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The hard-working staff here at Spoiler Alerts spent last week on a much-needed vacation — but that doesn’t mean we stopped reading technical journals. And for good reason — I was eagerly anticipating the ODNI’s congressionally mandated report on unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs).

I was hardly the only one. The anticipation of the report produced a small cottage industry of longform stories — 60 MinutesUSA TodayPolitico and the New Yorker, to name the most obvious ones. The tenor in most of these stories was about how the existence of unidentified flying objects had previously been a much-maligned idea and now seems to have gone mainstream. There’s even a lobbyist.

The surprisingly bipartisan enthusiasm for the subject of UAPs merits a cautionary warning, and that is exactly what the Atlantic’s Sarah Scolesprovided in her preemptive takedown of how the media would cover the report: “Reporters have taken sources at their word without corroborating data, let documented contradictions slide by, and glossed over the motivations of both outside agitators and government insiders. Reports of UFOs always come with a dearth of information; right now, we need to weigh what little we have carefully and stick to the standards of skepticism that we would apply to anything else.”

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