Wednesday, March 07, 2007 

Scum-watch: Ripping the readers off.

Today's Scum leads on the "TV rip-off" phone-lines, which are meant to have overcharged or cheated viewers through their votes on reality shows or on competitions on others.

Fair enough, it's a worthy subject to be investigating. Just one thing worth pointing out: 5 of the shows the Sun features on the front page are ITV programmes, the network that BSkyB (39% of the shares in which are owned by News Corp) has just bought 17.9% of the shares in. The Scum's TV editor is apoplectic:

THE one key factor that lumps all of Britain’s top TV firms together in this sorry scandal is TRUST.

Whether you are voting for your X Factor favourite or trying to win cash on Richard and Judy’s quiz, you TRUST that your money is not going straight down the drain.

Or indeed into TV companies’ coffers.

You TRUST that your phone call is making a difference.

Lifting the lid on our favourite shows has revealed a massive swizz.

It’s almost as bad as the US scandals of the 1950s, when top quiz shows were rigged.

Our trust has well and truly been breached.

The fact that ITV have come out with their hands up and suspended all their phoneline and interactive services is commendable.

But their in-depth probe is only going back TWO years. Is that far enough?

Seeing as the Sun doesn't seem to think so, shouldn't it be using the influence its owners now have over ITV to make sure that it does go back further? Or would the Sun rather that its new association with ITV goes without comment?

The Scum's leader is on much the same tact:

ITV’s quiz operator Eckoh is said to have carried on charging callers even when computer breakdowns prevented votes from registering.

The TV networks, meanwhile, are merrily giving their phone-in shows a clean bill of health.

We suggest they look more closely.

Then again, seeing as Wade and Kemp have now broken up and she no longer has to get the galley slaves to plug her husband's dire programmes on ITV, it may be that she's just past caring, at least until the Dirty Digger tells her to start the brown-nosing features.

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