Congratulations must be given to BBC’s Panorama for their show tonight on Scientology. Not that I would hold it up as a great example of unbiased journalism, and Ed Thomas makes an important point below below about the BBC’s double standards when it comes to dangerous religions, but nevertheless it was a brave program, as various critics of Scientology’s tactics can attest. Scientology came across very badly, not because of anything reporter John Sweeney said, but because of they way they treated him. Their chances of being taken seriously as a religion in the UK have decreased even further now.
(I think the releasing on YouTube of Sweeney losing it and screaming at themmay have backfired, because of the interest it has created in the show. The Church had apparently launched a new campaign to get the Charity Commission to grant them charitable status in the UK — this show is hardly going to help them).
It was telling, though, that Sweeney said of Scientology’s apparent bully-boy tactics that “you can’t imagine the Chuch of England acting this way” (or words to that effect). No, but there is one well-established recognized religion in the UK you can imagine acting that way, which Sweeney conveniently did not mention.
It’s a pity that McCann wasn’t given the chance to make his point on air, although I’m pretty sure they read it out (or one very similar). I did a double take at the time because it seemed so unlikely that the BBC would allow something that challenged their worldview to be read out.
Oh, come on. The guy was out of order, but to suggest someone getting wound up by Scientology and not getting sacked equates to a bias towards Islam?
It’s crackpot stuff like this that debases this website, tbh.
Sorry, Steve but who has said this?
The way in which Sweeney reacted was over the top, I agree to that. But I’m sure the point of the documentary was to determine, or at least probe into, whether the religion was a cult or not. When doing this sort of investigation, should you dive straight in already assuming it’s a religion or be doubtful and actually analyse the evidence?
I think Sweeney did well and really brought up some good points. The way in which the spokesperson for Scientology conducted himself, with his barrage of accusations and talking over Sweeney whenever he had anything to say, I think I would have snapped too.
Interesting that you choose one of the links to the Sweeney video clip which was released by a by a Scientology member.
A Scientologist who is on side with Alan Johnson!
“The Church of Scientology urges all viewers of the Sweeney debacle (this video and others on YouTube and on many other video sites and blogs) to add their names to the BBC’s petition site http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_po… for the early release of TV Reporter of the Year, Alan Johnston – a journalist of stature and integrity.”
It was also interesting that Andrew McCann didn’t get any joy from 5live …although THEY DID read out an email regarding the lack of investigation into the cult of Islam, and planes, tube bombs, etc.
I didn’t see the documentry but anybody who knows East Grinstead (I lived near there) would be well aware of how sinister these people are.
To put it another way-they weren’t very welcoming when me and friends of mine tried to snoop around Saint Hill (the European HQ).
Did Sweeny also mention stories of people trying to leave and being prevented?
Anyone who reads this blog knows I am ardent in exposing IBC bias, but I have got take issue with some of this.
Sweeney may be a prize lefty plonker and have completely lost it in the screaming match with the scientologist but I do have some sympathy with him given the nature of the scientologist specifically and the scientologists in general.
These moonbat cultists needed exposing, end of.
Perhaps a Louis Theroux type let them expose themselves as moonbats might have been more in order but I welcomed the attempts made by Panorama.
All that being said the much better panorama on scientology was done years ago, about 1987?, back in the days when the BBC made some attempt to live up to their name before they became the IBC.
I agree with all of those sentiments that this should be the first of such a run that should then be followed by programmes exposing cults such as the mormons, gnostics and falun gong but most of all the varying groups within the ROP-MA that are clearly the most dangerous cults of all.
Well, I don’t have much experience of the Scientists, but I don’t think they’ve proven themselves any significant danger to society (been going a long time, yet to take over anywhere or bomb anyone so far as i know). The Beeb (and other secular journalists) are obsessed with such things without good reason, and distort the news because of the macabre fascination other people’s religious beliefs give them. I therefore see no reason to applaud them, and would insist that they keep their respect or disrespect for the views of others even-handed and proportionate.
Scientology is a “religion” that openly cons people of their money by disgraceful and psycologically damaging techniques. It has killed adherents, and used violence and threats against those that have managed to leave. I am not sure I could have kept my composure when talking to people who take money from vulnerable people and call it a faith.
The programme didnt mention Muslims and wasn’t about Muslims yet it somehow becomes about this. It is tiresome, why not just rename the site wehatemuslims.com and be done with it. Who’s biased?
Are you standing in for Tom/Jim/John and the other sock puppets today?
BTW, I love your new logo 🙂