News Roundup: William Shatner Is Mad at Archaeologists, Nick Pope Says Will Smith's Slap Stopped an Alien Invasion, and Bryan Bender Finally Says I'm Right
It’s been a busy week in the world of the pseudoscientific fringe, so busy in fact that I don’t even have time to do more than mention that Graham Hancock has a new book out, Visionary, a revised and expanded “definitive” edition of his 2005 book Supernatural. Yesterday, William Shatner got upset because archaeologists and proponents of science took to Twitter to complain about the hogwash his The UnXplained offered as archaeology on Friday.
Shatner seemed surprised, but to be fair to him, he had some reason to be. His show broadcasts pseudoscientific nonsense on a wide range of topics every week, mostly with little pushback. This particular episode garnered more online criticism because, more or less, I publicized it online due to its archaeology topic when it aired Friday, and many others joined in criticizing it over the weekend.
Also this week, Nick Pope alleged that after the infamous Oscars incident in which Will Smith slapped Chris Rock, space aliens probably called off their invasion of Earth because they are now afraid of Will Smith, conflating him with his Men in Black character.
“If extraterrestrials are watching Earth - either monitoring us as part of a scientific study of emerging civilisations or maybe as reconnaissance, ahead of an alien invasion - they'll get a lot of their information about us from our TV broadcasts.
The Mirror tabloid reported Pope’s words and insisted that they were not an April Fool’s joke.
But the most interesting bit of news this week was the astonishing series of tweets that Politico reporter Bryan Bender made in which he admitted to reporting misleading information about the Pentagon’s UFO program, while conceding, after a year, that everything I wrote in The New Republic about the kooks hunting interdimensional space poltergeists on the government dime wasn’t just true but also the real story behind the veneer of UFO research. The discussion was prompted by the release of new Pentagon documents showing that Harry Reid pushed the AAWSAP Skinwalker Ranch/paranormal investigation program despite receiving no formal briefs on its progress, while referring to it under the incorrect name of AATIP, under which Lue Elizondo apparently continued its work informally when it was terminated.
Bender blocked me on Twitter last year and spent weeks purposely wasting my time with fake interview requests because he thought I was insufficiently respectful of the paranormal enthusiasts he now admits were misleading him and lying about their UFO research.
That he spent so much time harassing me about a subject he now openly admits to not being familiar with is astonishing. That he then tweeted this is incomprehensible:
Bender was one of the reporters who broke the AATIP story in 2017, along with the New York Times team, which included UFO enthusiast Leslie Kean and alien abduction enthusiast Ralph Blumenthal. It was his job to do the research to learn about the Pentagon’s various UFO research programs before reporting the story, but he instead chose to be Lue Elizondo’s and Chris Mellon’s stenographer, while now blaming them for not spoon-feeding him the lunatic side of their research program.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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