I'm not a proponent of the "Roswell as a crashed alien spacecraft" theory, but to label the Roswell Incident as a hoax, which is what a reporter for the Indianapolis Star did yesterday (as reported here, in the Detroit Free Press), is just ridiculous.
From the article, which was about the 10 greatest hoaxes:
"No. 3: Roswell, N.M.
It's 1947, the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union is on in earnest, and a rancher in Roswell, N.M., finds some debris out on the range. Obviously, a flying saucer had crashed. According to Infoplease, what lent credibility to the reports of a government cover-up was the fact that there probably was a government cover-up, but of high-altitude spy balloons, not flying saucers. For years, people reported seeing flying saucers, and in the 1990s, TV's "The X-Files" propelled the myth to new heights."
I defend the media to ufologists on a regular basis (it ain't easy considering Fox "News"). But guys like this writer, who don't even understand what a "hoax" is, just make it harder and harder.
Of course, he also gets his facts wrong. For example, he assumes that Roswell was widely known at the time, and in the decades following, and led to all of the UFO sightings. This is just plain wrong, as the Roswell story was quickly squelched (for what reason is still the subject of intense debate within ufology). It also happened after the Kenneth Arnold sighting, which is when the flying saucer era really took off (no pun intended) - it wasn't until the late 1970s that Roswell re-surfaced in the public consciousness.
As for the government cover-up stuff, Donald Keyhoe and others were working that side of the street long before Roswell hit the big time. Heck, even Stan Friedman was convinced of a cover-up years before he ever heard of Roswell.
But it gets worse.
From there, the reporter uses his "Roswell hoax" angle to besmirch ALL UFO sightings.
FYI - I'm sure that the United States Air Force crew members involved in the RB-47 case weren't thinking of Roswell in 1957. Nor was Kelly Johnson et al thinking of Roswell in 1953. Nor were the fishermen and other witnesses of Shag Harbour (including a pal of mine who saw "it" fly over Halifax on its way down the shore) thinking of Roswell in 1967. Nor was... well, you get the idea. The list is, literally, endless.
As for the X-Files propelling the "myth" to new heights, that may be true, in the sense that the show was very popular for a while, but the X-Files was inspired by the UFO phenomenon, and the cases, and yes, even the conspiracy theories, not the other way around. One should always try to avoid confusing fact with fiction, and reality with fantasy. The reporter's version is roughly akin to saying that The West Wing inspired John Kerry's run for president in 2004. On the other hand, given the level of intellectual acumen the reporter has demonstrated so far, perhaps he believes that there really was a President Bartlett? Who knows?
Time to send ABE AAMIDOR, the author of the article (I hesitate to use the word "reporter"), back to the court-house beat, where he can fill his days writing little snippets about which hooker just got caught with which city council member. He might - might - be able to handle that.
In the meantime, he should buy a dictionary and check out the definition of the word "hoax".
Here's a push in the right direction, courtesy of the Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language:
"Hoax n. 1. a humorous or mischievous deception, esp. a practical joke. 2. something intended to deceive or defraud."
Assuming that Abe actually exists (I'm willing to admit that there is a possibility that "Abe Aamidor" is just a group of monkeys banging away at typewriters), he might want to pick up a copy of Dick Hall's The UFO Evidence, and The UFO Evidence, Vol. II.
Nah - that would require him to do some real reporting.
All of which leads us to the real Q & A of this little story...
What's the true number one hoax here?
That Abe Aamidor is a competent journalist.