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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2008 > May > May 19

NBC's Dateline Airs Misleading UFO Footage

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
Date: Mon, 19 May 2008 15:10:06 -0400
Archived: Mon, 19 May 2008 15:10:06 -0400
Subject: NBC's Dateline Airs Misleading UFO Footage

Source: The Village Voice - New Yorok, New York, USA


May 19, 2008

NBC's Dateline Airs Misleading UFO Footage
by Tony Ortega

Here we go again.

UFOs are easy ratings, so I guess it isn't surprising that
Dateline aired something last night called "10 Close Encounters
Caught on Tape.". To its credit, the NBC program at least made
an attempt to provide prosaic explanations for each of the
events it presented. In most cases, those explanations were
actually pretty good, and the "UFO experts" came off as yahoos.

But when I realized that they were saving for last - the #1
event! - the lame Phoenix Lights, the 1997 event that I helped
debunk years ago as a reporter in Arizona, I prepared myself for
yet another time that so-called journalists wouldn't get even
the most basic facts right.

And I wasn't disappointed.

Hey, NBC, try to pay attention: there were TWO separate events
on the night of March 13, 1997 over the skies of Arizona. The
mysterious "vee" that so many people across the state witnessed
was seen over Prescott at about 8:15 p.m. and traveled south
over Phoenix at about 8:30 andpassed over Tucson at 8:45. That's
200 miles in thirty minutes which - check with your calculator
if you'd like - means the vee was moving at about 400 miles per
hour. Some early eyewitnesses perceived that the vee was high in
the sky, others swore it was low and moving very slowly. (And I
mention "early" purposely. As the months passed, more and more
elaborate - and ridiculous - claims were made by eyewitnesses
who were clearly trying to one-up each other.) But as I've
pointed out many times, the eyeball is a lousy instrument for
judging the altitude of point sources of light in a night sky.
Simple physics, however, suggests the vee was high in the sky
and moving very fast.

As I first revealed in the Phoenix New Times in 1998 on the
event's first anniversary, a young man with a Dobsonian
telescope spotted the vee from his backyard, and saw that it was
a formation of airplanes. When the young man, Mitch Stanley,
tried to contact a city councilwoman making noise about the
event, as well as a couple of UFO flim-flam men working the
local scene, he was rebuffed. I was the first reporter to talk
to him, and, as a telescope builder myself, I made a thorough
examination of his instrument and his knowledge of it. (For the
inexperienced: a Dobsonian telescope is much easier to move than
the crappy department store scope in your garage; it's child's
play for an experienced observer, like Stanley, to get a good
look at passing planes at altitude.) And he had a witness: he
had told his mother, who was standing nearby, that the lights
were planes. After my story, the Arizona Republic also wrote
about Stanley, and also found him impressive. Didn't you check
that out, Dateline?

Back to the night of March 13. News of the 8:30 pm sighting
traveled fast, so a large number of people were outside with
videocameras when the second and unrelated event, at about 10
pm, happened in the sky southwest of Phoenix. A string of lights
appeared in the sky, and slowly sank until they disappeared
behind the nearby Estrella Mountain range. This was later shown
to be a string of flares dropped by the Maryland Air National
Guard over the North Tac military range. Dr. Lynne Kitei can
tell NBC that these lights were magical and "intelligent" and
later showed up just outside her living room window all she
wants, but the videotapes taken that night by many people show
without a doubt that this was a string of mundane lights that
fell and disappeared behind the range, exactly as a string of
flares dropped by the military planes would.

Now, the problem developed when the "flare" explanation emerged
first, and took root hard, explaining away the 10 pm sighting.
But for the many people who had seen the earlier vee pass
directly over their heads, flares made no sense whatsoever. And
news organizations never bother to differentiate between the two
events or report on the Stanley identification - even the
Arizona Republic (a truly pathetic example of a daily newspaper)
stopped referring to its earlier solid reporting on the Lights
and began promoting it as "unexplained."

To this day, programs like Dateline invariably question people
who saw the earlier "vee" event, and quote them saying that
flares couldn't possibly explain what they saw. They are right.
They didn't see flares, they saw a formation of planes.

In last night's program, Dateline repeatedly showed people
talking about their memories of the 8:30 vee while showing video
of the 10 pm flares. Talk about misleading.

By the way, NBC: There was a single camerman who caught the 8:30
vee and the later event. I saw his tape myself. It clearly
showed the five lights of the 8:30 vee moving in relation to
each other, exactly as you'd expect in a formation of airplanes.
Couldn't get that tape for your program?

As for the people who swore they saw a black triangular shape
joining the five lights of the vee, that's a classic contrast
effect of the human eye. In another very telling case, a man who
swore he saw a black shape joining the lights of the vee saw it
pass directly in front of the moon. At that point, he saw not a
black shape but wavy lines pass over the undimmed moon. But
rather than conclude that he'd seen the contrails of planes, the
man, who had already been worked hard by the flim-flam artists,
concluded instead that the pilot of the alien craft had turned
his spaceship transparent right at that moment so the man could
see the moon through it. How thoughtful!

Perhaps it's a good thing that NBC has now declared this the
number 1 UFO sighting of all time. It's one of the very few so
well checked-out by reporters, and one of the few that has been
so thoroughly debunked. But you won't hear that from the
networks, who can't get enough of the ratings that come with
"the unexplained".

Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast



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