Hillary Clinton did it again this week. She shamelessly expressed curiosity about UFOs. This time, it was with a morning crew at a Harlem radio station, and why not? CNN’s Wolf Blitzer would rather clip his toenails with a chainsaw than soil himself with that UFO crud on live TV. So regardless of your political persuasion, this is bold and unprecedented stuff, on several levels. For one thing, the Clinton opposition has yet to demonstrate it knows how to convert her enthusiasm into a blunt medieval torture instrument. But what should concern us even more is what the media reaction reveals about its capacity for accommodating truly revolutionary discourse.
From the get-go, back in early January, after the Democratic frontrunner told a New Hampshire newspaper she wanted to declassify federal UFO records, her remarks were so far off the grid of approval, they sifted into the public domain through the mesh of incredulity. “Hillary Clinton (jokingly) pledges UFO probe,” announced CNN, which didn’t sit in on that interview and dreamed up a headline based not on fact but faulty intuition. CNN wasn’t the only place that choked on it, either. “Hillary Jokes That She’ll Investigate UFOs, Area 51” declared The Daily Caller, the website of conservative bow tie guy Tucker Carlson.
No doubt these sensibilities have been with us since the rollout of Gutenberg’s printing press, and likely perpetuated in headlines like “Bill Shakespeare Jokes He’ll Write Prolific Masterpieces,” “Louis Pasteur Jokes That Invisible Things Make Us Sick,” “Otto Lilienthal Jokes He’ll Fly Like a Bird,” “Crazy Horse Jokes He’ll Scalp Custer.” Today, with libraries of knowledge at their fingertips, 21st-century opinion-shapers enjoy the sort of access their forebears could only dream of. But rather than mine those resources for less accessible truths, the press instead has opted for a lazy complacency that constitutes what we call consensus reality. Take last week’s Washington Post story filed by Philip Bump.
In “The long, strange history of John Podesta’s space alien obsession,” Bump focuses on how HRC’s campaign director has long advocated airing out government documents on UFOs. A product of linear Beltway thinking, Bump can’t bring himself to seriously consider Podesta’s agenda. So he starts thinking aloud. “Is (Podesta) taking the joke too far?” Bump wonders. “Has he committed so completely to the bit that now he just sort of answers the questions about space aliens without blinking?” With that, Bump deigns to set us up for the back story. “A little history,” he announces, “is in order.”
But instead of giving us a glimpse of what’s fueling Podesta’s suspicions, Bump Google-searches what the “UFO truthers” call the Rockefeller Initiative. He regurgitates the shopworn Cliff Notes about how a billionaire 20 years ago urged the Clinton administration to launch a serious investigation into classified UFO material. This stretching exercise drives Bump to a shocking conclusion: “UFO theorists would demand that we look at the evidence at hand. And that evidence seems clear: Podesta is not joking about his interest in alien life.”
Wow, really? And it took this guy a whole article to restate the obvious in a single sentence? Nice work, Sherlock, great time management. Not knowing exactly what a UFO theorist is, De Void wishes Bump and WaPo would get off their asses and bring something useful to the table, like, for starters, maybe badgering the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol office into releasing the footage it took of a UFO over Puerto Rico in 2013. But that would actually require making an effort.
On a genetic level, when it comes to UFOs, there’s no difference between a Fourth Estate bulwark like the Post and reality-challenged Fox News. Five years ago, Fox personality Greg Gutfeld made a pass at the U-word in his Unspeakable Truths book. “These people are not harmless,” he wrote of those who suspect there’s more to this phenomenon than we’re being told. “They are intellectual terrorists, here to erase intelligent thought and replace it with things that masquerade as thinking but aren’t.”
Gutfeld could’ve been more specific and disparaged the scores of intellectual terrorist military veterans who’ve gone public to testify about UFO surveillance of our nuclear arsenal; after all, Donald Trump got a lot of mileage out of ragging on American POWs. But Gutfeld’s issues range far deeper than politics. “It’s not that I don’t believe in UFOs,” he conceded. “It’s just that I have enough problems with things I can identify. I don’t need the unknown to complicate matters. I see things every day that are all too real, and horrifying.”
Perfectly understandable. That’s why, just last week, with all this UFO talk nibbling along the edges of the campaign trail, Mike Royko-wannabe Rex Huppke at the Chicago Tribune decided to revive and amplify Gutfeld’s point. Huppke railed against the prospects of another Clinton presidency, but not for conventional reasons. “Why? Because life is weird enough already, and the last thing I need is to find out than an off-the-books government group has been negotiating with President Org from the planet Thorpnurrzle.” Huppke rattled off a litany of earthly indignities he suffers on a daily basis – including, believe it, dog farts – in justifying his own desire “to remain comfortably in the dark.”
“Ignorance, in the case of extraterrestrial activity,” he added, “is bliss.”
So there you have it, folks. This is personal. Corporate media bosses don’t have to wag a cautionary finger. If Americans want journalism on UFOs, they need to learn French. Or Spanish. Or Portuguese.