Gareth (v0rtex) wrote,

Scientology vs the BBC

BBC Panorama (the world's longest running current affairs program) recently covered Scientology. The reporter, John Sweeney, was followed by private investigators and harrassed during his investigation (including having Scientologists turn up at his wedding). At one point he eventually cracked and started yelling at the Scientologist. This clip was then released (entirely out of context) by the CoS on YouTube and comments moderated to show only pro-Scientology responses.

The whole programme is available online for at least a week, and it's a perfect example of why I think the BBC is one of the world's greatest media organisations. The show attempts to give a balanced view of Scientology and finds little to recommend it, then broadcasts the footage of their own presenter cracking up which the Scientologists had leaked specifically to discredit the BBC. Despite a little Brass Eye style sensationalism in parts it's really great film making, and took some giant balls on the part of the presenter and the BBC to broadcast it.

The "Church" appears to be continuing it's harrassment against the BBC, hopefully the BBC will fight them and inflict some damage on the reputation of this dangerous cult. It's interesting to see the campaign of misinformation the Church has started. They're master propagandists and it'll be interesting to see how they take on one of the world's most respected media outlets.

Remember kids, every time the Dianetics people ask if you want a free stress test, say "Sorry, I don't associate with cults" and watch them flip out.

Is this incident making headlines in the UK? Would love to see the Private Eye coverage of events, if anyone reads that...
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I'm in the middle of exams at the moment, so I'm basically living in a cave, so I don't know the impact at the moment. *Shakes head* it's scary isn't it? What about in the US?
It's getting quite wide coverage in the nerd-media due to Scientology's use of YouTube to spread their attack video, and a couple of aggregators (Fark, Slashdot) have linked to the Sweeney apology on the BBC, or the video itself on YouTube.

Mainstream US media not sure as I've pretty much given up on it, they're most likely too busy filming cute human interest stories or telling everyone how well everything's going in Iraq... *sigh*
Oh and good luck in the exams :)
'Tis getting a fair amount of attention, pretty evenly split between "Scientology is dangerous and deserve to be shouted at"; "Scientology is dangerous and Sweeny's reaction was a result of their direct pressure on him" and "Sweeny is a terrible reporter and horribly unprofessional" with most (that I can see) coming down on the second option. I liked the programme and has been quite an interesting pre and post debate to follow.


May 16 2007, 08:01:09 UTC 10 years ago

Answer my fecking e-mails already >.