ABC Gives Airtime to Documentary-Maker With Dubious Rep Suggesting Resurrection a 'Trick'

May 4th, 2008 10:06 AM

Imagine that a "documentary" film-maker—whose most notable former credit was a work advancing the notion that extra-terrestrials did indeed visit Area 51—brought forth a new work suggesting that key elements of the Prophet Mohammed's story had been fabricated. What are the odds ABC would devote a segment of Good Morning America to a respectful interview of the filmmaker and discussion of his work?

But that's exactly what ABC did regarding someone who has produced a documentary ["Bloodline"] calling into question key aspects of the story of Jesus Christ. Here's how GMA weekend co-anchor Bill Weir introduced the segment this morning:

Well, here's a question, was Jesus married with children? Was the Resurrection a trick pulled off by his widow? The possibility, the world's greatest cover-up, was the basis of the smash novel and movie The Da Vinci Code. And though those ideas have been largely dismissed by academics as fiction, documentary film-maker Bruce Burgess believes he has now found evidence to advance that theory. Here's a clip from his new film.

View video here.

At the end of the interview, Weir did, albeit apologetically, raise the issue of Burgess's credentials;

WEIR: I do have to point out the fact that some of your other documentary work includes the Bermuda Triangle, Area 51, looking for Big Foot in Oklahoma. Why should we believe you of all people when it comes to something this huge?

Weir's apologetic challenge fell well short of informing viewers just how bogus Burgess is. After all, there's nothing intrinsically wrong with documentaries about such subjects, so long as they take a hard, critical look at the claims. But read from this review of Burgess's Area 51 opus [emphasis added]:

More infuriating nonsense to mark the 50th anniversary of the crash at Roswell, New Mexico. The usual suspects are rounded up to tow their party lines [Stanton Friedman, Bob Lazar et al] and producer / director / would-be intrepid presenter Bruce Burgess does absolutely nothing to question what he's being told or even point out the idiocy of some of the arguments.

[P]lenty of footage of supposed UFOs buzzing Area 51 are wheeled out again, including some that has been discredited as fake elsewhere and at least one shot that had previously appeared in documentaries about Gulf Breeze, on the other side of the country! Everyone questioned happily accepts that shaky footage of lights floating around at night are alien spaceships but never once question exactly what it is they are looking at - certainly the footage we are shown in Dreamland is little more than a fuzzy, indistinct incandescence floating against a bland background with no frame of reference whatsoever. We could be looking at anything from an alien invasion fleet to a firefly, but the show would happily have us believe that it is the former rather than the latter.

I've linked the entirety of the GMA interview above, and people are welcome to have a look if they want the details of Burgess's alleged "evidence." I'd encourage people to check out Burgess's website for his current documentary. The over-the-top, heavy-on-the-heartbeat-soundtrack, is a telltale sign that this is a movie stressing sensationalism over serious inquiry. Note that whereas Weir referred to the possibility that the story of Christ was based on a "trick," the website goes a step futher, asking "what if the greatest story ever told was a lie?"

Again, I ask, would ABC air a similar segment about Islam, even by a serious documentary-maker, let alone one with Burgess’s background?