To fully appreciate the extent of UPN's deceit, consider their advance promo, which said:
"UPN will present a one-hour special centered on an alleged videotaped account of a family's purported encounter with what may be extraterrestrial life forms when 'Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County' airs Tuesday, Jan. 20.
"The recently acquired videotape is the sole testament to the fate of the McPherson family, missing since last Thanksgiving Day.
"Apparently recorded and, at various times, narrated by the family's 16-year-old son, Thomas McPherson, the startling footage shows the family gathering with friends to celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, Nov. 27, 1997. A series of strange occurrences, caught by the camera, culminate in what appears to be a frightening encounter with strange creatures.
"During the special, several people who claim to have had similar experiences relate their ordeals, and experts on aliens discuss the authenticity of the videotape."
In all the foregoing, almost nothing is true. The reference to "recently acquired videotape" is deceptive, because the videotape in question was produced expressly for this program. Executive producer of the alleged abduction videotape was Dick Clark -- yes, THAT Dick Clark. Interestingly, the same Dick Clark is also the producer of another new television series called "Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction," hosted by Jonathan Frakes, which just began airing on the Fox TV network. "Beyond Belief," mixes allegedly true stories with admittedly fake stories and challenges the audience to decide which is which.
References to the McPerson family are entirely false. The family does not exist. Every alleged family member in the videotape is an actor, as proven by the credits which show very briefly at the end of the program. The program is not even an attempt to recreate a real event. It is a complete fabrication.
Furthermore, the supposed abductees who talk about their own experiences are actors; the policeman is an actor; the newswoman is an actor; and the alleged child psychologist is an actor. None of their comments are authentic. All of them were scripted by writer Dean Alioto, who also directed.
The only authentic people in the entire production were three well-known researchers: Stanton Friendman, Yvonne Smith and Derrel Sims. CNI News has contacted all three since the show aired and has learned that none of them were ever shown the "abduction" videotape prior to being interviewed for the show. Nor were they given a clear idea of what the show would be like. They were asked general questions on abduction, and their comments were edited, where possible, to sound as if they were commenting on the events portrayed in the program. This again was manipulative, exploitive and deceitful on UPN's part. These three researchers inadvertently gave this program a measure of undeserved credibility. They were shamefully used and exploited.
Many expressions of outrage have been circulating on the internet. Among these, CNI News wishes to single out two messages which call for specific action. The first, from Riskers/NUFOIA, calls for a boycott of UPN. Their message reads, in part:
"Riskers/NUFOIA and its founders are hereby calling for a national boycott of the UPN network...
"UPN used nationally recognized ufologists and researchers to pull off their hoax. They made those in the UFO community who have experienced abductions feel used and worthless. They made the UFO community a joke, and they did it at the expense of the entire American Public.
"Please know, it is not only the people involved in the UFO phenomenon who have been hurt here. It is all those in America who believe that a national media, such as UPN, has no right to deceive like this, at the Public's expense...
"We are hereby calling for a boycott of the UPN network. Riskers/NUFOIA will begin contacting advertisers on the UPN network tomorrow. I encourage any of you who have any of the advertisers' names that were featured on the UPN network during this show... to please forward their names, contact numbers, addresses, or e-mail addresses on to everyone."
The second message, circulated by Don Waldrop of MUFON Los Angeles, can be used as a model letter if you wish to send a direct protest to your local UPN affiliate. Don begins by noting: "You can find your own UPN affiliate by going to http://www.infoseek.com and typing in UPN."
The text of his letter reads:
"Dear UPN Channel (xxx, your local affiliate),
"I recently witnessed on your channel a very destructive bit of misinformation masquerading as a documentary.
"The fake docu-drama, 'Incident In Lake County', promoted and aired with the questions asking 'Is it real?', was the worst kind of misleading and fear-mongering programming. It was clearly designed to cause fear of alien abduction in the average person.
"As I am sure you know, there are a large number of people who have had actual sightings of UFOs. What you may not know, but easily could have with a little research, is that a significant portion of the public believes they have actually had contact with alien entities. This section of our population includes many well-educated and productive people. Many are traumatized by this belief and many are looking to the press and television to help them separate fact from fiction.
"By televising programs like this, you are doing your watchers an extreme disservice by blurring the distinctions of reality, causing those who feel they are experiencing these events even more trauma while fueling those more skeptical members of the public to be even more closed to the possibility of life outside of our tiny world.
"I personally feel programming like this is yellow journalism at its worst. I now know that your integrity is at question and will avoid watching any further UFO or ET subject programming on UPN."
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