Stupid media stunts: The lie detector test.

When a story becomes a freak show, journalists often stoop to silly stunts to add to the freakdom. The CBC's Fifth Estate has gotten on the Barry Sherman bandwagon.

We have a colourful character shooting his mouth off to the press.

He makes allegations that the press wants to eat up, but in such a way that they can seem serious and not clowns.

So CBC opts to give said colourful character a lie detector if they were reliable and valid.

And they are not.

They are not foolproof. Honest, innocent, but jittery people can fail them just as easily as guilty psychopaths can pass them.

But the point is that it is not a tool for journalists, even if they hire an outsider to do it.

It is. staple of police procedurals programs that are fiction, and used for drama.

Journalism is not about drama. It is about facts.

On the one hand, reporters have their noses in the air, trashing talking someone to whom they gave a platform. They want their cake and eat it, too.

From the beginning, they have been playing stenographers with this case: when they heard gossip that it was a murder-suicide, they ran with it. When the family paid experts who decided it was a double homicide, they ran with it. When the family demands praise, they praise.

What are the facts?

Information verification is not something that can be done with a polygraph. They are being used less than before for a reason.

It's a cheap stunt being used in a sucker circus, and it is doing nothing to resurrect a dead profession.