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Weekly World News Magazine

Fewer than two months until the presidential election, with mortgage giants Fannie May and Freddie Mac taken over by the government, with a war in Iraq that may be turning a corner, with an economy that if it is not in free fall, appears to be tumbling toward recession, and with, well, lots of issues that could benefit from thoughtful TV treatment, ABC has scheduled an hour and a half Primetime news magazine special for Tuesday, Sept. 16.

Thank goodness. It must be a crucial issue to consume more time on that Tuesday night than was given to theTuesday night coverage of either the Democratic or Republican conventions on ABC or any other broadcast network other than PBS.

So, is it a more in-depth look at the election issues that got short shrift in convention coverage, according to a study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism? Maybe it’s a town hall meeting about mortgages and how the loan crisis could trickle down further into every noook and cranny of the economy. Nope. It is UFO’s" Seeing is Believing."

That’s right an hour and a half on UFOs. "For decades, millions of people around the world have been seeing UFOs hovering in their skies. It is a mystery that only science can solve, and yet the phenomenon remains largely unexamined."

What? What? To quote John McEnroe berrating a judge over a close line call: "You can’t be serious!"

UFO’s "largely unexamined?" The subject has been overcovered within an inch of its bug-eyed, extraterrestrial life. A subject that can be found at almost any moment of the day on some basic cable channel. perhaps ABC has discovered that Big Foot actually made all those crop circles.

The show is billed as "building on the original Peter Jennings report," shamelessly borrowing from the journalistic bank account of the late anchor, who admittedly did do a report on UFO’s. The show apparently will combine UFO’s with the search for life on Mars by NASA scientists. That’s like combining Carl Sagan’s Cosmos with an episode of the Jetsons.

Back in February 2005, Jennings attempted to take a serious look at the subject, but essentially married new graphics with familiar stories and sitings. Perhaps ABC has uncovered footage that will establish the existence of visits by extraterrestrials to Earth. If so, I will stand corrected.