Saturday, February 26, 2005

Richard Dolan's essential commentary on the Jennings UFO special:

Peter Jennings and UFOs: Spinning and Deceiving

"That was essentially the first hour. The balloon was expanding, albeit in a conventional and sanitized manner. Still, for much of America, I would bet that even this was pretty strong stuff.

"So, it was time to let some air out.

"Thus we get the SETI people. We get to hear about Jill Tarter's UFO sighting, which was actually the moon. (Seemingly implying that all UFO sightings are conventional objects). We get Frank Drake and Seth Shostak. Why?"


Corwin said...

Everyone and their enemy saw this special. These programs are money to someone, somewhere. It was a measure of people's interest in all sorts of things, the research done by this might have been extremely valuble to someone. If only I can start thinking again, I've had some trouble since seeing the ABC special.

Henry Baum said...

Great essay. Just having debunkers point of view doesn’t make the show B.S. Debunkers are a critical part of the UFO story. I thought the debunking looked pretty lame--the thought that EVERY sighting is something else, especially considering the witnesses from the first hour who all seemed credible. For me the good parts of the first hour made up for the crappiness in the second, but maybe that’s because I can look past some of the statements of the debunkers as being ludicrous. This show is a start, and it's better than nothing even if it was inaccurate and incomplete.

sauceruney said...

I didn't watch this show on purpose... and apparently I didn't miss anything.

That type of debunking, I feel, rates up there with the specious arguments we're assulted with daily by the ONDCP in regard to marijuana. Those with any semblance of consciousness will see through the false logic, and those who blindly follow everything an authority figure tells them weren't going to change their minds anyway.

Corwin said...

Well if they aired anything worth thinking about, people would stop doing all the stupid shit they do like paying taxes and electing leaders.

W.M. Bear said...

I didn't see the program and probably won't, but I thought Dolan asked one truly provocative question. Why now? What motivated ABC to air a major special (irrespective of its summary truth value) on the subject of UFOs at THIS particular point in time? Is the government trying to set us up for some momentous revelation? "Well, you know, actually folks, we really DO have some dead aliens lying around...."

W.M. Bear said...

"And they ain't the illegal type neither."

RJU said...

I think the WHY? referring to putting in comments from UFO debunkers is fairly obvious. If is wasn't included, the show could not be viewed as fair and balanced reporting. When you stack the debunkers claims against several of the incidents that were reported on, it seems clear the reported incidents were more credible.

alex r said...

the special was somewhat better than i expected, as the witnesses came off looking way better than the debunkers.

so much was left out though, and the treatment of abductions was horribly flawed. a segment on abductions without touching on betty and barney hill? no john mack?

i am not a Roswell believer at all, but the program's treatment of Stanton Friedman was shameful. he may be often wrong in his conclusions, but i believe he is sincere about his convictions and research, and did not deserve to be portrayed as a greedy opportunist.

however, despite these flaws, i don't think there's any reason to think the special had some conspiritorial genesis. ignorance, preconceived notions about ufos, and the desire for ratings during sweeps are enough reason for the special to turn out as mediocre as it did.