NEWS AND OPINION:
There hasn’t been such a fuss about UFOs since Hillary Clinton chatted about the subject on the 2016 campaign trail, vowing she would “get to the bottom” of questions about unidentified flying objects, the presence of ETs on Earth and Area 51. Her comments created an instant sensation in the news media, inspiring 350 stories from global news organizations and another 200 broadcast reports — this according to the Paradigm Research Group, an activist organization that tracks otherworldly topics in politics and the media and demands the U.S. government “disclose” official information about UFOs.
At the time, Stephen Bassett, a registered lobbyist and founder of the group, predicted that such coverage was only the beginning. And he was right.
Earlier this week, The New York Times ran a blockbuster story detailing the Pentagon’s well-funded involvement in UFO research — along with startling video footage from a U.S. Navy fighter jet that tracked a most unusual and nimble aircraft, complete with compelling commentary from the pilot himself. Since then, there has been an avalanche of news coverage and social media hysteria about the revelations, from CNN’s “Short History of UFOs in America” to Newsweek’s “Do Aliens Exist? Your Tax Dollars May Hold the Truth” — just two out off dozens of reports.
The UFO frenzy brought noteworthy reactions. In mid-week, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders took a question on President Trump‘s reaction to the development, assuring reporters she would “ask, and circle back” with an answer. John Podesta — a former adviser to Mrs. Clinton who has spoken out about UFOs in past years — tweeted “lift the veil,” while former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — who supported funding the Pentagon UFO project — also had something to say.
“This is about science and national security. If America doesn’t take the lead in answering these questions, others will,” he tweeted.
But there are some political dynamics at work, some say.
“The military/industrial complex was generally convinced Hillary Clinton would take the White House and were aware of the cascade of media coverage of the Clinton/ET connection,” says UFO scholar Mr. Bassett, who believes that “disclosure” was imminent at the time, but was put on hold following Mr. Trump’s victory in 2016.
Victor Viggiani, news director of ZLand Communications — a Canada-based news service that covers unusual and unexplained phenomena — points out that U.S. presidents and other world leaders have been receiving reports about UFOs, close encounters and unusual technology for seven decades. He refers to The New York Times story as “a disclosure event” that should go further.
“Although the coverage has been comprehensive, none of the news media outlets has had the acuity to ask the dominant questions about what the geopolitical implications of this event are,”says Mr. Viggiani. “We have to have a rational discussion about this.”
THE MEDIA HEAVYWEIGHTS
Mediaite.com has named “Fox & Friends” co-hosts Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade as the No. 1 most influential people in the entire print, broadcast and online media realm — citing the fact that President Trump regularly watches the early morning Fox News Channel program, where topics “essentially set the national agenda for the rest of the day.”
In second place: CNN President Jeff Zucker, followed by Fox News host Sean Hannity, online news kingpin Matt Drudge, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, CNN anchor Jake Tapper, MSNBC hosts Mika Brzezinsksi and Joe Scarborough, ABC News moderator George Stephanopoulos, CNN host Chris Cuomo and Fox News host Tucker Carlson. They comprise the top 10; the extensive roster includes another 55 people.
“This list recognizes those influential news media figures whose voices and/or power rang out louder this year. That doesn’t mean that all of these people are household names, and on the flip side, there are some very well paid and talented news media figures not on the list. This list is about influence on the debate and discussion. That manifested itself by elevating those with the most access to President Trump as well as those who became his most aggressive critics,” the Mediaite staff explains.
FOR THE LEXICON
The term is in answer, perhaps, to “Resistmas,” a holiday designation popular among Democrats who still mourn Hillary Clinton‘s defeat in the 2016 election.
“Trumpmas” is the holiday designation preferred by President Trump‘s fans, though his detractors also employ the term. In addition, #Trumpmas is a very active social media hashtag, and now has been employed by multiple T-shirt companies offering wearables bearing the message “Merry Trumpmas,” with the president in a Santa hat.
MEANWHILE IN PENNSYLVANIA
Philadelphia election Commissioner Al Schmidt has informed the state’s senate that thousands of non-US citizens have registered to vote in Pennsylvania through “a glitch” in the state’s motor voter system.
“Schmidt says more than 100,000 [Pennsylvania] driver’s license numbers with Immigration and Naturalization Service indicators match with voter registration records,” reports Tony Romeo, bureau chief for KYW Newsradio in Harrisburg, a CBS affiliate.
“We’re not talking about an insignificant number here. We’re talking about a potentially a very significant number of thousands and tens of thousands,” Mr. Schmidt told the lawmakers.
“Schmidt says those people should be contacted. Besides the issue of election integrity, he says registering to vote — even unintentionally — will derail an immigrant’s path to U.S. citizenship,” reports Mr. Romeo.
POLL DU JOUR
• 58 percent of U.S. voters say 2018 will be “better for them personally”; 86 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of independents and 38 percent of Democrats agree.
• 52 percent say the nation’s economy will be better in 2018; 89 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of independents and 22 percent of Democrats agree.
• 46 percent say 2017 was better for them personally; 81 percent of Republicans, 44 percent of independents and 20 percent of Democrats agree.
• 37 percent say 2017 was worse for them; 9 percent of Republicans, 39 percent of independents and 60 percent of Democrats agree.
• 14 percent say 2017 was neither better or worse for them; 8 percent of Republicans, 15 percent of independents and 17 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Quinnipiac University poll of 1,230 registered U.S. voters conducted Dec. 13-18.
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