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UFO disinformation in the media:

Large audience media are constantly dismissing UFOs. When you look into the way UFO related information is presented in the large audience media, you can easily find that biased, truncated and untrue information, to say the least, is presented. Here is one example among many. It is actually almost impossible, though not totally impossible, to find example of mass media publications providing a fair insight into the UFO phenomenon.

Space.com: UFO investigation bureau shuts down:

The well-known space-related information website space.com hit again hard on the fairness of UFO related information. Here is a copy of their announcement:

Screenshot

Here is my analysis of the disinformation contain in this article:

SPACE.COM statements My corrections:

UFO Bureau Shuts Down Due to Lack of Sightings

There is no lack of sighting! There is a lack of sight reports to this particular "UFO Bureau." This deliberately misleading space.com headline is distorting the information, to convince its audience that there are no UFO sightings anymore.

By SPACE.com Staff

Unlike most space.com articles, this one is unsigned. You can easily check that space.com disinformation is always unsigned. It is actually just an extract copied from an article in the Times by Simon de Bruxelles, a known debunker who wrote many dismissive articles about the UFO phenomenon.

The British Flying Saucer Bureau, which has been hunting for extra-terrestrial activity for half a century, had received weekly reports listing up to 30 UFO sightings in some years, according to the Agence France-Press.

Space.com omits to tell us that the "British Flying Saucer Bureau" is absolutely not an official organization: the naive reader will understand: "Official British Government UFO Bureau". The number of 30 sightings will be interested by the naive reader as: "there were 30 sightings at best in UK some years." A question: did this Bureau receive 30 reports every week or every year?

Also, this "British Flying Saucer Bureau" and Denis Plunkett have been totally inactive since 1980! While the Bureau was an established organisation throughout the 1950s and 1960s, its activity has not awaken any echo among the UFO researcher community. It has certainly not been 50 years of activity! Despite the grandiose name, it was merely a small group of armchair ufologists, I quote "sleeveless-jumper wearing pensioners stuck in a 1950s time warp".

Note the deceptive reference: again, the announcement might have been relayed by Agence France-Presse, which sounds very serious to the naive reader, but the original article is from a debunker.

These days there are rarely any such reports, and the bureau's monthly meetings have now been scrapped for lack of participants. The organization once boasted 1,500 members worldwide.

Again, space.com fails to say that it only relates to the reports arriving at this particular "UFO Bureau". Moreover, it fails to give the simple explanation: why should anyone pay to apply for membership to a private UFO club, when all the information is available for free on Internet web sites such as mine? The club membership model was valid in 1953, and is now outdated. This is the simple and logical explanation of the membership decrease of such modest, private groups.

There are currently 80 recognised and serious UFO organisations in UK, most of which continue to generate an abundance of UFO reports by means of active research and investigation. Click here and you will get a list.

The UK Ministry of Defence continue to operate a "UFO desk".

The total number of alleged UFO sightings recorded in the first quarter of this year in Britain shows a 50 per cent increase when compared to the same corresponding period last year.

Denis Plunkett, who co-founded the bureau in 1953, says UFO sightings are in the middle of a long trough and the numbers no longer justify continuing.

No. Again, Denis Plunkett said that his bureau does not receive enough reports to justify its activity. He never made the generalisation to other UFO groups implied, in due respect to the debunking tradition, in the article.

Here is the "real" reason Mr Plunkett gave: according to him, the alien race whose presence and purpose here has been simply to survey our planet and having finished that task have decided to 'move on'. Does this sound just a little bit different than what we could understand from space.com?

Dennis Plunkett actually also explained that people do not like the idea to drive to some distant pub to join a UFO club meeting, when they can get all the UFO information they want from the Internet.

I need to add what was missing on the space.com news item: actually, space.com kept only the dismissive parts of the original article.

Aand also...

The icing on the cake:

After the publication on a wide scale on almost all possible media of the Times article, what was the reaction of David Plunkett himself?

Here it is.

This is an extract of the letter addressed by David Plunkett to UFO Magazine, letter that this magazine published in its July issue:

"How can I say how much I was shocked when I opened the June issue of UFO Magazine, and discovered that an event - which origin was an alleviating remark made to a local reporter, mentioning the suspension of UFO conferences during the summer by the British Flying Saucer Bureau, was transformed in a theatrical manner by the correspondent of a national newspaper into the shutdown of the BFSB - news which then went round the world and caused such a hullabaloo."

"I must categorically state that at no time, to no local or nationwide newspaper reporter, and in no television or broadcasted interview, I ever said anything that could lend to confusion and be interpreted as meaning the shutdown of the oldest UFO organization established in the world."

So, after all, the bureau is not closed at all. David Plunkett simply said he will not organize UFO conferences during his summer holiday... For the media, this means there are no UFOs.

However, in spite of this refutation that I forwarded to space.com - for example - , you can easily check that this news item is still the latest news item about the UFO phenomenon on this portal.

If I had announced my holiday this summer, I would seemingly have reached worldwide media attention also...

Conclusion:

Once again, space.com was first in line to reproduce a biased information, and biased this information even more by truncating the "non-compliant" parts of Dennis Plunkett's talk. All the standard debunking techniques are at work here: suppression of information, generalization, reduction, oriented choice of word, quotes without context, lack of presentation of opposite views, suppression of the real author's name etc. etc. etc.

This is an example of mass media disinformation.

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This page was last updated on March 9, 2012