Saturday, July 07, 2007

ABC News Morphs into CNN While Doing Piece On UFO Documentary—“Out of The Blue”

ABC Morphing into CNN
By Frank Warren
© 7-9-2007

     Not surprisingly, and following the “mainstream press pattern, ABC News, specifically “Nightline” delivered a disappointing segment on UFOs, and in particular, the “updated version” (5th anniversary) of the documentary, “Out of The Blue” last night (Friday July 6th).

Out of The Blue (Cover - Res Sml)
Not unlike its rival, CNN, the reporting done primarily by Brian Rooney was poor, and misleading; however, they did omit the “Sci-Fi theme music” (e.g., The Outer Limits) which I suppose is a plus given how the networks (and CNN) “handle” the subject.

James Fox (Sml 2)There were a couple of positives however; one is the fact that the documentary is a superb piece of work, produced by James Fox, and they “aired several clips” during the segment which “allowed for intelligibility” amongst the fog; the other positive was “Out of The Blue” being exposed to a large audience.

Peter Jennings-UFOs
Much like the Peter Jennings show, “Seeing is Believing” done a couple of years back, the news segment started out well; it began with Dr. Frank Drake (in a classroom setting, in front of a chalkboard) explaining the “Drake Equation” which calculates the number of worlds that may harbor intelligent life; this was followed by witnesses of the Phoenix Lights sighting of ’97, beginning with good friend and colleague Mike Fortson.

It was all down hill from there in my view; although there were moments of clarity, as the producers continued to show snippets of the documentary. The questions posed by Brian Rooney intimated that the subject of UFOs was either “faith based,” fodder for the “mentally challenged” or possibly some “grand conspiratorial hoax!”

Michael ShermerProfessional skeptic Michael Shermer was enlisted to offer the “contrasting view” (apparently) and for me “broke the monotony,” as it evoked laughter; piteously he actually believes what he says. Shermer took eye witness accounts of astronauts, police officers or politicians like Jimmy Carter bundled them up and discarded them, saying, “it's irrelevant . . . because they're human and they're brains and nervous systems and sensory apparatus are structured just like the average Joes."

Can you imagine an attorney in a murder case standing up in court using that defense? Apparently, Shermer would have the viewer believe that the credibility of witnesses is dependent upon “just what they saw.” If they saw a plane then “their respective neurons are firing properly”; however, inject a UFO into the mix, and perhaps their “sensory apparatus” is flawed somehow! Ad Nauseum!

Although Shermer talked about “science” stating, “The, uh, the story is well told and well produced. But that's not how science works. In science we have to have some way of testing to get an answer. It's this or this. And we have to have some way of weighing the evidence.” He continues by saying, “UFO sightings, even the most interesting ones, tend to share similar characteristics. There are no pictures, or the pictures are blurry. Or maybe there are pictures, but they disappeared into government archives never to be seen again.”

Shermer fails to point out (and Rooney doesn’t question) the fact that the UFO phenomenon is “transitory”; because the task of acquiring scientific evidence is difficult under these circumstances, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible, or that it doesn’t exist as Shermer might have the viewer believe!

The dialogue left the viewer thinking that Ufology is supported by nothing more then “questionable witnesses and or blurry pictures.” Nothing was said about the 20 years of investigation done by the U.S. Air Force” or the fact that some of the greatest minds of the last century were tasked “secretly” to investigate the phenomenon; many who would become “Nobel Laureates!” “Physical trace cases” weren’t mentioned, nor “radar/visual sightings.” The fact that every intelligence agency as well as every branch of the military has files on UFOs was also precluded.

That truth that Congress has addressed the subject matter on more then one occasion, as well as it echoing through the halls of the U.N. was conveniently omitted!

The statistical study by the "Battelle Memorial Institute" (regarding UFO sightings) done for the Air Force was not mentioned; nor Project Blue Book’s Special Report No. 14. The formation of “The Robertson Panel” by the CIA, and the beginning of “governmental debunking” (based on the recommendation of the panel) was not discussed.

Blue Book Status Report (Cover)
Suffice it to say, what was left out of the piece in regards to “validating Ufology” for the layperson was substantial! The questions asked, as well as the way they were asked, in addition to omission of much of the facts certainly influences the “collective mind-set of the viewers.”

Swamp Gas Heading
This “pitiable reporting” by “the mainstream media” in regards to the “UFO Phenomenon” is very reminiscent of the reporting of erroneous data in the months following 911, which lead over 70% of the American public to “falsely believe” that Iraq had something to do with the attack.

The one encouraging (and ironic) aspect of the segment is that, given Nightline’s large audience, those that end up purchasing the documentary, “Out of The Blue” will get a more accurate, and illuminating report of the “UFO Phenomenon. “ Good work James Fox!

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