Friday, February 25, 2005

ABC Learns a Lesson

Now this is what I call progress: after two years of almost nonstop excoriation of Bush and the Iraq conflict, ABC decides to run a two hour special on...wait for it...UFOs!
Flying saucers and strange beings who have visited Earth aren't the typical topics reported by Peter Jennings, anchor of ABC's World News Tonight. Jennings, whose new two-hour special tackles the subject of UFOs, admits he and his production team began the project with doubts and a dose of curiosity.

"We have a lot of skeptics -- I am very skeptical -- but we seriously investigated something a lot of people are serious about," he said. "And when we come to the end, this is wonderfully interesting.

Executive producer Tom Yellin said the UFO field is "a risky thing to report since it doesn't go with the conventional wisdom that this stuff is kind of silly, and the whole subject has been tainted by the brush of wackiness."

Like Jennings, Yellin initially had reservations about devoting a program to UFOs. "I thought it was all a bunch of baloney. Even though it has public appeal, you don't want to do something that subjects you to ridicule just to get a rating."
Unless, of course, you are Dan Rather and Andrew Hayward. But then, in their case CBS wasn't after ratings, they were after Bush's presidency. Perhaps ABC has learned a lesson from Rather and CBS: better to stick to safe stories like UFO sightings, than fake stories like the National Guard memos.