EXCLUSIVE: Journalist Ralph Blumenthal talks New York Times latest UFO coverage

(Scree shot)

(Scree shot)

When the New York Times published the piece titled “Glowing Auras and ‘Black Money’: The Pentagon’s Mysterious U.F.O. Program” on Dec. 16 2017 it was a paradigm shift in the way the public and mainstream press outlets presented stories on UFOs. Since that initial story by veteran journalists Helene Cooper, Ralph Blumenthal and Leslie Kean a lot has happened in bringing this topic away from fringe. When the first Times article hit, we went behind the scenes of the story with Blumenthal when he discussed how they considered Luis Elizondo credible, and wanted to purse the story. Blumenthal was able to talk to Punk rock and UFOs again on the Times latest offering, and how editorial leadership sees these stories.

“The good news is the Times is receptive to this story,” Blumenthal said.” They have to be done in a New York Times  way where everything is on the record. In this case we did, we were able to talk to several pilots without using names. Everyone else was on record. The Times takes the subject very seriously with its editing standards, which is why the stories have gotten such credible resonance. When people see it in the Times it’s not fake news, (and) it’s not speculation. We are very careful to stick to what we know, and lay out what we don’t know. The editing process is very rigorous, and it is not easy for reporters like us to get these stories through because we are held to a very high standard given the subject I would say properly so.”

The New York Times isn’t the only journalism giant taking this seriously all of a sudden. Politico, Washington Post, The Hill, New York Mag, and other large media companies are following suit with similar stories, which makes the journalists at the Times prideful from what started as the Pentagon UFO story to now.

“We love to see it lighting up the Internet,” Blumenthal said. “It is the most e-mailed , most watched and most everything’d story of the day. It is really dominating Times coverage, so it is a part of pride because we do think the subject is important, and we love to see people follow us since sometimes we need to follow other people, but in this case I think we have set the pace.”

Ralph Blumenthal is a 45-year veteran of the New York Times. (Twitter)

Ralph Blumenthal is a 45-year veteran of the New York Times. (Twitter)

With the new NYT story “‘Wow, What Is That?’ Navy Pilots Report Unexplained Flying Objects” that dropped May 26, Blumenthal, Kean and Cooper return to feature two new witness testimonials from military officials with the biggest takeaway being that these baffling UFOs appeared almost daily from the summer of 2014 to 2015 off the East Coast. The article features quotes from Lt. Ryan Graves ( a 10-year Navy vet) who reported his sightings to the Pentagon and Congress, Lt. Danny Accoin and three others (who asked not to be named) spoke on record to the times on what they saw. Graves and Accoin are mentioned in the story to also appear on upcoming episodes of History’s “Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation” ( read our spoiler free review of episode one here). The sightings reported here seem to mimic the descriptions of the 2004 Nimitz UAP case.

Some detractors of efforts of To The Stars, and these stories in general are quick to paint a picture as the release of the story is timed to collaborate with the debut episode of “Unidentified.”

“We knew the History Channel had put this series together, and we watched that and give them credit in the piece, and saw what they said in the series and went after them (witnesses) because obviously we weren’t going to take it from the TV; we wanted to conduct our own interview, so we did meet with Ryan Graves in New York, and Helene spoke with Danny Accoin over the phone,” Blumenthal said.”  There are many places in the paper for shows to be reviewed and featured. This was not the purpose of this article. We wanted to establish the credibility of these witnesses on our own, and not part of any other effort, program or institution. It was not reliant on anybody but our own reporting.”

Blumenthal is aware of the infighting, division and skepticism among the UFO community, but ultimately believes this story is one “of the biggest of our time.”The effort from the journalists at the New York Times continues to be done by journalists only.

“We really try to keep our distance from To The Stars because we think it helps our credibility to be separate,” Blumenthal said.” They are doing what they are doing, and they’ve done some really interesting, important things, but we have to do what we do at the New York Times. To maintain our standards and credibility we have to do it our own way. We are doing it by our interviews the way we always do everything, and it keeps our reporting pure and obviously respected elsewhere. We aren’t taking anything from anybody; we are investigating ourselves.”