Is NBC exploiting creatures from outer space?

Hackler, Timothy
July 1977
Columbia Journalism Review;Jul/Aug1977, Vol. 16 Issue 2, p30
This article discusses the quasi-documentaries aired by television network NBC. The first program of NBC, In Search of Ancient Astronauts, was based on a book by Erich von Däniken called Chariots of the Gods? Von Däniken's books have been roundly panned for sloppiness and inaccuracy. NBC defended its part in the hoax on the grounds that the programs were channeled through the entertainment rather than the news division. But this does not appease NBC's critics. Just how deceptive were the NBC programs? The tone of In Search of Ancient Astronauts, is set when the announces identifies von D&aunml;niken as a German professor posessed of the mind of a scientist. Von Däniken is neither German nor a professor. He is a former hotelkeeper who served two prison terms for embezzlement, forgery and fraud and who was described by a court-appointed psychiatrist as a liar and a criminal psychopath. Viewers are next told that some large round holes found in the Yucatan penninsula were probably formed by the exhaust gases of a very powerful rocket engine. In fact, these holes are nothing more mysterious thatn sinkholes, places where the water level has dropped beneath a limestone shelf, causing the rock to collapse.


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