International man of mystery

So now the tale of the lying creationists of Expelled has made the Grauniad. Somebody let me know when my name is mentioned in Le Monde.

Mark Mathis must be happy about this. He is, after all, the “The No-Spin Doctor” who “demonstrates that most of what you need to understand about attracting great publicity, delivering excellent quotes, or managing a media crisis you already know.”. He certainly is getting lots of international attention now, but I would think that a reputation as a dishonest fraud and creationist hack isn’t exactly what most people would desire, and hunkering down and hiding isn’t exactly the cleverest way to manage a media crisis.

I guess that when all you’ve got to work with is lies, becoming a really good liar is an accomplishment.


  1. says

    Somebody let me know when my name is mentioned in Le Monde.

    Um … does WingNutDaily count?

    Unlike other popular documentary films, “Expelled” isn’t one-sided – it confronts scientists like Oxford evolutionist Richard Dawkins, author of “The God Delusion,” influential biologist and atheist blogger P.Z. Myers, and Eugenie Scott, head of the National Center for Science Education.

    Nice trinity.

  2. Taz says

    ‘…”Expelled” isn’t one-sided – it confronts scientists…’
    People actually write this stuff?

  3. sailor says

    If universities are so good at supressing woo, how come Behe still has a job and John Mack held a UFO get-together at Harvard?
    As usual, godbutts have to resort to lies and distortion.

  4. says

    The NYTimes article notes that Ben Stein thought the title of the film should be “From Darwin to Hitler.” If so, that means they knew what the subject matter and message of the film would be and just how inflamatorily one-sided long before they claimed they changed, “just the title.”

    The point of all this was to avoid having any of the scientists interviewed be able to respond directly to any of the specific allegations being made in the film.

  5. says

    Stein denied in the New York Times that he had misled anyone. “I don’t remember a single person asking me what the movie was about,” he said. The film company said the movie’s title was changed on the advice of marketing experts.

    Anybody here ever been in a film and not asked what it was about? Is that even possible?

    Years ago I was in a public health commercial for problem gamblers. There was a close-up on my hands as I placed a bet on the roulette table. I’m pretty darn sure I asked what the commercial was about before I signed any waivers, and it was’t even a speaking part. (I swear I asked the director what my hands’ motivations were.)

    Ben Stein is stupid. He wasn’t even all that good on Win Ben Stein’s Money when the questions didn’t deal with political trivialities like the colour of Spiro Agnew’s underwear.

  6. says

    Nothing in Le Monde or The Irish Times (yet?), but you are in Journal Chrétien, which I’d never heard of before, but which appears to be a French WND?

    That particular article is in English and could–perhaps did–come straight from UD or DI or WND or … you get the idea. (It’s by a “Michael Ireland”, it that name means anything to anyone?)

    It appears similar to the wire service report:

    from Standard Newswire, who I’ve also never heard of before.

    On the other hand, yer also in The Scientist (or at least on the website):

  7. says

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Stein’s quote in the NYTimes article grossly misleading? I mean, as far as I know, it wasn’t Stein that either set up or conducted the interview with PZ and the others, yet he implies that the complaints are baseless because “no one ever asked what the film would be about.” Can PZ confirm that Stein wasn’t even mentioned at all in the release and discussion of the original film?

    If that’s the case, then Stein is implying that he personally interviewed people like Scott, PZ, and Dawkins and they didn’t ask him what the film was about, when in fact the only people he had anything to do with interviewing were the pro-ID folks, who of course had probably already been told that “From Darwin to Hitler” (working title!) would be to their liking and so had no need to ask.

  8. yoshi says

    Maybe its what I do for a living and my general paranoid nature but I am having a hard time buying that someone wouldn’t do more research about the people that want to interview them. Or at least ask some probing questions during the interview.

    So PZ, Dawkins, and everyone else who was interviewed do not have my sympathy. It all comes off as a little bit naive.

    Is the Bell Auditorium thing tonight going to talk about this at all?

  9. triviality says

    The point of all this was to avoid having any of the scientists interviewed be able to respond directly to any of the specific allegations being made in the film.

    That’s called bad faith. Makes for nice evidence in lawsuits.

  10. says

    There was no mention of Stein in any of the preludes to the interview. I was not interviewed by Stein, and neither was Eugenie Scott; Dawkins might have been, except that he isn’t able to recognize Stein and had never heard of him before.

  11. DAC says

    I’ll repeat here what I said on your other rant about this subject: I don’t know when you’re going to stop your whining, PZ. From what you’ve shown us from these Expelled guys, they didn’t lie to you. From both Ass Prod’s letter and the Rampant web site, it appears that these people made no secret about the film’s content. All they kept from you, perhaps, was their point of view on the topic. And why should they have to share that? And why didn’t you just ask them what their point of view was? That’s your bad, not theirs. As far as the title change, that happens all the time in the film and book businesses. To me, all it looks like you’re doing is covering your ass so you look tough in front of your peanut gallery, because you screwed up!! It also sounds like you’re scared stiff of this film and you’ll do anything to discredit it. Stand back and listen to yourself for once. Your posturing is not fooling anybody.

  12. Roger says

    “As far as the title change, that happens all the time in the film and book businesses.”

    That’s not the case.

    What’s interesting is that the domain name was registered on March 1th, PZ Myers was contacted about an interview in April.

    And the domain names and have both been registered for over a year. Mark Mathis is listed on both of them. And they have the same person and physical address registered on their domain names. And they’re on the same webhost.

    So why did Mark Mathis decide to do the interviews from Rampant Films claiming the movie was going to be called Crossroads when was already registered? And when Mark Mathis also works with Premise Media. It seems they just used Rampant Films and the presumeably made-up movie Crossroads to fraudulently obtain the interviews.

    Here’s the tool I used to investigate when the domain names were registered:

  13. kevinj says

    it was pretty amazing that the guardian got your name right. Standards are slipping there no end.

    I did like the Guardians succinct explanation of what ID is:

    but Expelled supports intelligent design (ID), a variation on creationism

  14. Owen says

    The Grauniad is so full of typos (or at least it was), that they probably got PZ’s name wrong twice before printing it – a reversion mutation, if you will.

  15. Robby says


    Not defending the actions on the part of the Expelled crew. Just wondering, are you equally willing to bash Michael Moore and Sacha Baron Cohen for similar tactics in getting interviews? Moore did essentially the same thing in Bowling for Columbine, and that movie won a Cesar Award. This is not necessarily an uncommon tactic for getting interviews, especially for documentaries.

  16. Steve_C says


    Jebus. Ben Stein didn’t do the interviews.

    If you’re an idiot then you have no idea what Moore’s agenda is.

    They may be manipulative gotcha style interviews but it’s still MichaelBloodyeffingMoore doing the invterview.

    Was Moore sending out teams of interviewers instead of himself? Isn’t part of his whole schtick getting reactions him?

    Snap out of it.

  17. Rolando Aguilera says

    “Your posturing is not fooling anybody.”

    Well, the world is bigger than the bible belt, and i can tell you: out side off the US is the ID movement who is embarrasing you country. Is to sad seeing this from another country.

  18. Arnosium Upinarum says

    DAC says, “Your [PZ’s] posturing is not fooling anybody.”

    Ah, well, its apparent there is at least one fool even in the absence of posturing. You don’t require much encouragement, do you? Sort of comes naturally to you, deoesn’t it?

  19. Arnosium Upinarum says

    Hey, Robby? But Moore doesn’t LIE about it afterwards.

    [errata from previous post: the word is spelled “doesn’t”]

  20. Eugenie C. Scott says

    Dac, if you look at the description of “Crossroads” on the Rampant Films site, and the description of Expelled on, it is clear that they changed considerably more than the title.

    When I were called OF COURSE we checked them out. To be interviewed for a movie like Crossroads was described on the Rampant Films site is hardly something new or threatening or anything any of us would turn down. To be interviewed for a movie that will present scientists as venal censors is a bit different. I probably would have allowed the interview anyway because that is part of my day job, but being lied to stings — especially when it’s done by a personable guy like Mathis who was friendly and with whom I felt (after lots of emailing of information back and forth) I had established a rapport.

    And as further information, it is not uncommon for someone else to interview the subject and the host be spliced in, or your footage be used with an overvoice asking the questions. So Mathis asked the questions, and I answered. I didn’t know Ben Stein was involved, but it would be unusual to ask — during the taping! — “what’s this about?” One generally asks those questions of the person who contacts one, rather than the star.