My Washington Post newsfeed contained a familiar name with the same old story, rehashed once again in 2016 just like it was in 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012, and probably before that but I wasn’t keeping track on this blog.
The wonderful thing about TIGHAR is TIGHAR thinks it’s a wonderful thing. It’s actually amazing that this story about a very small team of researchers, apparently indefatigable, always asking for money, keeps getting traction in the mainstream news and avoiding the obvious critical scrutiny they truly deserve. Do journalists even Google? Do they care about accuracy? I think not when hits are everything. The mystery of Amelia Earhart gets guaranteed hits. Shame on the media for regurgitating this crap without any reasonable degree of scrutiny.
Writer Cleve Woodson provides yet another platform for Ric Gillespie, director of the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) who holds an alternative “theory” (consider this like “conspiracy theory”) of what became of Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan. Woodson writes that this idea “recently resurfaced in the news.” Resurfaced is the operative word because TIGHAR’s less than impressive pitch shows up at least once a year, usually more. Gillespie has succeeded in inserting his unsupportive narrative into the mainstream news so often that people believe there is something to it.
Back in 2013 I swore not to post another story about Gillespie and TIGHAR hyping to the press that Earhart lived on for a while in the Pacific Island of Nikumaroro after she was lost. I no longer cared about the story since it was fringe speculation that consistently failed to deliver evidence and showed very limited involvement of qualified scientists. It sounded like a treasure hunt of the same style of those who insist they will find a stash at Oak Island or the Lost Dutchman mine. Gillespie continually wanted money for more expensive expeditions. Discovery Channel supposedly filmed one of these efforts. The documentary was scrapped when nothing dramatic was found. This did not stop Gillespie from holding press conferences and insisting his evidence was compelling. His several efforts returned with questionable evidence that in no way proved his “theory”. Oh, that’s another thing. Good job, WaPo with this misleading headline: Amelia Earhart didn’t die in a plane crash, investigator says. This is his theory. NOT a theory, it’s an obsession, an idea he is in love with. Critical thinking is no where to be found. A real theory has a sound foundation and supporting evidence. It is tested and survives. We can not equate that to TIGHARs yearly appeal for attention and funds.You can find the history of these stories here on DN. TIGHAR never found a plane, their “compelling” images were useless, and they were even accused of racketeering. Discovery News named Gillespie “Person of the Year”. This was the same network that hyped mermaids as real, though, so it’s not really an honor. Maybe it’s more like the Golden Raspberry Award.
The more skeptical views on TIGHAR we put online, the more chance that reporters will EVENTUALLY noticed that this is not a real news story, but a boondoggle. Well, I can hope too…