I spoke with Charley Mefferd on the telephone Tuesday morning (11/26), and he clarified a few issues. I expected him to be combative, but that’s not what happened at all. We had a very nice conversation, and I appreciate that a lot.
To my surprise, Charley agreed with my primary contention, that the telephone line stayed connected through the end of the Driscoll recording. He said that the time that “they watched it drop” was at the end of the music bed. That means Charley agrees with me that the call continued for about 34 seconds after Janet started the close of the segment, and about 24 seconds after Janet quit talking. Charley downplayed the importance of Janet’s statements on social media that implied otherwise.
He said that they treat recorded interviews the same as the live ones, as that helps them keep exactly on time. So that’s why they play the bumper music for a recorded interview. According to Charley, they were “up against the break”, and the bumper music would have played there anyway. In other words, Charley told me yesterday that the segment was ending at that time, no matter what.
He said they were surprised, he used the word “stunned” – that Driscoll’s side had recorded the interview on their end.
Charley described their studio setup to me as a Telos TWOx12 phone system, connected to an audio board, and recorded on Adobe Audition. This is about what I expected them to have, and makes it very possible that the telephone channel could have simply been switched off on the board- removing Mark from the conversation and the subsequent “raw audio” recording.
And this is where we have a dead end, for the man at the controls was Producer Bobby Belt, and he is the only person that could know whether the audio channel on the board was on or off. According to Charley, he directly asked Bobby if the channel was left on, and Bobby swears it was. He says he has full confidence in Bobby Belt’s truthfulness and has no reason to doubt him.
Bobby made a similar statement on the Mefferd Facebook page:
But we don’t know. What we do know is this:
1. The call was never dropped until the interview was over.
2. Mark paused for 2 seconds, and then Janet started talking to end the segment. But Charley says it was time for it to end then anyway at that precise moment because they were “up against the break.” In other words, formatics dictated that the interview was ending at that point, no matter what.
3. By the time Mark started talking again, he couldn’t be heard because something or someone had interrupted his audio path.
That may have been Bobby, or maybe not. He may have switched the telephone feed to a “cue channel” so he could hear it off the air, and in the haste of the moment pressed the wrong button so it couldn’t be heard at all.
That happens all the time with very talented producers and board ops. I think whatever happened most likely happened on Janet’s end, because all the switching and the show closing was happening on Bobby’s board at precisely that moment. Or it’s also possible something happened on Mark’s end. I don’t think we will ever know.
But it doesn’t matter, because they wouldn’t have gone back to Mark Driscoll, even if his voice had popped back in to the interview.
I mean really, can you imagine how awkward that would have been?
Janet: Allright, I think we’ve lost him.That is Mark Driscoll, from Mars Hill Church in Seattle, and I guess, uh, he has opted out of the interview.”
Mark:”I’m still here, I’m just…”
Fictitious Janet: “Oh, sorry, you’re back. We lost you there for a moment. (Music starts) But hey, time’s up, we’ve got to go. Thanks Mark! And we’ll be back…..”
See, that’s just not going to happen. The interview was over. Yes- Mark’s 2-second pause at precisely the right time precipitated the end of the interview and led to it ending as it did. But to say that Mark hung up on her, or to say “nor did WE cut the interview short,” as Bobby Belt claims, is disingenuous.
I think the initial picture that Janet painted of what happened in that interview is a false one. I think she was taken by surprise when Mark Driscoll released his recording that showed she exaggerated her story of the way it ended. And I think she’s been reluctant to publicly correct the record.
“But wait,” they say. “Isn’t the real story here Mark Driscoll’s plagiarism? Let’s stick to the point.”
No, it’s not. The real story is Christian ethics, and Janet has pointed that finger at Mark Driscoll in regard to things he’s published that definitely seem to be plagiarism to me, especially given more compelling evidence Janet released yesterday. But the Christian ethics finger points both ways. Janet has made some statements along the way that were absolutely not true. To my knowledge, she has neither acknowledged nor apologized for that.
How can you say on your blog, “Scripture is clear that Christians are to be holy, exhibiting the highest standards of ethics, integrity and morality in obedience to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” as Janet said this morning, and yet say to me on Facebook:
No. It’s not about plagiarism. It’s about Christian ethics. And yet, as I listened to Janet on the radio yesterday as she made her case about what Mark should do, she said that it’s not enough to say you’re sorry. You have to fix it.
Mark has to fix his part. Janet should fix hers as well.