Based on headlines these last couple years, we're experiencing some kind of revolution in our quest for contact with aliens. But we aren't. Oh, every day's a good day for speculating about aliens—we at Cracked have been doing it all week—but this recent news about aliens has come in two forms, both of them misinterpreted and exaggerated.

First: The Department of Defense, in an unprecedented move, spoke publicly about UFOs. That's nice of them. But UFOs are literally unidentified flying objects, nothing more. "The Pentagon acknowledges the existence of UFOs" does not mean "The Pentagon unveils their secret info on aliens." It means "the Pentagon admits that they have not been able to identify 100% of stuff sighted in the sky. Of course they haven't been able to identify everything. The only weird part was their refusal to admit that for so long.

The Pentagon has now switched to a new term instead of UFO: UAP, or unidentified aerial phenomena. This term means exactly the same thing as unidentified flying object, but they had to switch because people wrongly think UFO means "stealthy extraterrestrial." Unfortunately, the switch isn't really working. Instead of a new but accurate term, people think UAP is a euphemism for UFO, think that the new term is still about aliens but seeks to downplay that fact.

Second: We've seen a bunch of stories, from various media outlets, about signs of aliens. Some of these stories reference the Pentagon disclosures, some don't. These stories seemingly come from so many different sources that they must be independent and unrelated. But when we looked at the stories earlier, we noticed that every expert—from media personalities to scientists to government insiders—belongs to a single organization called To The Stars. 

At the time, it seemed like To The Stars was seeking publicity because they wanted investors. Today, besides still asking for investment, their website is filled with merchandise for sale, and they now openly call themselves an entertainment company instead of a scientific venture.

Many of these stories respond to or cite a series of articles from the New York Times. These articles, even if they quote To The Stars people, seem legit—if the Times is reporting on it, surely they weighed the info and it's newsworthy, right? However, these Times articles are all written by the same pair of writers. One is a longtime NY Times alum, but neither are now staff, and neither currently covers anything other than this specific beat. Both are "UFO advocates" who wrote books on the subject, one called The Believer: Alien Encounters. Reporters should be informed about what they're covering, but when we're talking about the paranormal, "experts" aren't really experts, and we need disinterested people vetting them.

There's no conspiracy to cover up aliens. But there's a bit of a conspiracy to promote aliens. 

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For more on the alien conspiracy, check out:

Why Did The Navy File A Patent For An 'Alien' Spacecraft?

Back In The Day, Everybody Was Talking To Aliens (Thanks To One Scammer)

4 Reasons Blink-182's Singer Was Clearly Abducted by Aliens

Follow Ryan Menezes on Twitter for more stuff no one should see. 

Top image: Sony Pictures

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