Saturday, September 20, 2008

"There Was a Time When the USAF Gave the MSM Permission to Ask Questions About UFOs . . ."

UFO Q and A
They don't teach this in J-school

By Billy Cox
De Void

Billy COx     Still agog over ABC’s emasculating refusal Tuesday night to get the Air Force on record about the UFO incident Stephenville, De Void nearly wept with nostalgia this week when alerted to the existence of a 41-year-old book.

It’s called “Problems of Journalism: Proceedings of the Society of Newspaper Editors, 1967.” Veteran UFO watcher Robert Barrow ( picked it up for $3.50 in 1968, and the chapter he blogged about involves a round table discussion between UFO researchers and newspaper editors.

Gasp — it’s true. There was a time when the USAF gave the MSM permission to ask questions about UFOs because its own official study (which turned out to be crap, but that’s another story) was underway.

What’s great about Barrow’s post is how, way back then, one of the few real heroes in any government-authorized assessment of UFOs doubted the media had the stones for the job. Physicist Dr. James McDonald, a member of the University of Colorado panel contracted by the USAF to analyze its data, told journalists they were blowing the story.

“Something is going on here of the greatest scientific interest that has been shoved under a rug, ridiculed and laughed out of court,” the former Navy cryptographer told them.

“You and your feature writers have helped ridicule it. It’s easier to write a funny story. And once the Air Force tells you there’s nothing to it, what is more logical than to say ‘People see things; there are a lot of nuts around the country’? And that has led to the net effect that very few of these are reported.”

McDonald would go on to be the leading critic of the Colorado report, a whitewash that allowed the USAF to rinse its hands of UFO transparency once and for all. But what’s also interesting are remarks made by Harvard astronomer and UFO debunker Donald Menzel, who never read a report he couldn’t explain or deride:

“The Air Force has made its mistakes. They never have had enough scientists in the project. They have failed to follow up certain sightings of special importance. To me their questionnaire is amateurish, almost cleverly designed to get the wrong answer and lose track of the facts.”

Four decades later, of course, McDonald’s pessimism has been borne out. And really, as ABC “PrimeTime” proved, you don’t even have to ridicule UFOs anymore. Just pile a lot of colorful garbage in the picture window, keep away from the Air Force, and call this exercise in paternalism whatever you want — like journalism.

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