Understanding UFOs and the Media: Puncturing a Myth

October 1, 2004

 

by Richard M. Dolan

 

Some people in the UFO field have an idea that the “government” is planning open disclosure ever so slowly, ever so gradually, and that a key method for doing this is through the media. One hears this quite a lot.

 

According to this belief, movies by Steven Spielberg, or television shows like The X-Files, are part of the plan to accustom us to the idea that aliens are among us.

 

I find this unpersuasive for several reasons, not least of which has to do with my own assessment of what the media itself actually is.

 

What we call the media is essentially a sophisticated technology under centralized control that sells information and entertainment to the public. The public, as everyone knows, is diverse culturally and stratified economically. Thus, to be effective, “The Media” must show a different face, depending on whomever it is trying to reach – that is, whatever market segment being targeted by its advertisers.

 

With that in mind, let’s look at America today. A complete, comprehensive sociological breakdown is rather beyond my capabilities this afternoon, so let’s just look at the money.

 

No matter how you slice and dice the data, the inescapable conclusion is that American society is incredibly stratified (of course, the same applies to most of the world, but that’s another story for another day). You can look at income patterns, or you can look at net worth, and either way the unavoidable conclusion is that America is a society broken into distinct economic classes.

 

Look at income. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the share of national income going to the top fifth of wage earners rose from 44% in 1973 to 50% in 2000. The share going to the top 1% rose to 15% in 1998. This is the highest it has been since World War Two. [1]

U.S. income by quintile.

Income is important, but wealth even more so. After all, if your living expenses match your income, you won’t be saving and investing very much, and you won’t generate wealth. It is wealth, not income, that matters when it comes to wielding power and influence.

 

Looking at patterns of wealth ownership, America’s classes are shockingly easy to see. Essentially, we have four classes in our society. I call them the Owners, Managers, Worker Bees, and Expendables.

 

You can think of America as a room. In this room are 100 people who collectively own $100. If this were a communist utopia, each person would have one dollar, and they would all be holding hands, singing Kumbaya.

But in our little room, one person owns 33 of those dollars. Some analysts put this figure at $38, and they may be right, but let’s just say $33. Either way, it’s quite a lot.

 

The next 19 wealthiest people get to share 51 more of those precious dollars. That’s $2.68 each. It doesn’t seem like much compared to our fellow at the top, but it’s quite good compared with the remaining 80 people.

 

That is because there’s now only $16 left. In fact, 18 of these people get nothing at all. The other 62 people get to keep some small change, averaging about twenty-five cents each.

 

Aside from the issue of whether such a breakdown is fair – you can leave that to your private ethical ruminations – remember that this room has many interesting things that make it go. For instance, it has a legal system, an economy, a political system, and so on.

 

We may ask, who is in the best position to manipulate these things for his own benefit? The question answers itself: that person with the $33, whom we may with full justice label as the practical “owner” of the society.

 

The owner likes his position, but can’t run things entirely by himself, so he enlists allies. These are in the top quintile. They are the managers. They supervise the great many people who have a few pennies to their name – the worker bees.

 

At the bottom are those 18 with nothing – absolutely no net worth at all. These are the expendables. As far as the guy at the top are concerned, they could drop dead and he wouldn’t care, except that their presence helps to keep the worker bees nervously occupied and distracted from that most fundamental of all social and political questions: Who Owns What.

 

Actually, if you look at the numbers more precisely, you can break down the social groups more accurately. The expendables remain at the bottom, of course. Then, up to around the 60th percentile of the population, you have essentially the lower half of the worker bee population. Then, from the 60th to approximately the 90th percentile, you still have worker bees, but they’re better off. Many would call this the American middle class. So in fact, the American management class comprises not the top 20 percent, but more like the top 10 percent of the population. This also conforms more closely with the observed reality of most workplaces.

Things become interesting starting at around the 90th percentile. A dramatic expansion of wealth begins at this point, and you can discern roughly two stratifications within the 90th to 99th percentiles. Of course the Fat Guy at the top percent still sits happily above the rest. (And to go even further, if you were to break down that top 1% of wealth owners you would find the same continued levels of stratification continuing within it). [2]

 

With economic stratification comes cultural stratification, which takes us back to the media, which is an important part of our little American room. Leading executives know this far better than I do, but it’s pretty obvious that certain types of news and entertainment are designed for people in different economic classes. Indeed, since media organizations make their money through advertising revenues, the right demographic analysis can affect billions of dollars, and you can be sure that media executives have among the most sophisticated demographic data in the world.

 

While it isn’t true that all people of a certain class will slavishly follow their cultural expectations, it’s generally true that, say, someone of the upper management class will be more likely to sit down to watch Tom Brokaw and read the Wall Street Journal than the watch his local FOX affiliate and read the New York Post.

 

That’s because NBC News and the Journal are designed for the management class, or at least management class trainees and wannabees. If you doubt this, then look at the commercials and ads, most of which are geared toward conspicuous consumption of the affluent kind.

 

And while I don’t have demographic information pertaining to the Wall Street Journal newspaper, I do have information pertaining to the Journal’s website, WSJ.com, as well as for some other pillars of the cyber-establishment, NYTimes.com and CNN.com. At WSJ.com, the average household income for its readers is $215,600, placing it easily within the top 5 percent of income earners in the U.S. The NYTimes.com readers fared not quite as well, with a mean income of only $86,150 (still placing most of its readers in the top quintile). The same applies to CNN.com, whose readers have an average household income exceeding $80,000. [3]

 

It’s not all that complicated. There are certain very obvious outlets of the media that cater to the management class and above, which makes perfect sense since that’s where the money is.

 

Regarding the belief in UFO disclosure through the media, my point is this: when you look at the obvious “management and above” media outlets, you find nothing of a serious nature relating to UFOs. This is because management classes historically have relatively narrow ranges of acceptable beliefs. The first requisite of a successful ruling elite is that it share important foundational assumptions about its society and interests.

 

If you are born into the American Management Class, for instance, certain assumptions become second-nature, like believing in the corporate American style of capitalism as the best solution to humanity’s problems, or in the inherent goodness of American intentions around the world. Members of this class must share its belief structure, else they become marginalized from real power.

 

As far as UFOs are concerned, all you have to do is study the management-oriented media to understand that believing in the existence of unexplained, highly advanced technology traversing the skies and oceans of this world is simply not acceptable. Not if you are a member of the management class.

 

To say the least, this is an idea that could be unsettling to the stability of those who rule. How to admit that UFOs are real after almost 60 years of incessant denial, without compromising the very political system upon which you’ve relied to keep things moving smoothly and profitably? Especially if (speaking hypothetically, here) certain of your members reap incredible profits from ground-floor investments in technologies that were adapted from sources that aren’t supposed to exist?

 

On the other hand, from the perspective of power, it doesn’t really matter what the bottom 80 or even 90 percent think. If they want to believe in aliens, or bigfoot, or conspiracy notions pertaining to the Kennedy assassination (another verboten topic for our management class), then by all means they can. Better yet, turn all that stuff into cheesy entertainment, keeping the rabble happily distracted while at the same time you disable these topics from entering the realm of “serious” discussion.

 

Of course, some of the media coverage discussing UFOs is rational and intelligent. After all, there are many rational and intelligent people in the bottom 90 percent. And no doubt there are management-types who enjoy slumming it, and who will catch the occasional UFO documentary. Perhaps such people enjoy a naughty and illicit feeling that comes with such a secret pleasure.

 

But the sampling of pro-UFO information that makes it to the Worker Bee culture doesn’t mean very much as long as the management-oriented media refuses to take the subject seriously.

 

When we hear Tom Brokaw talking seriously about UFOs as “real,” then we’ll all know something is afoot. Until then, don’t hold your breath waiting for disclosure.

 

 

Notes:

 

[1] see “The Economist Fisks Paul Krugman” at http://ambit.typepad.com/ambit/2003/09/the_economist_f.html]

[2] See “Inequality Matters,” at http://inequality.org/facts.html. Source from data is Edward N. Wolff, “Changes in Household Wealth in the 1980s and 1990s in the U.S.,” Jerome Levy Economics Institute, May, 2004.

[3] See Good News for Marketers, Thursday, June 10, 2004, By Cheryl Pruett, iMedia Connection,http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/3618.asp]