Thursday, July 18, 2019

Robert Morningstar does something disgusting again

James Concannon reports...

        In January 2016, Robert Morningstar posted on his Faceboo page a disgusting image of a decapitated woman in a lake of blood. The accompanyhing text read:
"Islam is a religion of pieces of human beings, left scattered, with many other victims maimed across the world in the Name of Allah, the merciless and despicable, a demonic deity who demands and condones subhuman barbarity and depravity such as this."
        As expat reported at the time, the image was in fact taken in an isolated village in Brazil, and depicted the crime of a frantically jealous young man who caught his girlfriend posting photos to another man on WhatsApp. Thus, it had nothing to do with Islam and was nothing but a revolting piece of propaganda.

        Today, Morningstar is at it agin, reposting what purports to be an image of the bloody remains of a woman stoned to death. The caption is "Muslims rape, stone 60-year-old Christian woman to death," and the accompanying text from The Geller Report has today's date.
"Islamic terrorists from the Jihadist organization Jabhat al-Nusra stoned to death an Armenian Christian woman living in the Syrian province of Idlib. Christian and human rights groups reported over the last week that the 60-year-old Suzan Der Kirkour was found dead outside of her village, al-Yaqoubiyeh."
        In fact, the image is a still from a Persian-language drama movie released in 2008. The title was "The Stoning of Soraya M". I have asked Morningstar to remove this offensive item and apologize.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Kerry Cassidy reports from a Greek island

"Something told me not to return to the states on July 2nd as planned so I took a week off.. flew to a lovely island...China Lake connection to CA quake indicates man-made... Series of CA quakes to destablize grid..."
        Thus Kerry Cassidy, projecting her paranoid fantasies from an Aegean beach. Do you think she'll ever provide any source citations for her outrageous statements? No, me neither. Later, she added:
"Look at this series of CA quakes to destablize grid...War underground bases, undersea ET races and more continues.. We saw LOTS of ufo traffic in clear skies over this Greek island last night... Lots going on."
        Wait a minute, though... I thought Kerry was supposed to be broke, begging for donations. I'm sure she didn't use any donation money to get her to the land of moussakà and retsina (yum-yum). That would be quite unethical.

Update 10th July
        Kerry, now back on US soil, has posted a guide which she claims enables her followers to tell the difference between real and man-made earthquakes. She seems sure that the recent pattern near Ridgecrest is the latter type, and suggests this as the motive:
"It may be they are building toward creating what people like to call "the big one” to take down the Greater Los Angeles area… I have seen this quake happen in my minds eye and in visions.  Why they want this I do not know.  It may be part of an overall desire to weaken the infrastructure and clear out California for further infiltration and takeover by an alien race.  This is no joke."
        There's a problem with this thesis. Kerry cites several precursor phenomena in a "real" quake—cloud formations, feelings in her feet (she's an "Earth Sensitive", whatever that means), headaches, nausea, and others. But since she's been guzzling retsina and scoffing moussakà for the last week, and in the UK before that, how would she know that the Ridgecrest sequence is not real?

Wrap-up of "Truth Behind the Moon Landing"

"Seeing how much time and effort was wasted to placate an idiot that is just too stupid to understand how telescopes and cameras work. This show is more or less just an indictment of the education system."
        That's one of the user reviews of Truth Behind the Moon Landing on IMDB, signed "codydwyer". There are some even less polite ones. In my humble opinion "codydwyer" is one smart man, and absolutely right. The series ended last night, with Mike Bara, Leland Melvin and Chad Jenkins all fist-bumping saying "Case closed. We went to the Moon". Earlier in S1E6 the three spent a ridiculous amount of time debating why the US flag appeared to flutter on the Moon (Mythbusters did a far better job of that and, indeed, of almost everything else this sorry excuse for a TV show touched). Chasing the theory that the film and TV record was all created in Hollywood, the trio interviewed Peter Hyams, Director/Writer of Capricorn One, and Doug Trumbull, legendary visual effcts designer for 2001: A Space Odyssey among other masterpieces. Trumbull politely said that No, Kubrick wasn't hired by NASA to create a total fake. Trumbull would know.

        Throughout the series Mike Bara has been promoted as the Big Skeptic, pushing all the well-known fallacies such as that Apollo couldn't have survived the Van Allen radiation belts, that the Lunar Module couldn't have landed, bla-bla-bla. But we know this is all total pretense. Not only did Bara co-author a long two-part essay titled Who Mourns for Apollo?, he also wrote not one but two book chapters using that same title and vehemently affirming the reality of Apollo (Ancient Aliens on the Moon ch.6, and Ancient Aliens and JFK ch.8—the two texts are virtually identical).

       Another IMDB reviewer wrote "Is Mike Bara really that stupid? Because if it's an act...he sucks at it."

        I agree.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Oberg vs. Bassett

        James Oberg was recently interviewed by a journalist with the delightful name Faye Flam, for an article for Bloomberg Opinion about the recent reports of UFO sightings by US Navy pilots.

        Ms. Flam noted that both the New York Times and the Washington Post have both tentatively proposed that these sightings are evidence of alien visitation. She then wrote:
"But the pro-extraterrestrial visitation arguments rest on two serious errors. One is the confusion of observations with interpretations, and the other is a slight twist on an error called god of the gaps. The UFO sightings should be investigated in a scientific way, but the errors are undermining the effort.
The first error made in most of the news coverage was to claim that Navy pilots observed craft that accelerated, rose upwards or turned faster than was physically possible. But pilots can’t know any object’s speed or acceleration without knowing whether these were little things, seen close up, or bigger things, that were farther away. It’s just one clue that the vocabulary is being blurred.
James Oberg, a former NASA engineer turned space journalist, pointed out: “The bizarre events reported by Navy pilots are not ‘observations’; they are interpretations of what the raw observations might mean.” To start an investigation from a conclusion rather than from data is, he says, “a recipe for confusion and frustration and dead-ended detours.”
        Stephen  Bassett is one of the foremost believers in the alien invasion and a tireless advocate of official disclosure. His org, The Paradigm Research Group, proclaims that it represents "the people's right to know the truth regarding an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race." Another slogan is "It's not just about lights in the sky, it's about lies on the ground."

        Reacting to the Bloomberg article, Bassett wrote:
"This article's argument rests on two serious errors. One is a deep ignorance of the history of the phenomena. The other is calling on James Oberg who hasn't been right about anything since the Nixon administration".
       Oberg's comment was that he took criticism from Bassett as a mark of honor.

Update:
Here's a NYT article dated 26th May this year detailing what the Navy pilots have reported. Leslie Kean, who Oberg says is clearly biased, is one of the authors.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Hoagland resurfaces, Part 2

        The "Other Side of Midnight" web page features the following hyperbolic mini-bio of the Man himself:
His vision has inspired a whole new generation of pioneers of thought and form and opened the way for Citizen Scientists around the Globe. His work is emulated by cutting edge thinkers around the world. He is a thought leader and pioneer, breaking the bonds of stagnant archaic scientific models. His willingness to challenge the accepted norm has blazed a path for thousands of citizen explorers. He has a way of drilling down to the fundamental question that provokes the unexpected revelation.
        "Stagnant archaic scientific models" — such as that the Moon is lifeless and always has been? Such as that numerology is worthless poppycock?

        Hour 2 of Hoagland's "welcome back" interview on OSOM, hosted by the fragrant but prolix Laura London, was quite a mixture. The first topic was methane on Mars, and here Hoagland gave a decent and straightforward account of what it would mean if methane were found to be abundant, and what's been discovered so far. Then it was on to an assortment of speculations about solar system civilizations and similar non-facts. Hoagland kept promising us some dramatic revelations in an Apollo 11 anniversary show he's planning. As experience shows, Hoagland's promises and Hoagland's deliveries are horses of two different colors.

Jules Bergman was hung over
         Almost all of the the second half of the hour was anecdotal, about his experiences with CBS News as a consultant/researcher with the Apollo production team. He re-told a story I've heard before, and it's seminal to an understanding of the origins of his hatred of NASA. Since he gave an over-discursive version (surprise, surprise) I'm going to paraphrase it rather than transcribe his exact words.

        He says, correctly, that the general rule during Apollo was that the only person at Mission Control who could actually speak to the astronauts was the Capcom, who was himself an active-duty astronaut. However, as a PR stunt, an exception was planned for Apollo 15 at a time when the astronauts were not particularly busy, on the way back from Moon to Earth. It was arranged that they would conduct an actual press conference from space, and senior correspondents from the major TV networks, news agencies and newspapers would be allowed to ask questions directly, just as in a normal press conference. Hoagland was with the CBS-TV group as they waited for this event to begin. There was delay after delay, and finally their producer got on to NASA public affairs asking what the problem was. The answer they got was that the spacecraft was not yet visible from Goldstone.

        Hoagland says he made a swift calculation with pencil and paper, and concluded that this could not be true because the mountains obstructing the view would have to have been 5,000 miles high. Much later he discovered that the true reason the press conference was held was that Jules Bergman, correspondent for ABC TV, was struggling with a killer hangover and was not in place. Hoagland says this was "a wake-up call" for him personally, being the first time that he realized NASA was not always honest.

         I find that story a bit suspect, for a couple of reasons. First, the calculation he claims to have done on the back of an envelope is not at all an easy one to do. You'd need a great deal of information about the spacecraft's trajectory and a very good knowledge of geography (add to that the fact that Hoagland's incompetence at math is fairly well-known). Second, perhaps more telling, every Apollo mission timeline was planned and controlled to the second. If such a press conference was planned—and I have no reason to doubt that—it would have been approved by a whole bunch of people, written into the Flight Plan, and implemented like any other planned event. It's extremely hard to imagine that the Apollo 15 astronauts' time budget had enough slop to allow a significant delay.

        So, to go back to the puffery I quoted at the top, perhaps Hoagland's "way of drilling down to the fundamental question" is better expressed as "a way of drilling down through the truth to a story that makes him look good."

Update: Hoagland's story falls apart
        Thanks to very useful research by James Oberg (thanks Jim) we can see how well Hoagland's story syncs up with the documented facts. The answer is, not at all.


        The Press conference, of course, appears in the flight plan. It shows that TV is acquired at M.E.T. 270:20 (very likely through Goldstone)note 1, and the conference is scheduled in the window 270:20-270:50. The annotated transcript shows that TV was acquired at 270:22:31, the conference actually began at 270:23:15 and ended 270:50:12. There is no extraordinary delay at all.

        Moreover, it is not true that media correspondents spoke directly to the Apollo 15 astronauts. The questions were written and Capcom Karl Henize read them in order. Henize explained:
"The questions you will be asked in this news conference have been submitted by newsmen here at the Manned Spacecraft Center who've been covering the flight. Some of the questions they raised have been answered in your communications with - with Mission Control, but the public-at-large has not necessarily heard them. The questions are being read to you exactly as submitted by the newsmen, and in an order of priority specified by them."
        The only open question is whether Jules Bergman had a hangover that day. Bergman's been dead for 32 years so we can't ask him. It's more than possible—the bar at the Nassau Bay Hotel was responsible for endless naughtiness in the Apollo years. I know whereof I speak, or write, believe me.

        I'm e-mailing this information to Hoagland, requesting his comments. Don't hold your breath.

Update 2: Wrong mission?
        Just in case Hoagland's error was simply mis-remembering which mission this story relates to, I checked the records for Apollo 16 & 17 (there was no transearth presser on earlier missions)

Apollo 16: Planned M.E.T. 243:30-50 / Actual 243:25:30 Capcom Hank Hartsfield
Apollo 17: Planned M.E.T. 284:07-37 / Actual 281:27:19 Capcom Gordo Fullerton

=====================/ \======================
[1] CORRECTION: Not Goldstone but Madrid. If TV had been coming from Goldstone the vertical dashed line indicating TV coverage would have been to the left of the MSFN solid line. So Hoagland's story is wrong in another detail.

Richard Hoagland resurfaces, Part 1

        Richard Hoagland has been in private mourning ever since his companion's death from cancer on 3rd March, and nobody could possibly fault him for that. As a 74-year-old, he surely must have expected Robin Falkov to outlive him. Sad.

        Well, he obviously thinks it's now time to emerge from his grief, because he appeared as a guest on his own blogtalk show last Saturday night. Hosting was the ineffably glam Laura London. Laura talked too much but at least they didn't interrupt each other, which was a blessing.

Laura London, from Facebook

        There was much chat about the commercialization of space, and the prospects for Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin enterprise, that may be Moon-bound before you know it. Hoagland opined that Blue Origin must have been forced to sign an agreement to censor any close-up photos of the Moon, as NASA has always done, so as not to "give the game away" about the... you know, the alien ruins. He forgets that the thousands of excellent images at a resolution of half a metre per pixel from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter have already blown it. The "game" is that there is no game.

19.5
        The only notable thing about the number 19.5 (19.47277 if you want to be picky) is that it's the angle whose sine is 1/3, or 0.3333333 etc. It is not some mystical, transcendental property of the Universe, as 3.141596 and 2.7182818 are. It was mere human beings who decided to divide a circle into 360 things called degrees, after all. A corollary of that trigonometric fact is that if a tetrahedron is inscribed in a sphere with one vertex at the north pole, the other three vertices will be at latitude 19.5°S (I proved this geometrically back in 2015, doing Hoagland's math for him since he has no talent for it.)

        So, let's be clear. There is no justification whatsoever for attaching significance to this number when it's a longitude, the rotation period of an asteroid, the magnitude of a comet, or the time (either 19h50 or 19h30) of some event. Hoagland has made all those associations in the past, and even once famously drew attention to the fact that shirts at Old Navy were on sale for $19.50.

        On the show last Saturday night, he excelled himself in irrational flim-flam, discussing "disclosure."
50:35 RCH "Let me tell you something else that I think is interesting [for] symbolic pathways ... This is 2019, right?"
LL: "Mmm-hmmm"
RCH "OK. So... 2019... If you ...If you multiply 19.5 by two you get 39, right? So... so the July month of this year ... actually it's June ...er, is the...is the half-way point in 2019. Scrambled all together, June is the beginning, in this model, of more and more and more overt disclosure."
        I had to run that three times before I even got a feel for what he was trying to allege. Here's what I think. First of all, forget the 19.5 x 2 = 39. That was just random neurons firing in Hoagland's tiny brain. Now, he's saying that since June is half-way through the year, we're now at the year 2019-and-a-half. Then just discard the 2000 and call that insanity a "model."

        Phew... If there's one thing more invalid than numerology, it's botched numerology.

Brookings, again
        Another perennial source of error in Hoaglandia is that damned Brookings report. Hoagland insists that the report pretty much required NASA to keep quiet if it ever found solid evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence. On saturday night he was even wronger than that.
52:42 RCH "If you read Brookings, there are sections particularly in the footnotes, where it is specifically recommended to Congress that the people were not ready. [...] This is how they could be made ready. So in 1959, this document [...] they basically laid out a prescription for how to get people ready. And they recommended in this footnote, which again you can read on the Enterprise Mission website, a series of things that had to be done. Production of radio, television, commercials, movies, all acculturating people to accept the idea that we are not alone. And then you have, if you look at mainstream pop culture, you've got Startrek, you've got The Outer Limits, you've got Twilight Zone, you've got Star Wars, you've got an infinite number of movies now, Marvel Comics Universe. People are so ready."
        It's true that he's put up pictures of selected pages from the report on Enterprise Mission—check 'em out. But you aren't going to find what he says you are. The footnotes from pp.225-6 make no mention of  mass media. I can do better than that, too. Here's a searchable pdf of the entire thing. The footnotes occupy pp.218-227. Within those pages the occurrences of the strings "movies" and "television" are both ZERO. There is ONE occurrence of "radio"—in the expression "National Radio Astronomy Observatory" (p.225). Hoagland was in fantasy-land.

        Well, there are two little gems from hour 1. I hope to get back to this tomorrow, with clips from hour 2.

Monday, June 17, 2019

The flying bedstead


         Ask anyone what the acronym LLTV means, and they'll either say "Whaaaaaa??" or refer to this epic crash on 6th May 1968, when Neil Armstrong used the ejection seat from ~200ft to escape his Lunar Landing Training Vehicle which was out of fuel tank helium pressure and out of control in high winds at Ellington AFB.

        Sticklers for accuracy will quickly note that this was not actually a LLTV, but its forerunner the LLRV (Lunar Landing Research Vehicle)—Armstrong's was the last of the LLRV flights. Three LLTVs were built by Bell Aerosystems, the helicopter people. Only one survives (and is on display at Armstrong Flight Research Center adjacent to Edwards AFB) because Armstrong's was not the only crash. The chief test pilot Joe Algranti ejected from LLTV#1 in January 1968, and Stuart Present likewise survived the prang of LLTV#3 in January 1971.

        The training program sounds like a failure, when narrated like that emphasizing the prangs. But in fact, it was considered a resounding success at the time. Not only Armstrong but all the other Apollo commanders completed several very successful training flights in the bedstead. It was a requirement.  Armstrong later said his practice flights in the LLTVs gave him the confidence to override the automatic flight control system and control Eagle manually during the epic Apollo 11 descent to the Sea of Tranquility.

Apollo 12 CDR Pete Conrad hovering the LLTV

More pretense on TBTLL
        Mike Bara, the world-renowned jet aircraft designer and mendacious self-promoter, clearly does not understand the LLTV program and what it achieved. Last night's episode of Truth Behind the Lunar Landing (Science Channel) focussed on that one spectacular crash by Armstrong, and Mike Bara commented "I call bullshit on the lunar landing based on the fact that Armstrong could not control the training aircraft." 

        Not only is that portrayal of the program a complete travesty and Bara's statement untrue, but, just as in Episode 1 of this show, Bara is only pretending to be a disbeliever. In the second part of his essay Who Mourns for Apollo?, co-written with Richard Hoagland and Steve Troy in 2004, he devotes three paragraphs to explaining the sophisticated inertial control system that made soft landing of the LM possible. Bara can never resist the opportunity to insult somebody, and in this case he calls conspiracy theorist Ralph René "a complete idiot" for questioning the stability of the LM in lunar gravity. 

        Fans of this show should be aware that Bara is here functioning as a mere actor rather than any kind of expert (and astronaut Leland Melvin is, at times, so obviously delivering a memorized script that it's a joke).


source: Dryden Flight Research Center fact sheet

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Sloppy compilations for the Apollo anniversary

James Oberg writes...

The recent blizzard of Apollo-11 anniversary programs was a fine tribute to that historical achievement of the American space program. The events of half a century ago came back to life in the dramatic portrayal seen on millions of television screens. But at the same time, many of the programs also displayed the sloppy errors, distortions and revisionist dramatizations which have come to characterize much of television journalism.

The wrong ship
To put the shortcomings of many of these programs into perspective, imagine the following practices for other historical documentaries or news, and ask whether they would ever be considered acceptable.

A Civil War film discusses Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, but since there is no photograph of Lincoln actually giving the speech, a photograph of him at his 1865 inauguration is shown instead.

A program on the loss of the Lusitania in 1915 needs dramatic video of an ocean liner sinking, so with a voice-over describing the Lusitania, news film is shown instead of the Andrea Doria going down.

A sportscast of the World Cup is in progress, but since video difficulties prevented receipt of the views of the Colombia-Rumania game which was the subject of the report, an already-used clip of a goal from the recent Germany- Thailand game is shown instead.

Clearly, none of these hypothetical cases can be considered acceptable. Anyone trying to do so would be considered irresponsible, even unethical. And since there are legions of history buffs, ship buffs, and sports buffs out there, any such attempts would be immediately recognized and widely criticized.

"Apollo Two"
But since spaceflight has always been an esoteric subject with a relatively short "history" and usually only superficial news coverage, similar misrepresentations are easier, even if by accident. Catching them and complaining about them is harder. But an effort must be made both to discourage future historical errors and to encourage those other programs which took the extra effort and got it right.

There's no need to exaggerate the inevitable innocent "bloopers" that any human effort is prone to. A TV network had a national newscast where the announcer kept seeing "Apollo-11" on the teleprompter, misinterpreted it as "Apollo-II", and pronounced it "Apollo Two". The N.Y. Times deserves minor embarrassment for twice referring to the "Apollo-1 moon landing" in a book review a few weeks ago. That's life.

In illustrating a Mercury splashdown, the TBS special 4-hour program "Moon Shot" used views of a Gemini splashdown instead. The difference is that Mercury capsules landed vertically beneath a parachute while Gemini capsules were slung horizontally from two separate lines. On July 20, CNN showed Apollo-11 graphics of a moon-walking astronaut whose spacesuit had red leg stripes not introduced until Apollo-13. "Space buffs" gleefully spotted the errors, but viewers were unlikely to be misled by these minor slipups.

Such naive bloopers even struck the White House during the July 20 ceremony honoring the Apollo-11 astronauts. In an otherwise fine speech, President Clinton related in his folksy style how "on the third day" Armstrong and Aldrin's Eagle lunar module descended toward a dangerous boulder field and Armstrong had to take manual control. But since July 16 was the first day of the flight, the landing on July 20 actually occurred on the fifth day. But again, it was no big deal.

Some historical visual scenes are certainly "interchangeable" by even the tightest standards, since no viewer is misled by showing one Gemini launch for another, or one group of engineers in Mission Control for another (unless, say, their actions are allegedly keyed to some event being described), or one "out the window" Earth or moon view for another. The criteria is clearly whether viewers will gain an authentic impression of the event, or not.

The serious distortions of space history which characterized many -- but by no means all -- of the anniversary documentaries went beyond this allowable flexibility, and include outright historical falsifications such as the following:

To compress events, Neil Armstrong's comments about making "One small step" have often been matched with video of him dropping down from the Lunar Module ladder. Actually, he landed on one of the vehicle's footpads, made several comments, jumped back up on the ladder to make sure he could, jumped down a second time, discussed his impressions of his surroundings, and only after that did he make the "small step" onto the moondust. So the rearranged video completely misrepresents what he meant by "one small step". For similar time compression, the dozens of immediately post-landing words from the crew about their spacecraft status are usually edited out, so that viewers get the false impression that "Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed" were the FIRST words from the Moon.

To make use of a recently released Russian filmclip showing burning men running from a rocket pad fire, Ted Turner's "Moon Shot" used the shocking scenes to illustrate a 1969 Soviet moon rocket explosion, with a narrator comment about reminders of the dangers of space flight. The horrible film was actually from a military missile mishap in 1960 that killed 165 men, but really had nothing to do with the Russian space exploration program. The "Moon Shot" producers must have known this, yet evidently decided to misrepresent it for dramatic effects, even though nobody was killed in the actual 1969 Russian moon rocket explosion which was the subject of the sequence.

Flag-waving at the wrong time
To stress the "ordinary humanity" of excited space workers, they were often falsely shown behaving unprofessionally. In the prize-winning film "For All Mankind", right after the Apollo-11 landing, the Mission Control Center is shown erupting in cheering, flag-waving, and cigar-smoking. The historical truth is that the duty controllers stuck to their jobs, and the filmclips which were used really show them celebrating four days later after the successful splashdown of the crew and the end of their official responsibility.

Also, for the sake of visual impact and dramatic effects, film has often been misrepresented for what it was not. Viewers were told they were seeing authentic footage of space events which were not actually there.

Beginning with "For All Mankind", and copied by "Moon Shot", a striking view of the reentry plasma trail behind a descending Gemini capsule was presented as the rocket plume trail of an Apollo capsule heading for the Moon. The film invokes a marvelous image of speed across Earth's surface, but the Apollo's Saturn booster actually left no trail, and was never filmed since there was no view in that direction.

To stress the dangers of early manned space shots, sequences of rocket explosions are shown. Most of the explosions were identifiable as Jupiter and Titan rockets which had no connection at all with the Mercury program. But for colorful excitement and tension enhancers, they have been widely presented as unsuccessful Mercury tests.

The most egregious misrepresentation in "Moon Shot" was during the treatment of the Apollo-1 fire in 1967. As the narrator discusses the death of the three astronauts inside their burning capsule, a video is running of flames dancing behind a spacecraft window. TV critics who previewed the show called the scene "wrenching". But the video was actually a view from inside a Gemini capsule looking outward during the flames of reentry, and it had nothing to do with the Apollo fire. Instead, for emotional impact. the view was falsely described.

Some of these Apollo-11 historical video howlers have wider national implications, beyond mere questions of TV documentary ethics and practices. At the "Space Center Houston" museum developed for NASA by Disney consultants and their contractors, the feature movie "On Human Destiny" uses the false Gemini reentry plume for the Apollo lunar burn, then falsely portrays the flight control team in an orgy of irresponsible celebration immediately after the lunar touchdown, and then inaccurately overlays the view of Armstrong's descent down the ladder with his later words about "one small step". The film was reviewed and approved by NASA public affairs officials, who evidently did not recognize the errors. But if this is the level of Disney's historical reliability, it bodes ill for any similar Disney history projects elsewhere.

Accuracy sacrificed
Documentaries such as these shows have presented exciting views of the dramatic historical events, but providing entertainment was clearly their primary goal. Historical accuracy was repeatedly sacrificed to do so. These measures certainly are acceptable when the goals are well understood, such as in the delightfully entertaining Hollywood version of "The Right Stuff", where all pretence of respecting the book's historical accuracy is subordinated to clear-cut visual stereotypes and amusing oversimplifications. And deadline- driven TV news programs often use stock footage, not always carefully labeled as such, to "fill in" for unavailable authentic scenes. But when TV programs pose as "true history" and are presented as documentaries, a higher standard of authenticity should be required.

The Apollo-11 anniversary programs showed again that such standards are not universally met. Some programs, such as Discovery's "One Giant Leap", were strikingly accurate, showing signs that some producers took the extra trouble to "get it right", and knew how to do so. But the widespread misrepresentations in other shows are more reminders that people should seek truth where it can be found, and the TV screen, with its need for visual excitement and compressed action, is not an environment always conducive to historical accuracy.