FIT TO PRINT NUMBER 405

Rating the Reporters

circa February, 1992

Thanks to our friends and fans out there in radio, television, magazine, and newspaper land, we at Eclipse have been kept pretty up to date on the overblown media attention being paid to our True Crime trading cards. And let me tell you, some of these so-called reporters they have around here ought to have their licenses to write revoked, if the way they handled us is any indication of their journalistic ethics.

THE GOOD GUYS: KTUC Radio (Tucson), The San Francisco Chronicle, Entertainment Weekly magazine, KGO Radio (San Francisco), Mondo 2000 magazine, The Washington Post, and others gave the story fair play. They may have thought the cards controversial, but they neither misquoted us nor tried to mislead the public about non-sports cards. Special kudos to the reporter from People magazine who came in search of an attack piece but, when i mentioned that putting law enforcement agents and crime figures on non-sports cards had a history dating back to the 1930s (c.f. Gum Inc.'s G-Men series), said, "You've just talked yourself out of a million bucks in publicity."

THE BAD GUYS: Entertainment Tonight, reporter Robert Digatale of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat (owned by the New York Times), the San Francisco bureau of the Associated Press, and KCBS Radio (San Francisco) have acted both irresponsibly and maliciously in regard to covering the cards.

Entertainment Tonight came to our offices and filmed for over an hour, interviewing us, photographing our Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union and True Crime cards. They certainly left here with plenty of information on non-sports cards in general and the Eclipse line in particular. What they ran was a travesty: they stated that we were publishing a set of "55 serial killer cards" (we are publishing a set of 110 True Crime cards), that they would be sold to kids (they are not a mass-market item and will be seen by few kids; in any case, our demographic target for True Crime is the same as for other current events cards, namely adult collectors), that victims' rights groups "protested" the cards (no victims' rights group had contacted us then or has contacted us to this date), and that these imagined protesters were angered because our cards exploited the victims of crime (the cards do not name the victims of crimes, except in cases such as the Lindbergh kidnapping, where the case is known to the public by the name of the victim). They further stated that current events cards were a novel idea, when, as most of you know, non-sports cards date back to the 1880s! KCBS, which bills itself as "News Radio" ran several items on the cards which, as a producer there admitted, were lifted from Entertainment Tonight -- so much so that they got the name of our company wrong, calling it "Eclipse Entertainment." Thanks to reader Bruce Meservey, who sent a tape of their coverage, i was able to contact them and they agreed to run a correction.

Robert Digitale of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat also pushed the "victims' rights groups are protesting" angle, going so far as to contact relatives of crime victims and harass them into commenting on our cards, which, of course, they had never seen. His story went out on the wire services and gave rise to tremendous confusion regarding our products. He has even had the gall to phone us on a daily basis, asking if Eclipse is "giving up the idea of publishing yet."

The Associated Press reporter was a doozy -- rude, quarrelsome, and incapable of understanding simple English. She also claimed that people were "protesting" our cards and when i said that was a manufactured story, she actually screamed at me! Her report paralleled Digitale's inaccuracy for inaccuracy.

The upshot? Well, you know; we'll sure sell plenty of cards!

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