Journalism: Pro’s vs Joe’s And George Knapp

Dave’s Write Away

By Dave Scott, Host, Spaced Out Radio


Journalism: Pro’s vs Joe’s And          George Knapp

The world of UFOs has never seen this much press, since the United States Government and its alphabet agencies have come out in the last year and a half to start discussing the topic in front of the public.  It’s a hot button story that used to be pushed under the rug in the journalism basement, but now finds itself front and center because politicians and officials are trying to publicly wonder what is happening in America’s skies, especially over military installations and training areas.  Is it aliens?  Is it drones from China or Russia that have secretly invaded U.S. airspace?  Right now, on the public and media front, the keynote answer is, “We don’t know?”
At front and center the last few years, we’ve seen every major media outlet from the New York Times to Fox and CNN cover this highly controversial subject as they would a regular news story.  Which to be honest is actually nice to see.  Gone are the days of the X-Files or Twilight Zone theme songs that lead us into the story.  No, the MSM is taking this story seriously now, as they should have all along.  I would go as far as saying that after decades of ridicule, the mainstream media still doesn’t have much of a clue on how to cover this story at all.  But the good news is, reporters and journalists are trying and they’re catching up.  But for us UFO junkies, they aren’t quite where we need them to be.
But alas, throughout every UFO, UAP, and conspiracy that’s been thrown around over the years, there’s been one consistent.  That’s George Knapp.  Based out of Las Vegas, Nevada, the stalwart investigative journalist has been, remarkably, the only journalist to take full advantage of this story since 1989.  That’s 32-years of covering the high strangeness, which started with a strange report of alien spacecraft in the Nevada desert, where a gentleman named Bob Lazar went public about his working at Area 51’s S-4.  This is a story that a pro like Knapp probably didn’t want to cover because it was too over the top.  Really?  Working on reverse engineering of space craft at the secret base nicknamed ‘Dreamland’?  That’s just way too sci-fi.  It’s a story that just won’t go away and is still a hot button topic battled daily on social media between skeptics and believers alike.
But with his years of investigative journalism, George Knapp has done what he is supposed to do as a respected and successful investigative journalist.  He’s cultivated his ‘sources’ and through hard work, late nights, hours long phone calls, emails, he’s created a dialogue of trust.  In other words, George’s word is good with his sources, which makes his stories great for television reporting.  This is why Knapp has been highly successful in holding down a long-term job in a very shaky career where tenure and respect is long gone for pretty faces, and clickbait type stories.  No, there aren’t a lot of investigative journalists out there anymore that cut their teeth over a pack of cigarettes and a couple of bottles of whiskey, in order to gain the trust of their sources, from politicians to mob bosses.  Knapp has been there, done that, and even though he’s close to his seventies, shows no signs of slowing down.  This is why he is a multiple award winner.  This is why he’s been the trusted voice of KLAS Channel 8 in Vegas for nearly 40 years.  Knapp didn’t make his career just on UFOs.  He made his career being a journalist and a damn good one.
But Knapp has become a lightning bolt of controversy the last couple of years in the UFO world.  Why?  I have no idea.  People mis-judging his credibility.  People calling his bosses trying to get him fired from his position.  People calling him a shill to the hidden UFO agenda.  People accusing him of reporting on fake UFO stories.  It’s all crap in my eyes.  Look, I hate to be blunt, but anyone who knows anything about journalism would not question the ethics of his reporting.  But the UFO wannabe’s, skeptics and complainers don’t want to hear that.  Those who have no clue how journalism works have gone after the very person who’s reported on their side of the ball, regarding this phenomenon.  They’ve bitten the hand that feeds you.  For a long time now, Knapp has had a love-hate relationship with people in the UFO world.  Why?  Because they don’t know the first thing about how journalism works.  Even those who have self-titled themselves as ‘journalists’ have no idea how the field actually works because they’ve never worked in a newsroom.  They have no idea what it’s like to cultivate real stories with real quotes from real people and hidden sources.  They have no idea the years of work someone like Knapp has put into his job to perfect his craft, and to get his sources to trust him with very sensitive information.
Now, let’s talk about sources.  For those who want names and answers, I’m going to tell you right now, no self-respecting journalist who loves their career is ever going to give up their sources to appease the population.  Sources are what makes the news world go round when it comes to big stories.  Yet on a daily basis, journalists like Knapp are hammered on social media naming names.  Why would any reporter bite the hand that feeds them?  So, let’s say Knapp named names.  What then?  That source would immediately cut Knapp off the information line, which does the public no good in getting the information out.  It also would scare off other potential sources from giving Knapp any further information after he burned the previous source.  Journalism, when you are a REAL journalist, is about trust.  The public needs to trust the journalist, as well, the source needs to trust the journalist.  Doesn’t matter what the topic of the story is.  The other issue with Knapp naming names would be that source could get fired or worse from their careers for talking out of line to the press.  It’s another way to lose a valuable source providing information to the public.  So, the haste for Knapp or any other reporter not naming names just shows the lack of knowledge and understanding many in the public have in understanding how REAL journalism works.  I remember when I was on the beat, I had athletes talking to me privately all the time, giving me scoops and information to help build stories for broadcast.  But when they said it was ‘off the record’, or ‘you didn’t hear this from me’, I kept my word in keeping their name out of it.  Why?  Because that’s how stories are leaked.  That’s how the information gets to you, the public.  Not every story comes gift wrapped on a cute little press release, telling us what’s going on.

Take the heat both Knapp and Jeremy Corbell have received after providing the latest, and most thought-provoking video of a triangular shaped UFO, which has been confirmed as authentic by the Pentagon.  In this video, we see a triangle flying over a US Navy war ship off the coast of San Diego California in July of 2019.  This video, taken with a night vision camera, shows this triangle with a flashing beacon light which could be a plane we’ve never seen before or a drone.  However, Corbell and Knapp were able to get confirmation publicly from officials at the Pentagon that this indeed was an unknown object in the sky.  But if you look closely at the video, you will see more than one of those same triangles in the video.  Two of them are stationary, just sitting there, hovering in the sky.  Now this is easy to dismiss as drones.  Maybe secret drones?  We don’t know.  We can only go on the confirmation of the Pentagon’s official press secretary, Susan Gough, who’s tried to railroad every UAP story that’s come her way, and what Knapp and Corbell’s sources say.  Could they be drones?  Absolutely!  But then the government itself would be lying to the public after allowing this video to be released as unknown aerial phenomenon.  We also know in the reports that were released that there were multiple craft that were seen teasing the three ships, including one hovering about sixty feet above a helicopter deck.   Now, in my opinion, if they were adversarial to say the least, the US Navy had every right to protect itself and shoot these craft down.  However, they did not.  Which begs the question as to why they didn’t?  If they were manmade from a country like China or Russia, would firing on them cause an international incident?  What we don’t know is what happened or how were these drones maneuvering around the ships during that time.  We have 18-seconds of video to analyze more harshly than the Zapruder film of President Kennedy’s assassination.  We do know these craft were seen and recorded traveling at Mach speed without the sonic boom that usually follows when breaking the sound barrier. Knapp and Corbell would have done their due diligence on perfecting a story this sensitive as much as possible before putting their names on it and releasing it to the public at large.  This is how reputations are made, maintained or crushed.

This is why I have such a hard time with so many people in the UFO world calling themselves ‘journalists’.  Those who have self-titled themselves as a journalist have no idea the difference between real reporting and blogging or vlogging.  This is why I take offense to people who question ethics of longtime scribes and reporters like Knapp, questioning their ethics, when they have no idea how reporting works.  Some stories take months to get the information right.  I know I’ve personally been working on a big UFO story that I can’t release yet, because I have all of the pieces of the puzzle but no official quote.  Sometimes that can take days, weeks or even months.  Right now, I’m in the ‘months’, in trying to get the quote to get the story released.  Many of these so-called citizen journalists out there have no idea how to even process a story of that nature.   Look, there are some good ones out there.  Tim McMillan has done great work in honing the craft.  Danny Silva has become a person of trust for many sources.  Ryan Stacey has done a great job digging for UFO news.  We have some good ones out there.  The rest, well, if they understood the job title, they’ve given themselves, then they’d know that writing an actual story isn’t about just writing an op-ed on one’s thoughts of the topic.  A real story takes real work and hours of phone calls and digging for intel that lines up correctly for what you need.  I say this not to knock those who are trying.  I say this because sometimes the truth stings a little, and many in the UFO world need humbling every now and again.

If you want the information to come out properly, you need to be able to trust people like George Knapp and others who know how journalism works to get the stories out.  They are doing the best they can with what they’re able to get out when they can.  The pros like Knapp, Leslie Kean, Ralph Blumenthal, et al, are going to make sure their sources and their information is 100 percent legit before throwing it out to the UFO wolves to rip apart and shred into pieces.  These are people who’ve done the dirty work.  They’ve done their homework.  Their editors have been brought in to verify the story, so the news outlet is clean on the story.  Sometimes even lawyers are involved to make sure the journalism is safe, sound, and ethical.  If you want journalists like Knapp and Kean to be a part of the UFO field, stop throwing them under the bus every chance you get.  It doesn’t help.  They don’t work for you.  They have positions as trusted journalists because they’re damn good at what they do.  That doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, or their stories.  But show the respect for how hard the work is to keep that small trickle of information flowing.  I can guarantee you they’re doing their best to get it to the public.  After all, that is their job. 

Author: Gail Hodson Shirk

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