For over six decades, debunkers have been getting away with incredibly transparent attempts to use "deny and ridicule" to make anyone who wants to present serious evidence for UFO and UAP cases feel silly and small. Rarely, however, has any established journalist done it so baldly and with such flimsy reporting as this current example from Evan Davis, BBC reporter and presenter.
Let's, for the sake of argument, imagine that during the height of the U.S. Watergate scandal coverage in the 1970s, that a respected journalist went to Washington, D.C. for a single day, having done no work on the subject beyond reading a few articles, and returned to his desk and immediately wrote a report like this:
Let me be completely honest. I do not believe laws have been broken. Nothing could persuade me that the Nixon administration has abused its power in any way. It is an issue, in fact, on which I am uncharacteristically closed-minded. There is no evidence you could cite that would make me change my mind. I would always regard it as far more likely that the evidence was planted by Democrats trying to convince us of illegalities, rather than by Republicans themselves.
I think we could all pretty much agree that this would be the shoddiest kind of journalism imaginable. But the BBC's Davis, in his reporting of August 11, "The Truth Is Not Out There," did exactly that. He begins his coverage this way, word-for-word:
Let me be completely honest. I do not believe in alien UFOs. Nothing could persuade me that extra-terrestrials are hovering above us or getting ready to drop in for tea. It is an issue, in fact, on which I am uncharacteristically closed-minded. There is no evidence you could cite that would make me change my mind. I would always regard it as far more likely that the evidence was planted by earthlings trying to convince us of UFOs, rather than by Martians themselves.
Astonishingly close-minded, ill-informed, smug, arrogant and ridiculous. I graduated from the School of Journalism at the University of Oregon. If I'd written an article for a classroom assignment that began like that, I would have gotten a failing grade. I was an investigative reporter (and won some awards) at PBS for a few years. If I'd written something like that for delivery on-air, my editor would have stopped it, and I would have been fired.
This is basic journalism being violated by Evan Davis. The fact that he is skeptical about the reality of unidentified flying objects and the related aerial phenomena is quite acceptable. The fact that he glories in his ignorance and wears it proudly is not. Perhaps he doesn't even think of himself as a journalist; he is repeatedly listed on the BBC site as a "presenter."
Just look at his word choice in his opening paragraph. No one has ever suggested that UFO occupants want to "drop in for tea"; and his use of "Martians" is just one shade better than calling them little green men when it comes to ridicule.
Davis says he decided to look into the 1980 Rendlesham Forest Incident. "I have never felt any need to read up about Britain's Roswell, completely sure as I was that an alien craft had not been seen in the skies over Suffolk," writes Davis. "But nonetheless, this week I went out to the woods to investigate."
Remember that sentence from his opening paragraph: "There is no evidence you could cite that would make me change my mind."
Even if Davis would listen to actual evidence, it is still not my purpose to re-visit the details of Rendlesham case here. There have been several excellent books written, all worth reading. And Richard Dolan lays the case out very clearly in his second volume of UFOs and the National Security State. Here's his summary from our upcoming A.D. After Disclosure.
The famous Rendlesham Forest incident from December 1980 involved a large number of USAF personnel at a key base in Great Britain, and an object that demonstrated definite interest in the nuclear weapons that were being secretly stored there. For many years, this point was denied by the military authorities, until Deputy Base Commander, USAF Colonel Charles Halt, confirmed it. In a statement to investigators, he admitted that the lightbeam emitted by the aerial object penetrated the hardened bunkers where the nuclear weapons were secretly stored, "adversely affecting the ordinance." In addition to Halt's testimony, we have Halt's official written statement about the event, in the form of a USAF memo, as well as the direct testimonies of dozens of USAF personnel, one of whom touched the landed craft. According to every single witness to the event, the object under observation could not possibly have been of terrestrial manufacture.
Whether or not Davis wishes to hear it, there is a great deal of evidence to this case. Suffice it to say, the American base located in England had nuclear weapons there, the people who guarded them were competent to be trusted with them, and significant numbers of them confirm not only the abnormal lights in the sky but an actual landing and up-close view of the craft. The evidence includes statements, and a tape recording made at the time, among other matters.
However, the so-called investigation made by Davis involved waiting until dark to go into the woods with another debunker, astronomer Ian Ridpath, who showed him the nearby Orford Ness Lighthouse and told him that's what everyone mistook for a landed UFO that night. Case closed.
Davis also went out that night, it seems, with Mark Pilkington, author of Mirage Men, who is not quite a debunker, but certainly not a witness nor a historian of this event at Rendlesham. In his article, Davis describes Pilkington as not exactly being dismissive of UFO believers but big-hearted enough to accord them "the respect that would normally be granted to a foreign religion." Gee, that's nice... and condescending.
(NOTE: That quote from Davis's article was also apparently inaccurate. Mark Pilkington just wrote to correct the matter saying, "I said 'the respect that would normally be granted to any other religion' - not a 'foreign' religion, which would indeed be condescending, as you say." So, credit and correction in Pilkington's favor, another demerit for Davis.)
So, let's put this "investigation" conducted by Evan Davis into perspective. He announced his disbelief, he went out into the woods at night with two people who shared his own opinion, he put one day into his work at most, he did not speak to any witnesses, nor did he read up on any of the evidence.
The article presents no contrary opinions, nor any way to hear them. The one link is to another BBC piece of reporting that says a security policeman in 2003 claimed he fooled everyone by turning on his car's flashing lights and using a flashlight beam with them in the trees.
So we are expected to take at face value that the people who were in charge of maintaining, protecting and, if necessary, using nuclear weapons during the height of the Cold War, were so stupid that they mistook a landed spacecraft for either A) a lighthouse or B) the flashing lights of a police car?
Great work, Evan Davis. Way to not set a standard for aspiring journalists or to treat your listeners and readers with respect. You are paid, I assume, to seek truth in your stories. When you close your mind before even beginning an investigation, expose yourself to only one side, and do a light once-over and call it journalism, you do those people no favor. And you demean yourself as a professional as well.
You could recognize this sloppiness and dedicate yourself to reading up on this emerging issue of UFO reality over the next year, and on the Rendlesham case in particular. You might find your mind opening a bit. But I'm sure you've moved on from your latest hit-and-run so I won't hold my breath.
And to your employers at the BBC, well, shame, shame, shame. If Davis' work is your standard, you've hit a real low.
A.D. After Disclosure: The People's Guide to Life After Contact is the first work of non-fiction to exclusively tackle these questions about the new winners and losers in government, science, religion, media, culture, law, education, and politics. Life will go on after the truth is told, but it will never be the same.
Written by Richard M. Dolan (UFOs and the National Security State) and Bryce Zabel (Dark Skies), A.D. After Disclosure examines the most important issues that will arise from the end of seven decades of secrecy on the world’s most revolutionary subject: the presence of “Others” here on Planet Earth, interacting with the human race.
A.D. After Disclosure is now available for on-line orders at a suggested price of $24.95. It will be published as a hardcover, and ship in October.