You Can Do Better:
Break a Ufology Futile Cycle
by Guest Blogger,
Tyler Kokjohn, Ph.D.
The host of a radio program covering paranormal topics recently published a newsletter discussing a wide mix of interesting ideas. One theme will seem familiar because it has been a core complaint for years; mainstream press coverage does not do justice to paranormal topics such as UFOs. It is about entertainment, trivialization, deliberate misrepresentations, hidden agenda and etc.
The behavior of the mainstream media can be infuriating and outraged stories of journalistic misdeeds play well. However, this action-reaction process has become so habitual that we may be overlooking something; these complaints are now classic tales of victimization being told over and over again through the years.
After decades of mistreatment by the news media, what facts do we have about its impact? It certainly seems logical that derisive coverage must hurt ufology by discouraging others to come forward with their experiences. However, media exposure confirms others have seen or experienced the inexplicable. Perhaps press coverage creates a social validation that induces people to seek out UFO organizations or encourages them to talk openly about their experiences. Maybe media exposure actually facilitates interest and unintentionally drives UFO phenomena dynamics.
Unfortunately, ufology has short-circuited the critical thinking processes essential for informed debate because the arguments begin and end at the complaint stage. Investigators and opinion leaders fail to recognize the research opportunity in front of them and the potential importance of the findings. However, they have only had about 7 decades to do something productive.
Do your own study and investigate the hypothesis that mainstream media coverage influences UFO experiencers. Is the impact positive or negative? Does it influence the dynamics of the event itself? Ask yourself and acquaintances with an interest in the topic how news stories developed or suppressed their interest in UFOs. Discover for yourself how mainstream news media coverage influences UFO phenomena dynamics.
Imagine the implications. Say your information suggests news media coverage discourages others from revealing their experiences. Visualize being interviewed by the media pundits and turning the tables with a question or two of your own. How do you justify broadcasting reports that suppress an interesting news story? How does that serve the public interest? Perhaps your inquiries will suggest that media attention generally increases follow-on reports. Then you have learned something important about process dynamics. The key point is that by taking matters into your own hands you gain a firmer, data-based understanding of the impacts news media reporting exert on UFO phenomena and the public perception of them.
It is often quipped that knowledge is power. It is also damn good leverage in a debate. What percentage of the general public believes UFOs might represent more than misidentified aerial phenomena? What percentage of scientists feel intelligent life is or has been present in our galaxy? Now do this math – if they are a contemptible joke why do news media report on UFOs at all? People find UFOs interesting and journalists who belittle experiencers and interfere with serious investigations of events are skating on thin ice. Get the data to sink them.
Break this futile cycle of victimization. Empower yourself to improve our understanding of the phenomena and epi-phenomena of UFOs and the paranormal. You can do a better job than the so-called leaders of ufology.