Pennsacola Independent Weekly.  July 8, 1999. Vol.1, No.2.  6 pages.  Kimberly Blair.

Ms. Blair states that shortly after Walters claims of seeing UFOs she joined the paper.  She was open to the possibility of ET life. A colleague of hers, Diane Hansen (no relation to Walters aka Hanson) had been writing about the UFOs in Gulf Breeze but had stopped writing about them because she thought they were hoaxed. "When she spoke out, she got harassing, even threatening, phone calls. So fearing for her safety and her children's, she went silent."

Blair goes on to say that soon she began to question Walters and
Cooks involvement.

"I could not chase away the nagging question, how was it possible for a UFO the size and proportion Walters claimed to drop from the sky and hover over his house without dozens if not hundreds of even thousands of people seeing it? Our geography - surrounded on water on three sides, bordered by two bridges that give drivers a bird's eye view of Gulf Breeze makes that impossible."

She goes on to say that she was directed by Cook to write
whatever came in without authenticating any of it.  Everything she had learned about reporting was being tossed out the window... "and we became a propaganda machine for Walters' story and the book he later published. The paper played a big role in perpetuating the illusion."

She talked to more people and found out about Walters' "knack
for hoaxes". She brought this up at the paper, but was disregarded.  "It became clear that there was no newspaper investigation, or any real desire, to reveal the truth of what was happening in Gulf Breeze."

"One of the most significant clues was in Walters himself. Here 
was a man who said he was being stalked by aliens who were trying to suck him up in a blue beam.  Yet nearly everyday he be-bopped into the Sentinel with a smile like a Cheshire Cat's as he headed for Cook's office."

She goes on to say that her desk was close to Cooks office and
she often heard them laughing.  "Never did I pick up fear or concern. Walters behavior raised the bar on my suspicions - especially when so many people were gripped by the fear of his claims, everyone except Walters that is."

She ends the article recounting a night when she was sent out to
sky watch with people who claimed they were seeing Ed UFO. She was excited and waited with anticipation. It turned out that what these people were watching, night after night, were planets. She was very disappointed.  "The next morning I reported my findings to Cook. I laughed as I told him that I could not believe that the group thought the planets were UFOs. I remember the look on his face and the tone he used... he leaned forward in his desk chair, stared me in the eyes and said firmly, "Write it up as a UFO report".

"I was stunned! Confusion and realization washed over me on the 
way to my desk.  I sat down and re-thought the conversation. Did I not make myself clear? Confusion gave way to relief. Now I knew... this was all a scam and the paper was playing along."

She ends by saying that this was the worst moment in her career
as a journalist.  She wrote the story the way Cook wanted it written to keep her job, but she had to compromise her ethics. And, as she says, if she had written the truth, Cook could still change it when it left her hands. Damned either way.


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