Sunday, May 29, 2005

Speaking of MediaWatch and the RRRGroup

We recently received an email from a Media Notes reader who Googled the editor of this site (Nathan Gotsch) and noticed that in a few of the search results, I was referred to as, well, see for yourself:

The aforementioned reader inquired, quite reasonably, about a conflict of interest and a lack of full disclosure in our case. And we expect that in the future, more of our readers might stumble upon the same information and wonder the same thing.

So here's a short history of my involvement (or lack thereof) with the RRRGroup:

In 2001, when I was in high school, MediaWatch took a shot at Video Voice, a public access
show I was producing as part of a class at Concordia High School. I wrote Rich Reynolds an email challenging his criticism -- we were just a few weeks into the semester and had done only a show or two; we were all learning new positions and I asked him to give us time for that to happen, after which point he was welcome to tear us to shreds.

He wrote me back (and admitted that I had a point). If I can find a copy of the email exchange, I'll post it.

Since then, like many members of the Fort Wayne media, I've communicated with him sporadically via email and spoken to him on the phone a handful of times over the last few years.

I've never met him or anyone else in the RRRGroup, and I'm not, nor have I ever been, one of his guys. He seemed to think that by occasionally referring to me as such in a MediaWatch fax, he could "subliminally" make me an RRR Group member. I never had any control over what was said in the MediaWatch faxes that referenced me.

When I was trying to publicize my short film two years ago, in addition to the press releases and press kits that I sent out on my own, I asked him to call a few media people to put in a good word for me (he's got enemies, but he's also got friends). And more recently, when I was researching a screenplay and wanted to talk with some local reporters, I did the same. I thought it would be more effective than a cold call, and it was. I should note that the first question from the first reporter I talked to was, "So how do you know Rich Reynolds?"

So what of the Google search results above? If you follow the link, it takes you to a UFO message board. I have no interest in UFOs, but Reynolds is fascinated by them. And when someone in a UFO email group he belongs to mentioned a possible UFO in the background of Rio Grande, an old John Ford western, Reynolds emailed me (with a link to a clip of the scene in question) for my take. I told him there was no way it was a UFO -- it was clearly shot on a sound stage. In four years of film school, I had seen enough old movies to know the difference.

Somehow my comments (which Reynolds apparently emailed to the rest of the group, accompanied with the notation that I was an RRRGroup fellow) ended up on a UFO message board and were subsequently picked up by Google's search engine.
One of our fellows at the RRRGroup, Nathan Gotsch, is a film-
maker who resides at USC.

I've sent him your suggestion about checking out the UCLA
Not only was I not a member of the RRRGroup, but I did not reside "at USC." In fact, my apartment in Los Angeles is just minutes from UCLA (though I was not at all interested in or considering searching its film archives on behalf of the UFO wackos).

But again, I had no control over how I was referred to by Reynolds, nor any way to correct the record. Thus, the existence of indexed websites which contain false information about me. (False information on the internet? What are the odds?)

I'm glad that a Media Notes reader pointed it out and took the time to ask me about it. I hope this answers their question and sets the record straight.

And now that that's done, let's get back to blogging...

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