August 9, 2012

MUFON Director Defends Actions, Denies Exaggerations

Attendees gather at a UFO conference to hear a guest speaker.

Mutual UFO Network executive director David 'The Captain' MacDonald defended the manner the information presented at the recent annualsymposium was touted as “major” and “blockbuster,” stating that importance is in the eye of the beholder. When asked via email to comment on disappointments expressed, as well as specifically what “material” was considered to be so “sensitive” that “proper security protocols” were implemented to protect the material and parties involved, MacDonald replied:
The sensitive material which requires "proper security protocol" is the Leonard Stringfield files which have been acquired by MUFON. These files contain material which names names, dates, places and events of such a nature that special caution needs to be exercised. In regards to that material, we absolutely stand by our statement. I briefly described the nature of the contents in my opening remarks at the Symposium. To date, I have heard no disappointment pertaining to that release.

As to the second announcement, to which the notion of security was never attached, at least by MUFON, the jury is still out. We have a few who are thrilled, a few that are deeply disappointed while the majority remains neutral. That is a typical reaction in a field such as ufology and I expressly pointed that out in my last "Directors Message" published in the 'MUFON Journal'.

The Symposium is a place where ufologists have the opportunity to present their findings to the organization and each member can accept or reject those findings as they so choose. MUFON has done its job by offering an acceptable forum for the presentation of those findings.

MUFON, like any other organization, cannot flawlessly predict the level of interest on any given subject to any given group. That is what marketing firms do, albeit with mixed results.

However, in the case of the Stringfield files we hit a home run and future releases will bear us out.

I explained to MacDonald I interpreted from his reply that he did not consider the "national release of blockbuster UFO discovery," which was scheduled for Sunday at 4:30 p.m., to have been sensationalized, misrepresented or exaggerated in any manner. I then asked if that was a correct interpretation on my part, to which MacDonald replied:
You are correct! MUFON simply does not need to exaggerate, misrepresent or sensationalize anything.

As a matter of fact, as of today, the positive response to the Sunday release far exceeds the negative. As you know, importance, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Internet discussion forums such as UFO Casebook continued to attract comments from members frustrated with the situation and outraged over what they interpreted to be misleading implications. Popular UFO-related information sites contained posts expressing concern related to seemingly never ending claims of imminent smoking guns that consistently fail to materialize within ufology.

Some suggested the Stringfield files might actually be interesting and potentially significant for a number of reasons. However, concern was equally expressed over how the files might be handled due to perceived decreasing MUFON credibility, as well as due to the MUFON reputation of failing to publish information of public interest.

Harry Drew, the researcher who made a presentation on alleged crashed alien craft during the time slot scheduled to contain a blockbuster announcement, may be destined to be remembered more for questionable MUFON public relations than the research he presented. If current trends are any indication, Drew may very well long be associated with failing to produce blockbuster evidence, deserving or not.