So there’s a new book out: Area 51: an Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base, by Annie Jacobsen. On Tuesday, May 17, Annie discussed her book with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. Naturally, I watched. You can watch too, if you wish:
Most of what Annie had to say about Area 51 matches what I know: it is one of a number of restricted areas in Nevada; it abuts another restricted area where atmospheric nuclear weapons were tested during the 1950s and 60s; certain kinds of then-secret aircraft (notably the U-2 and the YF-12/SR-71 aircraft) were tested at the Groom Lake air base located within Area 51; presumably, secret weapons systems are still being tested there.
But when Annie began to describe the most outrageous and flamboyant assertion in her book — that a “flying disc” had been shot down near Roswell, New Mexico in the late 1940s; that the remains of the disc, along with its Nazi-engineered child-sized pilots, had been shipped in 1951 to Area 51; that, moreover, the “flying disc” had been some sort of “we can do cool shit too” message from Stalin to Truman — I noticed a certain stridency in her voice and a mad glint in her eyes, and I thought “uh oh.”
Something about Annie Jacobsen’s been bugging me ever since I saw her interview with Jon Stewart. Today, I realized what that thing is.
Remember the woman who tried to frighten Americans in 2004 with a story about menacing Muslims on an airline flight? The story, first published on the internet, was called Terror in the Skies — Again?
The story was quickly debunked — the woman who wrote it had simply overreacted to the presence of some Syrian musicians on a flight from Detroit to Los Angeles. In fact, according to the report of an air marshal who was actually on the flight, not only was there no suspicious activity on the part of the Syrian musicians, the woman in question had done her level best to panic an entire planeload of passengers.
Her story nevertheless had its intended effect, becoming a sensation on right-wing websites and a much-discussed item on AM hate radio, contributing to the atmosphere of fear that persists today, to the point where airline passengers and even aircrews still freak whenever Middle Eastern-looking men board flights.
Yes, that woman was Annie Jacobsen. The very same Annie Jacobsen.
And Jon Stewart never fucking once mentioned that fact.
I know what Annie Jacobsen is. It’s Jon Stewart I’m beginning to wonder about.
© 2011 – 2019, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.