change.
BTW, the psyche of the Dutch is not the same as the American's. Although the show was obviously disturbing to all, it would have been much more troubling to an American audience.

egretman

Word is that the Roman Forum had already been booked by Fred Thompson for his demonstrations on how the Social Security and Medicare problem would be remedied under his Republican administration.

lermit

Yes those administrators are a drag. That's why you cannot fix it.

.lermit

davinic

Hardly suboptimal. It got me thinking, and more importantly, got me acting.

After discussing the issue with my wife and researching further, we both filled out the information for the donor registries (we had just marked the box on our driver's license before), and now knoe that the other wishes to donate all organs in case one (or both) of us should die.

I would be surprised if the incident caused someone to take their name OFF the list..

egretman

The price of a pride of lions was lower today on the Dutch news... with some hope of a rebound later next year during the Republican national convention.
-African Financial News Network (AFFN)

jkasbury

I think that the "deeply conflicted" potential donor is a rarity. More often than not, we are talking about the deeply apathetic.

messet

I don't think it's such a bad way to raise the issue. Everyone is talking about it now; just a handful was before. The old ways wasn't working, why not try something new.