Mind Boggling Clarification

By Fred Shedian
Posted at June 30, 2001 - 10:58 PM GMT

Over the last forty-eight hours, discussion and debate has been fueled by my column "Mind Boggling Rumors," posted on June 29th. For those who have read this column, it pointed out a general concern I feel exists regarding the filtering processes many science-fiction news sites are using with rumors about Star Trek Series V, Enterprise.

The debate has shown that many people who read the entire piece did understand the true nature of the article, however others did not pick up the meaning of the work. Through private discussions with such individuals as Garth Franklin, it was mutally agreed that a followup to "Mind Boggling Rumors," was necessary to help the general public truely understand the purpose of the original composition. Please allow me to be clear that no one should take the below as a retraction, rather it is a clarification as to what was posted on the 29th of June.

The primary purpose of the piece was not to question the credibility of any news organization, including Dark Horizons and TrekToday. The goal of the article was to bring to light the "naivity" present among many webmasters. The questions I raised in the article, specificly around the piece presented by Mr. Franklin, were not a challenge to the validity of the work. They were meant to open a cynical eye regarding some of the information presented, begging the question....did these news sites contemplate and/or consider the possibility that what was being published might not be completely accurate. Some may take offense at this, but I do not believe it is an outlandish point to make.

Any news organization, from the mainstream to a startup writer, makes mistakes. When other agencies decide to relay news, they have a responsibility to try to determine whether or not it is accurate or just someone's attempt to gain two minutes of fame. It is my view that any author should conduct such an analysis, even if it is a long standing writer. Even individuals with years of experience may come across something invalid, or forwarded to them by a source that is usually reliable but may have made a mistake in a particular instance. This is indeed a day and age when the Internet is flooded with supposedly "valid" rumors, claiming one thing or another. The questions raised, including those regarding the script review by Dark Horizons, were not meant to directly challenge the piece but ask whether or not any news site did so before publishing it.

The need for clarification on this topic appears great, as many clearly mistook the goal of the A Take On Trek article. As I have stated to Mr. Franklin, the point of the column was simply: Did anyone even consider that what you were transmitting might not be 100% accurate?

In the same light, many have pointed to two specific complaints with my column. Reviewing it, I do indeed find a grammatical error which demands correction...as it changes the entire tone of the sentence. "So I ask, is this review dealing with a November 2000 edition of the script or just a new site's attempt to "get the big story" via the compilation of months of reporting?" clearly stated a belief that Dark Horizon's was a newer website, however this was not the intent. The term "just a new site's" was intended to state "just as a news site's."

Similiarily, the remarks about a "Mulder/Scully" relationship clearly show a misread on my part. Though I do believe the overall analysis that many could have determined this without seeing a script remains, the Dark Horizon's peice clearly stated it would be a "Mulder/Skinner" relationship.

My closing remark regarding the Dark Horizon's piece remains. Even though discussions have taken place, I question why more people did not ask how and why Dark Horizon's gained access to a November 2000 copy of a script which is supposedly "highly classified" information at Paramount. Though individuals may be resourceful, the question is not one I think any person should be above answering.

Finally, I would like to clarify one point which I find somewhat appalling. Several individuals have logged alligations that the purpose of this peice was to help TrekToday save face, given the report of recent rumors which have since been found to be false. I state now that to make such a connection is highly inappropriate, as I am sure Mr. Sparborth can attest. My association with TrekToday is very limited. This is something perhaps Christian can better explain in a site column. In addition, I would ask that those individuals who wish to make remarks about grammatical correctness should be sure to at least spell check their e-mails before mailing them.

It is my sincere hope that the above sheds some light on what the true purpose and goal of the June 29th edition of A Take On Trek really was. Beyond this, I personally consider the matter to be concluded and hope this clarification will allow the issue to come to a close. As many have already done so, comments and remarks are always welcome. Feel free to submit them to shedian@treknation.com.

Until next time...

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Fred Shedian Produces the long running TrekNation column "A Take On Trek." For a complete catalog of Fred Shedian's columns, please click here to visit the Take On Trek website.