Mass Media Cult Scare: How the “Free Press” Targets Spiritual Minorities

Mass media outlets around the world are overwhelmingly negative towards small spiritual groups. This article explores the origin of this bias and the harm caused by positioning all new religious movements as criminal groups or dangerous “cults” which should be feared and despised.

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For over 30 years positive media coverage for small spiritual groups has been virtually non-existent. But why?

In a world where most journalists would tell you that media reporting is objective and unbiased, we are bombarded with “atrocity stories” about spiritual minorities, who are routinely discussed in pejorative and emotionally loaded labels such as “sect” and “cult”.

This phenomena has been the subject of much study by social scientists in the realm of new religious studies, and some revealing discoveries have been made.

Negative Framing of New Religious Movements (NRMs)

To understand the influence the mass media has on creating stereotypes of alternative spirituality, it’s important to first realise that new religious movements (the more objective term preferred by religious scholars when referring to spiritual minorities) are significantly overrepresented in the media compared to the actual percentage of people who attend them.

There is no denying that in the past there have been some groups with patterns of criminal behaviour. However the vast majority of NRMs are benevolent.

NRMs are only interesting to the press when they involve conflict, and as such only approximately 1% of NRMs are represented in the media.Source A small percentage of criminal religious minorities has come to represent all NRMs in the eyes of the public, due to the negative way the mass media labels all alternative spiritual minorities as “cults” and frames and presents them in the same way.

Most scholars of new religion who have studied the media agree that media treatment of NRMs is typically negative:

In covering such groups, “it appears that the assumption of misdeed is the norm among news reporters,” writes sociologist Stuart Wright. […] More colorfully, Nancy E. Bernhard of Harvard Divinity School put it this way in 1993: “With or without the reporter’s intent, such coverage reinforces mainstream norms about religious and social behavior and creates the impression that all nontraditional or exotic belief is lecherous, moronic or illegal.” Source

The original meaning of the word “cult” which comes from the French culte is “to worship”. But as dangerous minorities have increasingly had the “cult” label applied to them, the word has lost its more benign meaning to be replaced with negative associations that “conjure images of brainwashing, coercion, deception, exploitation, perversion, and religious fraud. For many Americans these […] socially constructed opinions, assumptions, and inclinations [are] so taken for granted that they seem natural”. Source

To understand the extent to which these ideas are embedded into our psyches we can look at a study by Nexus who analysed the contents of over 250 publications between 1975 and 1997 to discover that there were 191,425 media stories using the word “cult”, compared to 74,066 stories using the word “sect” (which has a pejorative meaning similar to “cult” in Britain and France). There were only 4,196 articles that used the term “new religion”.

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We are hard-wired to respond more to negativity than positivity. In fact researchers have discovered that it takes approximately five positive impressions to overcome one negative one.

As one social scientist commented:

Bad impressions and bad stereotypes are quicker to form and more resistant to disconfirmation than good ones. Source

With the overwhelming number of depictions of small spiritual groups framed in such a negative light, it is not surprising that the majority of people within society now have deeply-rooted suspicions towards alternative spirituality. It only takes a few instances of seeing criminal activities associated with NRMs before all NRMs are seen as criminal.

If you are constantly met with distrust and resistance when you talk to others about alternative spirituality, hopefully now you are starting to understand why.

Such bias in the media can have massive and long-lasting repercussions for spiritual minorities. For example, national officers for the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) have stated that it took almost a decade to undo the negative publicity received over the actions of one corrupt swami.

Scandals and Conflicts Make Attractive News Items

It is common when reporting on NRMs to highlight conflict – whether actual or imagined – in order to create a sensational story.

The 99% of small spiritual groups which integrate well with society, and have happy and fulfilled adherents, are just not “newsworthy” enough for the mainstream media who rely on ratings and subscriptions to survive. As such, harmless and beneficial groups are rarely reported on. And if they are, they may be illegitimately associated with dangerous groups, tarred with the same “cult” brush and suspected of wrongdoing, just because they are a new religious movement.

While conflict is often used to structure stories, actual conflict is not required to fabricate stories about the “cult menace”. Scholars suggest that simply labelling a group as a possible “cult” is reason itself to write a story; stories can be created just by speculating about a group’s potential deviance. Otherwise boring and mundane stories can be sensationalised by adding layers of conflict based on mere speculation or hearsay.

During the drawn-out and often unstimulating 51 day siege at WACO for example, European journalists began writing about whether authorities in their own countries should be taking pre-emptive action to avert a similar situation occurring. Others used the opportunity to investigate the issues of gun ownership and control in the USA. The already negative image of the Branch Davidians promoted by the local media was compounded by linking them with a separate conflict related to firearms.

The audience very rarely has the opportunity to receive information about NRMs which is unrelated to conflict. The movements are only in the news when conflict is involved; and conflict concerning one movement is pounced on as an excuse for investigation of all the other movements in the catch-all category of ‘cults’. The aftermath of Waco was full of stories along the lines of the Boston Globe’s ‘If you think Waco, Texas was bad, consider who could be next’. Source

Conflict and scandal sells stories, but the media focus on physical rather than spiritual "deviances"  as these are most easily reported on by journalists and understood by the public

Conflict and scandal sells stories, but the media focus on accusations of physical rather than spiritual “deviances” when reporting on NRMs as these are most easily reported on by journalists and understood by the public

Often stories revolve around physical rather than spiritual deviances – for example the breakdown of family units, supposed fraud, financial or sexual concerns – and avoid matters of doctrine. Physical “deviances” are more easily reported on by journalists who may have no religious background or training, and can be understood by the public who mostly have no direct experience with NRMs either, but can relate to the narrative being constructed as they have seen it repeated in other spheres of reporting, such as in politics or commerce.

The exception to this is the charge of “brainwashing”, which is unique to media stories about NRMs. Historically brainwashing allegations have been used as a guise for intolerance –  an accusatory denunciation that invokes fear and horror toward spiritual minorities without requiring any evidence or substantiation, yet nevertheless seems scientific. But the very concept of brainwashing has been thoroughly dismissed by the legal establishment for having no scientific backing whatsoever. Source

Despite being debunked, proponents of the anti-cult movement are often quoted in the media regarding the supposed brainwashing of “cult members”. Conveniently this adds legitimacy to paid “deprogramming” or “exit counselling” efforts by moral entrepreneurs within the anti-cult movement; the logic being that if someone has been “brainwashed” to join a group, they can be brainwashed to turn against it.

It’s also interesting to note, that the media chooses to portray some types of conflict but not others, and tend towards the sensational and fear-inducing. For example, in 1997 the suicide of 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate temple was widely reported in the media. In the same year there was an average of 30,000 unrelated suicides in the US and approximately 400,000 people who died from smoking cigarettes. Source Yet it’s unsurprising that such frequently occurring tragic events were not reported in the same alarmist manner as the Heaven’s Gate “mass suicides” whose motives and sanity could be speculated upon.

Sources of information

To further understand the bias towards NRMs, we need to look at where journalists are sourcing their information from.

In a 1980 study of 240 journalists across 7 US newspapers, 86% of journalists responded that “they seldom or never attend religious services, [which suggests] that journalists are overwhelmingly less inclined towards religious belief than the rest of the population”.Source

There is also strong evidence suggesting that newspapers do not recognise the legitimacy of new religious movements:

It has been shown empirically that news and political editors have strong feelings about deviant groups in society, and that these feelings are related to the perceived legality, viability, and stability of these groups. Source

Many sources of information for mass media "cult exposes" have complex agendas to maintain

Many sources of information for mass media “cult exposes” have complex agendas to maintain

Since most journalists have no religious background, and have probably never had any direct experience with NRMs, they are more likely to speculate about a NRMs unknown nature. Even journalists who specialise in religion – and who may not be prejudiced by a differing religious view – are under so much pressure to produce timely articles that they are unlikely to thoroughly research groups to gain an in-depth unbiased perspective. Journalists tend to seek out the most willing subjects who offer information  suited to conflict-based stories that fit familiar negative media narratives and stereotypes about NRMs, which are easy to reproduce. These sources unfortunately tend to be:

  • disgruntled apostates of the NRM in question;
  • members of the anti-cult movement;
  • government or religious bodies who may have an agenda towards NRMs; or
  • previous editorial sources of information.

The point of view expressed by these sources is usually supported by the journalist without much scrutiny. Indeed the media can help to promote the positions put forward by those with an anti-cult agenda by presenting them as trustworthy authority figures or “experts”. This leads to a very slanted approach to the story.

So even if the journalist gives someone from the NRM the opportunity to give their perspective, the entire story is still usually framed with the typical negative “cult” narrative. The views of anti cult “experts” and disgruntled former members are almost always given more credibility than the views of any current members, who are often presented as “brainwashed”. Not only do small spiritual groups lack media support, but their members often lack the media training and skills that “cult experts” or the larger religious or government bodies hostile to them tend to have. This can make them an easy target to be ambushed, intimidated or manipulated in an interview by seasoned journalists, or they may simply look inept in comparison to those hostile to them. Even if a group’s member does answer an interview well, the edited story can still be framed so that the group is presumed guilty and the sources hostile to the group are favoured.

The NRM thus becomes guilty until proven innocent, and is often treated with suspicion and contempt in a “trial by media” scenario. This puts the group’s members in a lose-lose situation, where they risk looking evasive if they avoid speaking to the journalist, but face being set up for a show trial or ridicule if they do.

Apostates and the anti-cult movement

Apostates and members of the anti-cult movement (which ironically display many of the characteristics they accuse NRMs of possessing) are heavily relied on to provide experiences and so-called “expert opinion” for news pieces.

Disgruntled apostates are known to represent only a tiny portion of people who come and go from NRMs, most of which do so without harbouring any ill feelings towards their previous religious involvement. For whatever reason disgruntled apostates choose to distance themselves from their previous NRM affiliation, often claiming to have been “brainwashed” in order to excuse or explain their previous involvement with a spiritual group, the choices they made while part of it, and to justify their decision to leave it after being so committed. They may sell their “atrocity stories” to the media, and have been known to have received coaching from members of the anti-cult movement in what to say.

The anti-cult movement willingly provides sensationalised stories to the media, exaggerating the more obscure or strange aspects of NRMs while ignoring any characteristics which humanise them. Many people in the anti-cult movement have made a good living by providing “expert opinions” as well as taking part in “deprogramming” or “exit counselling” activities which thrive on sensationalism about NRMs. Often the same self-professed “cult experts” – some of which have dubious backgrounds and most of which are without any official credentials – will be used repeatedly to support the sensational but often unfounded accusations put forth by the media.

The anti-cult movement is happy to supply atrocity stories to the media, whose publications then serve to reinforce the legitimacy of the anti-cult movement’s claims.

Church lobby groups (the countercult movement) and religious interests

Religious lobby groups and interests may also assert influence on media perspectives. The Christian Countercult Movement is “composed primarily of conservative Protestant Christian individuals, agencies, and para-church groups who attempt to raise public concern about religious groups which they feel hold dangerous, non-traditional beliefs. Those in the CCM are sometimes called heresy hunters or heresiologists.” Source

They are often concerned with the spiritual welfare of those they believe are following a non-traditional faith, and in some cases their efforts may be seen as “spiritual warfare” – any groups that deviate from traditional Christian beliefs are literally seen as the work of the devil.

Religious organisations may provide an “aura of authority” to media stories and may be particularly influential in countries where traditional major religions are maintained as the status quo.

However, even in countries without overarching religious bodies, religious interests may bias news reporting. For example, a Christian theologian and self-proclaimed “cult expert” in Australia – who has been known to ambush NRMs in order to create sensational news stories – has also held the position as the head of religious broadcasting at a major media station.

Political influence

In some cases journalists may source their information from government bodies or figures to report on small spiritual groups. In the case of Falun Gong, researchers have discovered that much of the rhetoric in negatively-biased articles about the group originates in wording used by the Chinese government.

This has serious repercussions for practitioners of alternative spirituality in the east, as positive reports of the government’s actions towards Falun Gong serve to bolster the government’s cause, whereas negative publicity of the government’s human rights abuses has been shown to reduce the torture and conditions of imprisonment suffered by Falun Gong practitioners.

As another example, Senator Xenophon in Australia who has an Orthodox Christian background is an outspoken critic of “cults” and is often quoted in newspapers in stories about alternative spiritual groups. He is a proponent of laws against “mental manipulation” (a.k.a. “brainwashing”) similar to the anti-sect laws in France, a country known for relying on the anti-cult movement for media reporting and establishment of policies.

The “Herd Effect”

It is well known by publicists that if an article is covered in a major newspaper such as the New York Times, it will spawn a series of almost identical articles in smaller newspapers throughout the world. This is known as the “herd effect”.

Journalists at the top of their field, who may or may not have any religious training, can have their work archived and repeatedly referred to in future coverage of NRMs. It is unlikely that there is any retrospective fact checking in this process, and it’s well known that NRMs who are presumed guilty but later absolved of any wrongdoing practically never have their image redeemed in the media. Thus an initial negative depiction of an NRM becomes a persistent stain on their record and a brush used to tar other NRMs, as harmful depictions of groups are often used to frame stories about new “cult” conflicts.

Religious scholars, social scientists and the NRMs themselves

Journalists typically do not look to representatives of new religious movements – who are often denied the chance to respond to accusations about them – when sourcing information for stories.

Unfortunately religious scholars and social scientists who could add a much more objective perspective to the debate are also overlooked. The reason for this may have been elucidated  in a study analysing the perspective of journalists towards religious reporting. When asked if journalists read the work of social scientists on NRMs, one journalist responded:

No, why would I? While I consider myself an intellectual, open-minded & a progressive conservative I don’t need to read their stuff to know what it contains – why associate with trash Source

What’s motivating journalists?

A great deal of effort has been expended within the social-scientific tradition to unravel the complexities of marginal religious organizations. Unfortunately it seems that the message is somehow totally lost to the majority of those employed by the major print media Source

There may be many reasons why journalists would portray such a negative view of new religious movements, not least of which is upholding the status quo.

Editorial bias cannot be discounted. Even if a journalist is sympathetic to NRMs, if an editor knows someone who has had a bad experience with a minority religious group it is unlikely that well-balanced reporting on NRMs will ever pass beyond their desk.

Media owners themselves have been known to display extreme bias in a very public manner towards spiritual minorities.

Television shows require ratings in order to effectively sell advertising space and it’s commonly understood that media sensationalism attracts consumers.

Journalists are seen by some as "moral gatekeepers" - but who's morals are they representing when they silence alternative spirituality?

Journalists are seen by some as “moral gatekeepers” – but whose morals are they representing when they silence alternative spirituality?

However, commercial interests which may affect how small spiritual groups are reported can have many layers of complexity. In China for instance, magazines and newspapers have been discontinued for reporting on the Chinese government’s abusive treatment of Falun Gong practitioners. Would journalists or publications in the West censor their views in order to retain their place in overseas markets?

There are also many personal benefits for journalists covering sensational “cult” stories. They might find their story on the front page of their newspaper or magazine, eventually garnering a book deal, or have the privilege of breaking the latest “cult” scare, a matter of professional pride that could accelerate the progression of their career. How many journalists would prefer anonymity from writing realistic but boring stories?

A Self-Perpetuating Cycle of Media Bias

Unfortunately for spiritual minorities, the media has created a self-perpetuating cycle of negativity that is very difficult to break free of.

A study in 1987 showed that 141 (64 percent) of 218 suggested readings by an anti-cult organisation were negative news reports. Source

A current anti-cult informational page claims they have collected 13,000 articles regarding over 2000 groups, a claim which in itself appears to be grossly exaggerated.

Some scholars feel that by perpetuating the view that all NRMs are dangerous, the small minority of groups harbouring hostile tendencies are more likely to feel isolated and provoked to fulfil the predictions of the media. Groups that commit criminal acts are then used to reinforce the notion that all NRMs are to be feared and despised.

Often parents who were previously unconcerned by their children’s involvement in spiritual minorities have been converted to anti-cult supporters as a result of mass media induced hysteria.

Researchers have also discovered that the majority of journalists if contacted by a concerned parent would direct them to an anti-cult body for further information, perpetuating the cycle of fear and negativity towards NRMs. Even those directly affected by NRMs have a tendency to rely on the mass media for their information. Source

This self perpetuating cycle has naturalised a mental association of NRMs with the concepts of brainwashing, fraudulence and violence; or in other words the depiction of NRMs in a negative light has become an unquestioned truth in the minds of the public. Source

The Human Costs of Media Bias

As NRMs are ostracised and spiritual freedoms restricted seekers around the world are increasingly isolated

As NRMs are ostracised and spiritual freedoms restricted seekers around the world are increasingly isolated

What many may not consider when reading a sensational story about the latest “cult menace” is the very real effects this negativity has on the lives of many people.

Journalists function as the principal gatekeepers of public opinion especially on matters with which the person-in-interest is not normally familiar. Their overwhelmingly critical portrayal of the movements can therefore contribute indirectly towards the latter’s control. Source

Despite the vast majority of people never having any direct experience with new religious movements, surveys have shown that public negativity towards NRMs is widespread. In 1987 the American public responded to a survey stating that “cults” were the least favoured type of neighbour to have. Source

The “cult menace” narrative affects policy makers in government who often look to the media to gain information about pressing issues in society. Because they need to be seen to be addressing the greatest fears of their citizens, they may be disinclined to express a neutral stance or object to the demonization of spiritual minorities in society. Lawmakers and agencies of control are more likely to take a strong-armed approach towards small spiritual groups, as they know the public will support them, having been conditioned to fear small spiritual groups.

In Latvia the press has been instrumental in calling for the creation of an anti-cult movement. In France, where the media and government rely on the anti-cult movement for much of their information about NRMs, the leaders of religious minorities have been publicly humiliated and demonized through media publication of unfounded allegations which are later proven untrue.

In the case of the WACO tragedy, the media are directly implicated in the deaths of the 76 Branch Davidians and 4 ATF agents who died as a result of the siege which began just one day after the local Herald-Tribune ran a story titled, “That’s law and order?” which reprimanded the government for not taking action on the rumoured child abuse at the Branch Davidian compound.

Families can be conditioned to fear the involvement of fellow family members in NRMs, which can lead to relationship breakdowns, a charge that ironically is often directed towards NRMs themselves.

But the greatest overall cost of the media’s assault on alternative spirituality is in the reduced capacity of the public to access possibilities for internal development beyond the bounds set by an atheistic society and established religions.

Some researchers feel that the media portrayal of “cults” reached its peak in the 1970s and has been in decline since then. I would like to propose that if this is true then it is because NRMs have already been degraded and lost legitimacy in the minds of the public to such a degree that fewer alternative groups now exist, and people now self-censor their spiritual yearnings out of fear they will come to harm by exploring spiritual truths.

Further depictions of “cults” in the media (which still occur almost on a daily basis throughout the world) will continue to reinforce this discrimination and to make it increasingly harder for groups to function and people to participate in them without prejudice, and that is a massive loss for the spiritual wealth and freedom of humanity.

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About David Gardner

David has a deep interest in spiritual development, but has discovered there are many forces in the world working to keep people asleep. His recent interest has been researching the psychological tactics and techniques used to limit people's spiritual potential, writing about his discoveries here at The Conscious Reporter.

24 comments

  1. Thanks for writing this article David. It’s well researched and encompasses crucial things on the subject. One thing which could be good to include if there will be a sequel is psychology of anti-cult proponents researched and revealed by social scientists.

  2. I can testify that as a French person, any alternative spirituality is highly disregarded in France. It becomes synonyms with charlatanism, fraud and debauchery. While no questions ever are asked about what the NMR may be about, it is laughed at and put down.

    Many people may not even be aware that in France, many NMRs can be blacklisted by the government and renting a community hall in a city to hold a talk/event becomes impossible.

  3. That’s a really good overview of how the media treats, or rather mistreats and attacks, alternative spirituality. There are so many times we have seen the media doing hatchet jobs on small spiritual groups and teachers, and like you say, when have we ever seen a positive story?

    It’s true that the media does focus on the negative generally in all aspects of society. However in fields like politics, sport, entertainment, science, major religions, and anything deemed “normal” there will be a mix of positive and negative stories. Scandals will be covered of course, but its not as if the very profession of being a politician, or scientist, or entertainer, or sports star, or priest will be in complete disrepute in the media.

    But a teacher or practitioner of alternative spirituality? ‘Atrocity stories’ are the only option for these subjects.

    It was interesting to read how a study found 86% of journalists in the US did not take part in any spiritual services. That is quite telling, as the US is known to be a pretty religious country, compared to other western countries.

    This definitely correlates to my experience of many people involved in journalism. In addition to any agendas working through those who own or influence the media, as a profession it just tends to attract very skeptical people. Obviously having some open minded skepticism is needed as a journalist, but there is a difference between skepticism and close-minded intolerance, bigotry and ungrounded suspicion and negativity toward those whose views are different from yours.

    In many cases there is an actual hatred toward spirituality in any form amongst skeptical people who often have a smug superiority complex. If such people have such little regard for “normal” religions, they can have complete contempt for any “fringe” belief.

    When you combine this contempt with a sense many journalists have of acting as the self-appointed moral guardians of society, then they can easily become the agents of witch-hunt campaigns of fear, sensationalism and persecution toward those with alternative beliefs.

  4. An excellently researched and well-balanced article, which clearly supports what this organisation (The SAFF) has chronicled for the past 25 years, however it misses one of the crucial points in understanding why newspapers choose to use ‘cults’ and NRMs as whipping boys. The requirement for all governments to create the threat of dangerous strangers in order to gain the complicity of the population in their own oppression is an essential feature of modern politics. The stereotype of the Mad Mullah in the 21st century is only a step away from the stereotype of the Do-or-Die ‘Commie’ of the 1920s and in a modern civilisation which has basically solved most of the Wests’ real social problems it provides grist to the mill of the political machine to scapegot minorities in order to deflect criticism of itself. Newspapers and the Broadcast media lie all the time, not just in reltion to NRMs (Iraq’s weapons of mass destrution?) to transfix the minds of the populace in order to avoid the peasants seeing the real truths which show our society is corrupt, unworkable and in decline. Democracy hasn’t worked. When the Black Death ravaged Europe the Church blamed it on witches, not on the festering unhygienic and inhuman conditions which they had forced the common people into. Yet it was the church which had exclusive control of the tax and barter system and all forms of education for centuries. The ridiculous sensational allegations of vandalistic agent provocateurs who havean axe to grind (which Dave has clearly identified in his piece) will continue and the Media will continue to persecute whoever it finds convenient based on their lies. The ONLY thing which can turn the tide of bigotry and intolerance is a personal understanding of how one’s mind has been moulded since childhood to accept superstitious nonsense as common-place. Ironically it is the hidden teachings of NRMs which can liberate the Self from these imposed mental shackles and of course why the government and orthodox religions continually campaign to discredit them. You can see all of this discussed at length with astonishing documentary evidence on particular cases, on the SAFF’s website and it behoves all free-thinkers, no matter how divergent their beliefs to personally illuminate themselves and others they come into contact with in order to break this mediaeval mentality.

    • Thanks for the comment Tony, you might like to check out another article on this site which talks about the government scapegoating and deflection you mentioned: consciousreporter.com/conspiracy-against-consciousness/how-fear-is-used-to-turn-you-against-spirituality/

      I think you’re right that we need to understand how our opinions have been moulded in order to overcome the persecution of NRMs and that it is in alternative spirituality that the means to do that is found.

      I just had a quick look at your site, seems like you have some really useful information there and worth the time to take a deeper read!

    • Thanks for dropping by Tony. Looks like SAFF is doing some really interesting work over in the UK in exposing the persecution of alternative beliefs and deception in the media.

      I definitely agree with your sentiment, “it behoves all free-thinkers, no matter how divergent their beliefs to personally illuminate themselves and others they come into contact with in order to break this mediaeval mentality”.

      Right on. There is a big agenda against alternative spirituality of all forms, and if everyone in is divided due to their differences we will not be able to overcome our oppressors.

  5. Just typed ‘cults’ into a search engine and what’s written in this article was confirmed on the first page!

  6. A well compiled article, thanks Dave. Reminded me of the days before cult, when the buzz word was heretic or witch. She’s a witch!
    http://youtu.be/zrzMhU_4m-g

    It is so ironic how much of the criticism (or criteria used to criticize) against NRM’s or other small groups, can also be applied to mainstream religions. For example, a popular accusation is, “I was brainwashed and donated all my money to other people who lived off my hard earned labor. They all spent the money on themselves and promised me a ticket to heaven, or one step closer.”
    Don’t collection bowls get handed around in many churches of whatever denomination? And who ends up using the money? How does the priest support himself? Who paid for the church and its nice windows? If it wasn’t donations (forced or voluntary) then one assumes the public paid via it’s taxes (assuming religion and government are intertwined). So maybe many members of the public unwittingly donate their hard earned money to a religion they don’t believe in?

    The bottom line is apathy. People don’t care about other peoples problems only their own. If I don’t believe in your religion, your messenger, or message, then why should I care about your problems? When did you care about mine?
    It doesn’t take much to brainwash a country if you have control of the papers and TV, and it doesn’t take much to create civil war and genocide.

  7. Good article Dave,

    you can really see how the continuous viscous cycle of biased negative coverage from the media creates an effect through out society that gains momentum as it gets fueled buy peoples emotions until the politicians get involved and then change or make laws that continually take away peoples freedoms and rights away, the more laws the politicians make the less free you are as a person! It’s like a negative feedback loop that keeps cycling when the stimulus is supplied through the media outlets. It was interesting to see that the statistics show that there is a negative media bias towards NRM’s which provides proof that the bias is there, it was really interesting to see those stats from the article.

    What a big and horrible negative loop that gets created and it shows the influence which is applied onto people and humanity through these channels. At a deeper level these ideas that filter through the negative loop had to start somewhere, somewhere someone thought of the input to the system which then filters through and has consequences and ramifications. I really feel that input is a very negative one and is a deeply negative influence on this world. All the information and articles that high light & outline these areas and influences is like trying to catch the wind, nobody can actually see the wind, we can only see it’s affects on the landscape and we can feel the effect of the wind on our body but to see the cause of the wind is very hard and in this case it’s not easy for people to see the input of the negative influences that are planned and plotted behind closed doors due to the unbelievable biased reporting going on in the world which is devoid of objective facts and information.This is really a Phantom Menace, not the one out of stars wars but the one which is casting a negative web onto the whole world.

  8. Spot on article.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a positive story in mainstream media about a small alternative spiritual group. I guess that isn’t interesting or scandalous enough.

    Sensationalised reporting goes on all the time, conflating all sorts of issues in society, whether it be crime, terrorism, “cults”, or whatever. Makes you wonder what the agenda behind certain stories is.

    It’s only with further research that a clearer picture is gained.

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