The New York Times recently published the following letter in connection with Peter Jennings' ABC special on UFOs. It was written in response to an off-handed remark made by the otherwise penetrating columnist Frank Rich.
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ARTS AND LEISURE DESK
TV NEWS; Equal Time for U.F.O.'s
Published: March 13, 2005, Sunday
To the Editor:
Frank Rich does an uncharacteristic disservice to open debate when he dismisses the interview subjects of Peter Jennings's recent U.F.O. special as ''fanatics'' [''Gonzo Gone, Rather Going, Watergate Still Here,'' last Sunday]. The one distinction the Jennings special may claim is that it separated the fanatics -- the awkward paranoiacs who dominate ''ufology'' -- from ordinary people who believe they've witnessed something fantastic.
Reasonable people sometimes encounter unexplained phenomena only to be told, tut-tut, that science makes no room for personal anecdote. This tends to force them to the fringes, if they want to be heard at all. ABC's motives may have been less than stellar, but the network did, for an evening, buck that unfortunate pattern.