The opening segment discusses the 2021 ODNI UFO report in rather breathless language, with several government and media UFO personalities giving their takes, including Ralph Blumenthal, the ex-New York Times reporter who is now definitively a UFO personality rather than a journalist, and John Podesta, who has been on Ancient Aliens before and returns now to continue burying what remains of his reputation. Linda Moulton Howe rhapsodizes over the bill. George Knapp appears on the show and takes credit for having a 30-year-long “secret conversation” with Harry Reid in which the journalist acted outside of the ethical limits of journalism to push UFO advocacy on Reid and facilitated contact between Reid and Robert Bigelow, the wealthy businessman who wanted money to study interdimensional poltergeists and UFOs at Skinwalker Ranch. Clips from sister History Channel show Unidentified tell the familiar story of Luis Elizondo and Tom DeLonge and their efforts to convince the government to investigate UFOs. All of these figures get the hero treatment, and the show claims Elizondo and DeLonge had “access” to “government intel” on UFOs, a claim that would seem to contradict Elizondo’s assertion that his NDA prevented such disclosure.
The second segment again recycles footage from the defunct Unidentified series to continue discussing Elizondo’s story of taking Navy videos to his new bosses at To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science before releasing them to the media. Michio Kaku humiliates himself by declaring the so-called “Tic Tac” to have a propulsion system beyond human capability and alleges that the video’s UFOs “defy” the laws physics. The videos have been discussed on this show and Unidentified before, and Podesta chimes in to allege through implication that the videos cannot be human technology. Recycled footage tells of how Elizondo funneled information to Leslie Kean, but, in a new assertion, the show alleges that their disclosure was conditioned on her getting the story into the Times, a claim belied by the fact that she originally wrote a story about it for the Huffington Post before getting the idea to contact Ralph Blumenthal and work to place the story in the Times. The rest of the segment describes Congress becoming fascinated because the easily influenced dimwits in office take their agenda from whatever they read in the Times.
The third segment follows Congressional interest in UFOs, mostly preliminary staff meetings, leading up to Marco Rubio’s decision to require a report from the ODNI on UFOs. The show alleges that the Pentagon engaged in a “smear campaign” against Elizondo because they asserted that he did not have any formal responsibility as a UFO researcher. Earlier today, his colleague Chris Mellon admitted in a blog post that Elizondo worked on UFOs on “his own time” and not therefore as part of what the Pentagon called his “assigned responsibilities.” The show then alleges a vast conspiracy “from World War II to today,” in Linda Moulton Howe’s words, to suppress, humiliate, or discredit UFO advocates. Jeremy Corbell shows up to claim that Bob Lazar is “telling the truth.” Other dubious claims from dubious characters are similarly asserted to be true but muddied by Pentagon efforts.
The fourth segment discusses Knapp’s and Corbell’s strategic release of leaked UFO videos, most of which have been plausibly explained in ways that don’t involve space aliens. I guess it’s interesting that the talking heads talk about the blobs on screen as “vehicles,” though no one knows that they are vehicles. The show admits that skeptics have explained the videos, but it incorrectly argues that the Navy confirming the videos belonged to them therefore confirms the videos are unknown, probably alien, craft. This does not follow, and Knapp’s inability to understand that saying the video was taken by the Navy isn’t the same as saying the objects depicted therein are space aliens must be willful. Ryan Sprague claims that the videos helped to stoke a media frenzy leading up to the ODNI report, and Richard Dolan admits that Corbell released the videos to “pressure” the government. It’s interesting, I guess, that with the establishment of a permanent government UFO office, the UFO advocates who once pretended to be working independently for truth and to be doing their own research now openly admit to a networked operation to conduct a propaganda campaign and imply, as one talking head came very close to doing, that pro-UFO people within the government are coordinating it.
The fifth segment rhapsodizes over the ODNI preliminary assessment report. The talking heads spin the report to make it sound much more pro-alien than it actually was. Everyone from Kaku to Nick Pope to Steven Greenstreet claim that the report says things it doesn’t. They imply that the report’s statement that there “may” be a need for “additional scientific knowledge” to understand some UFOs means new knowledge of physics “thousands of years” beyond our own, though that is not at all implied by the rather spare text. In fact, the report’s conclusions are not nearly as pro-ET as the show claims. Indeed, the actual conclusion was that “most of the UAP described in our dataset probably remain unidentified due to limited data or challenges to collection processing or analysis.” The report was, at heart, an exercise in ass-covering by proposing every possibility but endorsing none. That “additional scientific knowledge,” by the way, was supposed to be for us to “collect on, analyze and characterize” UFOs—in other words, new scientific systems for photographing tracking and analyzing what we see, not necessarily new physics to comprehend their imagined alien tech. Motivated reasoners read into brief, spare, and generic text what they want to see.
The final segment has Ralph Blumenthal admit to being an ancient astronaut theorist. The show feints toward exploring the aftermath of the ODNI report, but the episode was apparently completed long before Congress created a new permanent UFO office, so their conclusions are out of date. Linda Moulton Howe says her lifelong dream is to testify about aliens before Congress, and the show declares Erich von Däniken a prophet of disclosure for suggesting in the 1960s that aliens would return when our technology reached a level they somehow approved of. (This is not true; in Chariots of the Gods, he actually said it would happen only when science confirmed the existence of the paranormal and we psychically contacted the aliens.) The narrator asks if a “more profound disclosure” is forthcoming and implies the aliens will handle the task.
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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