Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Paracast


Below is an exchange from the Paracast Forums, where I can no longer abide the administration's lack of fairness and intellectual integrity. My comments are bolded blue; the rest are by other posters there, and are presented in black without bolding. They were made after I had criticized the unfairness of banning "Emma Woods" for posting anonymously, while allowing "Archie Bedford" to post unsupported attacks on Carol Rainey. The post by "Bedford" that crossed the line for me is included in the exchange below, highlighted in yellow ("Bedford" has since revealed his identity to me in a private message, which totally misses the point) .

Res Ipsa Loquitur.
Originally Posted by "ArchieBedford"

Mr. Kimball

Do you see me carrying out a persistent and vindictive campaign to trash the reputation of a single public figure, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 4 years? Where is my website in which I fabricate fraudulent evidence to destroy someone, and send out thousands upon thousands upon thousands of emails directed at the entire staff of the university where the target of my vindictive hate campaign is employed (including some long-retired and even dead)? Have I persistently mailed every author, researcher and public figure who has even the remotest interest in the UFO issue again, and again, and again, with tons and tons of attachments, all aimed at trashing and destroying one single individual - all under an assumed name?

Produce your evidence of equivalence, please.

Yes, I do... although you actually go after more than just one. Take the post above, re: Carol Rainey. One can have legitimate disagreement with what she writes, but you make it personal, and claim an intimate knowledge that goes directly to her motivations... but you provide not a scintilla of evidence for it. Shameful that you would do this, and shameful that people here have let it go on while at the same time stifling other voices that present an alternative point of view.

Here's the flipside of the "Who are you, Emma Woods" question: who are you, "Archie Bedford"?

This isn't about taking sides in the dispute - this is about trying to ensure that an even standard is practiced in this forum.

Or maybe the following has come to be considered fair, honest and objective commentary supported by the hard facts that people have demanded from others here:

"because I know Carol so well and the tricks she uses, I am almost 100% certain she is perpetrating some kind of fraud here with this handwriting business - probably taking two separate letters from the same person and pretending them to be allegedly from two different people in order to get the testimony of this 'expert' on film. It's relatively easy to fool a gullible audience on youtube this way, and Rainey is very practiced at it."

Originally Posted by The Pair of Cats

Let's just ban everyone who doesn't totally agree with whatshername.

That's not what it's about - it's about looking for the same standard for everyone. If you're going to ban Emma Woods for being anonymous and attacking people, the same standard should apply to anyone else, in this case the equally anonymous "Archie Bedford".

But the Paracast seems to be satisfied with the double-standard, so good for everyone here. For my part, I expect more... and I just don't see that here in this case.
Look, I can be a confrontational guy, and I tick a lot of people off because of it (you should see some of the "debates" I've been in at the local pubs). Part of it comes with the territory of being trained as a lawyer, part of it comes from being raised by two great parents who taught me to never be afraid to express my opinions forcefully, and part of it comes from my own unwillingness to suffer fools gladly, because life is too short. Call that last part ego, or arrogance - call it whatever you like, but at least you'll know who you're talking about, because something else that my parents taught me was that when you criticize someone else publicly, you better make sure that you have the intellectual integrity to do it in person, under your own name.

Like me, or dislike me - I don't care. But you'll always know who I am, what I say, and where to find me.

Now, "Emma Woods" is a difficult case. She has remained anonymous to all but a few people, while mounting a serious and sustained campaign against David Jacobs that questions his integrity. But she has also provided some evidence, incomplete though it may be, to back up her claims. That evidence can ultimately be examined without reference to her identity.

"Archie Bedford" has provided nothing. Nothing.

And yet "Emma Woods" is not welcome at The Paracast, and "Archie Bedford" attacks Carol Rainey with impunity. That's the kind of fundamental error that tells you everything you need to know about a person, or a group of persons. It's a proverbial line in the sand for me... and it should be for you, too.

Barring a complete mea culpa by Gene Steinberg, who runs The Paracast, and is ultimately responsible for what goes on there (memo to Carol Rainey: when someone accuses you of "fraud" without any supporting evidence, you might want to contact your lawyer), I won't be listening anymore. I can guarantee that you won't ever hear me on the show again, and you won't see me post in their forum anymore - and I encourage everyone reading this to do the same, from potential guests to potential listeners.

Just as the truth abhors a vacuum, it abhors a double standard of the kind that The Paracast practices. My only regret is that it's taken me so long to see it for what it is. But my parents taught me something else - better late than never.

Paul Kimball

29 comments:

Ryan P. said...

Paul,

I've followed this blog almost from day 1. You've always been honest, and you've never been afraid to issue a mea culpa when you think you've made a mistake. I respect you and your work, and I think there's a lot of people out there that agree with me.

Keep up the great work!

Ryan

Anonymous said...

Kimball you are an honorable man. You are also a lousy businessman. You are about to launch a UFO film fundraising campaign and you nuke a major paranormal radio show? You are loveably nuts.

Anonymous said...

'Archie Bedford' has been behaving this way in the Paracast forum for about 10 months now, with Steinberg, O'Brien and you (as adminstrator and co-moderators) turning a blind eye to it.

At least your conscience has gotten the better of you....finally.

purrlgurrl said...

I, for one, am totally sick of the entire alien abduction subculture. Abductees and their researchers have become a cult. And as with most cults discussion on both sides has devolved into shouting matches based on unsubstantiated beliefs, hearsay, backbiting, unchecked emotions, and religious ferver.

Alien abduction is a tawdry side show that, to me, appears to have little or no relationship to UFOs, whatever they may be. Yet an enormous amount of energy and time continue to be poured into this least credible aspect of the UFO phenomenon, ruining lives and poisoning relationships in the process.

When it comes to the topic of alien abduction, taking the high road is to just turn your back and walk away lest you, too, become covered with the mud being slung by entering the fray.

Don't take it personally, but this is the very last I'll ever read or write about abductions. Life's too short and time too precious to waste on other peoples' shared lunacy. I'll continue reading your blog because your approach is always rational and fair-minded (and it's fun). From now on, I'll just be skipping over anything about alien abductions -- here and elsewhere.

Gary Haden said...

I am your adversary and I've fought you. But this is a courageous post on your part. It demonstrates almost the exact same gauntlet others have run with Mr. Steinberg.

Mr. Bedford revealed his identity, partially, to me when I made the same charge you did. Not just that, he demonstrated to me he knew Emma's name. How came he to that knowledge? There could have been only one source.

I was able to determine his real name by process of elimination. Social networking is a mistake for people making threats.

I also point out to you that Mr. Steinberg managed to take down the internet service of another Emma Woods advocate. He did so outside the confines of his arguably "private" forum. I believe he violated the advocate's first amendment rights by his actions.

One more piece of business, Mr. Kimball. I owe you an apology. You are correct. Mr. Bishop used the word "idiots." You did not.

I hope you will reconsider the matter of just who the mob is in this matter.

Red Pill Junkie said...

Yeah, I've witnessed that "double standard" on the Paracast forums. Last time I read a thread started by Don Ecker when the Paratopia article written by Rainey was available online, I was only able to make a few comments before Gene decided he was fed with it all and closed the thread —it was annoying because his response was that I shouldn't comment on it before reading the entire statement written by Jacobs at his own site, but then after I diligently obliged and was ready to write a retort —I found Jacobs' arguments wanting— there goes the end of the discussion :-/ (I don't think I was the one who annoyed him, though, but another participant).

Social networks are what we make of them. Civility is paramount, as well as taking responsibility for one's comments. Hopefully Steinberg will come around eventually —just don't expect that full apology.

PS: I must admit I'm still open to the possibility that abductions ARE related to the UFO phenomenon. I agree on many of the things Regan Lee recently wrote at The Orange Orb.:

"We're calling strange entities "aliens" that usually mean ET from another planet, and that may or may not be what is happening. Witnesses may be led to believe they're being abducted by ETs and taken aboard UFOs, and if so, who's doing the leading and why? MILABS, possibly. Satan? Elves? Is the abduction experience some sort of metaphysical phenomena that doesn't have anything to do with outer space, ET, or spaceships in any way? If any of those theories turn out to be the answer to the abduction puzzle, then and only then can we say "UFOs have nothing to do with abductions." But actually, the two do have something to do with each other, even if only in the fact that one (abductions) likes to manifest itself as part of the other (UFO event.)"

Kandinsky said...

Yeah, it's been a bad business from all sides of this discussion in recent weeks. Although I'm only an internet nobody, I admired the work of many people in the UFO research field. Following the comments of some of those guys, such admiration has dwindled away. In some instances, their judgement is now suspect as it's highlighted the role of personal relationships in their evaluation of evidence. Should evidence or argument be weighed on the scales of popularity or longevity?

Rather than considering Woods or Rainey as responsible for damaging the much-alluded to 'credibility of ufology,' it's the manner in which they've been discussed by the 'big names' that's done the damage. It's obvious that some, on either side, have used them as a cat's paw to make points. Pretty tawdry at times...

The Paracast has been a great forum and one that I enjoyed reading a lot. There are great members (and Mods) there who generate in-depth discussions on the nitty gritty of the subject and add insights that have made me think. All the best to them. Unfortunately, when Gene posted the location of a member at the request of Archie, it changed my perspective. It seemed, to me, a great transgression against the spirit of internet forums. Subsequent posts compounded that sense of disenchantment to the point whereby I've stopped posting. No doubt, Gene doesn't want to alienate future guests on the show and that's his business...I'm not about to criticise him for that. Nor will I be that 'ex-forum member' that gets all bitter and throws mud.

Nevertheless, many great minds in ufology have been reduced, in my view, to small-minded and often petty individuals. Again, as a 'nobody,' I know there are other 'nobodies' who feel the same way and find ufology to have been diminished by all of this hostility and misdirected enthusiasm. On the bright side, the ones who've remained quiet or made measured comments have increased their credibility.

Ufology will limp, stumble and run on like it did in the wake of the Contactee Movement or Bennewicz fire-fights...

Paul Kimball said...

PG,

You wrote:

Abductees and their researchers have become a cult.

A point I made here several years ago, to my own satisfaction. Like you, I then turned my back on the whole thing.

Indeed, the current post has nothing to do with AA; rather, it's about principle, and how you conduct any reasonable conversation.

Paul

Paul Kimball said...

Unfortunately, when Gene posted the location of a member at the request of Archie, it changed my perspective.

He did? I had no idea. Despite what some might think, I stopped participating in the Paracast forums on anything but a very irregular and occasional basis in the summer of 2010.

Paul Kimball said...

I must admit I'm still open to the possibility that abductions ARE related to the UFO phenomenon.

As am I, at least in theory, for many of the same reasons that Karl Pflock used to discuss.

Bruce Duensing said...

I agree with your earlier commentary on the equally tragicomic nature of all parties in the Emma Woods affair. I am not in the habit of listening to The Paracast as I listened to it once for about five minutes before, well, becoming bored, just as bored as I am with everyone focusing umbrage on the indirect target of Paracast, as that all of this personal emotional investment reminds me of picking on a zit as the issues are weightier than the medium of Paracast itself as it is neither a court of law or some determination of anything other than a soapbox for unsubstantiated opinions, which then self perpetuates itself as a three ring circus, in some strange continuation of high school. I admire your tenancy, but from what it looks like from the outside it's like shoveling sand into the tide..the whole Paracast thing seems like one of those heat sinks for a free floating sort of " community" frustration. Best Wishes Bruce

Paul Kimball said...

Bruce,
I agree - it's not like it's the end of the world, or some grand crusade. It's certainly not occupying anything more than a few moments of my time or attention. But as someone who was involved in The Paracast from a commercial / business point of view, and supported it in that regard, I thought I should make clear why I will no longer do so.

Paul

Paul Kimball said...

I would also add that this is part of a broader conversation I'm having with people in areas that have absolutely nothing to do with UFOs or the paranormal, about the notion of anonymous commenting, double-standards, and the decline of civil and rational discourse in our society in general.

PK

purrlgurrl said...

My biggest objection to The Paracast is the network which Steinberg chose for his "new" broadcast platform.

In any event, most of the shows are a snoozefest because even with the departure of Biedny, Steinberg continues wasting air time pontificating about his own opinions.

I stopped looking at the forums when it appeared to me that most comments only tangentially touched on any show's guest or content. In other words, they seemed beside the point.

Good for you for taking a stand on the forums, but there must be some revenue from them so probably nothing will change.

A few years ago I registered for the forums. But my interest in them waned at the speed of light. Nevertheless, after several years of non-participation, e-mails from the The Paracast forums asking me where I've gone still regularly show up in my mailbox. Why would anyone care unless my logging in means money to somebody?

One of these days when I work up enough interest I'll unregister myself.

Paul Kimball said...

after several years of non-participation, e-mails from the The Paracast forums asking me where I've gone still regularly show up in my mailbox. Why would anyone care unless my logging in means money to somebody?

I'm sure it's just an automatic setting or something that they have enabled.

Alfred Lehmberg said...

Mr. Kimball;

Your clarion call for balance and consistency is most laudable and more than a little brave, if I may say so, Sir.

This is the second time this decade you've brought me up out of my chair cheering... wait, wait... three times! There was your upbraid of the uninformed, inconsistent, and immature patriotism of Don Ecker, so yes, _three_ times this decade, at least! Much of the remainder of the time I've wanted to whack you with a sturdy board, but all that seems hardly worth mentioning in the warm glow of your current bravery.

I bow—with all sincerity—in the Elizabethan sense, Mr. Kimball, even as I keep eye contact. Rofl!

terry the censor said...

Good for you, Paul.

I listened to a Paracast interview with Budd Hopkins. I was appalled at all the lob-ball questions. That guy should be exposed as a fraud, not treated like a national treasure. I was very put off. It was similar to when George Noory had on Andrew Wakefield just after the doctor had his medical license revoked. It's plainly irresponsible to praise these men and their vile works.

> Abductees and their researchers have become a cult.

As usual, I concur with purrlgurrl.

> ruining lives

But I say, we shouldn't turn our backs on them. The police should be involved. If they don't want to touch it, a major media outlet should put its investigative team on it. Exposure is needed.

Benjamin Simon, the hypnotherapist of Barney and Betty Hill, once wrote:

"Hypnosis has dangers and yet it is not dangerous. The essential dangers lie in its use by those not bound by a professional code of ethics, and who are not adequately trained."

("Hypnosis: Fact and Fantasy," quoted in Interrupted Journey, p. 84)

Ryan P. said...

Hey Paul -

Don't know if you saw it, but Bedford admitted he lied on The Paracast forums in the Linda Cortile thread, and then tucked his tail between his legs and high-tailed it out. I'm sure your post had something to do with it, so good for you.

Ryan

Gene Steinberg said...

I think it's time to correct the record:

1. The claim that we revealed someone's private location in the forum and violated that person's privacy is misleading. "Emma Woods" posted a series of messages in our forum under a fake name. When she was exposed, she fled. What I said in the forum is that the sockpuppet came from the same country as "Woods," New Zealand. I could either say "same country" without identifying it further, and the result would have been the same; nothing was revealed that our forum members didn't know.

2. As to "Archie Bedford," I gather you know his real name, as do many people. Whether you agree with him or not, you know he is a real person, who has apologized for overbearing behavior in a specific message. I simply asked "Woods" to do what she's done with others who have published her material, and that is to tell me her real name privately. Rather than discuss the issue with me, she ran away — until she returned with a fake identity.

3. Carol Rainey has joined our forums. She has not been blocked, and if she follows our Terms of Service, clearly posted in our forums, she won't be.

4. As to the person who had his ISP suspend him briefly, that person sent me several letters laced with childish insults. I told that person to stop. Having failed to do so, I simply sent a copy of two of the messages to the ISP. What they did is their business. He went on to also claim that I had tried to shut down his Web sites, another of an ongoing series of lies in a persistent campaign of lies about me. Understand, I had never, ever, read any posts from that person prior to the onset of his silly misinformation campaign. I received but one message from him previously, one riddled with insults. He was never on my radar.

5. I actually don't discuss my opinions all that much on The Paracast. For that, I let the guests and co-hosts do the talking, although I will frequently push them to explain themselves. My newsletter offers the main outlet for my opinions.

6. We joined the radio network to get wider distribution and credibility to potential advertisers. As with most everyone, I am not independently wealthy and need to pay the bills, but I've never been involved in the paranormal to make money. I have a lifelong interest in the subject, but if I had any sense at all, I would be doing something with a reliable paycheck (now I'm too old to start over). The fact of the matter is that we are not paid for network ads, which is typical of contracts between small or medium-sized radio networks and their programmers. We are paid strictly for the ads we sell, but we are obligated to run their ads too.

If anyone has further questions, please write. And, Paul, you are always welcomed in our forums. Lehmberg is too, if he makes an attempt, for once, to avoid the personal attacks.

Peace,
Gene Steinberg

Anonymous said...

Ryan P. , Yet the key Paracasters knee-jerk reaction to his tepid admission was to wish him a quick return because the forum needs him!

One Paracaster, who claims to be an attorney, still sung 'Bedford's' praises as a fine man that he's known for some time and who knows Hopkins and his Brooklyn Bridge case.

As Spock would have said - "fascinating!".

Gene Steinberg said...

In response to the statement about the various Budd Hopkins interviews on The Paracast, the last time we had him on, we also had Jacobs, and, as a counterpoint, Kevin D. Randle, who has vigorously disagreed with both. I am not in the business of anointing anyone's abduction investigative technique. I just want answers, not lurid headlines. The current controversies are not going to help us solve the problem; they only make things worse.

I suggest you listen to the short interview we did with Kathleen Marden recently. Yes, she's Betty Hill's niece, but she is a professional hypnotherapist, and she had some pointed, outspoken comments about how best to investigate the abduction scenario. But there were no lurid headlines, so it won't be discussed.

Peace,
Gene

Paul Kimball said...

Mr. Steinberg,

You can try and defend your inaction as much as you want, but it doesn't change the facts, which are there for all to see: you banned Emma Woods from your forums, and then allowed another publicly anonymous poster to attack her, and eventually to defame Carol Rainey, with absolutely no action on your part.

As for the episode with Hopkins, Jacobs and Randle, that it not relevant to your current and recent actions, and I think the readers of my blog will see it for what it is - an attempt to distract attention from the core issue, which is the lack of intellectual and moral integrity you have shown as of late.

Now, because I don't have advertisers and deep-pocketed anonymous posters that I want to please, I can do the following - don't bother commenting here further, because I won't publish it.

The Paracast is yesterday's news - a front for reactionary forces more interested in money and the maintenance of the status quo than it is for finding real answers.

Sad.

Paul Kimball

Ryan P. said...

Anonymous,

You wrote:

"Ryan P. , Yet the key Paracasters knee-jerk reaction to his tepid admission was to wish him a quick return because the forum needs him!"

Yes, I agree, nothing has really changed about the Forum itself, but my point was that at least Paul got Bedford to come clean and admit that he was lying. Others like Jeremy Vaeni had been harping on it for some time, but it was only after Paul went public that Bedford 'fessed up.

Ryan

Gene Steinberg said...

Curious that you've yet to post the multi-part response I sent covering many the points raised here.

In all fairness, I think that post should appear as well, including the fact that Carol Rainey has joined our forums, and that Lehmberg is welcome as well so long as he follows the rules of the road.

More to the point: You aren't helping the situation when you make statements that just aren't true: We do not cater to multimillionaires or advertisers. There is no such litmus test; never has been. I have no idea about the private wealth of any of our forum members, and never used that as a factor to determine which posts to allow in the forums. Clearly you have more information than I do about these people, simply because I don't care.

If a poster violates our Terms of Service, or is intent on deceiving us, they will be blocked. But there are no hard-wired standards. We have three volunteer moderators currently with different points of view, and they will approach such matters differently. I can't promise consistency with over 107,000 messages to date.

The reason "Emma Woods" isn't there and "Bedford" is has been explained to you here and in the post I submitted. But you didn't post that response, so I ask readers to check our forums.

As to those "melodramatic personal fights with people," I don't start fights, but it appears that a few people have decided to devote large portions of their time trashing us. We're not perfect or immune to criticism, but I question the motives of people who just make up lies and pay little attention to what's really going on. This is one reason why I have, in large part, refrained from participating in those inflammatory discussions except in rare cases. Even you told me to avoid responding to Lehmberg, which I have, in large part, done.

Gene Steinberg

Anonymous said...

Ryan P. - Not to distract from what Kimball is doing here, but point of clarification: It wasn't Paul's blog that got "Bedford" to admit it. It was the fact that Rainey knew who he was and confronted him.

She wrote that recently on the Paracast board because, as you noted, instead of being outraged by having been used in a propaganda campaign by Steinberg & "Bedford," the immediate reaction of forum members was "Sorry to see you go, Archie. Come back soon." It's unbelievable, really.

Paul, do you know for a fact that Archie or any of the rich folks there are funding Gene? The timing of his having stopped begging for money publicly with becoming a mouthpiece for these people is curious

Paul Kimball said...

Folks,

I don't know why "Bedford" came clean, and I don't particularly care. Carol contacted me a couple of days ago via Facebook, and asked me to point her to the original thread on the Paracast forums where "Bedford" made his defamatory and wholly fabricated comments about her, and I did so. My understanding is that she replied directly there, but I haven't seen it.

Regardless, good riddance, but the problem remains.

As to Mr. Steinberg and the money thing, everyone can draw their own conclusions. I thought it was quite strange for "Bedford" in his message to me to specifically mention that he was supported by a multi-millionaire who Gene also knew. Make of that what you will.

Paul

Kandinsky said...

Likewise Archie PMd me 3-4 weeks back questioning my right to an opinion if I didn't know Budd personally. In the light of his admission, nobody feels the irony more sharply than he does right now.

There's a sentence on the tip of my tongue involving the words 'petard' and 'hoist.'

In a field so full of BS, it's a useful reminder that we should do our best to be honest and not cloud the subject further. Behind our pseudonyms, the only referee of our conduct is our own conscience.

Paul Kimball said...

Kandinsky,

The best part of all of this is that Mr. Steinberg will never hit me up for a personal loan again. Thank God for small favours.

As to the rest of the stuff he's posted here, I would suggest that people might want to check out his Rockoids book, because Gene clearly has a talent for fiction. Of course, Gene might also want to seek the same kind of psychiatric help he recommended for "Emma Woods", because he also clearly has a pretty warped view of reality.

And that, as they say, is that. No further comments will be posted, by anyone, from this point on. People are free to listen to The Paracast, and post at their forum. Good luck to you.

Paul

Paul Kimball said...

P.S. One last thing. Gene is quite right that I told him to stop sparring with Alfred Lehmberg, particularly on UFO Updates. I thought it was petty, and part of Gene's overall problem. What I clearly didn't mean was for him to contact AL's ISP and get his Internet access pulled. Just wanted to make that clear, because in Gene's world the truth is a moving target.

PK