Is the truth out there?
By Clint Hendler
Leslie Kean has written an unusual book on an unusual subject: Unidentified flying objects. But this Halloween weekend, Kean would like you to get any pictures of little green men you might have out of your mind.
Released this August, UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record collects statements from an unexpected array of people—senior officers in militaries around the world, a former governor of Arizona, a former senior Federal Aviation Administration manager—who tell their first hand accounts of witnessing or investigating something that their best efforts could not explain.
Kean describes herself as an investigative journalist. In the mid-nineties, she transitioned from being an activist on Burmese democracy and human rights issues to writing about the country. Her work on the topic, most of it co-written with Dennis Bernstein, was published in many major newspapers and magazines. She later worked as a reporter and producer for Flashpoints, a radio program on KPFA, Berkeley’s Pacifica station.
UFOs was blurbed as a “fine piece of journalism” by NewsHour science correspondent Miles O’Brien, and features an introduction by John Podesta, the former Clinton chief of staff, who supported a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that Kean helped successfully settled against NASA for records related to a contested 1965 incident outside of Pittsburgh. Kean (pronounced “cane”—Tom Kean, the former New Jersey governor and 9-11 Commission co-chair, is her uncle) spoke with CJR by phone.
What are the particular challenges to covering this subject as a journalist?
The biggest one is ridicule. A lot of that ridicule is deserved, because of the way that people interested in this carry on about it, and the kinds of information they put out as being valid. It’s just a cesspool.
When I first took the subject on, I was really embarrassed. You go to a party and people ask you what you do, and when you say you’re a journalist you’re just hoping nobody asks you what subject you focus on. You don’t want to tell because people laugh.
That was really an issue for years and years, but it got easier. I wrote a series of articles that were published in mainstream places, and I wouldn’t get any ridicule, because I think I was handling it in a way that most people don’t.
The other thing is that the subject is so inconclusive and nebulous. I was able to pull together a lot of solid information and government documents and high level sources for the book, but its still is extremely difficult to get a definitive conclusion to this problem. You want to be able to wrap up something and finalize it and have an answer and that doesn’t happen here.
Q&A: UFO Journalist Leslie Kean
No replies to this topic
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users