Friday Roundup: "Hunting Hitler" Star Blames Shootings on Feminization; Plus: Jimmy Church Comes Out Against To the Stars
It is no surprise that a History Channel host would have extreme views about masculinity, or that he would lean to the far right. In 2015, he told the media that he planned to make fringe history his permanent career. It turns out that being a rightwing shill pays better. Kennedy is a regular fixture on Fox News, where his major talking point is fear of Islam and ISIS. He is only one example of the close connection between rightwing politics and fringe/occult media. Personalities from other History Channel shows deliver rightwing political commentary, appear on evangelical broadcasts, and eagerly conflate right-leaning conspiracy theories with (small-c) conservative politics.
Nevertheless, Kennedy’s appearance on Fox News couldn’t have been more apropos considering the observations I made yesterday about the Travel Channel’s new series Code of the Wild, which similarly takes a hypermasculine approach to history, sending two ignorant outdoorsmen in search of mysteries. I have noted many times that cable pseudo-documentaries are thinly veiled paeans to an imaginary masculine ideal, one reflective not of real men of the past but of the Victorian and pulp fiction adventurer-heroes who became literary and cinematic archetypes.
This drive to create the image of the hypermasculine hero-adventurer leads down ridiculous paths. We have seen on shows as diverse as America’s Lost Vikings, America Unearthed, and Code of the Wild men acting ridiculous while trying to pretend for the cameras that they are on dangerous adventures to all of the uncharted territories you can reach with a full film crew in tow. In the most recent of these shows, the Discovery Channel’s new UFO-hunting series Contact, fantasy novel author Myke Coe is promoted in TV fantasy from novelist (how effeminate!) to “a 15-year intelligence veteran with the FBI, CIA, and DIA” and his Discovery Channel bio implies, falsely, that he led the team that killed Osama Bin Laden. He is, in reality, a Coast Guard reservist who served as a security contractor. In a biography published when he first launched his TV career on a CBS game show, it is much clearer that he was a security contractor for the CIA and worked briefly in intelligence analysis for the DIA and the Office of Naval Intelligence before becoming a consultant to the NYPD. He mostly does IT work focusing on cybersecurity. He was not in charge of Seal Team Six, and as best I can tell wasn’t working for the ONI at the time of Bin Laden’s death. Discovery, though, isn’t content to deal in reality, so they had to inflate him into a superhuman intelligence machine. Coe apologized last year for sexually harassing women and promised to work to make literature a “safe space” for women. Somehow that didn’t make it into his credentials for hunting flying saucers. Incidentally, Cole describes himself on his own website as a “TV personality” before anything else. Oh, well. I guess that’s good enough to count as an “expert” on flying saucers.
Contact, however, is an odd show. It’s close to a carbon copy of History’s Unidentified, the show they produced with To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science. Both shows claim to investigate the U.S. government’s various efforts to study UFOs, with the unproved assumption that there is something sinister in the skies. In the Discovery show, the focus is on CIA software (Cole’s specialty) and declassified government reports, while Unidentified fetishizes government interest in UFOs as proof of the reality of the “phenomenon.” A far cry from the previous generation’s distrust of government, we have entered a phase where ufology is looking toward the government as the way, the light, and the truth.
Late last month, UFO researcher John Greenwald appeared on Jimmy Church’s radio show, and the two men discussed To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science. During the discussion, Church explained that he was deeply suspicious of TTSA and believes that it is a front from the CIA, whom he accuses of using psy-ops on the America public and treating TTSA founder Tom DeLonge as a patsy. According to a transcript published on the UFO Joe website, Church explained his reasoning this way:
Now, I’m not going to disclose anything private that was discussed between TTSA and myself over the years. I won’t do it. That’s not cool. But I will say this: I have had many, many conversations with top members of this community. And they’ve all told me the same things when it comes to TTSA. That TTSA loves me. Not me, Jimmy. I’m talking about the researchers, the authors. That they love them. They respect their work. They know how professional they are in that the community listens to them because they know that they can trust them. You know, and I’ve heard this so many times now, it’s almost scripted, word for word. This is what scares me the most. And it just seems…it just seems that there is an actual CIA counter-intel, DoD machine up and running for real. This isn’t some Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler spy novel fiction, for fun. This is reality.
He ended up ranting about how TTSA is engaging in mind control, and, honestly, it was a little paranoid.
I think Church has it backward. It’s less that the CIA is secretly running TTSA—for what purpose?—than it is the fact that the intelligence and defense communities have dozens of UFO true believers, and have had them since the 1970s. These men have migrated to TTSA as a retirement plan.
To his credit, Church seems to understand this, picking up on many of the same financial points about TTSA’s lack of demonstrable output except for media products shoveling money into executive salaries. He then adds this:
We’re gonna give you 50,000 shares, we’re gonna give you 20,000 shares, we’re gonna give you 100,000…a half a million shares…a million shares, you know? And those shares are worth 10 cents each right now, but what if they go up to $1? What if they go to $2? What if they go to $10 and that’s the appeal to somebody out there that has been in this community or a government employee, making $50,000 a year, $60,000 a year. And suddenly, you know, you’re retired and you’re sitting on, you know, a half a million shares of stock in a company that is going to double, triple…which is nothing. It’s nothing to go from 10 cents to 50 cents. But, if you think about it, 50 cents a share. $1 a share…but you’re sitting on something that had an initial value of nothing at the stock offering? And then you’ve got stock options in the future. That to somebody is a way to come in and go, “Yeah, I’ll be a part of this action.” Because they’re already in the in the circle. They’re in the group. They come from counterintelligence, they come from the CIA, they come from the Department of Defense, with those government salaries. And suddenly, they’re in the private sector getting offered, you know, this kind of incentive and bonuses. Money they’ve never seen before.
And heaven help me, but I agreed with Church a second time near the end of the show when he explained that his sources confirm what I had independently concluded from the historical record, that the so-called “metamaterials” are completely terrestrial. My reading of the literature suggests that they are simply industrial waste. He is Church blasting Hal Puthoff and To the Stars for either intentional deception or self-delusion:
I wanted to get back to a point about the metamaterials now. Now, I had a very long conversation top, top, top, top, top, top, researcher. Top, top of the heap. And he said to me, he said, “Jimmy, I was in possession of those metamaterials. I had them for a couple of years. I had them completely tested at multiple laboratories. They are 100% terrestrial. And I told TTSA this. I gave TTSA all of my laboratory results. They don’t wanna listen. And they just wanna go on with this story…that it is…uh, you know, that it’s ET. It is not.” And, and that’s it. I took that as gospel. I just backed up and went okay and you know, TTSA is gonna run with this and sensationalize it and and make it part of their “Unidentified” show and and and I get that. It’s like a Bigfoot show. You know the ending of Bigfoot, right? You know the ending of the show, and with these metamaterials, it’s going to be the same thing. It’s gonna be ongoing. The tests are inconclusive, but, but there’s this and this. And and that’s, that’s the way it’s gonna run. It’s a TV show. And I get that. But I’m telling you what I was told.
A large portion of the discussion revolved around the, well, revolving door between government and the media, in which both the government and the media try to screw the average American out of money to fund a neverending search into nothing, with the promise of dramatic revelations after the next election or the next commercial break. Church and Greenwald singled out A+E Networks, the parent of the History Channel, for particularly unethical behavior. Both have worked with A+E in the past, and it seems that some fringe folks are finally turning on the UFO-industrial complex now that the pork is larding competing ufologists’ false claims.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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