By Frank WarrenOne of the things that Ufologists constantly yen for is “serious attention” by mainstream media in regards to the phenomenon; consequently when someone of Larry King’s stature and or recognition addresses the matter we Ufologists tend to get a little “giddy.”
It’s a rarity that the “subject of UFOs” makes it to a platform as that of King’s, or for that matter a “news” venue like “CNN.” Even more exceptional is to be in such an environment and be devoid of the usual background organ music, stage fog and the “lighthearted manner” in which the subject is broached.
All can agree that King is no stranger to the phenomenon and has delved into it for decades (although very sporadically); no doubt he has a “personal interest.” Moreover, most would agree that on average he gives Ufology a “fair shake”; however, after “his” last show back in July, as well as a recent airing by “respected” National Geographic, along with the debacle by Anderson Cooper on King’s same network, “CNN,” these exemplars give/gave rise to angst in regarding just how Larry would narrate Friday’s show concerning this very important issue.
On King’s last “UFO themed show” there seemed to be a predisposition on his part, reflected by at times his mildly sardonic attitude. Additionally, his meek administration as moderator of his own show precipitated unwanted squabbles, and confusion on the set. For those of us that pay attention, this was a big disappointment!
Worse yet was the show that his young colleague, “Anderson Cooper” hosted i.e., “Anderson Cooper 360°” on the “O’Hare Incident” of last year; although this involved an “unidentified aircraft” in the second busiest airport in the world, in a post 911 era, witnessed by dozens of airport employees, Cooper chose to “make light of it!”
Following “that debacle,” when one thought it couldn’t get any worse, National Geographic aired, “Under Cover History: The Real Roswell.” This production was filled with innuendo, off-putting adjectives and point blank misinformation and falsehoods! The very people (Ufologists) “used” in the show rebuffed it, and further stated that had they known what the end result would have been, they wouldn’t have participated!
This brings us to last Friday night’s show, "UFOS: Are They for Real?" Right away the very title of the show gives the knowledgeable researcher pause; even the “studious layperson” is aware of the fact that the term, “UFO” was borne by the “Air Force.”
For the ignorant the Air Force “officially” entered the term “UFO” into the military lexicon back in 1952 (although it was used often before that time). This replaced the more common term (then), “Flying Saucers” to describe what people were witnessing flying in U.S. airspace. That said, asking the question, “are UFOs real,” is nonsensical! It would be akin to asking the question “is the Empire State Building real?” Neither makes sense!
Another curio, given the caliber of Ufologists Larry has interviewed over the years, as well as his experience on the topic, certainly Larry knows better to pose such a “silly question”; one has to wonder why he would allow this perplexity to continue.
The important signification of Friday night’s show is that it was/is a slight prelude of what is to come tomorrow, Monday the 12th in Washington D.C.: According to a recent “press release”:
“. . . Experts from seven countries will divulge what they have discovered about UFOs at a November 12 panel discussion moderated by former Arizona Governor Fife Symington (R) at the National Press Club.Readers may remember a similar event produced by the controversial, “Steven Greer.” Although lines have been drawn in the “Ufological sand” in regards to Greer himself, most applaud his efforts vis-à-vis “his” press conference back in 2001. As it will be tomorrow, Greer assembled a group of very “credible, high caliber witnesses” who shared some very mind-blowing information. Moreover, that group declared they would give “every detail” to members of Congress, given that they would not be prosecuted for violating any security oaths.
. . . This panel consists of some of the most qualified people in the world with direct experience in dealing with this issue, and they will bring incredible, irrefutable evidence, some never presented before . . ..
. . . The group, using previously classified documents, will discuss many well-documented cases, including two investigated by the US government . . ..
Five of the participants in tomorrow’s press conference appeared on Larry’s show Friday night, they included:
- James Fox – Documentary Film Producer (UFOs) and co-producer of tomorrow’s event.
- Fife Symington – The former governor of Arizona and witness to the huge “V-shaped craft” seen in the western US in 1997.
- Colonel Chuck Halt – The former deputy base commander of Bentwaters Woodbridge, a U.S. military base in Suffolk, England and direct eyewitness to the “UFO encounter at Rendlesham Forest.
- Jim Pennison – Retired Woodbridge security supervisor who at Bentwaters actually saw and touched said craft on the ground.
- Nick Pope – Former government official for the British Ministry of Defence (MoD), who ran the British government's UFO project.
- John Callahan – Former division chief of accidents and investigations branch of the FAA in Washington.
Most definitely the declarations from the afore mentioned panel was the highlight of the show. In particular the statements of “Halt & Pennison,” regarding the “Rendlesham Incident,” as well as former FAA division chief, “John Callahan’s” report on the Japanese 747 being pursued by a UFO.
One would think that even from the layperson’s perspective, that these “credentialed veterans” presented their respective declarations with great resolve and clarity.
Having “Nick Pope” a former “insider” if you will, concur with the thesis presented by Halt & Pennison certainly gives supplementary plausibility for the less informed. Nick literally investigated the UFO phenomenon for the “British Ministry of Defence.”
During the segues there were snippets of UFO photographs, videos, interviews etc.; although some had nothing to do with the subject, and a few might have been detrimental to serious research, in toto it was palatable.
One thing I noticed, and I might add was a pleasant surprise: not once was there the video of the “flare drop” associated with what has erroneously been dubbed, “The Phoenix Lights.” There was a snippet of Dr. Lynne’s “lights” but the 10:30 flare drop was not aired—thanks Larry!
Regrettably, but not surprisingly, Larry and his producers were not neglectful in regards to the “fringe element” of his audience; this was evident by including actress, author, spiritualist, and for lack of a better term, all around paranormalist, “Shirley MacLaine.” Now to be clear, I have nothing against “Shirley MacLaine; I respect her opinions, and admire her chutzpah! That said, she was a “square peg” for a “round hole” in this instance.
From the producer’s standpoint, they were doing a show about UFOs, she’s been in the forefront lately regarding her statements in her book concerning Kucinich’s UFO sighting, and then the interjection of that into the last democratic debate. She is controversial, etc., I get “why she was on”; however, this certainly didn’t help the Ufological cause, as we know the ignorant already have to contend with the stigmas surrounding the phenomenon by itself, much less the added controversy MacLaine brings to the table.
Since the premise of the show was, “UFOS: Are They for Real?” then of course Larry and his producers wouldn’t leave out “the opposing view,” or in this instance the “comedic segment of the show.
When Larry first uttered debunker “James McGaha’s name, I cringed! Then I laughed as I caught myself thinking, “where’s Michael Shermer” when you need him? Although Shermer spews the same flapdoodle as McGaha, his delivery is much more polished, and he is a likable sort; McGaha you just feel sorry for.
Initially, I was little perturbed that McGaha would be given the same consideration as these high caliber witnesses; however, as has always been the case with McGaha, he is his own worst enemy! In the aftermath I just found it improbable that any one rational individual would lend him credence.
Unfortunately, for those who are truly interested in the subject of UFOs, yet remain skeptical, and would have liked to have had intelligent questions and or debate for the witnesses, McGaha wasn’t their man! He failed miserably!
After McGaha’s display Friday night, one can envision even the most hardcore of Pyrrhonist’s putting distance between he and themselves.
All and all I gave the show a C+. It certainly went past my expectations; however, rendered no positive surprises.
The value of the show is that of the “small window it provided” for tomorrow’s event. This deed taken on by “James Fox” and Leslie Kean” is what should be applauded!
This effort by them, as well as the witnesses who join them to share their respective UFO experiences, and their quest to get the government’s attention in regards to the seriousness of the UFO phenomenon is a cause that has been championed by those who have preceded them for the last 60 years!
It is uplifting to know that this “cause,” i.e., the pursuit for “disclosure of the truth” is still alive in 2007!