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Digital Subscriptions > Skeptic > 24.3 > The Pentagon’s UFOs

The Pentagon’s UFOs

How a Multimedia Entertainment Company Created a UFO News Story

On December 16, 2017, The New York Times published “Glowing Auras and Black Money—The Pentagon’s Mysterious U.F.O. Program,” a now-famous article about the previously unknown Pentagon UFO study program, as reported by To The Stars Academy (TTSA). It was founded by a rock musician named Tom DeLonge, formerly of the band Blink-182, who describes TTSA as an “independent multimedia entertainment company.” This set off a media UFO frenzy that still continues.

To show how little TTSA’s people understand about what they are doing, the so-called “glowing auras” surrounding the objects in the widely circulated video shot by a military jet represent nothing more than a processing artifact of the infrared image. But TTSA’s “experts,” as well as those who look up to them, don’t realize that obvious fact and think instead that it represents something deeply mysterious.

Most people didn’t notice that Leslie Kean, one of the authors of this piece, is a dedicated UFO promoter who has written a popular UFO book. She is also very gullible, at one point promoting a video of what was in fact a fly buzzing around as if it were some great proof of high performance UFOs. (And she still has not admitted that she was fooled by the fly.) Another author of the article, Ralph Blumenthal, has also been a UFO believer for years. So this was not the customary news article written by New York Times journalists assigned to investigate a mystery and write an objective story. Instead, it was crafted by UFO believers to appear neutral and objective when it is anything but. Now the other shoe has dropped. On May 26, 2019, The New York Times carried another article by Helene Cooper, Ralph Blumenthal, and Leslie Kean—the same three authors as the earlier piece—headlined “Wow, what is that?’ Navy Pilots Report Unexplained Flying Objects.” They write:

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About Skeptic

PINKER ON POST-TRUTH & REASON Steven Pinker on “Why We Are Not Living in a Post-Truth Era: An (Unnecessary) Defense of Reason and a (Necessary) Defense of Universities’ Role in Advancing it” COLUMNS The SkepDoc: Coconut Oil: Health Food or Health Hazard? by Harriet Hall, M.D. • The Gadfly: The Persistence of Memory… and of the Memory Wars, by Carol Tavris ARTICLES The “Lost” Tribes of Israel • The Pentagon’s UFOs How a Multimedia Entertainment Company Created a UFO News Story • The Problem with the Walking Dead And How They Flummoxed Science for Centuries • The Enigma of Stephen Jay Gould • Why the Human Brain Did Not Evolve to Accurately Represent the True Nature of Reality • Homeopathy’s New Clothes: Release Active Drugs • Pressured Apologies, False Confessions, and Witch Hunts • Two Kinds of Progressive Atheism • Surfing for Truth in All the Right Places: An Empirical Test of the Backfire Effect and How the Internet Can Reduce Anti-vaccination Attitudes REVIEWS Reviews of “A review of Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration, and the Future of White Majorities” • “Spectacle of Illusion: Deception Magic and the Paranormal” • “The Apparitionists: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography and the Man Who Captured Lincoln’s Ghost” • “Supernatural Entertainments: Victorian Spiritualism and the Rise of Modern Media Culture” JUNIOR SKEPTIC The Chilling, Changeling Chupacabra!