Before we begin today I want to say a brief word about an article that appeared on Ancient Origins this morning. Mark Adams, the author of last year’s Meet Me in Atlantis, published an entirely unobjectionable article on the problems involved in hunting for a lost continent that is almost certainly fictional. The article is designed to promote the paperback release of his Atlantis book. But it is disturbing to see an author of his caliber lending his credibility to a disreputable website dedicated to rewriting news stories, summarizing other people’s work, and spinning conspiracy theories. Ancient Origins has in the past appropriated material from reputable sources under Creative Commons license to bolster their site, but this appears to be a piece specifically for Ancient Origins.
But on to today’s topic.
When news broke that Facebook editors might be selecting trending stories while pretending that an algorithm was behind the selection, Congress sprang into action. The public has a “right to know” whether Facebook was suppressing conservative points of view declared Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota) who asked for hearings on the issue. Funny, though, that Thune doesn’t care about the vast amount of fake news, lies, and conspiracy theories that routinely flood the media. Under the First Amendment, it shouldn’t make any difference to Congress how Facebook chooses its stories since it is a private company, and it’s transparently clear that Thune is only interested in promoting ideology.
The opposite seems to be the case in a recent New York Times profile of Hillary Clinton that highlighted the ways that the likely Democratic presidential nominee seems particularly enamored of ufology. Clinton has displayed knowledge of current ufological terms, and she speculated that the number and frequency of UFO sightings precluded fabrication. According to the article, Clinton is vowing to release America’s UFO files, and ufologists have embraced Clinton as the first “E.T. candidate.”
In an interview last year, Clinton claimed to believe that we had been visited by extraterrestrial beings in the past. Unfortunately, it is not clear whether she is referring to post-1947 UFOs or pre-1947 ancient astronaut claims.
Her views on the subject have been shaped by John Podesta, a key advisor and also a bit of crackpot on UFO issues. He wrote the forward to Leslie Kean’s faulty book on UFO sightings, and he also was such a huge X-Files fan that he used it as the theme for his 50th birthday party. In return, the Times said that X-Files creator Chris Carter is supporting Clinton and her plans to open the UFO files.
The Times attempted to trace Hillary Clinton’s UFO and space alien interests back to a 1995 meeting with a member of the Rockefeller clan—shades of the Rockefeller-Illuminati-Reptilian conspiracy—but we needn’t posit that as the origin point. Clinton comes from the generation that came of age during the 1960s and 1970s, when UFOs and ancient astronauts were all the rage in pop culture. The only surprising thing is that she maintained an interest in the unusual across the decades, or could serve in some of the highest offices in the land and still imagine that the U.S. government could keep the existence of space aliens more secret than her State Department cables (leaked in 2010) or her emails.
The Times seemed to imply that alien believers could be a voting bloc for Clinton, citing the 2.5 million messages sent to politicians advocating for disclosure. While I doubt that alien believers would be a viable constituency, it’s a weird inversion from forty years ago, when during the 1976 election ancient astronaut theorist Erich von Däniken told then-president Gerald Ford that alien believers could carry him to victory: “Do you realize the innumerable supporters and believers of ‘flying saucers’. They must, alone in your country, count to a million if not more and no doubt represent an interesting potential of votes which just cannot be neglected in an election year.”
The Ford Administration blew von Däniken off and dismissed aliens as a campaign issue. How bizarre that four decades later we have a candidate who is enacting von Däniken’s prescription, and apparently from sincere interest rather than cynicism.
It’s disturbing to think that one of the two major party candidates for president thinks aliens have visited Earth in the past, and it is depressing to realize that Clinton’s ufology beliefs are up against Donald Trump’s wide-ranging conspiracy theories and embrace of ancient astronaut, ufology, and Reptilian believer Alex Jones. Apparently the it’s the age of pseudoscience and conspiracy, and we have to live in it.
5/11/2016 09:54:35 am
Monica Lewinsky for president.
5/11/2016 10:03:47 am
Would it truly matter if the government's UFO files were released to the public? UFO enthusiasts already believe in a government cover-up, so making the files available won't change their minds.
5/11/2016 10:05:34 am
UFOs and aliens are only the modern-day equivalents of angels in the Bible.
5/11/2016 10:22:26 am
The National Archives in the UK released the Government UFO Files online
5/11/2016 11:30:58 am
I don't believe aliens would actually want to visit Earth and interact with any of the current politicians running for national or local office. After all, wouldn't they be looking for intelligent life?
5/11/2016 12:00:13 pm
There are no aliens - witness how life originated and evolved on Planet Earth and how unique each individual stage was, and the shifting set of circumstances that occurred throughout those vast amount of varied circumstances, That could never be duplicated anywhere else at all. The origin and development of life on earth was an accidental process that happened by chance.
5/11/2016 01:53:08 pm
Never say never ...
5/11/2016 12:03:17 pm
Hillary better be careful - as you all know, JFK was assassinated because he wanted to reveal the "truth" about aliens.
7/26/2016 11:59:02 pm
But MSNBC? They're ok, right?
5/11/2016 12:23:34 pm
I, as a ufo believer, can see from Jason's comments and other readers' comments that they are skeptical of ufos. Let's face it--some phenomena are still unexplained, and this is one of them. And, if one believes in ufos, then one almost automatically believes in a government cover up conspiracy. Does everyone believe what the government says? I sure don't. Although Jason's blog is valuable and something I dote on, I would prefer that he write about ufos from a much more neutral stance, but continue his current exposures of all the other fringe crapola (including ancient aliens).
terry the censor
5/11/2016 11:05:55 pm
5/12/2016 03:27:03 am
5/12/2016 03:31:48 am
Kean's rejoinder to this was worthless.
5/12/2016 03:20:44 pm
The letter "U" in UFO stands for unidentified. It does not stand for alien or extraterrestrial, though said acronym has been long associated with such meaning. Absent clear and convincing proof of alien life having the capability of not only being able to travel the universe, but to develop that technology and to do so during the incredibly brief window of our civilization, remains wholly lacking. So an unidentified flying object remains just that; something awaiting identification.
5/11/2016 02:17:36 pm
Trump should that too lure voters. The same ETs that built the pyramids could advise him on his giant wall.
5/11/2016 03:10:59 pm
Should read, Trump should use that...oops
5/11/2016 03:59:32 pm
Facebook is run by a centrist who has voted for issues on both sides, but he leans socially left, and fiscally right. The people under him are not biased either way. This is just a hatchet piece by a disgruntled ex employee looking for 15 minutes of fame.
5/11/2016 07:56:05 pm
It hardly matters if Facebook is 'guilty' or not, since it is a constitutional right to write or say what you want, Thune needs to quit acting like an asshole and wasting public funds over something, which even if he is proven correct, DOESN'T MATTER!
5/11/2016 06:30:03 pm
It pains me to say this, because I'm not a fan of... well, any of the potential nominees for president, but wanting to publicly disclose the contents of *UFO* files doesn't necessarily equate to believing in aliens. I mean, we can acknowledge that Project Blue Book and similar studies existed without believing that they uncovered extraterrestrial life forms. I also think it's perfectly plausible that she is just pursuing the cynical goal of drawing in UFO and conspiracy nuts, especially with her noncommittal "maybe" answer to the question of whether we'd been visited by aliens.
5/11/2016 07:09:45 pm
The only pleasure in releasing files about UFOs lies in the hope that they are to do with aliens from outer space,
5/11/2016 07:10:57 pm
You're right that UFO disclosure isn't the same as believing in aliens. Indeed, the UFO files have interesting information, for example, about how the CIA tried to use UFOs as a cover for spying on and fooling the Soviets. But Clinton has long expressed interest in outer space and extraterrestrial life, so I'm willing to believe that she's actually interested in it, especially since there's little upside to being the "UFO" candidate.
5/11/2016 07:41:15 pm
I'll concede the point about Hillary's beliefs, but I disagree about there being no upside. James Garfield won the popular vote by a margin of less than 2,000 votes; if that happens again, the Dale Gribbles of the nation could totally put her over the top. =P
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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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