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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2002 > Nov > Nov 18

Re: Media & 'Truth'

From: Richard Hall <hallrichard99.nul>
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2002 21:15:08 +0000
Archived: Mon, 18 Nov 2002 06:16:40 -0500
Subject: Re: Media & 'Truth'

>From: Paul Kimball <Kimballwood.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Sat, 16 Nov 2002 22:08:18 EST
>Subject: Re: Media & 'Truth'

>>From: John Velez <johnvelez.aic.nul>
>>To: ufoupdates.nul
>>Date: Sat, 16 Nov 2002 12:03:25 -0500
>>Subject: Re: Media & 'Truth'

>Dear Mr. Velez:

>>I don't think even contracts would make a difference. I've
>>gotten to the point where I ask one question and one question
>>only when ever I am invited to participate in one of these 'UFO'
>>programs: "Is the material being presented as 'news' or as
>'>entertainment'? The end result... I haven't consented to do
>>anything I have been invited to participate in for more than
>>three years.

>'>We don't need no stinking contracts!' We just need to refuse to
>>participate in any more 'for entertainment only' productions
>>that we are invited to appear in.

>As a lawyer who also happens to be a film and television
>producer/director, I can only respond by saying that you always
>need contracts, and they do make a difference. Further, they're
>always open to negotiation.

>A case in point: When we were doing the Stan Friedman film, one
>of the interviewees refused to be interviewed unless we removed
>the line from the release form stating that he could not sue us
>for (among other things) defamation - a standard clause, which
>usually won't hold up in court, but better to have than not from
>a producer's point of view. I could have walked away, but I
>wanted to interview the guy (we ended up not using his material
>for other reasons), so I agreed to strike the clause.

>We edited a lot of the material as well, but never in a way that
>undermined the basic thrust of what the person was saying.
>However, most people are not terribly adept at speaking in
>soundbites, which is what television requires, so editing is
>inevitable. For example, in the interviews for the Friedman
>film, Dr. Benson Saler spent a lot of time talking about
>anthropological theories; what I wanted was his take on Stan and
>Roswell. That required some editing of what he said, because he
>often put all of the anthropological stuff in between two bits
>where he was talking about something we wanted to use.

>Editing can also come into play in the choice of what to use and
>what not to use. We interviewed Karl Pflock and Kevin Randle for
>the Friedman film. They both had a number of nice things to say
>about Stan. Almost none of them are in the film. We used the
>bits with Karl tearing into Majestic 12 and Roswell, and Kevin
>into Majestic 12 and Stan's CIA and NSA blacked out documents,
>because we needed antagonists, and Stan was quite capable of
>saying nice things about himself (I mean that in a good way!),
>with the help of Don Ledger, Walter Haut, and Barry Downing.
>Entertainment is about conflict, and all television and film is
>entertainment, even as it informs - even documentaries, and even
>news (especially news!). And, as there is no consensus about
>matters ufological, conflict more than acceptable - it is the
>nature of the beast.

>>Without us... they have no Show.

>Alas, no... there will always be a show, because people find the
>subject of UFOs/abductions/alien life fascinating. And all
>television and film, like it or not, is about entertainment,
>especially the news.

>The question is whether ufologists want to make a contribution
>to it, or sit on the sidelines. If taking your case and
>presenting it to as many people as possible is the goal, then
>sometimes you have to take your chances, and sometimes you might
>get burned. It seems to me, however, that the potential reward
>is worth the risk.

>Best regards,

>Paul Kimball


I disagree with your entire philosophy of news vs. entertainment
as espoused here, which is the reason that I have refused to
give interviews for several years now. When I turn on the
network news or CNN or Fox news, I don't want to be entertained,
I want to find out what is going on in the world. And if they
don't provide that, I exercise the "off" switch. When I watch
the Sci-Fi Channel specials on November 22, they damn well
better not be "entertainment". As a frequent victim of it, I
think the "news as entertainment" concept sucks and I won't have
any part of it. In your Friedman special you even admit seeking
conflict and "antagonism" rather than an informative story line
and serious facts. Shame on you!

A few years ago I was interviewed on one of the major network
evening news programs, and mine was the only segment on the
topic for which they introduced hokey background music and
showed totally irrelevant film footage of atomic bomb shelters
over my voice while I was trying to make some serious points in
the "sound bites" format (which, incidentally, is another
abomination and not really necessary as CNN demonstrates daily
with much longer pieces).

About the same time, I was virtually sneered at on a CNN daytime
news program in a studio (live) interview by a prominent anchor;
not just my impression either because one of the cameramen
volunteered the same interpretation to me later. He kept
interrupting me and not allowing me to complete a sentence, and
obviously thought UFOs were utter nonsense and pretty much said
so in his wrap-up. Why, then, even bother to ask me for my

Sorry, I call this kind of treatment irresponsible, shabby, and
totally unacceptable. Having had similar experiences with TV
documentary and special producers, I also refuse to participate
in them without a very clear understanding (which they are
unwilling to give.) John Velez is right; we must boycott them.
You are right that "the show will go on," but it will go on
without the best informed and most experienced people as
interviewees and will suffer accordingly. I don't care to "make
a contribution" to garbage; I'll just sit on the sidelines,
thank you.

 - Very sincerely,

   Dick Hall

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