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Art Bell Fires a Warning Shot Across the Pigdog Bow?
1999-07-09 03:04:56

Jabber Streams
'Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul'? Deal!
-- Miles Standish


Yesterday, while checking the Pigdog Journal feedback system, I was surprised to see a letter from influential talk show host Art Bell, asking if we would mind giving him a phone call. He wanted to talk about our recent article, which is about his attempts to manage the information coming out about his feud with the former guests of his program, David John Oates and Robert A. M. Stephens.

Art talks to El Snatcher It was flattering to get an email message from Art because I'm a big fan of his show. The first couple of times that I tried calling, I got an answering machine with a humorous message telling me that I had reached a "thought recording machine," recorded in one of Art's electronically altered voices. Eventually, I sent him email asking him to let me know when it would be a good time to call to talk in person.

A message came in a few minutes before Art was to go on the air for that evening's "Coast to Coast" show asking me to "call now." Unfortunately, I had been out with my girlfriend shopping at Target, and I got back after the show was already underway. But I decided to wait until a commercial break and call anyway. Art's wife Ramona (I assume) answered the phone and patched me through to Art. As is my custom, I like to watch Art's streaming RealVideo "Studio Cam" every night during his show, so it was REALLY COOL to watch Art in his studio while he talked to me on the phone.

What follows is a ROUGH transcript of our conversation. I couldn't record the phone call, so this is in no way verbatim, but I sat down immediately after talking to Art, and tried to reconstruct the conversation as closely as possible.

ES: Hi Art!

Art: You wrote an article saying that I am somehow having sites taken down. Talk to the people involved and see that's not true. The truth is up on the [Joe Oddo's "Shadie Pines" (sic)] site. If you go there, you will see what really happened.

ES: Yeah, I talked to Oddo in email and he said that you had mutually agreed that taking it down was the best thing to do.

Art: Yes, well, his service provider is actually giving him trouble about the site, heh. [I don't know whether he was referring to Shadie-Pines, the Shadie-Pines BBS, or one of the other linked web message boards.]

ES: Oh really?

Art: Yes. By the way, I've taken all of my stuff on my web site down too -- in the hopes of resolving the issue.

ES: Yeah I noticed that. But, Art, even if you are not asking to have web sites taken down, you are creating the appearance that you are doing that--

Art: I could not possibly do that... it's their decision to take a site down. The truth is all up there. I am not doing that.

ES: I am looking at the site right now. Isn't it true that with -- I know someone who previously worked there who said -- that you asked to have it taken down, but they refused. And he said that they had made the the decision to take the site down on their own.

Art: No, all I did was ask them to review the material. It was THEIR decision.

ES: Well, isn't it true that you had the Shadie Pines link removed from your web site because it had a link to a web BBS that had Robert Stephens on it.

Art: That was all Keith Rowland's decision. You know my web master--

ES: Yes. I don't think I should take the article down because that would make matters worse.

Art: OH NO, I just want you to tell THE TRUTH.

ES: Well, maybe I can ammend the the article with YOUR VERSION of the truth, but--

Art: NO, listen [heatedly], you go around to talk to the people involved and find out THE TRUTH and print that.

ES: But I don't think there's anything UNTRUTHFUL in the article.

Art: No, it's just MISLEADING. Listen, I have to go, I'm on the air.

ES: Okay, bye Art.

Wednesday's article, "Talk Show Wars Spin-Doctoring Backfires" prompted Art's request for a call.

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

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