Yesterday morning (Australian time), I interviewed Jonathan Lane – the blogger behind Fan Film Factor and organiser of Project Small Access and later that day I posted a promo teaser which prompted a vitriolic attack by Michael Hinman of 1701news.com. Following a whirlwind twenty minutes he unfriended and blocked me as well as removing me from the public ‘CBS v. Axanar’ Facebook group.
Overnight, Australian time, there have been many follow ups to these events including Hinman releasing the block, allowing me to see (for the first time) what he had written about me, and by extension this website and it’s podcast The Trekzone Spotlight. Because of the public nature of these attacks, I wish to address Michael’s concerns about my editorial standards in full.
Michael has accused me of accepting pre-conditions to interviews in order to secure them, I admitted to those in the second part of my initial Axanar podcast as a means to extend the coverage and afford Mike Bawden and Carlos Pedraza air time to dissect Alec’s reaction to my ‘hard hitting questions.’ The other ‘pre-condition’ that I agreed to was to not discuss the legal case, given that is (at least) an Australian legal requirement.
At no planning stage were questions offered for screening, at no planning stage were other topics agreed or disagreed to. At no time since has Mike Bawden or Alec Peters requested me to steer in a different direction on my coverage.
Michael proceeded to attack the interview I had conducted with Jonathan Lane, as if he had seen the cut version already, which he has not. Hinman has lifted my comments and placed them in a context he decided. He has complained that “by doing a 50-minute interview on Lane’s “feelings” and his “position” on this debacle, it’s legitimizing what he’s saying without calling out the things that need to be called out.”
The content and the questions of this forthcoming podcast are confidential, known only to Lane and myself and will not be made public until the episode is released this weekend. With that said, the fifty minute discussion we had was not just an open mic for Jonathan to speak his mind… I put questions to him and we discussed his ideas in a civil and very respectful manner.
Some hard liners in the anti-Axanar camp may find the interview ‘softball’ and that is their opinion, however let it be known that there is no ‘dangling carrot’ from Mike Bawden, Alec Peters, Robert Meyer Burnett or Jonathan Lane about securing the alleged-director of the feature based upon my coverage of the infamous fan film.
I did not make a mistake with conducting that interview, and I will not be re shooting it.
Hinman has accused me of using the CBS v. Axanar group in my plot to secure an interview with Burnett, which is untrue. Hinman has accused me of playing soft ball with Axanar and its supporters because I do not see a reason to conduct a hostile interview from the outset just because the interviewee holds a different opinion to me, I also do not see a reason to thinking my opinion is so high and mighty that it blinds me to all others.
It should be noted that this is not the first time Michael Hinman has attacked me, in public or private, and he mentioned the Newsweek issue where I called them out for copy pasting my work into their article. His implications were that I was a small site and should be honoured to be mentioned in such an article, I found that derogatory and insulting and three weeks after I contacted the reporter I was credited as the source.
And lastly, Hinman latched onto a comment I made in jest about earning money from these podcasts. It will be plainly obvious to all my viewers that ads have started pre-rolling before the videos, these are not making me rich – in fact I’ll be lucky to break even this quarter.
For those Axanar supporters that have lumped me in the same group as Hinman and Pedraza and described me as a ‘hater’ who spews nothing but vitriol on my social media channels – look at this incident and realise that we are three separate people who share similar views, but do not act together.
The positive messages from many others in these two groups, and the calming behind the scenes voice of Carlos have allowed me to see through this latest attack by someone I never thought I’d have to defend myself to again. If Michael Hinman does not like what I do, do not watch or read what I do.