Out of the Shadows: When Mainstream Media Began Taking the UFO Topic Seriously

For those who have been following the UFO topic for a lengthy period of time, a common source of frustration has been the paucity of coverage the subject has received from traditional print and video media outlets. To be sure, there was a time back in the 1950s and 60s when major newspapers, including outlets such as the New York Times, covered stories of reported UFO activity on a regular basis. But once the United States government began shutting down discussions of the topic and treating it as nonsense, most of the media followed suit.

Despite continued public interest over the years, there was a lengthy period when the only coverage of the UFO topic showing up in the public sphere seemed to be “out there” television programs hosted by people such as Leonard Nimoy and Robert Stack. Books and magazines were produced prodigiously for those who were interested, but the larger, more “respectable” newspapers and network news programs rarely if ever spoke of such things unless it was done in a scornful manner, making fun of all the “kooks.”

The UFO Topic Enters the Mainstream

Over the past four or five years, we’ve seen a slowly evolving shift in these patterns, particularly since the December 2017 bombshell article in the New York Times about the Pentagon’s hidden UFO programs (or UAP, unidentified aerial phenomena). Slowly at first, but steadily expanding since then, more and more mainstream journalists have been covering this subject in a serious fashion following responsible journalistic principles.

Today The Debrief would like to feature at least a few of these individuals along with excerpts from some of their impressive work so you can keep up with their coverage. This is by no means intended to be a comprehensive list and we may add to it as we go, nor is it ordered by the fame or accomplishments of the reporters, but rather alphabetically. However, these notable journalists should give those newer to the topic a good starting point and a chance to see some of their more notable work on the topic.



For anyone familiar with the UFO/UAP subject, prize-winning journalist Ralph Blumenthal likely needs no introduction. He reported for the New York Times for more than 45 years and his byline still appears at that publication and many others to this day. He is a Distinguished Lecturer at Baruch College of the City University of New York and has published seven books, the latest of which, “The Believer: Alien Encounters, Hard Science, and the Passion of John Mack,” will likely be of interest to anyone following topics related to UAP and the unusual aspects of our universe in general. On top of all of that, he was one of the authors of the 2017 New York Times article that is now known as “the shot heard round the world” among ufologists. Follow him on Twitter at @ralphblu.

The following is a brief excerpt from one of Ralph’s favorite articles on this subject, published in The Saturday Evening Post in May of 2021. The title will be enough to hook readers not already familiar with it. “There’s Got to be Something Out there.”

“Why hasn’t the government used its incredibly sophisticated technology — the kind that enabled capturing a black hole for posterity — to help determine the nature of UFOs like these and the hundreds that have been sighted for decades?

“Despite its decades of secrecy, we know the government has not been incurious about UFOs. Going back to the 1947 crash of something at Roswell, New Mexico, the Pentagon has continued to track at least the hardware of UFOs, if not also who, or what, may be behind the wheel, pursuing some deeply classified research, including persistent if so far unconfirmed reports that it has sequestered fragments of downed nonhuman craft for reverse engineering to unlock their secrets. That the intelligence services have fomented disinformation campaigns to unnerve global adversaries and overzealous hobbyists has multiplied the confusion.”




Ross Coulthart is an Australian prize-winning investigative journalist who has reported for Australian news and current affairs program 60 Minutes among others. He is the co-author of two best-selling books including In Plain Sight and has reported extensively on the UFO topic for international media outlets. Most recently, he launched a regular podcast, Need to Know, with co-host Bryce Zabel. Coulthart’s extensive contacts inside government and military activities in multiple countries have allowed him to report on some truly incredible aspects of the UAP phenomenon. Follow Ross on Twitter at @rosscoulthart.

In September of 2021, Coulthart released a groundbreaking documentary simply titled, “The UFO Phenomenon.” If you’ve never watched it, we assure you that it is well worth your time and it’s included below. (Via Youtube)



Most people are likely familiar with Tucker Carlson from his political commentary and interviews on Fox News, but he covers more than just the action in Washington, D.C. Carlson has hosted news programs on other networks, including CNN and MSNBC. (Fun fact: He was also once a contestant on Dancing with the Stars.) In addition to his coverage of politics and government policy, Carlson regularly covers news of government and military activity related to UFOs, particularly since the 2017 revelations. His current show has regularly been recognized as the most-watched cable news program in history. That’s significant for the field of ufology, as he reaches a vast audience, many of whom might not otherwise be aware of the topic. Follow him on Twitter at @TuckerCarlson.

Following is one interview that Tucker conducted with Lue Elizondo in early June of 2021. This was shortly before the long-awaited Pentagon UAP Task Force report was released on the 25th of that month. Tucker’s questions demonstrate that he already had a good feel for what would be in the report. Also, Elizondo shares a document with him showing that the “tic-tac” style of UAP has been documented by the United States government for a very long time, at least as early as 1950.



Steven Greenstreet is an award-winning filmmaker, video producer, journalist, and investigator into all manner of subjects, including the UFO topic. In that field, he is well known for his running video series at the New York Post, The Basement Office, which he hosts with “the real Fox Mulder” of the British Ministry of Defense, Nick Pope. You can follow Steven on Twitter at @MiddleOfMayhem.

One of Steven’s favorite articles he’s written on the subject dates back to May of 2019 when he broke some intriguing news about the Pentagon and their sometimes sketchy relationship with the truth when discussing whether or not they were investigating UFOs. A brief excerpt follows, along with a brief episode of The Basement Office where he examined prior Pentagon statements regarding UAP ahead of the release of the June 2021 UAP Task Force report.

“In a statement provided exclusively to The Post, a Department of Defense spokesman said a secret government initiative called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program “did pursue research and investigation into unidentified aerial phenomena.”

“And while the DOD says it shut down the AATIP in 2012, spokesman Christopher Sherwood acknowledged that the department still investigates claimed sightings of alien spacecraft.

““The Department of Defense is always concerned about maintaining positive identification of all aircraft in our operating environment, as well as identifying any foreign capability that may be a threat to the homeland,” Sherwood said.”



Tom Rogan is a foreign policy/national security writer for the Washington Examiner. A prize-winning author and holder of multiple advanced degrees, his work has also appeared in outlets including the Washington Post, The Atlantic, National Review, the Guardian, and The Telegraph. At the Examiner, Tom has also become “the UFO guy,” covering a topic that so many others still shy away from.  Follow Tom on Twitter at @TomRtweets.

The following is a brief excerpt from an article of Tom’s from July of 2021 in which he seeks to answer the question, why does stigma still soar with the UFOs? It’s a quandary that has faced many mainstream media journalists when they struggle with the idea of covering this subject, assuming they ever touch it at all.

“It’s striking that Luis Elizondo and Chris Mellon, who once headed UFO-related Pentagon research efforts, are just about the only intelligence community officials who have had the courage to come out and say so publicly.

It’s also striking, at least to me, that for a journalist to ask UFO-related questions to a Cabinet rank official in the company of other journalists is to provoke embarrassed laughter. And the skeptic scientists still find much more media attention than those asking more unconventional questions.

Some of this is understandable, of course. The UFO topic carries far more questions than easily available answers. And the topic has always had an affinity with somewhat odd individuals. Why pursue something that produces raised eyebrows instead of head-nodding conclusions?”



Gadi Schwartz is an award-winning correspondent for NBC News, including segments on The Today Show and many other regular features. He is also the host of the Overview on the Peacock streaming service and Stay Tuned on Snapchat, which The Wrap described as having “cracked the code” to getting young people interested in the news. A graduate of New Mexico State University, Gadi has covered most aspects of the news beat over the course of his career but has gained a large fan base in the ufology community for his coverage of United States Government and military investigations into the UAP topic. You can follow him on Twitter at @GadiNBC.

The following is one of Gadi’s favorite episodes from The Overview where he first began exploring the roots of the Nimitz encounter in a meaningful way. And there’s plenty more where that came from.



Alec Sears attended Wright State University – connected to the infamous Wright Patterson Air Force Base – for two years before leaving to pursue a career in journalism. He has served as Editor In Chief for an international youth publication and has written for esteemed publications such as The Daily Caller, The Independent, Washington Examiner, and NewsBusters. In 2018 Alec was featured on the Washington Examiner’s 30 Under 30 list. Follow Alec on Twitter at @alec_sears.

The following is an excerpt from a May 2021 article where Alec was one of the first to get the Pentagon to confirm the authenticity of the USS Omaha UFO footage. This was only one of many UAP-related topics where Sears would be out in front of the pack.

“Pentagon spokesperson Susan Gough confirmed the authenticity of the footage to Daily Caller. She said, “I can confirm that the video was taken by Navy personnel, and that the UAPTF included it in their ongoing examinations.”

Veteran Documentary Filmmaker Jeremy Corbell released footage of what the Pentagon calls a “transmedium vehicle” entering the ocean without damage. The Pentagon uses the term “transmedium vehicle” to refer to an unidentified craft that moves through multiple mediums, such as air, water or vacuum space.

This video comes at a time where UAPs are getting more attention from the top brass at the Pentagon and in Congress. The Pentagon is expected to provide a comprehensive report to Congress on their involvement in researching and reporting UAP’s around our Armed Forces Personnel and assets.”



Bryce Zabel is a winner of the prestigious Writers Guild award for screenwriting and has created and produced five primetime television series, including Dark Skies and The Crow, along with working on a dozen TV writing staffs (Lois & Clark, Taken).  He was elected to serve as Chairman/CEO of the Television Academy. He was an Adjunct Professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, reported on-air as a CNN correspondent, and has won multiple awards for investigative reporting for PBS.

Bryce has investigated numerous historical UFO cases and reported on them in a serious fashion. One of these was his August 2021 examination of the Betty and Barney Hill abduction story, a portion of which is included below. Follow Bryce on Twitter at @hollywoodufos.

“Because of the interest in this series, the Boston Traveler sold the greatest number of newspaper copies in more than eight decades of its publication, and had more than 3,000 requests for reprints.

“United Press International (UPI) picked it up and reprinted it across the country in numerous local papers, and it spread out internationally as well.

“Instantly, Betty and Barney Hill received phone calls from ufologists and journalists from every corner of the Earth. Letters poured in from the old and the young, students, and witnesses to other sightings. The Hills’ story was electrifying and it caught fire first in the 1965 holiday season, four years after the events in the White Mountains of New Hampshire took place.”

Follow and connect with author Jazz Shaw on Twitter: @JazzShaw