- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 12, 2016

Media coverage of what has come to be called the “Hillary Clinton UFO story” has gone from quiet mentions in lesser known publications to bodacious stories from major news organizations.

In the past 48 hours, both The New York Times and The Times of London have addressed a complicated, mystifying narrative which has emerged in past months. Mrs. Clinton, former President Bill Clinton, senior advisor John Podesta and even President Obama have publicly acknowledged UFOs, extraterrestrials and other topics previously confined to the X-Files realm.

“UFO fans are rooting for Hillary Clinton to win the White House, hoping that her avid interest in theories of alien life will lead to secret U.S. files on the subject being made public,” the New York paper noted Tuesday.

On Thursday, the news out of London was this: “Mrs. Clinton has vowed that barring any threats to national security, she would open up government files on the subject, a shift from President Obama, who typically dismisses the topic as a joke. Her position has elated U.F.O. enthusiasts, who have declared Mrs. Clinton the first ‘E.T. candidate’.”

MSNBC, Discovery Channel, The Boston Globe, The London Daily Telegraph, The Weekly Standard and a dozen other publications also covered the story Thursday. This year alone, the topic generated some 350 news accounts.

Stephen Bassett, a registered lobbyist and “disclosure” activist who has urged the White House, military and federal government to release official records about such phenomena, deems the “political media coverage of the extraterrestrial presence issue” unprecedented.

Mr. Bassett has followed Mrs. Clinton’s link to it all since 2001, his intense interest punctuated by press conferences, public events and congressional outreach. He also founded a research group and XXPAC - the “Extraterrestrial Political Action Committee.”

Mr. Bassett, along with increasing cadre of journalists now following the story, say the former secretary of state’s interest in the subject can be traced back 21 years ago to her personal meeting with billionaire Laurance S. Rockefeller, who had long urged U.S. leaders to disclose some facts about the reported crash of a UFO in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947.

“Secretary Clinton will not make it into the White House without discussing the Rockefeller initiative with the American people,” Mr. Bassett said in an interview.

The press, meanwhile, is now covering the Clinton/ET connection from a unique political angle, rather than as a sensational novelty designed to titillate the public and ramp up social media.

“Trust me. This is not about ‘clicks,’” said Mr. Bassett, referring to the goal of many journalists who seek to increase the online reader “clicks” for their work.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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