If I Were to Tell the Story of You

Pretend for a moment that I am a journalist. You’ve become something of a big deal, a hot topic. Lots of important people are mixing it up with you and it’s got the media all abuzz, so I want to do a feature piece on you.

Sounds good, right?

But I don’t want to interview you personally.

Nah, I want to get “a different perspective.”

Think of the people you once dated and it ended badly, or that person you turned down because there was just no chemistry, or that friend who betrayed you so badly you removed him from your life for good. Yeah, those guys. Those are the only ones I want to talk to. What they have to say would make for an accurate account of you, don’t you think?

I’m not going to interview your friends, or the people who actually work with you because that might seem biased. In fact, I’m only going to interview your ex-friends, and people you haven’t associated with for years because of some dramatic falling out.

That sounds like fair, honest journalism, right?

Think of the people you once dated and it ended badly, or that person you turned down because there was just no chemistry, or that friend who betrayed you so badly you removed him from your life for good. Yeah, those guys. Those are the only ones I want to talk to. What they have to say would make for an accurate account of you, don’t you think?

That’s pretty much what it’s like for my religion. Every “feature story” or “documentary” or “reality show” is so contrived, slanted and sensationalized it’s almost laughable. But the part that’s not funny is that the viewer is left in the dust and the dark.

You see, the regular Joe watching that feature piece on you doesn’t realize I’ve looked under every rock (and in every gutter) to find any back-stabbing, has-been, seriously-old-news ex I can get my hands on to tell “the story of you.”

Even now, every piece on my religion features “expert sources” who are anything but.

Most of them are looking to make a quick buck, and will say just about anything to get it. And every one of them has been out of the Church for so long they have no idea what is going on and so couldn’t have a valid opinion. Some of them worked very hard to try and destroy the Church even when they were involved, and got expelled when they were discovered.

So, no. These are not reliable sources about anything involving Scientology ever. But especially today.

If I actually wanted to know about you, I certainly wouldn’t start by interviewing your exes. I’d start by meeting you. If I wanted to know more, I’d talk to your friends, colleagues, family. If you did something remarkable, I’d want to know about it. I’d want the photos, the quotes, the evidence. That would be fair reporting, wouldn’t it?

That isn’t the way the media works, unfortunately.

It thrives on alarming information. It slants stories to create controversy and yes, even division. Pitting women against men, Democrats against Republicans, Liberals against Right Wingers, Black against White, White against Black, ad nauseam.

Don’t believe me?

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) shared a CBS news clip a while back of a four-year-old black boy being interviewed by a reporter after a drive-by shooting on his street. They asked this boy if he was scared. He said, “No. I’m not scared.” The reporter asked him why. He said, “Because I’m gonna’ get me a gun.”

Cut back to the news studio, where the anchors comment on how sad it was that this boy wants to grow up and be a gangster. But what they didn’t show was the rest of the clip, carefully edited out for the newscast. That four-year-old-boy actually said, “I’m gonna’ get me a gun.” When the reporter asked why, he said, “Because I’m gonna’ be the police.” True story. Watch the clip.

Now, what do you suppose they were trying to do with that little news clip? I’ll let you work that out for yourself.

The point is, what’s done with Scientology isn’t unusual. In fact, just Google “media bias” and you’ll find plenty of articles, studies and exposés on this. Last year (just before the elections got heated), Facebook was exposed for biased editorial activities on their “trending topics.” After an investigation, the entire team responsible was scrapped.

Even your Google results are slanted based on your prior searches, preferences, browsing history, etc. The days of searching for plain old information on the internet are gone.

So, what does all of this mean?

It means that you have to be a smarter cookie. You have to be shrewd and wary when you hear something outrageous about Ms. Movie Star, or Mr. Political Guy, or yes, even that Religion over there. Go to the source, find out the truth for yourself. Find something said or written by the actual guy being talked about. Find people who know him or are involved and talk to them. You’ll be better informed than anyone relying on the media.

Mark Twain famously said: “If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re mis-informed.”

And Thomas Jefferson felt the same: “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.”

See? Smart Cookies.

Photos by: Pavel L Photo and Video / 1000 Words / Popartic / Shutterstock.com

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