|Saint Petersburg Branch of the Russian Humanist Society|
|Lies on Television; How Do They Happen?|
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From the correspondence in connection with the showing of a TV movie
Yu. M. (Ren-TV Channel) to Academician Ye. B. Aleksandrov. I hasten to inform you that on 16 December 2006 there will be a showing of the documentary film, "A Sensational Matter. Careful, Poltergeist!", on the Ren-TV Channel with your participation. In our film, as has been demonstrated to many, you are the only responsible person. Thank you for the interview. However, no matter how much I tried for the opinions and differences in the film to be 50/50 our editor nevertheless put the stress on the existence of poltergeists and threatened us, and the film turned out to be some sort of horror. As you once observed, "people lap it up". Of course, I was very upset and even declared that I not be mentioned in the titles.
Ye. B. Aleksandrov to Yu. M. This is the first time I've seen myself on TV. A feeling of shame dominates me, for TV, for the viewers, for the era, and of course for myself with this foolish role in a farce. Was it worth one or two minutes of my screen existence to rush a crew to St. Petersburg?
Sh. to Yu. M. (copy to Ye. B. Aleksandrov). My friend, Academician Ye. B. Aleksandrov, informed me in a timely manner about the showing of a documentary film about poltergeists including fragments of his interview and I have seen this film. The impression is extremely painful.
Ye. B. Aleksandrov to Sh. Yu., the poor thing, will explain nothing to you. One of [my] colleagues confidently said to me that this is a political campaign, to whip up all sorts of fears in order for a crazed population to rally around a strong and "competent" government. In any event only the Devil knows what's going on.
Sh. to Ye. B. Aleksandrov. It sometimes seems to me that someone powerful is covertly sending secret directives to all the mass media (newspapers, radio, TV channels), persistently "recommending" some sort of political and ideological line for them to follow, for example, to propagandize religion and pseudoscience and to ignore real science.
Ye. B. Aleksandrov to Sh. I sent this bitter and reproachful letter to Yuliya but forgave her since it wasn't she who edited all this.
Yu. M. to Ye. B. Aleksandrov. If you knew how sad it was for me to receive such a letter from you. I know what you are feeling and going through right now. Ashamed? I am also ashamed. It is shameful that I was mixed up in this. I said that you were the only clear-thinking person. You are absolutely wrong when you say that you seemed stupid. Not at all. Even if your remarks were fewer in comparison with the "poltergeist researchers", they were essentially all the same. And, believe me, and those viewers who wrote letters and called us - all clear-thinking people heard only what you were saying. This is a normal explanation to anyone. After your brief remarks people started to ascribe all the noises and commotion in their apartments not to "gremlins" but to drafts. Believe me, this means a great deal. Not everything is lost.
Ye. B. Aleksandrov to Yu. M. Thank you for the good words. In viewing your film I directed my attention to one very unpleasant detail - in two topics about "poltergeists" the line was followed that these "spirits" gravitate toward sick or very old people, and the spirits disappear after they die. It's like their neighbors or relatives exhausted by the problems of looking after them or desiring to improve their living conditions were the death of these sick and old people (under the cover of stories about poltergeists).
Yu. M. to Sh. I don't even how to answer you. I have already written Yevgeny Borisovich everything that I think about this. Unfortunately, far from everything depends on the author of the film and, as the producer of the project told me after I handed over the film for editing: "This is not the author's film but the producer's!". How do you answer that? They have all the rights to rewrite my text to the point of unrecognizability. Again, unfortunately, the film did not turn out to be objective and the viewer saw the clear position of the Ren-TV Channel that poltergeists exist. Several documentary films dedicated to UFOs have already been on this channel. They have apparently decided to continue this subject matter.
Translated by Gary Goldberg
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