New Civilization News: Disappointing but not surprising - the Peter Jennings UFO special    
 Disappointing but not surprising - the Peter Jennings UFO special8 comments
25 Feb 2005 @ 03:30, by Craig Lang

It was with very low expectations, but a slight bit of hope that I watched the special this evening (7PM CST) on the ABC network, "Peter Jennings Reporting: UFO's, Seeing is Believing." Unforunately, the one thing I came away with was that my expectations were met. My overall sense was one of disappointment. I got the overall impression of business as usual - largely a repetition of the official line. Yet though the lid still seems to be tightly clamped down, there is, perhaps, a tiny crack in the artifice - and through this shines a faint glimmer of light.

The first quarter of the Peter Jennings UFO special on ABC this evening did a good job of presenting what I would describe as UFO-History 101. It provided some pretty favorable coverage to the historical sightings of the US Air Force's dilema with the UFO sightings that wouldn't go away. It refered to a large number of photographs that documented the early sightings and talked about the gun camera footage taken during the late 40's and early 50's. It further described the favorable treatment given to the E.T. hypothesis by project sign - followed by the subsequent debunking efforts from the days of the Robertson Panel onward.

Unfortunately, I think that this was the high point of the special. From that point, I got the sense that it was Jennings' job to keep the lid on, while offering a glimmer of hope to the "true believers". More on that glimmer later.

My biggest gripe about the special was the very large amount of airplay that they gave to the SETI institute. I have the highest respect for the SETI community in their study of potential ET life "out there". However I find that they are pretty much clueless when it comes to the discussion of UFO cases. And as such, I wonder if any consideration of them as experts regarding the "ET visiting Earth" paradigm is greatly misplaced.

The biggest claim of the SETI community, and thus the Jennings special, was that there is no physical evidence. And this was the biggest disappointment of the show. There was no mention of the many cases in which evidence exists. There was no mention of several reports, including the Sturrock Report, the COMETA Report, Richard Hall's book, "The UFO Evidence", and the recent paper in the British Interplanetary Society. There was only the claim that no such evidence exists.

Unfortunately also - at least in my opinion - far too much time was devoted to Roswell. I tend to be a bit of a skeptic (though open minded) about Roswell. I am not a Roswell expert and make no claim to be. However, my understanding is that there have been both some very positive, and some not so positive, points recently developed about Roswell. But to me, the biggest issue is that there has yet to appear any material from the crash. And this was one point made in the show.

Unfortunately, the biggest negative in their discussion of the Roswell case was the Mogul balloon hypothesis - which Kevin Randle and Don Schmitt quite some time ago pointed out, doesn't work. But it was this, along with the unfortunately-too-positive airplay given to the "Case Closed" report published by the USAF, that presented a very negatively slanted view of the mystery. Something interesting did happen at Roswell and we, the public, don't know what it was. ABC made no effort to make an objective discovery of what it was - which, witih all of their resources, might have made for a fascinating expose of - well, of whatever happened at Roswell.

They subsequently turned their attention to the topic of "so called" alien abduction. And here is what I found to be the biggest disappointment. I noted that the majority of the airtime was given to a team of psychologists whose primary claim is that all alien abduction is fantasy. In a study summary, "Alien Abduction Tales Offer Clues on Memory" they conclude that traumatic memory is often not verifiable. Thus, "the physiological markers of emotion that accompany recollection of a memory cannot be taken as evidence of the memory's authenticity"

Their rationale for this conclusion is that memories of alien abduction can elicit the same emotional responses as verifiable memories. Thus, they state that (since abduction is assumed to be fantasy) reality and fantasy can not be distinguished in emotional memory. Their core assumption is that alien abduction is not real, and thus they have actually begun their study by assuming their conclusion. To me this is a fatal flaw in their work.

Alas, this was the core of the section on abduction. They spent an additional amount of time talking about Awareness during Sleep Paralysis (ASP) and related things that mimic (and are the null hypothesis for) the close encounter capture scenario. And while they did devote some airplay to the abduction scenario, unfortunately they again missed some very good material. The biggest example of what they missed was the work of Dr. John Mack - but the list goes on. Thus, I think that they missed some of the best of the best in this wholly new field at the leading edge of human knowledge.

The focus always returned to the "show me the evidence". In all fairness, they were right in that one of the hallmarks of the close encounter phenomenon is it's ambiguity. UFO encounters are not reproducable in a laboratory. They do not lend themselves to reductionistic experimental study. And so, to Seth Shostak, Jill Tartar and Frank Drake - all of the SETI institute, they are not science. But have any of those in the SETI world ever seen a tornado? If so, then could they reproduce their experience in the laboratory? So, if they claim to have been in one, how could they prove it to me?

Again and again, the overwhelming focus of the Peter Jennings special was on the (claimed) lack of physical evidence. And yet during this focus, they missed some excellent cases which offered just such evidence. These are well documented in the literature. The Sturrock Report clearly establishes the evidence of a significant unexplained component to the plethora of UFO reports that reach the ears of MUFON and other organizations. And these alone could be considered the smoking gun - the indicator that there is a significant unexplained phenomenon present in our skies. It does not make any claims as to their origin, but merely that they are unexplained.

Still, they did end with the ray of light - with the lid being left slightly ajar. This was the interview at the conclusion of the show, with Dr. Michio Kaku. In it, he strongly suggested that when dealing with topics like UFOs it is necessary to think out of the box. The study of potential ET visits to Earth requires thinking beyond conventional physics. And it was this with which Peter Jennings concluded his show: "No proof yet, but maybe, just maybe...."

While I can't say I was impressed, perhaps it was about the best we can hope for from the mainstream news media. Yet, even in the darkness, perhaps we saw the beginning - a slow, painful lifting of the lid. Maybe after darkness comes the dawn.

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25 Feb 2005 @ 05:01 by bushman : Ya
Seemed a bit lacking. I was hopeing they would have use some of that shutle footage. But, who knows, maybe , just maybe, they will come clean before my days are up, lol. :}  

25 Feb 2005 @ 06:20 by hgoodgame : What's it going to take
before we get over 'Waiting For Godot' to come snatch us up in the nick (or is that knick) of time? The way there is thru. Not thru out there, thru you, thru yourself, that's the road and that's the only path. It's all lovely all the outer that seems to reflect what we believe inside, but it's still just one more diversion from stopping and doing the real work, your own, building your character day by day. Not by judging others but by judging yourself.
You are the path. No one else. All they can do is help point the way, but in the end you will walk it by yourself. So get ready and be GLAD!  

25 Feb 2005 @ 14:38 by sprtskr : I saw the show
I already knew I would be disappointed but I know the truth so it doesn't matter any more. I don't look for outside help either, I know I am the only one who can make a difference in my life,my choices and what I choose to change or enhance.  

25 Feb 2005 @ 15:17 by jmarc : TWA 800
Did anyone see the initial ABC breaking news reports when that jet liner went down off of long island? A reporter live on the scene was interviewing an eyewitness who had seen a trail of smoke rising toward the airliner right before it crashed. Peter Jenning quickly cut off the interview and stated that there is absolutely no proof of any such thing happening and we can't trust eyewitness accounts. You'd have thought that if Jennings was on the street at the time he would have actually cold clocked the guy just to shut him up, he seemed so urgent about it. That told me alot about Jennings right there that night, and i saw the same theme repeated last night, though not from his mouth directly, that eyewitnesses are not to be trusted. You're not seeing what you're seeing? Sure.  

25 Feb 2005 @ 15:41 by fleer : Out of the blue
I think you guys should take a look at
{link:|Out of the blue} links to
They have some clips online that I find interesting.
Also check out
{link:|The Secret NASA Transmissions: The Smoking Gun} links to
Thanks for your informative links :)  

25 Feb 2005 @ 16:51 by craiglang : Article updated
Note: Updated the article to correct typo's etc.
Wrote it pretty late last night... :-)  

2 Mar 2006 @ 23:58 by tenerife : to whom it may concern
Whatever you expect or what we got told about Ufos (I have not seen the a.m. show).. I have to recommend David M. Jacobs "THE THREAT" (Simon&Schuster)
who made an important step forward into Ufo science with trustful arguments.
To read this book is a MUST.  

8 Mar 2006 @ 20:26 by craiglang : The Threat

Thanks for the note. I have read The Threat, and really liked it. I use it as a reference in my book, "The Cosmic Bridge" on the relationship between humanity and the Visitors.

While it has some excellent points, I found that The Threat was way too negative. As a hypnotherapist who works with close encounter experiencers, I have not found the same things that David Jacobs describes - at least, not consistently.

I have found that the UFO/CE4 phenomenon is very much a mixed bag. It often drives spiritual growth through intrusive paranormal interaction, much the same way as other challenges in life. I don't know what the actual phenomenon is, but I can see over the years, what it has done to and for my clients. And the answer is that there is not any one answer.

IMHO, Jacobs focuses too much on the dark side. Yet, he does have some good points about the UFO and Close Encounter phenomenon.
My $0.02. Thanx again for your comment.

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