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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2002 > Nov > Nov 19

Re: Media & 'Truth'

From: Paul Kimball <Kimballwood.nul>
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 00:43:21 EST
Archived: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 07:00:25 -0500
Subject: Re: Media & 'Truth'


>From: Richard Hall <hallrichard99.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2002 21:15:08 +0000
>Subject: Re: Media & 'Truth'

Mr. Hall:

>Paul,

>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.

With respect, I think you may have missed my point. CNN and Fox
are structured as entertainment, which is why there are so few
positive and/or serious news stories aired, and so many violent
and/or worthless ones (does the question of Winona Ryder's guilt
or innocence really matter in the grand scheme of things?). I
prefer the BBC, or the CBC, which at least make an effort. As a
viewer, I am on your side. As a producer, I have no choice but
to walk a very fine line, because if I can't sell a project to
the network, it won't get made. Period. That's the system, and I
would suggest that it is the viewers themselves who have created
and perpetuated that system.

>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!

I didn't seek conflict on the Friedman special - it existed in
spades. To deny that it exists - on all maters ufological - is
absurd, and a disservice to the inquiring minds that I suspect
you hope will take a closer look at your point of view. Within
your own field, as I discovered, people disagree vehemently
about things such as MJ-12 and Roswell, or the commercialization
of ufology. Shame on me for putting both sides of the argument
out there? The kind of film you suggest I make would be little
more than well-intentioned propoganda I'm afraid. Again, as long
as I don't misrepresent the views of the people in the film,
what should I be ashamed of? It's not like I put "Kevin Randle,
arch-debunker" under Kevin's image as he spoke. Rather, it was
"Dr. Kevin Randle, UFO author / investigator", who just happened
to disagree with Stan on a couple of key points.

Even with the 'conflict', I still had a reviewer from the Globe
and Mail (Canada's so-called 'national newspaper') criticize the
film for being too serious, and too earnest, which should tell
you just how fine a line it is that people like me have to walk.

On the other hand, another reviewer for the Glabe called it a
"hoot", right before he also said (approvingly) that 'it takes
the man and his message seriously'. The trick is always to do
both, and I'm sorry that you've apparently run across some of
the worst examples of people in my line of work.

The film is far from perfect, but the kind of review I always
look for goes thusly:

'a balanced portrait of the controversial UFO expert... an
entertaining and fast-paced documentary that makes a substantive
contribution to the UFO discourse.' - atlanticzone.ca

Sometimes, as a producer, you can have your cake and eat it too.

>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).

In a 48 minute film - an hour for television, not including
commercials, which should remind you right there of why there is
a need to entertain - 'soundbites' are unavoidable. CNN, as a
news network, is no exception. FYI - I pitched Space (the
Canadian equivalent to the SCi-Fi Channel) an idea where it
would be a one on one debate between Stan and Karl Pflock vis-a-
 vis Roswell, just the kind of program you advocate. Not even
remotely interested. I have a sneaking suspicion that CNN would
say the same thing. If a private donor would give me the money,
I'd happily stage it without a broadcaster. I'm still waiting
for the cheque, however.

>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
>views?

Because your views, as far as I can tell from my research,
matter, and should be heard by a wider audience. And because not
everybody who sees the piece is going to agree with the anchor.

>Sorry, I call this kind of treatment irresponsible, shabby, and
>totally unacceptable.

No argument there.

>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.

While I have a great deal of respect your contributions over the
years to the field of ufology, your 'my way or the highway'
attitude, and failure to come to terms with the realities of the
film and television industry, probably guarantees that the only
people who hear of them are those already sitting in the
proverbial choir.

>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.

I say once again, as a member of the great mass of people who
would vote yes on the 'balance of probabilities' and no on 'the
beyond a reasonable doubt' standards of proof with respect to
UFOs - that's a shame.

>- Very sincerely,

>  Dick Hall

With respect,

Paul Kimball


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