Jul 30, 2020 I Paul Seaburn

The New York Times Media-splains Recent UFO Materials Announcement

“I'm not saying it’s aliens … but it’s aliens.”
“No, it’s not.”
“Yes, it is.”
“No, it’s not.”
“The New York Times said it is.”
“No, they didn’t.”
“Yes, they did.”
“Check, please!”

That conversation, in one form or another, is playing out across the U.S. and quite possibly around the world as the ‘big’ revelation by The New York Times that a secret thought-to-be-unfunded UFO/UAP investigation project in the Department of Defense still exists with funding, and some of the people mentioned in one article refer to vehicles “not made on this earth” and “actual materials” in the possession of the Pentagon.

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Here's what we really meant.

Those statements were quickly addressed by former Senator Harry Reid, who said he never said the Pentagon had recovered alien materials, and by Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough, who heavily emphasized the national security nature of the project against non-traditional (non-U.S. or its known allies) spacecraft. Those responses didn’t stop the loud buzz of “It’s aliens!” activity both in the paranormal and mainstream world, so The New York Times tried to explain itself in a piece titled “Do We Believe in U.F.O.s? That’s the Wrong Question.

“And to be clear: U.F.O.s don’t mean aliens. Unidentified means we don’t know what they are, only that they demonstrate capabilities that do not appear to be possible through currently available technology.”

Writers Ralph Blumenthal and Leslie Kean, who have been part of all of the Times announcements dating back to the original exposure of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program and the release of the Navy Tic-Tac videos, refer to the well-known Margaret Mead quote about belief:

“Belief has to do with matters of faith; it has nothing to do with the kind of knowledge that is based on scientific inquiry.”

OK, so what kind of “scientific inquiry” was used by the Pentagon program to analyze the “materials” they referred to?

“Numerous associates of the Pentagon program, with high security clearances and decades of involvement with official U.F.O. investigations, told us they were convinced such crashes have occurred, based on their access to classified information. But the retrieved materials themselves, and any data about them, are completely off-limits to anyone without clearances and a need to know.”

Uh-oh … it sounds like no one they talked to had actually seen the alleged recovered materials. Their own “scientific inquiry” consisted of reading unclassified slides from Pentagon briefings, including one that contained the now infamous promise that the program will in the future “arrange for access to data/reports/materials from crash retrievals of A.A.V.’s” (advanced aerospace vehicles). Then comes this nebulous and open-ended comment:

“Our sources told us that “A.A.V.” does not refer to vehicles made in any country — not Russian or Chinese — but is used to mean technology in the realm of the truly unexplained.”

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We know how you feel, Al.

However, before you throw away that copy of The New York Times you were reading for free or delete the stories you read for free (yes, that’s a blatant plug to support subscription media of any and all kinds with a paid subscription), they closed with this reassurance:

“They also assure us that their briefings are based on facts, not belief.”

Well, that’s a relief … not. You can drive a truck or a vehicle from another world through the hole in that argument: no one has yet unveiled any facts supported by scientific inquiry. While The New York Times is correct to point out that they themselves did not say “It’s aliens!” nor did the Pentagon, Harry Reid or any living person associated with this ‘big’ reveal (color-coded balloons would have been a nice touch), it’s also right in chastising everyone who is screaming “It’s aliens!” No facts were revealed … yet. No one answered Margaret Mead's questions: "What is it? How does it work?”

Until that happens, curb your enthusiasm.

“Check, please!”

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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