Monday, August 08, 2005

Peter Jennings (1938 - 2005)

Peter Jennings, one of the Big Three network news anchors, has passed away at the age of 67.

Of the Big Three (the other two being NBC's Tom Brokaw and CBS's Dan Rather), Jennings was my favourite, partly, I suppose, because he was born in Canada, but moreso because he always seemed a bit more... in touch with the rest of us than the other two.

You can see his obituary at:

Jennings is being remembered today for a long and storied career in journalism, but people keenly interested in the UFO phenomenon will always remember him for his final ABC News Special, Seeing is Believing, which brought UFOs into major network, prime-time America.


Not everyone was pleased with the film - particularly the hard-core ETH believer types, more than a few of whom are possessed of a martyr complex that rivals Richard Nixon's.

For more objective observers, however, Seeing is Believing was a positive, if imperfect, step forward for those who think the UFO phenomenon should be taken seriously by science, journalism, historians, and the general public.

I said so at the time:

I wrote, in part:

"When discussing Seeing is Believing, ufology needs to keep its eye on the ball - yes, there were things that many in ufology won't agree with (Roswell, for example). But the study of the UFO phenomenon needs to get back into the mainstream, after years of wallowing in conspiracy theory, New Age-ism, and wild tales from alleged "whistleblowers" about dozens of alien races. It needs to move away from "Exo-politics", and back to looking at the evidence again. And yes, it needs to make its case to the general public, to the media, and to science. Seeing is Believing was a critical first step in that process.

Kudos to ABC, and Peter Jennings."

Kudos, indeed, to Peter Jennings - not just for Seeing is Believing, but for decades of the best that journalism has to offer. He will be missed.

Paul Kimball

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