At the end of last week, the History channel announced that it had greenlit a new series about Skinwalker Ranch from Ancient Aliens producer Kevin Burns in which a team of “experts” (whatever that means when dealing with imaginary space poltergeists) will attempt to investigate the paranormal “mysteries” of the ranch in the manner of Curse of Oak Island, another of Burns’s productions. The good news is that using the Oak Island model almost guarantees that the show will never find anything.
The show serves as an informal brand extension for History’s partnership with To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science, whose staff members like Hal Puthoff previously worked with the ranch’s former owner, Robert Bigelow, who was also the driving force behind the government UFO program promoted on History’s Unidentified, the joint venture between History and To the Stars. The show will also serve as an infomercial for the plans of the ranch’s current owner to turn Skinwalker Ranch into a branded paranormal tourism destination and merchandising opportunity.
When Tom DeLonge and Hal Puthoff launched To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science a year and a half ago, I had my doubts that the company’s efforts would amount to much. While TTSA, as it seems to have settled on stylizing itself, has yet to produce any tangible scientific evidence of flying saucers (or space ghosts, or demons, or whatever they’re looking for), they have managed a feat I had not expected them to master: Manipulating the U.S. government into looking like its responding to their disclosure efforts. While nothing tangible has come of it, the marketing push TTSA has undertaken in connection with the Hearst- and Disney-owned History Channel has revealed just how easy it is to use propaganda, public relations, and insinuations to influence government policy.
After TTSA’s efforts resulted in the Navy clarifying its procedures for its pilots to report sightings of unidentified aerial vehicles, it seems that members of Congress took notice of the coverage of TTSA’s activities in the media and became interested. According to an article last week in Politico, three “more” senators, including intelligence committee vice chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) requested and received a classified briefing from the Pentagon about flying saucers.
Three more U.S. senators received a classified Pentagon briefing on Wednesday about a series of reported encounters by the Navy with unidentified aircraft, according to congressional and government officials — part of a growing number of requests from members of key oversight committees.
According to Politico, additional members of Congress have now asked to be briefed, and it seems impossible not to connect this to the hype machine the History Channel has pushed to promote Unidentified, the series the channel produces in conjunction with TTSA.
The Politico story set off a firestorm of media coverage across cable and broadcast news, much of which used branded footage from TTSA or the History Channel to illustrate the story. Gee. What a surprise.
It’s also worth noting that the Politico was written by Brian Bender, who is a talking head on Unidentified. As journalist Keith Kloor noted on Twitter, the unidentified “former Pentagon official” quoted in the article crowing about congressional interest in UFOs could very well be one of the members of To the Stars, and Bender—who has a conflict of interest—omitted any information that would help the reader to understand who this official is and whether this official has a financial or social stake, like Bender does, in promoting UFO “mysteries.”
Pres. Donald Trump told ABC News the previous Friday that he had also received a briefing from the Navy on the same subject, and—as is his wont—unable to keep his mouth shut about classified information, he told ABC (owned by Disney, the co-owner of History) that the meeting was brief and contained no information about space aliens. “But people are saying they’re seeing UFOs. Do I believe it? Not particularly,” he said. Normally, if a government official said something like this, it would be fairly good evidence that the Navy does not believe the sightings have an otherworldly origin, but since Trump is not known for either his discretion or his honesty, it’s not really possible to draw conclusions.
Politico’s Bender tied the requests for briefings to coverage of TTSA’s UFO claims in the New York Times, including their efforts to expose then-Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-NV) funding of the AATIP program at the Pentagon. Not only was TTSA behind the Times stories, but the History Channel has long had what looks from the outside like a sweetheart relationship with the paper, buying lavish ads and receiving glowing coverage of their UFO-themed programs, including Ancient Aliens and Project Blue Book. According to both my own experiences and the statements of the ufologists in all but name who masquerade as UFO reporters for the Times, the editorial team at the paper contains true believers in the UFO phenomenon.
We have a bit of an ouroboros here, with government and the media feeding off of the same speculative ufology/demonology promoted by Hal Puthoff since the 1970s, uncritically repeating TTSA claims and amplifying them through their seeming endorsement. Then, just to make everything even stranger, members of TTSA and people in their orbit like Peter Levenda showed up this weekend at Alien Con, the Ancient Aliens fan conference, to promote Unidentified and to crow about how the government is finally taking UFOs seriously, though the whole thing was their doing in the first place, with Puthoff releasing information about his own speculative work for Robert Bigelow as a subcontractor for the Pentagon and calling it UFO disclosure. Then everyone hobnobbed with Star Trek icon William Shatner, who has been making UFO documentaries since the 1970s and has a new History paranormal series riding the coattails of Ancient Aliens next month, and the revolving door between science fiction and UFO studies made another revolution.
Wim Van der Straeten
6/24/2019 01:34:58 pm
In France there are several magazines that deal with the paranormal and UFO's, like Science et Inexpliqué, Ikaris Magazine and Aliens. I buy a copy of these magazines in Brussels, where I work (I've studied French). I read them just for fun, as a sci fi and horror fan. Of course, Jacques Bergier and Louis Pauwels, the authors of Morning of the Magicians, were French.
6/24/2019 02:36:20 pm
Pauwels was born in Belgium and Bergier was a Russian Jew from Odessa, Я́ков Миха́йлович Бéргер.
6/24/2019 09:07:23 pm
" In a rare instance of NOT injecting politics..."
6/25/2019 02:38:17 am
I ran into George and his teacup Peekapoo a few times in the Barnes & Noble in Bethesda, MD (gone now I think) and I can say he's no Rob Lowe. Don't actively dislike him but he is a side dish I did not order.
6/24/2019 02:51:43 pm
How much do they pay to guests appearing on these shows ?
6/25/2019 07:34:48 am
If you can lay your hands on an anvil you'll have everything you need to make a welder. I saw it on the A Team once.
6/24/2019 03:13:05 pm
‘Unexplained: Blah blah blah’ is a series which goes way beyond the kind of flimflam one is used to seeing on shows like Ancient Aliens, but seems to be attempting the perpetrate a scam of unprecedented audacity, all backed up with some highly dubious videos and even less convincing anecdotal bullshit of the “my buddy told me” variety. And we’re to believe this, why? Because sailors don’t lie? Because death from above, gung ho, baby-killing, top gun sky-pirates are so fucking beyond reproach?
6/24/2019 05:27:30 pm
"To the Stars Arts and Sciences Academy" where it is neither art (subjective or objective) or science (facts, theories, conclusions, hypothesis, or just opinions) and is certainly not a legit academy.
6/24/2019 05:44:26 pm
To be fair he did put in the work and get his PhD. Odds are he's out-achieved you in non-UFO related areas.
6/24/2019 07:49:03 pm
Odds are that you’ll soon spout off some more dittohead conservative talking points that I’ve heard semi-literate yokels on hot talk radio do a better job of parroting back than you’ve managed.
6/24/2019 08:00:16 pm
"Spout off"? Is that like when Obama talked about people "popping off"? https://verysmartbrothas.theroot.com/president-obamas-folks-wanna-pop-off-is-the-blackest-1822523232
Kent the Kent
6/24/2019 08:05:08 pm
Kent is a right Kent
6/24/2019 10:04:17 pm
“Fundamentals of Quantum Electronics” in 1969? I guess he solved the decoherence problem 50 years ago! Why is everyone else wasting their time? Or maybe the “many-worlds” interpretation is correct this all occurred in a parallel reality. Perhaps we should conduct a double slit experiment on Kent’s head to find out!
6/24/2019 10:52:31 pm
And how many books of yours did Wiley publish? Alternatively, how many high school state championships do you have to your name? I'm just sayin' you come across as kind of a waste product.
6/24/2019 08:21:00 pm
So “Atlantis Rising” is not longer in business. I wonder how long they wild legally hold the name.
6/24/2019 10:08:54 pm
They should get Kevin Dykstra and his team to investigate the skinwalker ranch. Maybe he'll find a novel way of breaking his hip again
6/24/2019 10:17:43 pm
No need for that bro - I’ve already discovered two dozen more ways to break my hip.
6/25/2019 10:35:31 am
And two dozen more origin stories for who gave that "deathbed confession"...
6/25/2019 10:40:17 pm
Worse, Zak Baggins and the "Ghost Adventure" crew did their latest episode at the Bigelow Ranch.
6/24/2019 10:37:12 pm
Google fighter jet ufo video and google bomber or b1 ufo video and see how many relative hits there are. Perhaps just a CGI input into the gun cameras and radars so that we can say our boys are so good they can do battle with ufos or tic tacs (autocorrect wanted tic tacos, them, too) B1’s are the ones with more potential for nuclear payload, why aren’t ufos chasing them?
6/24/2019 11:04:46 pm
+fighter ufo video
6/25/2019 09:43:45 am
Might be time to get out of B&N and update that Nokia. Jet+fighter+video, go to videos, 178,000, first video page shows jets chasing nubulous white objjects, B1 bomber ufo video first page is mostly B1's flying, landing, taking off.
6/25/2019 12:59:25 pm
Oh, the bi ufo video count when you go to the video page is 10900
6/25/2019 01:32:11 pm
I'm not bi but if that's what you're into....
6/25/2019 03:41:49 pm
Different ways of searching. Where did the bi comment come in? B&N=Barnes & Noble? Maybe too many shots of tequila already. Don't care what you are into. You just enjoy picking anything apart whether you are making sense or not. 'nough said.
6/25/2019 07:46:59 pm
6/25/2019 09:33:51 pm
@Kent, you really are a dense, narcissistic sob. Right up there with Scottie. The only folks you interact with are the ones you think you can beat up on some board. Feel sorry for you. Done with you, do not post on any of my posts. Don’t care if you do, won’t get a response.
6/25/2019 06:07:40 am
"But people are saying they’re seeing UFOs. Do I believe it? Not particularly,”-President Trump.
6/25/2019 04:35:09 pm
I shudder to think about the time, I have wasted reading alien/UFO books in my youth. Most of the photos are hoaxes, like photographing ping pong balls in a swimming pool. Some were early versions of the stealth bomber, and fighter. The really cool ones just haven't been declassified yet. One of which, has been around longer than I've been alive. The earlier version was photographed from a pickup truck, and declared a hoax. The early version left a circular ring of smoke. The modern-day version rides around on purple haze. This craft resembles the male end of the snap, from my high school Letterman's jacket. Appears to have the ability to move like a puck from an air hockey game. I would love to go for a ride in one.
6/25/2019 05:03:48 pm
"I shudder to think about the time, I have wasted reading alien/UFO books in my youth."
6/25/2019 07:53:35 pm
And tell us one instance where ping pong balls in a swimming pool were used to fake a UFO photo.
6/25/2019 09:05:45 pm
That must be a message to yourself because you’re the dingbat replying to your own comments. Try again later after you’ve sobered up.
6/26/2019 12:44:11 am
Thanks there, imitator but, I can fend for myself. Disco Von dan"It"Kent is just a clone of my now deceased, former stepfather with a better grasp of languages. Don't sweat him, I don't.
6/26/2019 03:17:51 pm
That must be a message to yourself because you’re the dingbat replying to your own comments. Try again later after you’ve sobered up.
6/28/2019 05:24:11 pm
"This craft resembles the male end of the snap, from my high school Letterman's jacket."
6/28/2019 12:09:28 am
Bro Val disco Kent,
6/28/2019 01:16:20 pm
Simpler to throw a pingpong ball in the air or drop it from a height.
7/1/2019 03:43:18 pm
"the Hearst- and Disney-owned History Channel has revealed just how easy it is to use propaganda, public relations, and insinuations to influence government policy."
7/1/2019 07:35:34 pm
You sound like a loser who is losing. Perhaps your angst would have more leverage if each and every act of our president was not decried as disastrous by those seeking power who easily manipulate you for their own gains.
7/1/2019 09:25:00 pm
"Yeah, or to get the world's biggest lying blowhard jackass elected President of the USA. Un-f*cking-believable."
7/16/2019 02:40:03 pm
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