Searching for Al Capone’s Kidneys

Dutch TV Station BNN recently announced plans to air a program entitled “The Big Donor Show”, about a terminally ill woman who was to choose among three candidates who would receive her kidneys when she died.

The show was a hoax.  When I first heard about it I thought it would turn out to be fake, but not in the way that it turned out to be fake.  The message was in the affront, a Machiavellian attempt to get a jump start on the Netherlands’ organ donor program, which is poorly supported.

There was outrage – and public discourse – in the weeks leading up to the program.  There was more outrage – and public discourse – after it was revealed right at the end of the show that it was all staged.  But the folderol served to ignite the public’s interest in donor programs, which was the producers’ aim all along.  Time will tell if this sort of guerrilla tactic works in the long run.

I’m sure that Geraldo Rivera is furiously taking notes.

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