Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Tucker Carlson Knows Nothing about UFOs

Tucker Carlson might be a wiz at political commentary (or he might not be depending on your point of view) but when it comes to UFOs, he knows nothing. He demonstrated that again just last night, November 13. He was discussing the report of a UFO by a couple of airline crews and played the tape of the discussion with air traffic control. He then brought on someone else who knows nothing about UFOs to discuss the case.

First, let me say that Carlson and his pal didn’t make fun of the sighting. In fact, Carlson suggested that we needed to listen to what the pilots said because they were, well, trained observers. While we can argue that point if we’re so inclined, I will say that a pilot who has flown all over the place at night should be more familiar with what is in the sky and what those things look like. This just means that they are probably more familiar with the sky than the average citizen who sits around inside watching television rather than being outside, or looking outside, into the night.

As they, Carlson and his pal, wrapped up the short segment, they both commented on the unidentified astronomer who thought what the pilots had seen was merely space dust, meaning, of course, a meteor. Carlson mentioned that he didn’t know of any pilots who had misidentified meteors, which, of course, was another proof that he knew nothing about the topic… but as a pundit on TV, he can comment on all sorts of matters of which he knows nothing.

So, let’s break this down.

The sighting sounds, suspiciously like a bolide, which is nothing more than a very bright meteor. CNN reported, that one pilot said, “"It came up on our left hand side
Daylight bolide over the Grand
Tetons, 1960s.
(rapidly veered) to the north, we saw a bright light and it just disappeared at a very high speed ... we were just wondering. We didn't think it was a likely collision course ... (just wondering) what it could be.”

Another pilot who saw the object (and even if it was a meteor it would be an object) said, “meteor or some kind of object re-entry appears to be multiple objects following the same sort of trajectory... very bright where we were." 

An aviation expert said that he thought the sighting was of a meteor.

And while that was my first thought as well, we get back to Carlson saying that he didn’t know of other sightings of meteors that had fooled people, or rather pilots. I’m thinking that he hasn’t looked at the Project Blue Book files, or the MUFON files, or read much of anything about UFOs. While I know that some of my colleagues will object, I will point out that I believe the July 1948 sightings by airline pilots, Clarence Chiles and John Whitted, was of a meteor. If nothing else, this suggests that pilots, just like others can be fooled by meteors.

I do think the astronomer was a little bit too dismissive when he called it a sighting of space dust. True, most meteors are very small but do glow brightly as they fall through the atmosphere. Most burn up long before they reach the ground. A meteor the size of a softball will light up the sky and often break up as they fall. Back in the day, as I was delivering newspapers in Cheyenne, Wyoming, I saw a very beautiful, blue-green meteor break into four pieces directly overhead, which is to say, miles and miles above me… but I digress.

Some of these larger meteors, as they break up, look just like a cigar-shaped craft with a lighted cockpit and a row of windows behind it. This, I believe is what Chiles – Whitted saw back in the 1940s. I mention this only to provide a perspective.

Anyway, it seems that what the pilots saw was a meteor, probably a little larger than dust, maybe the size of a grain of sand, or even a baseball, as it burned in the atmosphere. Such displays are rare, so that pilots who routinely see meteors, have not seen anything quite as spectacular as a bolide. When these are seen, newsrooms, sheriff’s offices and the military receive calls about UFOs.

While I will applaud Carlson for his reporting, meaning he didn’t use this to ridicule anyone one, he did display his ignorance. True, he mentioned that many reporters don’t bother with such stories because they don’t want to be ridiculed by their colleagues but he took it a step too far. He suggested that this fear was why reporters never followed up on such stories, implying that no one did. This is untrue. No matter what you say, MUFON, among others, do follow up on these sorts of reports, often identifying the true nature of the event.
For other views of this sighting see:

and many more can be found online for those who wish to look.

Ian Ridpath sent the following link for those with a more visual nature:

Tim Printy offered more on the fireball explanation at:


cda said...

Notice the headline " all probability were meteorites".

Oh no they were NOT meteorites. This is just shoddy press headlines. Meteorites are the things you see and gather up ON THE GROUND. Meteor or fireball is the correct term, as you point out. There is no reason to suppose the object was anything else.

rfdes said...

Carlson mentioned that he didn’t know of any pilots who had misidentified meteors, which, of course, was another proof that he knew nothing about the topic…

I certainly do not see why you would be critical regarding this? Of course he doesn't know about UFOs, what difference does it make? Only a true handful do and then I wonder if they *really* do or not. He didn't say 'no pilots have ever misidentified meteors', he said the he didn't 'know of any' and just how many pilots would a particular individual know?

However, I am delighted that he has sufficient interest in UFOs to bring the subject to light on his program. We all know that the mainstream media doesn't show the slightest interest in the subject and when they do they simply 'joke' about it. Carlson has on multiple occasions used his show to bring attention to the subject on a reasonably serious note. Of the handful of shows that I've seen (I missed this episode, however) he has always shown respect to the subject.

I'm sure that you will just say that you were simply pointing out that he doesn't know what he is talking about but the tone of this blog seems to be critical for no valid reason.

Take care

purrlgurrl said...

The national news media has reported seriously on alleged UFO sightings since the late 1940s. Not all UFO reporting has been snickering asides to the camera and to readers. The continued erroneous assertion that UFO reports aren't taken seriously by the media come from the uniformed or unscrupulous members of the UFO community (add Carlson as the newest member of the uninformed group).

Serious reporting on UFOs did NOT begin with the New York Times December 2017 article on AATIP, no matter what TTSA or others might assert. It began with Roswell in 1947, and it never ended.

cda said...

It actually began with the Arnold case, shortly before Roswell. But there had also been serious UFO reporting with the ghost rockets over Sweden the previous summer (1946).

KRandle said...

Sorry, purrlgurrl, but no...

While we can find examples of the media treating the topic seriously, there are many examples of it using UFOs as a punchline. While I don't want to dive into this too deeply, let me point to:

Chicago Tribune, July 8, 1947 - "Flying Disks Pass Up Kansas! After All, It's a Dry State." The implication is, of course, that drunk see flying disks along with pink elephants and glowing snakes.

Daily Times Herald, Dallas July 7, 1947 - "'Saucers" Visit Texas, Leave No Calling Cards."

New York Times, July 8, 1947 - "'Disks' Soar Over New York, Now Seen Aloft in All Colors." Lead, "The 'flying saucer,' though still adept at eluding the most powerful telescopes in America, continued yesterday to flash in increasing numbers and variety before the goggling eyes of rooftop and roadside amateurs."


Carlsbad Daily Current - July 10 (but is syndicated around the country) - Boyle Says He Found Answer To Flying Disc Mystery; He Rode One Piloted By Green Martian."

And, lest we forget -

Captain Ed Ruppelt said, that they used the more neutral term, "UFO" when engaged in serious conversation, but used "flying saucer," when ridicule seemed more the point as in "You don't believe in flying saucers do you?"

RRRGroup said...

Kevin is absolutely correct...

The news media, of which I have been a part for most of my life and still, has had hefty guffaws about flying saucers and UFOs with few exceptions as noted.

Today, it is a certainty that bringing up UFOs in media circles will bring glances indicating that the matter is pretty far-out.

Yes, some reportage has been sensible or rational, but overall, the topic has been grist for tongue-in-cheek news items, sadly.

But the problem isn't the news media. It's the loopy persons who have reported their experience hysterically or with detailed accounts that mimic derangement.

Take a look and listen to those advocating UFO-inspired material on some cable shows: they look and sound quite mad (foolish).

That hasn't helped and doesn't help the topic.


Claude Falkstrom said...

Oh, Tucker Carlson is a wizz for sure.

purrlgurrl said...

Sorry, but not all media reporting has been in that vein. Some has, but a lot hasn't.

When he was a major talking head at CNN, Miles O'Brien covered UFOs and never made light of them. In fact, when he was't renewed by CNN some claimed it was because of his advocacy of UFOs, but it was much more likely to make room for CNN's then highly-promoted, highly-paid new kid on the block, Anderson Cooper (a few other heads rolled prior to Cooper's coming on board as well).

I saw Tom Brokaw report the JAL UFO encounter as a straight-up, serious lead news story on the NBC Nightly News (no smirks or tongue in cheek remarks). The O'Hare UFO was seriously reported by the Chicago Tribune. The Hillsdale, Michigan sightings were treated very seriously by my local media outlets. The Phoenix Lights were seriously reported by every news outlet I saw that ran the story. So were the Stephensville, Texas sightings. These are just a few examples.

People in Ufology have a Rodney Dangerfield complex. They keep insisting they and UFOs don't get no respect. But when they do, they tend to not notice and focus instead on the slow news day, space-filler stories that are written with a high giggle factor.

Besides, not everything pertaining to UFOs has news value because Ufology is chock full of crackpots and bullshitters who richly deserve to get the eye-roll treatment. But not all UFO stories come from Ufology's lunatic fringe. The ones that don't are the ones that get serious treatment.

The news media have never written off wholesale the UFO topic because much of the general public keeps demonstrating it's interested in it, thus the recent UFOs over Ireland reporting. As long as people who aren't in the UFO community continue to pay attention to it, the topic will have legs.

KRandle said...

purrlgurrl -

As I said, I don't want to get into a deep dive on this... and I suspect that we'll just have to agree to disagree...

However, on a personal note... CUFOS arranged for us, Don Schmitt and me, to meet with editors and reporters at the Chicago Tribune. We arrived at the appointed time and were met in a hallway by an intern. The interview was conducted by the intern, in the hallway, because, as she said, the editors knew there was nothing to UFOs and didn't want to hear anything about them. A surprising attitude since they had agreed to the interview. If they thought so little of the topic and didn't want to dirty their reputations by listening to what we had to say, then why agree to the interview at all?

This is not the only personal exampled I can cite... and I can point to reported instances where both local and national news readers were making fun of those who said they had seen UFOs. One of my favorites was a reporter at the local level, who after interviewing witnesses who never once said a thing about aliens, spacecraft or flying saucers, but were talking of strange lights seen in the sky, interviewed a little girl, asking her if she believed in aliens...

And, you are correct about so many of those grabbing the spotlight in the world of the UFO such as Al Bielek and those other time traveling warriors fighting on Mars...

cda said...

The subject attracted ridicule from the very start, when Arnold first used the phrase "flew like a saucer when you skipped it across water". It was a very unfortunate phrase, but it stuck. "Flying saucer" is still, after 70 years, a crazy nomenclature. 'UFO' is certainly better, but came too late and could never erase the damage to the subject caused by 'flying saucer'. I forget who was the journalist or reporter who first reported Arnold's sighting all those years ago. It was most definitely NOT used during the Scandinavian 'ghost rockets' wave the year before.

Unknown said...

I don't want to hurt your ego but I think nick pope is much more informed regarding the subject of UFO's versus the author of this website, in fact the more I read the selected topics on this website(going on 4 years) the author has become more of a goofy skeptic, and an absolute basher of 98% all other authors regarding the subject that UFO's have visited this planet (including his nutty explanation that Phoenix lights were flares)

I used to enjoy going to this website but now it has become a self absorbed ego pounding, well I got news for you Nick Pope is the gold standard for UFO reporting

Brian B said...

Well if Tucker wants to present UFO’s as a serious subject on FOX News, he’d best read some books, look at credible blogs (skeptic and nonskeptic), and spend more time digesting the history of this phenomenon. Otherwise he’s just making noise that no one will listen to. Of course it’s all about viewer count, ratings, and ad $$$ so does he really care after all? Doubt it.

KRandle said...

Unknown -

My friend, Nick Pope, does a very good job. My philosophy is that I am interested where the evidence goes. If a sighting has a rational solution, I see no reason that we must keep using it as evidence of something alien... I see no reason to accept the wild tales told by those seeking the spotlight if they can offer no evidence they are telling the truth and their tales are absolutely impossible (and remember, according to one website and group associated with it, not only I, but my fellow soldiers were not in Iraq but on Mars... why would anyone believe this nonsense is beyond me).

If the evidence suggests that something it alien in nature or has no terrestrial explanation, then I'm on board. However, if it is not or does not, then by embracing it, we only clutter the landscape with invalid information, but weaken our own case. I'm searching for the truth and not validation of my belief structure. What you'll get here is the best information available at the time I wrote the article but if that information changes, in either direction, then I will report it as such.

BTW, one group of sightings of the Phoenix Lights was flares... but there more to it than just that single sighting.

Terry the Censor said...

Unknown sounds as if s/he is in that large section of the fandom that demands UFOs be about their belief, not about the evidence. It is a religious stance, not a scientific or investigative one.

Unknown said...

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Unknown said...

Watch his more recent reporting on it. Much more in depth. Actually acknowledged tonight (12/19/2019) that they can't be man made and are either ET or Extra-Dimensional. The bigger point here though, is this: A pundit, whose show ranks among the top 3-5 in ratings nationally, on a nightly basis, is talking about this subject. The World Govs would NEVER have allowed this until the last couple of years. This should make everybody much more happy than frustrated. Now, here's to hoping that other news will start picking it up and taking it seriously.