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Fake news has been getting a lot of attention recently. Anybody active in the fields of ufology, exopolitics or contact research, is of course very familiar with the phenomenon, as fake news stories have been rampant for ages in these fields. After all, the vast majority of video clips and photos with UFOs doing the rounds on social media are blatant hoaxes. There is plethora of websites that make a lot of money by constantly spewing sensational but made up stories that deal with an extraterrestrial presence. There are con artists pretending to be whistleblowers who are willing to share their 'exclusive information' for a 'reasonable price.' Then there are people with a genuine interest who think their piece of the puzzle is all there is, and muddy the waters by systematically dismissing and attacking any information that doesn't match their views. There are people with agendas, and there are paid disinformation agents. In these circumstances, finding the truth increasingly becomes a major challenge.

Fake News
Fake News (by Scott Browne)

To dispel some of the falsehoods that are being spread, we asked the members of our panel what they thought was the biggest myth or fake news story with regard to an extraterrestrial presence. Here are their replies.

Giorgio Piacenza

The biggest or most important IMPLICIT myth / falsehood that is being spread with regard to contact experiences is that a validating feeling and coherence with our previous beliefs is the surest way to judge whether information about the nature and purpose of extraterrestrials is true. Believers and skeptics are typically divided by gut feeling and by whether any information purported to be true coincides with their feelings and belief systems already engaging with their sense of personal identity. In an era in which greater degrees of precision, more careful and well-reasoned research and facts are mixed through new media outlets with "alternative news" and "post-truth" statements also vying for people's responses, allegiances and support, issues such as extraterrestrial and/ or interdimensional contacts (themselves already in the periphery of what is acceptable by the 'mainstream') can be subject to even greater disconnection from facts and from what can be plausibly said to be more correct and perhaps partially verifiable. This situation demands even greater clarity of method and critical thinking so as not to fall in the "fake news" pattern that many are willing to admit as "valid" or as "fact" because it resonates well with them. Deciphering genuine cases of extraterrestrial contact may well require greater degrees both of critical thinking and greater degrees of intersubjective openness.

Part of the alternative community of individuals who accept the premise that otherworldly contacts are indeed happening seems to have borrowed much from the individualist New Age premise that if it feels right then it is true because each one of us is a creator deity of one's own reality. But unfortunately that assumption also resonates with individuals prone to myth, faith-based "facts" and group-think, sustaining overreaching generalizations over carefully assessed data and this lends itself to any number of "fake news" outlets prying on individuals seeking for straightforward answers, contact-awakened friends unable to withstand ambiguity and quite eager to turn their preferences and suspicions into "alternative facts." Thus, we ran the risk of becoming lost in a relativist manner amidst a cacophony of voices, the risk of continued irrelevancy by not being able to ever present a unified corpus of more credible information that can withstand the test of time or – in other words - to sort out “the wheat from the chaff.”

On the other hand, extreme skeptics denying plausible personal assessments and information received about otherworldly beings (for instance based on multiple testimonies that can be compared) may assume the "high ground" of critical thinking and objectivity based on the premise that only the scientific method as applied in the natural sciences is the way to clear judgement whether some claims about extraterrestrial or otherworldly intelligences, their natures and purposes are true or not. And this group will surely find fault with the previously described segments of "true believers" thus generating further divided, mutually dismissing and contending camps, each assuming that the other is accountable. But, regarding a complex human-non-human, multi-level, mind-expanding contact situation in which subjective experiences, interpretations and feelings as well as carefully assessed objective facts and a range of plausible facts blend and are necessary under deeper, more inclusive patterns, an integral evolution of perspective-taking also becomes necessary. The “either-or” mindset must give way to a more inclusive and simultaneously careful way to assess that which surpasses ordinary human thinking. This is part of what the need for human “consciousness expansion” may entail.

Altogether, the capacity to suspend judgement, to temporarily assume plausible information and to believe from a gut-feeling level will all be paradoxically necessary. The capacity to think in a careful, comparative, critical manner must be inspired by an extreme reverence for the sacred (for mystery, consciousness, existence and life if we must suggest some adjectives), a reverence that is tantamount to consciousness expanding beyond self-centered concerns enabling the inclusion of objective facts if in close correspondence with direct, subjective, gut-feeling knowingness. Basically, what a "post-truth" environment calls forth in individuals waking up to a much wider, worldview-transforming reality is to be able to embrace more with more accuracy, that is, to think with greater precision along with a simultaneous embrace of greater idealism. Healing the relativistic and myth-prone “post-truth” requires a greater sense of the sacred and great caring for the Truth (in all its limited, but evolving manifestations) in a way that empowers both the scientific and the intuitive, heartfelt and direct, experiential approach, reaching for greater levels of co-incidence between the quantitative and the qualitative aspects of life. 

Thomas Minderle

Some say all aliens must be benevolent because any negative alien civilization would destroy itself before achieving space travel, and thus only the most evolved alien races make it to Earth. This leads to the false idea that since aliens are good, the only true antagonists are xenophobic human elite trying to paint aliens in a bad light. But anyone who has personally experienced alien interference in their lives, or seen negative aliens and black ops military groups working together, knows that this couldn't be further from the truth. 

All aliens may indeed be "evolved," but only in terms of their intellectual, psychic, and technological capabilities. As we have seen with our own species, scientific progress does not track with ethical or spiritual progress. As any MILAB experiencer can attest, the black ops abductors may be technologically advanced but are cold and reptilian at heart. In fact, via their secret space program, they could easily make contact with primitives of another planet and, like the Conquistadors deceiving and enslaving native Americans, enslave them as well. That's an example of how a negative civilization, in this case the so-called "breakaway civilization," can become space faring and invade another planet without destroying itself. 

So, it's far more likely that, instead of all aliens being good or all aliens being bad, they are of varied intentions and it's up to us to discern one from the other and align with whoever serves our best interest as a species. Some aliens seem to be fighting for our spiritual liberation, others for our exploitation as a resource. And so we can never take what aliens say at face value since the negative ones could be imitating the positive or even get humans to reject the positive by promoting an unthinking, reactive, unilateral kind of paranoia against all aliens. It seems that there is no shortcut to correct action; blindly trusting all or rejecting all is merely a shortcut to failure.

Bill Konkolesky

When it comes to television coverage of the contact experience, be wary of anything less than an unfiltered first-hand witness report. So many authentic accounts from "supportive" producers get so badly skewed as to become more confabulation than fact. For evidence, I draw on a few of my first-hand experiences.

I suppose I was spoiled by my first experience with television coverage in 2002 by the wonderful production "Abduction Diaries" on SyFy, which fifteen years later, is still the project I am most proud of participating. Since then, things went downhill to one degree or another, in most cases due to tomfoolery by television producers.

In 2011, I was invited to participate in a documentary on Roswell and UFOs that filmed and aired on a major cable network. They were looking for an abductee willing to share experiences on camera. My interview would be amongst a variety of segments on various angles of the 1947 Roswell UFO crash and UFOs in general. While my experiences have nothing to do with Roswell, I would simply be the token abductee.

They flew me from Detroit to Roswell, where the interview was conducted inside the Roswell UFO Museum with one of the more eye-catching displays as backdrop.

After several hours, however, the director stopped the filming and shared with me that they wouldn’t be able to show the footage of me they shot, stating that I wasn’t the type of person they expected. He said that who they wanted was someone a bit outrageous to add levity to their special. Instead, he said, they got someone who was "measured, articulate, and convincing," adding, "I believe you and that’s the problem."

Several months later, the special aired with no abductee segment. I have no idea if they tried anyone else for that spot in the program.

The following year, in 2012, I was invited to participate in a pilot for a show that would exclusively feature abductees and their accounts. Part of the feature on me would include hypnotic regression. As I’d been regressed before, I was fine with this.

They flew me from Detroit to New York City where the interview was conducted inside someone’s home.

The first red flag was that, minutes before the shoot, the regressionist admitted to me that he knew essentially nothing about the abduction phenomenon. I expressed to him that I thought his lack of knowledge was a little dangerous if he intended on having individuals relive extraordinary and traumatic events of which he had no background knowledge. The regressionist replied that this lack of information allowed him to be impartial and that he could handle stress on the part of an abductee.

They started filming and the gentleman believed he put me under (even though I didn’t feel hypnotized…understandably, I wasn’t able to feel very comfortable around him).

After about an hour of him asking about my personal encounters (all of which I’d actually explored previously with serious investigators), one of the producers then entered the room and asked me if I could please start crying to make a more dramatic episode. I replied that I didn’t think I could. He then encouraged me to demonstrate whatever signs I could that I was terrified and overwhelmed…even though I wasn’t feeling particularly so. The only thing alarming me was the production team.

The show never aired.

The following year, in 2013, I was contacted by a TV producer who asked me if I knew any abductees in Michigan who might wish to be featured in a new series to air on a major cable network. They were particularly keen on abductees with physical evidence, of which I had nothing that impressed them (outside of a scar I received onboard when I was seven years old).

I reached out to two local abductees who matched what they were seeking, alerting them that, if they agreed to work with the production team, to be on guard against the producers taking too much license with their accounts.
Both abductees agreed, went on camera, and were subjected to having their accounts edited and rewritten to a point of due concern…and the show unfortunately did air.

So, unfortunately, much of television abduction coverage is fake. Television producers who aren’t invested in the abduction phenomena (they only know it’s popular and therefore potentially marketable) film individuals with no defensive awareness of the media but are brave enough to share sensitive personal experiences on camera for the whole world to see. Then those accounts molded by the producers into a false narrative to fit what they feel sells. There probably won’t be any end to this process in the foreseeable future.

At least my accounts weren’t subjected to the full Hollywood treatment that abductees have received in the movies like the film version of Communion’s dance scene or Fire In the Sky’s brutal surgery, both bizarre invented details for added sensationalism.

Just when you think truth is stranger than fiction, television producers take that as a dare. Just be wary of what you’re watching…and even more so if the camera is pointed at you.