I build e-meters
Salon's doing a series on the space religion and deserve a great deal of credit.
For anyone interested in the Church of Scientology, the May 6, 1991, issue of Time magazine remains a milestone in news coverage. For those who back the church, it ran an outrageously biased account that eventually led to a libel suit by the church -- later dismissed -- and prompted Scientology leaders to launch a counterspin that continues today.
But for many who have long questioned the church, founded by the late L. Ron Hubbard and embraced by a string of Hollywood stars, that article represents one of the genuinely aggressive reports on the organization. And their concern is that what subsequently happened to Time -- and to other publications that tried to peek behind the church's cheerful exterior -- explains why few investigative reports on the church have followed.
The Time cover story, written by Richard Behar and headlined "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power," called the church "a hugely profitable global racket" and described its intimidation methods as "Mafia-like." The story was one of several by major news operations who took on the church with in-depth reports in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Los Angeles Times launched a series that focused on Hubbard's rise to power and the myths and distortions about his life -- including bogus military claims and a dysfunctional relationship with his son. The series also looked at church marketing techniques and high-pressure tactics against members; accounts of former Scientologists about life in the church, which included the micromanagement of everything from careers to the preparation of baby food; and its counterattacks against critics, including the press and the IRS.
Take a look at the write-in campaign to Salon
It is interesting that a man who may be the highest-profile celebrity of our time has managed to stay out of the tabloids for so many decades because he actually leads a clean life. People want to know how Tom Cruise does it, and it would be wrong for him to keep his religion from the masses who want to know how he navigated the surly world of Top Celebrity. So he shares how he has managed to keep his life on track and offers help to anyone out there who wants it and the hacks go absolutely wild.
I actually can't get enough of the new Tom Cruise and love watching him come alive for the rest of us instead of living a sheltered life that none of us get to see. As for Scientology, you mention that he helped the firefighters at ground zero, can help people get off drugs, learn to read and stop being criminal. This is the man the press is attacking? I would bet money that his attack of psychiatry and its multibillion-dollar industry is what is stirring all of this up. A reward should be offered for the first patient of a psychiatrist who can offer up their lab work showing a chemical imbalance in the brain. Hate to say it, but I don't think people have Ritalin or Paxil deficiencies. You can't even get an insulin shot without proof of your blood sugar levels from a test. But psychiatry just looks at you and says, yep, your chemicals are out of whack, take this drug that will essentially damage your brain and you'll feel better after a while.
Maybe Tom just decided that saving humanity from this fraud was worth any amount of stone throwing. There have been a few throughout history who have had to stand up to the wrongheaded mobs of their day and try and put things right. Go, Tom, go!
-- Mary Panton
This is the general tenor of the letters to Salon.
While the series has been mild, any coverage risks a brutally aggressive response from the space religion. So let's give Salon credit for taking a risk
posted by Steve @ 2:10:00 AM