The missile contrail reportedly sighted above Los Angeles first earlier this week and a tentative prediction we made about the sightings has proved fruitful as even more are now being reported in New York and other coastal cities around the United States. But why? Though it’s not unusual to make a prediction in an article such as this, the factors involved seem to be developing a distinct pattern. It is always exciting to catch trends such as these before they appear, and there is more to be said on the matter.
The first missile plume reported by CBS was captured by a cameraman filming on location when he suddenly caught sight of what appeared from his perspective. Upon viewing the footage it was not obvious that the plume of smoke was not a missile sighting. But then again, it would have been more obvious to someone actually present. Essentially the camera would have had to be in a perfect position to make it appear to be a missile plume dusting off into space. But why would witnesses on the ground be convinced that the object being filmed was such an incredible development? And why would those involved run the story calling it a missile when experts on the matter claimed immediately it was simply a jet contrail?
To look at the object from the perfect angle it still appears to be moving far too slowly to be shooting up into the sky. And while virtually none of us have observed the launch of an ICBM (thankfully) and few still have seen cruise missiles taking to the sky, many of us have seen launches of NASA spacecraft into the stars. And while the goal is entirely different, there are many similarities to the way the objects jet into the sky vertically. So why then, with several trained experts on staff, would this slip through the hands of major media outlets and reach all the way to the headlines? Though the stories were often shrouded with question marks, the general idea was demonstrably: A missile may have just been launched off the coast of California and we don’t know why. Such a headline is certainly interesting, but it is also patently deniable as we can see now. This week’s predictions have been fairly good, so the following is an asterisk to the missile prediction. Keep in mind that this is speculation.
It’s no mystery that independent media sources in many ways have left many major media outlets wanting for more time, resources, and leads to interesting stories. A news station such as CBS, while highly successful and well established in many ways, is bound just as any other aspect of life to adapt in order to survive. As tabloid periodicals bearing sensationalist claims make their way into the future, the more conservative (in research, not necessarily politically) will have to find new stories when none can be found. And if those stories cannot be found, these same outlets may find it tempting at times to entirely fabricate stories in order to meet public demand. This is by no means suggesting a vast conspiracy to fool the public, but rather a very motivated blind eye to the facts. Very few ever truly felt there was any danger from the story including the readers. Find a couple of experts, such as an aviation expert working for a magazine and you have the required components for suspension of disbelief. People had something to talk about over dinner that night aside from the economy, stocks rose 0.89% the following day, and newspapers sold. And as word reached the internet, media outlets knew they would either have to run the story or be once again outmoded by independent media. Should these media outlets be reprimanded for the story? It depends really on the function we wish as a society for the news to serve. If we wish for it to interest us, it will interest us and hold that interest above all other principles. If, however, we wish for accurate reporting from places such as CBS, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, and ABC we will have to change how we view and consume media.